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Bob and Punkin 1945 at the Triple B Ranch in Fresno 

  Punkin        

    Ok, so Punkin wasn't a Texas Playboy.  But  Punkin was Bob's favorite horse, so maybe you'd like a little background on him.

   Punkin was cream-colored with a solid white face and forelegs. The casual observer would say he was a Palamino, but actually he was of noble Arabian ancestry, bred and bought in New Mexico. His brother was bought for $125,000, but Bob Wills wouldn't take that or any part of that for him.

   "Mainly because he's so smart," Bob explained, "Most performing horses had to be trained for years.  Punkin never had any formal training.  He just naturally knew what to do at the right time - and that's more than a lot us humans know" joked Bob.

   Bob and his boys were the pride of Tulsa between 1934 and 1942. Each year they held a rodeo called "Bob Wills Stampede" at the Tulsa Pavilion, which was the talk of the southwest, and featured 500 riders and the best bucking broncos in the country.

   One of the highlights of the show was Bob's horse, Punkin.  It was Bob's fiddle that made him a favorite with music lovers and dancers, but Punkin played an equal part in putting Bob's name in lights as a stage and screen star.

   Punkin, like Bob, was a natural actor. He played at scores of big theaters and arenas throughout the country, always standing sedately in the wings until he heard the name "Bob Wills" announced. Then one ear would go down, Punkin would brace himself, and WHAM  -  he would make a speedy, dramatic dash for the center of the stage.

   "Only trouble I ever had from him," Bob recalled, "is when we parked him in a big dressing room that housed a drinking fountain. He liked this little pastime so well that nobody else could get a drink of water."

   Bob was also a guest of honor and parade marshal for rodeos all over California, and both Bob and Punkin were popular with rodeo fans. 

   In 1950, Wills moved to Dallas, where Bob opened the Bob Wills Ranch House, one of the largest buildings for dancing in the country. He provided stalls for Punkin and the other horses. Punkin was shod with special rubber shoes, so Bob could ride him onto the dance floor once a night during the show.

   Punkin lived to be twenty five years old and died on Roy Parnell's  ranch outside Fort Worth.

 

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