Monday, August 9, 2021

Not my first rodeo --RIP


 "Not my first rodeo" is a common expression nowadays.  Each time I hear it, I think of Bill Salois, a fellow Marine.  We were stationed together in Korea and while we weren't in combat, he made do by challenging someone to fight each time he got drunk.  He was part Black Foot Indian and got drunk much before I did.  I was a lot stronger than he was and so, as these "fights" developed would let him fight until he was losing, split he and his oponent-for-the-night apart, declare the fight a draw and haul him off. 

His father had a ranch in Montana.  He proposed that after we got out of the Marine Corps we start our own ranch.  "With what money?" I asked. 

"That won't be a problem," he said.  "We can pick up all the money we need in rodeos."

"I've never been in a rodeo," I warned him.

"That won't be a problem either.  It's easy."

I had my doubts about that.  We were sent to different duty stations after we got back from Korea.  Then I decided to go to college, etc., etc.   While I was in college, he had another Marine look me up.  He hadn't utterly given up the ranch idea, but I had. 

I looked him up on the internet and found:

William 'Bill' Salois

William "Bill" Salois, 68, died Dec. 29, 2001, at IHS of cancer.

Funeral Mass was celebrated Jan. 1 at Little Flower Parish with burial in East Glacier Cemetery.

He was born Dec. 2, 1933, worked in construction and was self-employed. He served in the U.S. Marines and was a Korean War veteran.

Surviving are his wife, Shannon; daughters, Kerrie Salois, Dale Rae Salois and Dee Omsberg; sons, John Salois, Will Salois and Gabe Salois; and five grandchildren.

Day Family Funeral handled arrangements.


I wasn't surprised that he died at age 68 from cancer.  We all smoked back in Korea and he probably never gave it up.  We all drank beer as well.   Beer isn't necessarily life-shortening, but if he kept picking fights it might well have been in his case.

I note that his obituary doesn't say he was a rancher.  It says he worked in "construction and was self-employed."  That could mean almost anything.

He had a lot of kids and I did find reference to his boys having entered rodeos.  "Easy money?" I still doubt it.



Unknown said...

My Dad.

Unknown said...

He was a wild man. Built log cabins for a living. Hunting guide, farrier, born a 100 years too late.

Unknown said...

I keep posting, but will not keep. Master cabin builder, farrier, rodeo rider, etc.

Unknown said...

Ok, I see it is posting. Would love to hear more stories from the Corps. Semper Fi! I know he ran around, lol!

Lawrence Helm said...

Are you one of Bill Salois's sons? If I read you right you are saying he was a master cabin builder, farrier and rodeo rider. When I knew him in Korea he only spoke of hoping to own a cattle ranch, but maybe that was only if I moved to Montana and helped him. He wasn't in the same draft I was, that is, I was in the 31st. A draft was a group of Marines sent to replace those Marines who had served 13 months and were ready to return home. I can't recall whether Bill returned home ahead of me or later than me. I know we were sent to different duty stations. I was sent to 29 Palms, but a short time later I went to Camp Pendleton as a rifle coach.

BTW, he was given a Bulova watch perhaps as a graduation present after finishing high school. That watch kept coming off. Many's the night we looked for that watch in Kunsan sand. He went on more R&R's than I did and sold me the watch so he could have more money to spend in Japan. I think I still have that watch in a box with a few other watches that quit working.

Lawrence Helm, former USMC Sgt

Anonymous said...

I am his daughter from his first marriage. Born in 1957. Yes, he built beautiful log cabins. Jack of all trades. Went with him many a time to the rodeos. Saddlebronc, bull rider, later in life steer wrestling. He helped grandpa on the ranch and I stayed there a lot when I was young.
Thanks for the interesting stories and your service. Semper Fi!

Anonymous said...

Sorry, I am Kerrie.