By CHRIS BATEMAN
All that post-9/11 security was for naught Wednesday afternoon, when a gang of ill-mannered bad guys hog-tied Tuolumne County Sheriff Dick Rogers on Sonora's Washington Street, yanked his boots off and sent him into gales of uncontrolled giggling by tickling his pinkies with a fern frond.
All of which would have been pretty funny had Coyote Sam and his bloodthirsty brethren not found an irreplaceable policy insuring the Tuolumne County Sheriff's Posse's May 11 and 12 Mother Lode Roundup inside Rogers' right boot.
"There ain't gonna be no Roundup this year," bellowed Sam.
"Yeah?" piped up Roundup General Chairman Ty Wivell from a doorway hiding place. "Over Dick Rogers' dead body!"
As the sheriff helplessly cackled like a hyena, a rotgut-soaked reprobate named Snakeye fished the Lloyds of London policy from the lawman's lizard-skin boot. He then waved the document briefly at a gathering gaggle of paparazzi, blew a boozy kiss at a wide-eyed, slack-jawed squad of petrified Redshirts and rode off with partners in crime that no self-respecting lawman could take seriously.
When the dust settled, Posse Capt. Vern Gerdau confirmed the worst fears of Tuolumne County's God-fearing citizenry.
"They've s-s-s-stolen the Roundup," Gerdau stammered, explaining that without the insurance policy, Caltrans and the City of Sonora will not allow the Big Western Weekend to go on as planned. "There'll be no p-p-parade, no r-r-rodeo and no q-q-q-queen unless we get that p-p-policy back."
(Late news flash: Clue leaked by gang traitor could lead to pilfered policy! See adjacent story!)
Four queen candidates promptly burst into tears. At least a half-dozen sponsors, just honored for their generosity with a luncheon at Alfredo's restaurant, angrily demanded their money back.
Then Gerdau took questions from a baying dog pack of "journalists."
"We knew it was in Rogers' b-b-boot," Gerdau told a reporter naive enough to ask why the posse hadn't put the policy in, say, a safety deposit box. "We f-f-figured it smelled so bad in there that nobody would d-d-dare get near it. N-n-no disrespect intended, but it would take a b-b-boxcar full of Odor Eaters to detox that guy's feet."
Weekly Arts and entertainment guide for Calaveras and Tuolumne counties