Title: Farewell Performance of the Wild West

Periodical: Manchester Times

Date: May 5, 1888

More metadata



A great concourse of people, probably numbering over 20,000 persons, gathered at the Manchester Racecourse on Tuesday to witness the farewell exhibition of outdoor sports of Colonel Cody's Wild West. The great event of the day was the international ten-mile race, in which English riding horses and English thoroughbreds were to be matched against American broncos, and the rougher but not less effective horsemanship of the West. Latham was to jockey the English stud, which was composed of ten horses, supplied by Mr. B. Goodall, [1] while Antonio Esquivel was to have the use of an equal number of the best animals of the American type contained in Colonel Cody's stables. The race was to be run in 20 laps over the half-mile course, each rider changing to a fresh horse at the end of every lap, so that the same animal would only be required twice during the whole race.

The word was given just after a quarter to five, and both riders made away in good style. At the quarter mile Latham got in front, but was closely followed by "Tony" down the home stretch. Meantime the horses for the next lap had been taken to the starting point, and to this point all eyes were turned. Latham came in first, and to everybody's surprise showed himself a great adept at changing seats. Without stopping his horse he vaulted from its back, and with a quick run and a leap into the other saddle was away again upon the course. The Mexican changed with his usual dexterity, but the close of the second lap found him five lengths behind. At the opening of the third half mile, however, Antonio was leading. But the relative positions of the riders were soon reversed, and although the Englishman seemed to forget his skill in changing he continued to improve his lead until the close of the fifth lap, which was reached in exactly five minutes from the start. The Mexican now began to slowly gain ground, and at the opening of the eighth lap by changing his horse with extraordinary agility he got his broncho within five yards of the thoroughbred. A splendid struggle ensued, and great excitement prevailed among the spectators. The tenth lap was completed in 11mins. 22secs., Antonio now leading by about 30 yards, and in the next round he increased this distance about threefold. In the twelfth lap, however, although the horses were now taking their second duty, the animal which Latham rode seemed wonderfully fresh, and he gained on the broncho until only about 40 yards separated them. Similar fortune befel the Mexican at the next change, and he was well to the front in the fourteenth lap, when his horse took fright at the Indians, and bolted, throwing him severely. With very little delay, however, he pulled himself together and remounted. But in the meantime Latham had gained 200 yards, and his rival was unable to do any good riding until the change at the eastern end gave him a fresh horse. From this point he worked up again, and the pace on both sides was very good. The time at the close of the fifteenth lap was 15min. 38sec. At the opening of the seventeenth two accidents occurred. Latham stumbled on changing horses, and so lost the first place; but before Esquivel could fairly head away he was unhorsed through the looseness of his saddle girth, and fell, badly bruising his shoulder. He was unable to mount again, and Latham won by nearly three laps, in 21 minutes 24 seconds from the time of starting. It is needless to say that there was great dissatisfaction at this unfortunate termination of the race, and in consequence of its indecisive character Colonel Cody and Mr. Goodall have arranged that it should be run again on Thursday afternoon, the stakes being increased from £200 to £500 a side.

The race between American bronchos and English thoroughbreds was finally run on Thursday, the stakes this time being announced as £500 a side. The conditions were as before.

After considerable delay, and some manifestations of impatience among the on-lookers, a start was at length made. Latham took the lead immediately, and finishing the first lap with about ten yards to his credit, started again before his rival, who, however, proved himself the better hand at changing. Latham improved his lead before the completion of the mile, but on starting for the third lap his horse charged a stray broncho, and before he could get well away the vaquero was twenty yards ahead. Antonio kept his lead for two laps, but at the end of the fourth both riders came in neck and neck. During this section of the race Latham's horse had been accompanied by another stray animal, this time a thoroughbred, who knew better than to get in the jockey's way, and seemed rather to urge the weight-carrying steed to greater exertions. The horse was not caught till the completion of the fifth lap, when Latham, who had lost upon Esquivel in changing, came in again just level with him. The difference between the two riders in remounting was very marked. Latham's method was to place one foot in the stirrup in the usual way, while Antonio with a single bound leapt astride his horse, finding his stirrups as the animal plunged forward. In this way he gained as much as twenty yards at the opening of the sixth lap, and still led by a few lengths at its close. At the end of the next round Latham, appearing greatly excited, changed badly, and let the American increase his advantage to more than fifty yards. The same thing happened at the beginning of the fifth mile, and although Antonio came in contact with the starting post, by the time he was fairly on the track he led by ninety yards; and the next English horse to take the running being a very restive animal, Latham was still further delayed, while Esquivel, changing with even finer style than usual, fairly galloped away from him. At the end of the sixth mile the vaquero had the lead by about 400 yards. His horses, however, began to show signs of fatigue, as each was now doing his second half-mile, and Latham, by a free use of the spurs, slowly gained upon him. The thoroughbreds appeared to be far more equal to the strain of the second effort, and loud applause greeted the Englishman, who now changed horses with greater despatch, besides doing a better pace on the course. On finishing his eighth mile, however, he stumbled in dismounting, and lost several seconds. For one or two laps the distance between the riders had kept at three hundred yards, but Latham, with two of his best horses, rode the ninth mile at a splendid pace, and gained considerably. He seemed to have recovered his accustomed coolness, and although the race was nearly over the result was still doubtful, especially when Antonio in the nineteenth lap had the misfortune to get a very jaded horse. The Englishman rode his hardest until very nearly the end, and although he must, before the last round was reached, have given up all hope of winning, he made the best pace he could. Antonio got to the winning post nearly three hundred yards before him. The time for the ten miles was exactly 22 minutes. The fastest mile was the first, which occupied 1min. 55secs., while the third mile was done in 1min. 58secs. All the other miles took slightly over two minutes, and the seventh, ninth, and tenth, touched close upon two minutes and a quarter.

