Cowboys ride through Edwards |

Cowboys ride through Edwards

Sarah Mausolfsmausolf@vaildaily.comVail, CO Colorado
Special to the Daily

EDWARDS, Colorado – When Tiffany Willis stopped into the Edwards post office Tuesday morning, she was surprised to see two cowboys picking up packages.Sure enough, three horses were tethered outside.It was an unusual sight for this upscale shopping center, where the cowboys stopped for a Larkburger.”What a unique experience to run into some real cowboys,” Willis said. Her 6-year-old son, Grant Willis, smiled broadly as he pet one of the horses. “We usually only see cowboys at the rodeo.”Three cowboys are on a 1,900-mile ride from Santa Fe, N.M., to Canada. Their final destination is Glacier National Park. The friends – Ben Masters, 21, Parker Flannery, 22 and Mike Pinckney, 23 – are making the journey with six horses. Nothing in particular inspired them to set out on the trip. Flannery and Masters, friends from Texas A&M University in College Station, Texas, said they had been eating Mexican food one night before exams when “we decided to get out of here while we still could,” as Flannery put it.The men have been traveling almost exclusively along forest trails.”The U.S. has the most incredible national forest,” Masters said. “I just wanted to see it. The best way to travel through it is on horseback.”Their stop in Edwards marked the first time they hit pavement in weeks. They set up camp Monday in the wilderness outside Edwards, with plans to get back on the road today, crossing over I-70. They dropped by the post office to pick up boxes of supplies. Tortillas, peanut butter and “lots of coffee” were among them.The horses belong to Flannery, a working cowboy who breaks horses on a 10,000-acre ranch in New Mexico. In his jeans, fringed, leather chaps, spurs and tan Serratelli hat, he certainly looked the part. The men and their horses attracted plenty of attention at the post office.”Big horsey! Pretty!” one boy declared as he rode by on his bike.The cowboys set out a month ago and hope to get to Glacier by early September. They have no set plans for their destination other than to “load up six horses and get a beer,” Flannery said.Three quarter horses, two mustangs and a pony are accompanying the cowboys on their trip. Flannery, who works a side job training mustangs, said he wants to prove older mustangs are useful. The mustangs he brought along are 6 and 7 but he said the government considers mustangs older than 3 to be untrainable. He took a moment to plug his neighbor’s mustang rescue organization, Cimarron Sky Dog.The cowboys have had some wild adventures on the trip.During one stop in the Carson National Forest, the horses wandered off. When the cowboys went to look for their horses, they realized they weren’t the only ones following the horses’ trail. The cowboys spotted a cougar about 100 yards away.In the Collegiate Peaks Wilderness, the men came over a pass and had to bust through two miles of snow.”It was cold,” Masters recalled. “Parker lost his pistol in the snow.”Staff Writer Sarah Mausolf can be reached at 970-748-2928 or

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