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WANTED: William H. Bonney

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This shirt is one of my favorites.  The design was originally a linoleum-cut print of mine from the ’80s.  But for the t-shirt I scanned the art, then made a couple of corrections and added my moniker.  Alas, I didn’t include the year, but it must have been in the ’90s when I first got a scanner.  The text of the poster is completely inauthentic…I just made it up.  There was probably no such Wanted poster for the Kid in the aftermath of the War.

1981 Billy the Kid t-shirt

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Pat Garrett and his posse tracked the Kid to Fort Sumner.  Garrett entered Pete Maxwell’s bedroom to question him about the Kid’s whereabouts.  Meanwhile, the Kid had a hankering for a slice of beef from the carcass hanging on Pete’s porch.  In his stocking feet, butcher knife in hand, he walked over to Pete’s.  He spied a couple of strangers outside and darted in to Pete’s bedroom.  The Kid sensed another person in the room and shouted out “Quien es? Quien es? (Who is it?).  Pete whispered to Garrett, “It’s him-” and Garrett fired point-blank, killing the Kid instantly.

This was the first shirt departing from the only known authentic picture of the Kid.  Since it was the centennial of the event which cemented the Kid’s place in Wild West lore, it was a natural.  I modeled as the Kid and my buddy Mike Gubbins, who had a completely authentic Garrett-type mustache, posed as the sheriff.  In 2010 I dragged my wife far off the beaten path to visit Fort Sumner, a town so remote that when the railroad came through, the town fathers moved the settlement 10 miles to be along the tracks.  The Kid and his comrades Tom O’Folliard and Charlies Bowdre are buried in a tiny cemetery, enclosed in an iron cage to discourage tombstone thieves.

Little Billy T-Shirt

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Gullotto & I returned to Lincoln for the 1980 Pageant with a new design.  Matt and Roger had moved to a new house on the edge of town, having burned down their last residence.  A mob of us descended upon Lincoln…the Roanoke girls: Marilyn, Ruth and Denise, our old buddy Glascott & my girlfriend who made a couple of bucks selling “Billy the Chip” cookies.  Burnsie showed up and Carol Morton, too. We had Carol and her boyfriend diving for cover while we shot up cans on the back forty.  A classic exchange took place when a local bragged of his knowledge of the mountains. “Ask me anything about these mountains,” he challenged.  Glascott inquired, “How much do they weigh?”  The buckeroo fixed him with squint and said, “We don’t like your kind around here.”