What History Taught Me
- Written by Dr. Buck Montgomery
- Published September 02, 2012
The secret to producing festivals is the “Disneyland Theory”—always offer something different for your guests to experience every year. Walt changed attractions; I change performers and shows to keep it fresh!
When it comes to authenticity, my stunt shows are considered more hysterically correct than historically correct.
I fell in love with the West, at the age of 6, while watching a train robbery gunfight at Knott’s Berry Farm. I asked my Dad, “Who are those guys?” “Cowboys,” he said. “I know that, but what is their job?” “Son, they are stuntmen.” I replied, “That’s what I’m gonna be when I grow up…a cowboy stuntman!” He finally believed me when, at 19, I called him from the studios and told him I just did my first “gag,” falling off a horse for 50 bucks.
Don’t get me started on the high cost of funeral expenses and why Tupperware hasn’t bought my idea for the “Burp-A-Bod,” a multipurpose, pastel-colored, cost effective substitute for those expensive polished hardwood caskets. But if anyone at Rubbermaid is reading this, we should talk.
Working in the Disney Animation Department taught me that the best way to hone a talent is not always in a classroom, but rather to be mentored by experts in their field. I was privileged to be at the Studios while Walt’s “Nine Old Men” were still there. Now that’s getting an education!
My daddy always told me: “Son, if you don’t have stories to tell, it means that you haven’t lived life.” I listened. If you don’t believe me, come by and meet me at my festival, and I’ll tell you a tale, or two.
History has taught me that everyone, no matter how small a role they are cast to play on earth, can and will make history. I’ve seen it firsthand.
My biggest influence has been this quote I use in my everyday life: “Why is there never enough time to do it right, but always enough time to do it over.”
The one writer I am in awe of is B. Kliban. If it weren’t for his memorable writings, I would have never known to “Never eat anything bigger than [my] head.”
I really dislike movies that do not offer audiences an entertaining escape from reality. In all my years of going on roundups, I never saw a singing cowboy who looked like Gene Autry or Roy Rogers, but I sure liked watching movies with those fictional characters in them.
Wish I had a dollar for every time I’ve been shot…with a blank!
Dr. Buck Montgomery, Wild Western Festival Producer
While working as a Disney Studio animator, Dr. Buck Montgomery, a former bulldogger in the California rodeo circuit, began working as a Hollywood stuntman to supplement his income. Mentored by the stunt double for John Wayne, he ended up working in films such as The Sacketts, The Long Riders, Pale Rider and Back to the Future Part III. He went on to work as the entertainment director at Ponderosa Ranch (theme park for NBC’s Bonanza) and ended up producing his own history-meets-Hollywood festival, the Wild Western Festival, in Glendale, Arizona (held this October 19-21). He’s also the trail boss for SASS’s Wild West Performing Arts Society.