WILLCOX Cowboy Hall of Fame inductees
G.W. "BOOZER" PAGE (8)
1988 COWBOY HALL OF FAME POSTHUMOUS AWARD
Gordon Winfield "Boozer" Page was born April 23, 1889, the youngest of six children, in Abilene, Texas. Boozer's family moved to Tombstone in 1893, when Boozer was four. While in Tombstone, Boozer's father was the local judge for the area. In 1901, when Boozer was twelve, the family moved to Willcox, where his father served as Justice of the Peace until his death.
This early exposure to the "Wild West" had quite an influence on Boozer's life. He loved to tell tales about the local outlaws and renegades and stories brought home by his father, the Judge.
One of his favorites was the story of the cowboy brought before his father on a drunkenness charge. As the story goes, Judge Page said, "Son, you are brought before me for being drunk in public, and the fine will be ten dollars." The cowboy said, "Jedge, I got that right here in my hippy ass pocket." Whereupon the Judge said, "And ten days in jail. You got that in your hippy ass pocket, too?"
When Boozer was 19 he married Reka Misenhimer, the daughter of another local pioneer family, and they homesteaded what is now the headquarters of the Fred Taes Ranch approximately 18 miles west of Willcox. They lived at the homestead and ran their cattle on the "open range" for five years until the owner, Swede Johnson's grandfather, of the large ranch, which totally surrounded their homestead, bought them out.
Boozer then went into a partnership with J.L. "Tab" Misenhimer, his wife's brother, who had recently sold his ranch just north and east of Willcox. The Page and Misenhimer Cattle Company purchased the Roberts Ranch, which ran from the city limits of Willcox on the east, along the north end of the Dry Lake, to the top of the Dos Cabezas Peaks.
In addition to ranching, Boozer and Tab bought, sold, and brokered most of the cattle shipped into and out of the Willcox railhead. At one time they owned cattle in seven states. In addition to cattle, they owned the Pontiac dealership in Willcox and the Coronado Hotel in Tucson, which until the Pioneer was built was the finest hotel in Tucson.
Boozer was known for his dry wit and wry sense of humor. He used to love to tell stories about the escapades of himself and his brother Herb. One story he used to tell was of the time he and Herb had dates, and looking for something to entertain the young ladies, they drove the buckboard out to a farm where the owner was growing watermelons. Boozer said, "The biggest and best watermelons were located right up next to the farmer's back porch. So Herb and I left the girls in the buckboard and proceeded to sneak up close to the house. We each got two big watermelons, one under each arm, and started back toward the buckboard. About that time the farmer stepped out on the back step with a 30-30 and fired a shot. Herb always could outrun me and when the first shot was fired, Herb dropped both watermelons and took off for the buckboard." Boozer, not wanting the escapade to be all for naught, only dropped one watermelon, and he too took off for the buckboard. He said, "about that time the farmer fired a second shot, and the bullet was so close that it popped when it passed my ear. Well, I dropped the second watermelon, and it wasn't long before I passed Herb." And according to Boozer, "before I got to the buckboard, I passed the bullet."
Another of his favorite stories about the early days was how hard the wind used to blow. According to Boozer, one time he was riding from the ranch into town during a windstorm and he came upon a big black hat just sitting in the sand. He got off his horse and when he picked the hat up, there was a head under it. He frantically started digging down around the man's nose and mouth, and when the man could finally talk, he said, "Son, you better go home and get a shovel, I'm on horseback."
Boozer was a champion class team roper and was very proud of his horse, Honey. Matched roping between the team of Boozer and Fred Darnell against Jim Hudson and Jim Brister were legendary in rodeo circles.
Boozer Page died September 8, 1968 at the age of 80.