Horse Feathers

Featuring the song: Welcome to the Rodeo

Original air date: 12/15/73
Written by Marc Richards - Directed by Hal Sutherland
Rick and the gang go to the Rodeo of the Worlds, where nasty competition and thievery ensues.

According to US

"Ranch Hand" Rick calls in to the gramaphone. Rick has been named judge and Master of Ceremonies at the Rodeo of the Worlds. The winning prize is $200,000 - so we can guess what the "crime" in this episode is going to be. Bronco Busby is using magic to win his competitions - which are a stangaroo (cross between a kangaroo and a stallion?) riding contest and a chuckwagon race. It feels like maybe this song was specifically written for this episode, because it doesn't seem like it has a multitude of meanings, like some of the other songs. And finally, there actually is an audience.  While Rick is performing the prize money is stolen (shocker). The gang goes looking for the money.  Bronco's oil wells are dry and his ranch is in foreclosure so that provides a good motive.  They find a mine shaft on Ma Mudfoot's Property (you gotta love these names). The mining had stopped because she ran out of money, so another good motive. Spurs Spangler doesn't seem to have a money problem so he drops off the suspect list (but that in and of iteself seems suspicious to me). Miss Tickle's purse gets stolen, and they need it to go back to the other side.  The purse is stolen with a lasso, so they go looking for a lasso expert to also find the thief of the money. Ma doesn't even own a lasso, so it can't be her.  They find Bronco with Miss Tickle's purse. But Bronco's plan wasn't to steal the money, he was going to use magic to win it.  This leads them back to Spurs. Bronco makes Miss Tickle sing before he'll give her the purse back and she sings "Sing Me a Song".  In the cartoon, Rick was singing along with her, not sure if he also sang on the actual recording, there was some background singing, but wasn't very distinctive.  Come to find out, Spurs wanted the prize money so he could say he was the "King of the Cowboys".  Rick decides to enter, no one is using magic, so it's all fair and square. Ma wins the contest, and she tells Bronco that if he'll help her mine her gold, she'll lend him the money to save his ranch.  The lesson of this episode is that it isn't the prize that matters, its the accomplishment - although I guess a couple of hundred grand doesn't hurt.  For some reason this episode seemed to make more sense to me than most of the others (I wonder if living in TX has anything to do with that) - rlh