The "Wild West" Company, including cowboys, Indians, horses, &c., left Salford yesterday morning, their departure being witnessed by a large crowd of people. At ten o'clock a train containing the animals was despatched from the Windsor Bridge cattle siding, and shortly afterwards another train was in readiness for the cowboys, Indians, and other members of the company. Colonel Cody and Miss Cody [2] received quite an ovation as they stepped into the saloon carriage provided for them, and Miss Cody was presented with several beautiful bouquets. The leave-taking was a prolonged one, for every member of the troupe, including the Indians, seemed to have numerous friends, from whom they were loth to part. By 11 o'clock, however, everything was ready, and as the hour was struck the train moved out of the siding. The company journeyed to Hull, where this afternoon they will give an outdoor performance. On Sunday they will embark upon the Persian Monarch for America.

Mr. Frank Richmond, the "orator" at the Wild West Show, has received a bust of the Queen in Parian marble, along with the following letter:—

The Dowager Marchioness of Ely [3] has been instructed by Her Majesty the Queen to forward to Frank Richmond, Esq., a token of Her Majesty's appreciation of his very pleasant description of the Wild West. The Dowager Marchioness of Ely has selected the accompanying bust of Her Majesty as the most appropriate remembrance of the occasion.—22, Wilton Place, Knightsbridge, April 20, 1888.

Mr. E. Bradshaw on Wednesday sold by auction a number of horses and other animals of surplus stock belonging to Buffalo Bill, in the sale yard at the Racecourse. There was a very large attendance of buyers and sightseers. Eighteen broncho horses were sold at ordinary prices. Mr. B. Goodall, of Altrincham, bought for £80 a pair of fine bays; and Mr. Cross, of Liverpool, the naturalist, gave £101 for the only buffalo offered for sale, and £20 for a small bear, and prices varying from £20 to £25 for four elk. A pair of reindeer at £40, an elk and two small American deer at £10 the pair, went to Mr. G. Sanger, the circus proprietor, and Mr. Ohmy bought some horses for his circus.

Note 1: Mr. B. Goodall was a noted breeder of thoroughbred horses from Altrincham, England. [back]

Note 2: Arta Lucille Cody (1866-1904). [back]

Note 3: Jane, Lady Ely, was Jane Loftus (1821-1890), Marchioness of Ely, who was an English Lady of the Bedchamber (personal attendant) and a close friend to Queen Victoria. [back]

Title: Farewell Performance of the Wild West

Periodical: Manchester Times

Date: May 5, 1888

Topic: Buffalo Bill's Wild West in Britain

Keywords: Accidents American bison American Indians Atlantic crossings Auctions Bears Cowboys Deer Elk Horse racing Horsemanship Horses Hull (England) Jockeys Livestock Long-distance relay races Mexicans Orators Thoroughbred horse Western horses

People: Richmond, Frank, -1890 Sanger, George, 1827-1911 Victoria, Queen of Great Britain, 1819-1901

Places: Manchester (England) Salford (Greater Manchester, England)

Sponsor: This project is supported in part by a grant from the National Endowment for the Humanities and the Geraldine W. & Robert J. Dellenback Foundation.

Editorial Statement | Conditions of Use

TEI encoded XML: View wfc.nsp11481.xml

Back to top