Elko, Nevada: Cow Rustling Boots of Crazy Tex Hazelwood

Tex cleverly rigged his boots to leave hoofprints rather than footprints, leading his trackers to confuse him with either a cow or the devil.

Northeastern Nevada Museum

Address:
1515 Idaho St., Elko, NV
Directions:
Northeastern Nevada Museum. I-80 exit 303, drive east to Idaho St., turn right, then drive less than a mile to the museum on the right.
Hours:
Tu-Sa 9 am - 5 pm, Su 1-5 pm. (Call to verify)
Phone:
702-738-3418
Admission:
$5 for adults, $3 for seniors and students, $1 for children 3-12 years old
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Fake cow boots.

Cow Rustling Boots of Crazy Tex Hazelwood

Ingenious shoes were created by a cattle rustle named Crazy Tex Hazelwood. Ol' Tex practiced his thieving craft in Northern Nevada during the 1920s with great success thanks to clever boots.

A pair of ranch hands near Elko, Nevada realized one day that heads of their herd were simply disappearing in pairs with startling regularity. Puzzled, the men searched their vast expanse of land for the telltale signs of cattle rustlers; a.k.a. shoe prints, but came up empty. The only indentations in the ground were those left by the cows or themselves.

The men eventually stumbled across two fresh pair of straying cow tracks and curiosity got the better of them. Following the trail to a nearby clearing, the they discovered one Crazy Tex Hazelwood (a harmless, small-time criminal) wearing clever, homemade boots with a pair of attached cow hooves, respectively, protruding from either sole. Of course, with such superior shoes, the only trail Tex would leave in his wake would be that of another cow. In fact, when the ranch hands approached, our friendly cattle rustler was in the process of leading yet another head from the herd.

Tex confessed to his ongoing thievery and spent a couple years in the state pen. After being released, Tex meandered back to Elko, where he continued his criminal, yet jovial, ways before winding up on the wrong side of a gun.

[Paul Bottini, 07/05/2008]

Oct. 2013: Photo added.

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