By MIKE WEST, Courier Editor
When's the last time you thought of Roy Rogers and his wonder horse, Trigger?
Actually, the topic came up recently at a weekend cookout, according to Woodbury businessman Jim Jones.
The "discussion" centered on the birthplace of Trigger, the cowboy star's horse, with one gentleman arguing that the big palomino was born in Cannon County.
Actually, Trigger was foaled on a small ranch owned by crooner Bing Crosby near San Diego, Cal., and was originally named Golden Cloud.
The big stud was sold to Hudkins Stables, which furnished animals for the movie industry. Golden Cloud made his premiere in the "Adventures of Robin Hood" and was the horse Maid Marion (Olivia de Havilland) rode side saddle.
The horse then appeared in the movie, "Washington Cowboy," starring Roy Rogers who loved the horse and bought it for $2,500. Actor and sidekick Smiley Burnette was credited with naming the horse Trigger.
But the cookout discussion soon turned to Trigger Jr., another one of Roger's horses.
It was Trigger Jr., who hailed from Readyville.
Trigger Jr. was a full-blooded Tennessee Walking Horse named Allen's Gold Zephyr who was bred by C. O. Barker of Readyville. He was registered TWHBEA (#431975) and PHBA (#4055) with records indicating that he was foaled on Jan. 1, 1941.
Paul K. Fisher of Souderton, Penn., acquired Allen's Gold Zephyr. Fisher, who claimed to be the world's largest breeder and dealer in palomino horses, sold Trigger Jr. to Roy Rogers in 1948 when he was still registered as Allen's Gold Zephyr. His sire was Barker's Moonbeam (#380497) and his dam was Fisher's Gray Maud (#420776).
Fisher often took his horses to the Madison Square Garden Rodeo to show or sell and Roy stated that it took him six years to buy Trigger Jr., finally succeeding after Fisher was forced into a well publicized dispersal sale in 1947.
Trigger Jr. had beautiful conformation and a very stylish way of going. He was perfectly schooled and could accomplish a variety of difficult tricks including high stepping dances - always a crowd-pleader on Roy's national tours and the perfect protege to Trigger.
Rutherford Countian Harold Dean Givens wrote about Trigger Jr. in the Voice of the Tennessee Walking Horse back in 1991.
Trigger Jr. lived until 1969. When he died, Rogers had him stuffed just like he did the original Trigger, who died in 1965 at the Rogers ranch in Hidden Valley, Cal. Trigger died one day before he turned 31.
Inspired by display of animals at the Smithsonian, he decided to have Trigger mounted in his rearing position and put on display at what was then the Roy Rogers-Dale Evans Museum in Victorville, Cal.
Later, the Rogers museum was relocated to Branson, Mo., where it closed. Many of the items from Rogers' estate was sold at auction by famed auctioneer Christie as The Roy Rogers and Dale Evans Museum Collection in July 2010 in New York City.
Trigger sold for $266, 500 and was purchased by RFD-TV. Trigger Jr. went for only $18,750.
Ironically, "Juniors" saddle and accessories brought $242,500, The silver-studded saddle was the work of silversmith Edward H. Bohlin.