Oysterville Horse Stories

Jul 25, 2010 | 3 comments

Rodeo Queen Bitty Redell with Amber, c. 1945

     Maybe it’s because it’s rodeo weekend here on the peninsula or maybe they’re just random thoughts, but I’ve been thinking about some of the horse stories I know about Oysterville.
     For instance, there’s a story that Larry Freshley has told me a couple of times about his horse, Judy, who was blind in one eye.  His dad bought Judy for $15 from Dorothy Elliot of Camp Willapa fame back in the 1940s.  And, (the part of the story I like best) then Larry got some cowboy boots and they cost more than the horse did!  Years later Judy was ‘put out to pasture’ on some of Les Goulter’s property across the bay and finally died in a slough.  Larry says he still wonders just where that was when he drives over that way.
     My cousin, Lex, remembers the year she got to ride one of the Heckes horses, Beauty, with the ‘big kids’ in town which, as a summer kid, she considered quite an honor.  Sometimes they rode out to the end of the peninsula to swim the horses in the bay or ocean and it was on those rides that she learned some of the facts of life – or at least heard the older girls talking about things she didn’t quite understand and had to check them out with her folks later on.
     During those years almost every kid in Oysterville had a horse.  Even so, it was quite a memorable day when Trula Wright came to school for the first time. The Wrights were “real cowboys” from Oklahoma and Trula arrived at the schoolhouse riding horseback behind her dad, Shorty.  When he reached behind and lowered her to the ground, everyone thought it was just like something out of the Wild West!
     It was Shorty Wright who was instrumental in getting the Peninsula Saddle Club and the Long Beach Rodeo started in 1945.  One of the early rodeo queens was Bitty Redell whose  cousin Memi’s family had the Sherwood Cannery here in Oysterville.  I still remember how proud we all were of Bitty and of her horse, Amber, too!


  1. Veris Moore

    My husband, Hap, and I owned the Peninsula Dairy on Moore’s Corner on the back road, or Sandridge, in Long Beach and lived there for 18 years. All our grandchildren grew up with our home as their summer vacation retreat. Well just about every Holiday also. When Hap passed away I down sized my living quarters so started making albums for all the children and grandchildren with the wonderful scenic pictures I had. I had shots of a few people in a page listed as People Worth Remembering and Shorty Wright of course was one of them. Not living there for so long I was at a loss as how to get a little thumbnail sketch of him. Your Horse Stories were truly a God Send and gives me the extra information I needed to take him from a man on a horse to a real person. Thank you very much for being so generous with your time to write it. Mrs. Veris Moore

    • sydney

      Thank you, Veris! You also might be interested in the profile I wrote of Shorty in my recent book, “Legendary Locals of the Long Beach Peninsula.” He was, indeed, a man to remember!


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