Congenial, Grinning, Just A Bit Ornery, Always A Cowboy First And Foremost

Doug Cain was a cowboy’s cowboy.

Sporting that famous grin, Doug never knew a stranger and would take the shirt off his back to help anybody.

First in line were children whenever one wanted to know anything about livestock, nature and of course horses. Doug was anxious to share his lifetime of knowledge always with a most congenial grin.

Certainly, straightforwardly, Doug, said as a compliment, was an ornery redneck. There was always a horse story to tell or reflection of a rodeo gone by grin broadening as expression expounded.

Doug Cain will be memorialized with his horse carrying his empty saddle at each performance of the Flint Hills Rodeo at Strong City, May 30 through June 1.

Cowboy days began around Abilene when Doug competed in rodeos first locally then the amateur circuit expanding to professional ranks.

He’d climb on the rankest broncs and reputation bucking fighting bulls making the whistle and collecting payback his fair share.

Fond memories for Doug were of some traveling partners going nationwide including the bigtime in California. Parties after the arena lights went out always came into the smiling remembrances.

Of course, a cowboy always rides horses, and Doug Cain was a heartfelt horseman in the saddle reins in hand.

Training colts and finishing performance horses for owners over a wide area, Doug came to Chase County in the ’70s. World renowned cowboy, rodeo stock contractor, father of rodeo world champions, E.C. Emmett Roberts became a client.

Doug and Mr. Roberts developed cowboy friendship such that when Mr. Roberts moved to town, Doug located into the Roberts home. It overlooks the Flint Hills Rodeo Arena, brainchild made world famous by Mr. Roberts.

Taking horses to ride from a broad range of customers, Doug had a waiting list, yet also usually had supplemental employment.

With a variety of jobs agriculture and rural community, Doug’s talent showed through. There really wasn’t much of anything Doug couldn’t do, or  figure out and fix if it was needed.

Doing day work for ranchers gathering and doctoring was highlight triggering Doug’s smile especially when horseback on one he’d developed.

Trainers generally have prejudices about methods and equipment; Doug was that way, too. Readily, he’d reveal just how one soft touch here, extra pressure there, were just what a horse needed, and it did.

Nothing more natural and appropriate than a cowboy on his horse ready to go, Doug Cain anticipated working horseback more than all of his other most very admirable diverse abilities.

A bit, similar to what other professionals call a Tom Thumb, of-sorts, was Doug’s favorite horse mouthpiece for a time. He’d sometimes give one to friends to prove the point.

Now, Doug wasn’t intentionally a bragger, but accomplishments expressed about horseback successes were truly amazing.

As expected, Doug never missed the Flint Hills Rodeo, not necessarily in a management position but helping wherever the need. Doug was always visiting with cowboy friends of the past taking an extra nip later to make rodeo week especial.

While some in the cowboy and rodeo realm smirk about parade horses, Doug loved to ride colts in rodeo parades. He seldom missed Strong City and Abilene, even often riding in rural community parades around.

It was particularly pleasing to Doug when he started working for Elmore Stout at the famed TS Ranch. He loved handling Hereford cattle and Quarter Horses. Herdsman skills were apparent at calving time, but training foals and showing those at the county fair were his glee.

Doug also exhibited personal and client horses at the county fair creating a smile when the judge picked him. That grin became even broader if his blue was selected above others of known higher professional class.

Knack with all animals shown through as Doug frequently was accompanied by a well-mannered stock dog. As those blue-blooded canines responded to congenial orders Doug’s rambunctious grin widened.

A diverse more recent job was all-around, do-it-all, whatever needed done working for Jim Fink at Clark Farm Store. Talk about a jovial pair who could get something done, rapport most apparent whatever task Doug and Jim undertook. They were always having the greatest fun while toiling along.

That camaraderie showed through in many others of Doug’s acquaintances especially cowboy friends.  Same inborn positive outlook ethics living life to the fullest always generous to share what there was to go around.

Even forefront of helping others and working with horses and livestock, Doug Cain’s pride and joy was his wife Anita.

Now it’s not that Doug didn’t jive his cute petite adoring wife from time to time, actually quite often. Never worry or forget though, the cowboy sure got more than fair share in return.

Honestly, sometimes the couple acted like they couldn’t live with each other. Truth is they couldn’t live without each other. Now Doug and Anita were a pair, quite a pair; a most unique but truly winning team.

An outdoorsman with fondness for country home living, Doug was a fisherman sharing catches ready off the stove at suppertime. Fresh green peas and new potatoes out of the garden were Doug’s delicacy.

Top it all was Doug’s homemade ice cream. Whenever there was an occasion special or not, Doug brought the ice cream. From his own personal secret recipe made with real cream, the frozen delight was shared with everybody around.

Perhaps school marks weren’t always the highest, but Doug’s doodling always brought teacher’s slight incontrollable smiles. Doug was an artist drawing from lifetime experiences with nature, animals and friends. Orneriness again became apparent in certain sketches and caricatures.  

While not publicly airing eternal beliefs, nobody could question Doug Cain’s faith by the way he treated everyone and everything.

Never knew a stranger, never had an enemy, even though occasionally mocked and ribbed for his redneck cowboy mannerisms. Grinning Doug Cain was everybody’s friend eagerly ready to assist in every way.