Sunday, October 14, 2012

Effort to bring attention to horse abuse stirs up a dust storm of its own - Full Article

Posted Saturday, Oct. 13, 2012


A cowboy preacher form North Texas who set off in July to ride around the world to publicize horse abuse has ridden into a social media dust storm.

A vigilant Facebook posse of horse and long-distance riding enthusiasts are dogging CW Cooper's every move after he lost two horses to injuries, including one that broke its leg on a cattle guard and had to be shot last month near Alamogordo N.M., in the first 600 or so miles of his marathon ride.

Mounted on his sixth donated horse, Cooper, a 53-year-old air conditioning repairman and one-time country musician from the Parker County town of Bluff Dale, has doubled backed into West Texas.

He's also dumped the notion of trying to make it around the globe, and dropped the horse abuse angle.

He now says he's simply in the saddle for God.

"I prayed about it and the Good Lord said let's go to Texas and spend the winter there. Apparently he has work for me to do in Texas," he said Friday.

Cooper, who spoke from the trail by cell phone from somewhere around Seminole, said he plans to ride until the "Good Lord tells me to stop.

"My whereabouts right now are unknown, brother," he said, in hopes of eluding the online tail which managed to have him checked out by the Gaines County Sheriff's Department on Thursday.

More than a thousand people in a Facebook group are tracking him on the "Stop the ride of Carl Wayne 'CW' Cooper" page. Since Oct. 5, they have been sniffing out his trail, discussing his horse troubles and questioning the shifting reasons for his ride as well as his claim of being an ordained minister of the Cowboy Church in Springtown.

"He just continues to prove that he is willing to risk the health and well-being of these horses to justify his own personal ambition," said Colleen Parmenter Hamer, a long-distance rider from Blair, Neb., who started the Facebook group.

Cooper's digital trackers have also called him out on a whale of a whopper.

While trying to gin up support in what he once proposed as a five-year ride around the globe, Cooper posted online that he was a widower who lost his wife to cancer.

But his wife, who once managed his band, is very much alive. They're still married but "more than estranged," he admitted.

"I did that before I was ordained and I forgot about it. I didn't want people to know my business. If you say you're a widower they tend to leave you alone."

A bumpy trail

Cooper's ride has been rocky since he set off from Springtown on July 23.

His first horse laid down on him just a few miles into the ride, said Hamer's aunt, Bambie Goodall, of Bellevue, Pa., who was acting as Cooper's ride coordinator...

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