Tribute to Rick

Well, they say the wind was howlin’ on the day he rode into town. It was a hot, dry desert wind that could blow straight through a man, but it hardly ruffled him as he surveyed his new realm. This sidewinder had parked himself smack in the center of the Bar-UPA, an outcast brand that had called his name on the winds of the High Desert.

You see, he’d brought his own herd from Lone Pine, having heard stories of this upstart brand and took a chance that he could tend a large ranch in Southern California, turn it into something bigger. But, what he found was much less than he’d been led to believe. 150 total head? On such a large ranch?

For a moment, a fleeting moment, that Coyote considered heading back up-state. That wind blew his hat off, and once he bent to pick it off the ground, he knew he’d stay.

The fences were down, the herd had strayed off into the canyons and ravines, and the barn door was open. That Son of the Wind put the Bar-UPA back in order. He organized the herd, fought off the predators, mended those fences, and closed the barn door. Then he set off to bring in strays from other outfits, sometimes even small herds. His leadership was pronounced up and down the state, the Bar-UPA was in business to stay. This cowhand did not wear a white hat, nor a black hat, but a brown hat for a man who knew what work was to be done and how to get to it.

He was tireless. A good cowboy knew how to sing to his herds, and this one could sing long into the night, endlessly calming the spirits of all those carrying his brand. And he told anyone within shouting distance to join up and become part of the Bar-UPA experience.

So it came as no surprise that the Southern California ranch now extends throughout three states, word of this great brand having changed forever the image of a rouge, outcast group of misfits in an increasingly over organized world. “Freedom at the Chapter level… Simplicity at the Board level” was his claim. It has charmed all who have heard of it.

Now, the desert is a jealous sort, and it won’t give up its native son for very long. We were allowed to experience that Twister for such a short time. He blew through our lives so quickly. There are so many of us whose lives have been forever changed by that man from Lone Pine and we know that whatever the Bar-UPA becomes in the future, its past came from the likes of one man, Rick Osburn.

In memory of the great Rick Osburn. A man who selflessly gave of his time and efforts to improve the lives of independent poolmen everywhere. This cowboy will not be forgotten but will remain in our hearts and minds forever.

So long Rick.

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