Behind the Front Page

By Maureen Robertson

Larry Rosenbaum of Ritter Hats works on a cowboy hat for a customer during the Fifth Annual National Day of the American Cowboy in Ramona. Sentinel photo/Maureen Robertson

FOLLOWING HIS HEART—Larry Rosenbaum traveled from Quartzsite, Ariz., to Ramona for the fifth year to make custom cowboy hats and to visit with people stopping at his Ritter Hats table at the National Day of the American Cowboy event at Mountain Valley Ranch on Saturday. He’s a soft-spoken man whom Lynn and Doug “Ranger Doug” Oliver met at a hat party in Bonsall. Ranger Doug puts on the annual cowboy celebration, and Rosenbaum stays with the Olivers when he’s here.

Rosenbaum was a genuine cowboy who became a custom hatter 36 years ago. He isn’t sure how many thousands of hats he’s made, some for Hollywood stars, but he’s noticed a change in his clientele. When he started, he was making cowboy hats for hunters, fishermen and real cowboys who “really worked the ranch.” Now it’s more people he calls cowboy-oriented and horse-oriented. Some are involved with cowboy action shooting, some have ranchettes they’re enjoying.

The Indiana native didn’t start out as a cowboy. In fact, he planned to be a civil engineer. In one of his classes at Purdue University, there was a calendar on the wall. Pictured was a cowboy sitting on horseback on a knoll. That picture made all the difference.

“I sat there and looked at that and said, ‘That’s what I want to do,’” he recalled. He got up from his chair, closed his notebook, and started to leave the classroom. The professor asked where he was going. “I pointed to the calendar on the wall and said, ‘I’m going to be a cowboy.’ I went out and never looked back.” The professor and class laughed as he walked out, but “about a month later, I was in that same position.” He was a working cowboy. He was a top hand and outrider for the Bar C Ranch in Wyoming. Recounting life on the range, he said, “it got cold, it got hot, (and) when it rained, you got wet.”

A DAY WITHOUT COX—”Let’s get out the board games — no video game today,” Julie Kiehne-Lamkin joked as she and many other Ramonans realized their Cox Communications service wasn’t working on Friday. With two young children at home, adjustments were made and she and the children got through the day. “It reminds us, hey, we may need to take out our typewriter and use the post office,” Kiehne-Lamkin said, commenting on what the lack of telephone, Internet and cable service could mean to businesses and families.

Chamber Executive Director Craig Jung knew the phones weren’t working at his office, yet when he stepped outside a moment, because no one else was in the office, he stood by the door and “listened in case the phone rang,” finally asking himself what he was doing.

The source of the problem was in Poway, where a repair crew working on a broken water pipe at Budwin Lane and Twin Peaks Road had cut into a Cox line early Friday morning. By 4 p.m. Friday, service started returning to Ramona and by Friday evening it was completely restored. Customers throughout Ramona were affected. One Ramona customer posted a tongue-in-cheek comment under the Ramona Sentinel’s website article about the outage: “Those darned Powegians again! Aren’t they the same ones who cut off our water supply in ‘07? I’m surprised we were allowed back into Ramona before service was restored.”

Related posts:

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  2. Behind the Front Page: Prank or Crime?
  3. ‘Ranger Doug’ to celebrate cowboy heritage Saturday
  4. Celebrating National Day of American Cowboy
  5. National Day of the American Cowboy

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Posted by Karen Brainard on Jul 27 2011. Filed under Behind the Front Page, Columnists. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0. You can leave a response or trackback to this entry

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