On this coming Saturday, Sept. 26th there will be a fund raiser at the Wise River Community Center for Billy Stockton.
On the 4th of July this summer Billy was riding saddle bronc in the old timers rodeo circuit in Drummond. He got bucked off and the horse came down and stomped on his head. He was life flighted to Seattle Trauma Center where it was touch and go for some time if he was going to make it. Now he is in the Billings, Mt. trauma center and is able to get around somewhat. However the optic nerve was severed and left him blind.
Billy was born and raised in the Wise River area. He never had much of an education but he was a legend as a hunting outfitter. He was from the old school where a hand shake and direct look in the eye was as good as any 30 page contract could be in his mind. This however was not to be the case when he sold his business some years ago as he never read the fine print but still believed in a mans word.
I had the opportunity to work with Billy on a couple outfitting trips. As a fishing guide he was never really comfortable. He was good at it kind of and got along with the clients great while telling his stories of past hunting and pack trips which he was great at, but he always told me he got uneasy after a few hours on the river in the boat with the clients just a couple feet away from him at all times. He loved the mountains and horses and open country and he was good at it.
The last hunting pack trip I did was with Billy and using his back country camp at the head of Effie Creek in the West Pioneers.
John and I took the pack string of eight horses in to set up camp and scout it out. Neither of us had been in that country before but Billy gave us directions. There were no trail markers or such and his directions were like–you go along this ridge until you see this large meadow down below. Keep going til you see a large elk rub and then drop down toward the meadow and creek and you will find my camp. He looked at us after giving these directions and you could tell he was thinking, boys if you can’t find that camp you don’t belong in these mountains. We found that camp allthough it took us two days but we never told him that.
The raffle includes a Loomis GLX rod with a high end reel donated by Frank from Troutfitters and Andrew from Complete Fly Fisher. Great Divide donated a Scott 9 for 5. Jim Zumbo, world famous hunter and author and a client of Billy’s for many years is giving a signed set of his books and there is more.
Live auction includes a fishing trip to Alaska, pheasant hunting trip to eastern Montana and more. Linda tells me there are several items on the silent auction.
There are those who say at the age of 64 Billy should not have been ridin buckin horses any more. Perhaps this is true but horses, rodeo and the mountains were his life and he didn’t know how to quit.
If you happen to be in the area, join us at the Wise River Community Center Saturday evening.
If you can’t make it but want to bid on some of these items, give me a call.