Rancher On Horseback Finishes Ride Across America

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Bill Inman atop his horse Blackie
as riders in Hendersonville, N.C. welcome him

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January 13, 2008

 An Oregon rancher who set off on a cross-country horseback ride seven months ago in search of what’s good in America dismounted Sunday, feeling encouraged by the spirit and stories of the people he met.

Bill Inman began his journey June 2 because he felt distress over how the country was being portrayed in news coverage and on TV shows. He rode his 16-year-old thoroughbred-quarter horse Blackie.

His wife, Brenda, and a four-person support crew joined him on the trip through eight states.

Along the way, Inman collected stories of hardworking, honest everyday people in rural America.

His cross cross-country trek was dubbedUncovering America by Horseback, a website that noted his experiences, including videos.

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The scenery in America is changing and I’m really proud we took snapshots at slow motion of this time period because 20 years from now it will be different,” he said.

Inman talks about the retired rancher in Idaho who he considers “a true image of America with his honesty and hospitality,” or people he’s met working multiple jobs to make ends meet, or another Idaho rancher e-mailing the progress of the journey to his son in Iraq.

“There is nothing like riding across the nation to learn about the people of this country,” he said.

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Among the people he met was a Wyoming deputy sheriff who drove 25 miles through a thunderstorm to bring dinner to him and his wife, and all 17 people of a Colorado town who came out to see him ride off.

An Idaho state trooper paid him $20 for the chance to sit on top of Blackie, he said.

“Sometimes, I was more intrigued by the stories they were telling than the stories I was telling,” Inman said.

Inman finished his trip riding into the southwestern North Carolina town under overcast skies. A crowd of more than 100 people greeted Inman as he ended the journey.

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Crossing the plains of Kansas

“I don’t know if that’s really sunk in yet. It may take me two or three days to think it’s over,” Inman said in a telephone interview.

Inman ticked off a list of what’s been bad about the trip — temperatures ranging from 108 degrees to freezing, pesky insects, water shortages, crossing mountains and desert and riding in a lightning storm. People aren’t on the list.

“I haven’t run into any bad people,” he said.

Inman bought Blackie in 2001. The two have clearly bonded.

“I know his capabilities and I know his flaws and I think he can say the same thing for me,” he said.  “Now if you think we’re constantly kissing buddies, I don’t think so.

Do I brag about him a lot? Yeah.”

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Re-written from news sources:

Ezra and “Red” Arrive In New York !

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Nearly 15 months on the road …

On June 23, 2007 … with a mounted police escort, Ezra Cooley, and his horse Red, rode into Manhattan to Battery Park, New York and completed their 5,000 mile journey across the United States

 “I rode all the way through the heart of Manhattan to see the Statue of Liberty,” said Cooley.  And in the process, Ezra and Red set a world record for a paint quarter horse. Red is one amazing horse.

This is the completion of the first leg of Ezra’s 27,000 mile journey around the world on horseback. 

Along the way, Cooley is raising money for children’s charities. He has raised $6,000 in donations so far for the National Children’s Cancer Society.

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The 26 year old rodeo star and Western re-enactor Ezra Cooley and Chico, Calif., native started the trek, dubbed “Ezra’s Expedition,” in his hometown on April 5, 2006, with dreams of traveling around the world in the next eight years on his horse, Red. 

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On his journey across the nation, Cooley has savored the pleasures of slowing down. “When you’re riding at four miles an hour across the United States on a horse, you see how beautiful this country really is,” he said.“I ride what is safe for my horse; that’s how I base my whole trip,” Cooley said

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From New York, Ezra plans to board a ship to Spain. There he will continue his journey (on horseback) through Spain and Africa. Finally he’ll undertake Australia, Alaska and British Columbia. From Canada he’ll travel another 1200 miles to return home to Chico, California.He is unconcerned about the language barrier. “I know that a big smile goes a long way around the world,” he said. “Plus, I’ve always been pretty good at charades.”

His only worries are horse diseases and wild animals.

“I put it in God’s hand,” Cooley said. “My motto is God, my horse, my gear and then me.” 

Link:  To follow Ezra and Red on their journey

 

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