September 25, 2011 in Outdoors

Out & About: Gutsy wrangler, horse gallop into national spotlight


Wrangler Erin Bolster and Tonk are booked for the David Letterman Show.
(Full-size photo)

OUTREACH – Rich Landers’ story, “Gutsy wrangler, huge horse, save boy from charging grizzly” (Sept. 18) struck a chord with Spokesman-Review readers – and then spread across the continent like jet-propelled stallions.

The story of Erin Bolster and her horse, Tonk, went viral on the Internet, capturing the hearts of a country with an appetite for heroes, horses and potential tragedies with happy endings – for both the people and the bear.

On the average, 35,000 people a day were viewing the story, a number that jumped to 97,000 a day on Wednesday when Google added it to it’s News Spotlight list.

“It’s been crazy,” said Bolster from her home in Whitefish, Mont., noting that she’s been interviewed by numerous publications, TV and radio since the S-R story went wild.

The David Letterman Show has tentatively booked her for Oct. 4 or 5. 

“They are working on logistics to maybe get Tonk there,” she said. “That will be a hoot.”

She’s also received marriage proposals, job offers and made a lot of new Facebook friends. She’s set up an account for people who’ve offered to chip in for Tonk’s winter boarding, since there’s no bigger hero in this story than the burly white Percheron mix.

“I go out and give Tonk a carrot every time something new and good comes out of this,” she said.

Sounds like a pasture full of orange muffins is cooking.

Geologists lead tour of Ice Age Floods

OUTSCOURED – Geologists with decades of experience studying the region’s landscape will present a weeknight lecture followed by a guided bus tour focused on the Ice Age Floods, sponsored by the Cheney-Spokane Chapter of the Ice Age Floods Institute.

Sign up in advance for the tour in the bus, which has comfortable seats and a sound system.  Costs vary, with discounts for students and teachers.

Lecture: Oct. 7 starting at 7 p.m., in the JFK Library on the Eastern Washington University campus. Speakers include Linda and Michael McCollum, Gene Kiver, and Michael Hamilton, leaders of the Saturday field trip.  

IAFI officers from the four states of the Ice Age Floods, as well as 13 members of the board of directors are scheduled to attend.  IAFI President Mark Buser, from Oregon, will give an update of what is happening with the Ice Age Floods National Geologic Trail.  

Field trip: Oct. 8, visit Ice Age Floods features that have not been included in previous field trips.  Buses load 7:30 a.m. in the Red Barn parking lot on the EWU campus.


Contact: Melanie Bell,

Volunteer for annual Spokane River Clean-up

OUTDO – Groups are being assigned to pick up litter and spiff up the shores of the Spokane River based from three locations during the ninth annual Spokane River Clean-up on Saturday: Spokane Valley, University District and High Bridge Park.

Volunteers should sign up online at

Groups will check in at assigned locations at 9 a.m. By afternoon, they’re enjoying food, music and prizes.

Thoughts and opinions on this story? Click here to comment >>

Get stories like this in a free daily email