In the summer of 1909 the Abernathy brothers set off alone on horseback, riding from their Cross Roads Ranch in Tillman County to Santa Fe, New Mexico and back. Louie (Bud) was nine years old. Temple was only five.
On April 5, 1919, with Bud and Temple astride their horses, Sam Bass and Geronimo, the boys traveled east. They were on the trail for two months, riding to meet their friend, former President Theodore Roosevelt, as he returned to New York City from an African safari. Along the way, the brothers fell in love with automobiles. They bough a Brush Runabout in New York, and Bud and Temple drove themselves home, making the trip in just twenty-three days.
When Temple was seven and Bud was eleven, they were challenged to ride from the Atlantic Ocean to the Pacific in sixty days. At stake was a $10,000 prize. The boys left from Coney Island on August 11, 1911, and-3,619 miles later-arrived at the Pacific just two days late. Although they didn't win the prize, they set a record for the fastest cross-country ride on horseback. This record has never been broken.
The Abernathys made their last long-distance ride in June 1913, driving a custom designed, two-seat, twin-engine Indian motorcycle from the Cross Roads Ranch to New York City. This time they returned to Oklahoma by train.
Temple grew up to be an oilman, and Bud became
a lawyer. Both settled and raised families in north Texas. However, it was in Tillman County that the remarkable Abernathy brothers-the youngest long riders-began and ended their greatest adventures.
This plaque donated in memory of Larry Greer. Artist by the sculptor.