The Jewish Cowboy
Updated: May 28
So the adventure continues. It’s 1987 and for me the smuggling days are over, however the aftermath continues and I’m in the consequences phase of the story… I’m an inmate in the BOP (the US Federal Bureau of Prisons). After a year in a Level 2, medium security prison I finally get transferred to a federal prison camp. In prison, all inmates are required to have a job and I am lucky enough to secure one on the coveted cowboy crew… a group of 20 inmates who's job is to manage the BOP’s herd of cattle they feed the inmates with. I am now what is known as a convict cowboy. This is how I saw It…
This is me as a cowboy at FPC Lompoc in 1987
I really never had problems with any of the crew because I was the clerk and not a threat to the cowboy crew hierarchy and was generally left alone. I pretty much did what I wanted. I could go out with any of the crew on the water or fence detail, or if I had nothing better to do I could just take my horse and wander any of the thousands of acres of pastureland adjacent to the corrals. Aside from the Idaho cowboy, Rocky, who was pretty much my size, I was the smallest cowboy but tried my best to always pull my weight. I dogged young 250-pound steers, wrestling them to the ground and tying off their feet like any of the other cowboys. Rocky took me under his wing and showed me the proper cowboy technique so as not to get hurt.
I was always teased about being a Jewish cowboy and felt like I was acting in the crazy scenes as depicted by the fictional movie character Avram Belinski, played by Gene Wilder in the 1979 movie entitled The Frisco Kid. In the movie, set in the late 1800s, Belinski, an innocent and trusting rabbi, arrives from Europe, fresh off the boat, in Philadelphia with a Torah in hand looking to travel to a synagogue in San Francisco.
The inexperienced and gullible traveler hooks up with a group of con men and bank robbers and the crazy journey begins from there, as a series of wild and goofy episodes of the naive Jewish cowboy in the Wild West. That was me on the cowboy crew.
90° to Zamboanga, Section 8, Chapter 48, page 486