Massachusetts may be a long way from Montana. But that didn’t stop generations of Bay State boys and girls from dreaming about branding, herding, horsemanship, and crooning cowboy songs on the vast plains. And thanks to TV personality Rex Trailer — whose weekend show ran from 1956 to 1974 on WBZ-TV — such dreams never seemed far-fetched.
Legislation endorsed this week by the state’s tourism and cultural development committee marks Trailer, now in his 80s, as the state’s “official cowboy.’’ Of course, no one who saw the show, or was lucky enough to appear on the Boomtown set, needs a bunch of city-slicker lawmakers to tell them that Trailer was someone special. And few who heard it can forget the Boomtown theme song, which was as sticky as the molasses used for grandma’s cookies on the old frontier.
Kids adored Trailer’s rodeo tricks. But mostly they adored him for his consistent kindness and competence. There was no shortage of shoot-’em-up cowboys on TV back then. But Trailer was the cowboy with a conscience, both on and off the set. In 1961, he led a covered wagon train from Greenfield to Boston to raise awareness about children faced with disabilities.
Trailer thought it entirely natural that a western cowboy could come to Massachusetts astride his horse Goldrush and fit right in. He was so right.