Here is a story mentioning Walt Heacock, from the book FORTY YEARS’ GATHERIN’S by Spike Van Cleve (it is a great book, by the way):
Art Orser died a few years ago. I was snowed in and couldn’t get to the funeral. I was sorry, for I liked the son of a gun, and it’ll be a long time before another like him shows up, if ever. Orser was—well, he was Orser!
A bucking horse man, if one ever lived, and he wasn’t what you’d call bashful about saying so. “Askins invented bronc riding,” he claimed, “but Orser perfected it!” I wouldn’t go along with that completely, but Art was one hell of a bronc rider. He was wild when the chute opened, but hell, he was wild everywhere, and I still hump up a little when I think of some of the parties we had together. Art was a good guy, though a little raunchy at times, and he sure had a good sense of humor.
I was away at school one spring, either ’29 or ’30 I believe it was, when he was working for the Donald outfit down on the Sweet Grass, and Walt Heacock, the current bronc riding champion was breaking horses for my dad. A rodeo champion in those days could be a first class horseman, cowman, cowboy, and good ranch hand, to boot.
Anyhow, as Artie told it, he was out setting fence posts along the “Settlement” lane one morning when he saw some sort of rigging coming down from the west. After a while he could make out that it was a sheep wagon, with an old boy standing in the doorway driving. It was pretty early in the morning; the wagon was heading into the sun; and there was something in or on it that reflected back into Orser’s eyes something terrible, so he just turned his back and went on building his post hole.
Finally the outfit got to where he was, whoaed up, and there was Walt Heacock handling the lines. The reflection had come from the big “World Champion Bronc Rider” buckle on his belt!
They chatted awhile, then Walt picked up his lines and said, “Art, I won’t tell if you don’t,” and clucked to the team and drove off.
It was just too good for Orser to keep quiet about—two champion saddle bronc riders, one digging post holes, and the other driving a sheep wagon!