"He thinks so."
Damaging information was not being given away. There were already half a dozen cops around Mahan, and they had his driver's license and were starting to put together his name with the events at the Cow Palace.
The cop looked at my driver's license.
"You guys both from Texas?" he said.
"Yeah," I said. Mahan carries a license from Oregon, where he was born, but I didn't know that, and besides he now lives in Dallas in a house in the suburbs where he keeps horses on the lawn.
"Then you don't know any better," the cop said.
Two or three cops were peering in the windows of the station wagon. Inside they saw Mahan's rigging bag, the three briefcases he totes his business papers in, boxes of books (Fundamentals of Rodeo Riding, The Mental & Physical Approach to Success by Larry Mahan, 4507 Katina, Dallas, Texas, $3.95), bull ropes, halters, rosin, spurs, more hats, loud silk shirts and a pair of patchwork leather chaps that had roused a cry of admiration from a girl hitchhiker we had picked up that afternoon. "Wow! You ought to be the champion just for dressing like this!" she had said.
So I looked at him now, the All-Around Champion Cowboy who had just clinched that title for a record sixth time, passing Jim Shoulders. There never has been a great rider who was very tall. Shoulders is about six feet, but most of the good riders are about Mahan's size—5'9", 165 pounds. The really big cowboys are the calf ropers and steer wrestlers.
The cops had Mahan with his back against the hood of a patrol car. They told him to stand on his left foot, raise his right foot in the air, extend both arms, then slowly bring his right forefinger forward and touch the tip of his nose.
He did what they said and stuck his finger an inch up his right nostril.