2017-10-25 / Families & Friends

Former rodeo star a Letcher resident

YONTS with

Ronald Halberstadt is a retired rodeo star who is living in Letcher County. Ronald Halberstadt is a retired rodeo star who is living in Letcher County. You all aren’t going to believe this! We actually have a retired rodeo star that lives in Letcher County. Mom and I have known him since the Letcher County Senior Citizens were moved to the rec center, but we had no idea of his past experiences.

Then, one day last week, Mr. Jack Burkich mentioned to me that he might be a character of interest for our column. So, I interviewed him and Mr. Burkich was right. He certainly has had an interesting past to say the least.

His name is Ronald Halberstadt and with a last name like that I guess you would know he isn’t from this area originally. He and his family are from Michigan and this is where he had the opportunity to work with a rodeo company.

After he graduated high school he got together with a buddy whose family owned J Bar J Rodeo Company in Claire, Mich. He decided he wanted to give it a try so he had to go to rodeo high school for two years before actually working on the circuit .

They were the ones that tried to stay on the bulls and horses for a certain amount of seconds. In my opinion that is the most dangerous part of the rodeo. Some of the accidents he was in were incredible. I can’t believe he survived.

Once in Pontiac, Mich., a bull threw him and then stepped on his ankle. It broke the ankle and it didn’t heal correctly so now he has a hard time wearing a shoe on it.

Another time when it was very muddy he was thrown off and as he was trying to get up out of the mud the bull came around and hit him in the spine against the side of the pit with its forehead. It damaged his spine but now after exercising his spine is okay.

Another time he had to be the substitute clown for his buddy because he was sick. He was in the barrel and the bull hit it and stuck his horn inside it and threw it up in the air and over the bucket shoot. It landed on the other side of the shoot. Luckily, he crawled out of this one without any injuries.


He did this for 17 years before retiring. They ended up in Letcher County when his grandmother from Eolia passed away and they moved onto her land.

His mom, brother and he are just three of the interesting people you can meet at Letcher County Senior Citizens.

Speaking of which, the director, Deb Baker, was the overall winner of the breast cancer contest, called Wipe Whitesburg Out with Pink. Her entry was placed at the door of the senior citizens at the rec center and it was so creative.

It was a spooky skeleton sitting on a treasure chest all dressed in pink with the theme, “Treasure Your Chest.” She also wanted me to let everyone know if you find a purple painted rock representing elderly abuse, bring it to the senior citizens at the rec center to claim your small prize.

There’s also a food drive going on right now through the Oct. 27. It’s the 1st annual Commonwealth Bowl Food Drive. One of the drop offs is at the rec center.

I saw on Facebook that my uncle Robert Wagner is now considered cancer free. How wonderful is that? God is amazing! My mother-inlaw is also gaining more and more strength. She is enjoying all the delicious meals she’s getting at her son’s house these days.

Another answer to prayers is Junior Kuracka was released from the hospital on Monday, Oct. 23. I hope he’s able to come back to the rec center soon. I miss his humor.

With Halloween coming up next week I thought I would tell you some spooky stories Mom would tell us all the time. Sometimes when we would be sitting around the table working puzzles or whatever we would get Mom to tell us a certain story.

The spooky ones are the ones we liked the best, you know how kids are. One of my cousins, Kim Pennington Lucas, would say, “Tell me a scurry story.”

Well, Mom had a lot of “scurry” ones but the ones I remember the most are these two:

The Meeting at the River

Once, Mom and her older sister Margie Pennington Adams were walking up Marlowe Hollow and it was almost dark. They were just talking and happened to look up and way up the road they could see this man walking down the road. There was a little creek that went across the road and they knew they were going to pass him right about where the creek was. They were getting ready to speak to him and he disappeared right before their eyes. They looked all around the creek and up the road and couldn’t find him and to this day they don’t know what happened to him.

Who Are You and What Do You Want

Mom and her brothers and sisters used to spend the night sometimes with their Grandma and Pap. This was Watson and Elizabeth Caudill. They lived just a little way from Caudill Town, which was a good walk from Marlowe where Mom’s family lived. But, they would walk the railroad tracks down to Caudill Town and then on up the road kind of in the woods. Well, a few times Mom was there she heard a strange noise after they would lie down for the night. The bedroom she was sleeping in was at the corner of the house and the outside walls were very thin back then. She started hearing something knocking on the corner of the house right down next to the bottom of the corner. The knocking would go all the way up to the top of the house. This happened at different visits and finally Mom got her nerve up to tell someone about it. She mentioned it to Grandma and she told her the next time it happened to wait till it got about halfway up and then ask, “Who are you and what do you want?” So, the next time she stayed it started again after she lay down for the night. She waited and waited till it was about halfway up and asked it the question Grandma had told her to ask, “Who are you and what do you want?” The knocking stopped and she never heard it again.

Stories like these are some of our best memories.

I’ll end with Oma’s weekly ending. Don’t forget to go to church somewhere this Sunday and if your church has services Sunday evening or throughout the week God would want you there then too.

Return to top