Hustlin’ a Big Game at the Belvedere

Felipe Gonzales January 3, 2013 0

As soon as I got to the Belvedere, I rented two adjoining rooms and started getting the poker and craps tables out of the
trailer. Eased them up the stairs, set them up in the room, hung the light, set up the chip rack over there, put a pad and pencil
here, and got the bellmen to take out one of the beds and bring up some chairs from downstairs. Of course, I had to bribe the
bellmen to get it all done but as I’ve said, nobody messed with us cowboys at the Belvedere

I hung up my clothes, what few I had, and got everything to looking pretty good. My horse was stored in the basement of
Madison Square Garden with a groom looking after him and Jimmy’s car and trailer were stored in the Belvedere’s garage
since we didn’t go nowhere except the rodeo and the hotel. Then I got to thinking, “What am I gonna do now? Here I am
up here ten days before the rodeo starts and all I’ve got is $70 to my name. The entry fees are $100 and there’s my rent and
everything else and there ain’t nothin’ to do up here. Guess I shoulda gone to the rodeo at Evansville and tried to win four or five hundred before I came up here. At least I’d have had something to do.”

Downstairs in the Belvedere was a circular bar with booze and stuff hanging on shelves behind it and a big plate glass
window in front of it that bordered the sidewalk. You could sit at the bar and look out the window across the street to the side
entrance of Madison Square Garden about fifty feet away, the door that the cowboys used. You’d go in that door and walk
back to where the rodeo secretary was set up and then to the clowns’ room where all the clowns and cowboys hung out,
before the rodeo started, playing red dog or some other kind of game. I hung around the bar for a couple of days looking
out the window, drinking a few beers, getting bored, wondering what to do. I had thought that I needed to rest up but hell, I was
young and in good shape and after about two days rest I was getting pretty hyper, ready to do something. It was September
and the ball games were on. Those folks up in New York were baseball crazy, still are.

So there I was sitting at the bar about three o’clock one afternoon staring out across the street when a big white
Lincoln pulled up by the side entrance to the Garden hauling a long white trailer to match, one of those shotgun trailers,
the highest priced horse trailers you could buy. The driver was wearing a cowboy hat and a blond-headed lady was sitting
beside him. He went in and came back out real quick with a groom following him. I reckoned that he had hired the groom
to take care of his horses and then store the Lincoln and the trailer in the Garden’s basement for him.

To read more buy Cowboys, Gamblers, and Hustlers available at the Gamblers Book Club

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