Mobridge, South Dakota, and Trigger's Corn Fit

By Jean Wayt

Just 28 miles south of the North Dakota border the mighty Missouri River comes flowing along side of Mobridge and continues bordering the Cheyenne River Indian Reservation. The Mighty Mo, as some people call it, angles down across the state of South Dakota and exits at Sioux City and into South Sioux City, Nebraska. Boy, what a river!

The first performance of the rodeo starts off with the town parade winding through the city and down mainstreet. The weather was a little overcast with one or two little dark clouds but nothing to worry about… we thought!! As we going up main street all of a sudden marble size hail started falling, people were running every which way looking for shelter and I looked to my left and there stood the firehouse with their doors open and the firemen were motioning for me to come on in. It was a small building and there wasn’t much room between the wall and the fire engine but I managed to squeeze Trigger in .He was a little bit leery but those hail stones wasn’t too inviting either. I set on him and we just stayed waiting for the weather to clear up. After about 5 minutes of hail it started raining but luckily it quit after about 10 more minutes. The parade finally continued.

The next day it was 104 degrees and there was a cornfield a little way from the infield where we were parked. By the end of the day the cornstalks were bent over almost touching the ground. We figured it was dying from the heat and lack of water but the next morning they were standing straight up but as the day went on the same thing would happen. I’ve often wondered if they ever picked any corn from that field!

There was a great rodeo clown named Benny Bender who lived there. We were very good
friends with he and his wife Luciell had a daughter about 11 years old and was a trickrider. So she and I trickrode and I’d rope calves each performance. The last performance was at night and it made it a lot cooler to ride. Mom had moved the pickup closer to the arena so she could sit in it and watch better. She was sitting there with the door open. What I’m about to tell you was without a doubt the most traumatic scare I have ever experienced in my entire life. They were getting ready for the trickriding and I set down in the opening of the car door to change into my tennis shoes that I trickrode in.

Suddenly I had the most terrible feeling of dread come over me and I was rubbing my forehead and just set there. Mom asked me what was wrong and I just shook my head. She asked me again what was wrong and I said, “I don’t know but I have the strangest feeling that something was going to happen.” She said, ”What do you mean?" I told her I didn’t know but something was going to happen. She kind of scolded me saying, “Just quit thinking such things. You’re about to ride.“ So I laced my shoes up and started to walk out behind where Trigger was and I untied him and turned him a step and he suddenly fell down and started flouncing and kicking his legs and pounding his head on the ground. I was screaming and yelling for Dad and Milt and they came running and asking what happened. I was saying that nothing happened and I thought he was dying.

In a short time Trigger had quit and was just laying there quiet. Dad walked all around him, checking his eyes, mouth, legs and stomach and then walked behind and booted him in the butt and said, ”GET UP“! I looked at him like he was crazy! I asked dad what happened to trigger and dad said, “He just had a corn fit“! About the announcer was say trickriders get ready so I got on the track at one end of the arena and looked down at the other end and it looked like it was a mile long! Well we went ahead with our runs and everything went o.k. but was I ever happy when it was over. I asked dad later what he meant about a “corn fit“? He said he just told me that because he knew I was upset then said he’s just getting too much grain and not enough exercise. Well you can bet I made some changes real fast.

That never happened again and my old buddy lived to be 32 years old.