For more than 50 years, Cy Scarborough spent summer nights entertaining countless tourists and residents at the Bar D Chuckwagon. His sense of humor and big heart have made him an icon.
And while Scarborough, who died Tuesday at age 93, will be remembered for his larger-than-life personality, he will also be remembered as a husband, father, friend and genuinely nice guy.
Here are a few remembrances from those who knew Scarborough professionally and as a friend.
Sam NobleCowboy poet and rancher Sam Noble worked at the Bar D for 28 years.
“Cy was always very good to me. When I proposed what I did at the chapel – I did cowboy poetry in their chapel for 28 years – I’d begun writing cowboy poetry two years before I went up there, and I wanted someplace to start sharing it. So I went to Cy and at that time they hired someone to man the chapel and all they did was keep the floors swept and be nice to the people who came through. And I knew that, and so I told Cy that I would be happy to do that at no charge if he would let me have a place to do my cowboy poetry. And I got a kick out of him because he thought a minute and he said, ‘Nooo, nooo,’ he said. ‘We’ll pay you.’ They took care of me very well. We talked a lot, we really did. He was always so good to me and so good to everybody that I was around when he was around. He just was a really nice person.”
Bar D WranglersScarborough founded the band in the late 1960s, and it has been performing ever since.
“The world is a very different place for the Bar D Wranglers since losing our hero and dear friend, Cy Scarborough. Cy was an unforgettable entertainer, teacher and mentor to all of us throughout the years. With his infectious smile, humorous songs, stories and love of Western music, we watched Cy bring joy and happiness to millions of fans, from the stage of the Bar D Chuckwagon to the Grand Ole Opry and beyond. We will cherish the memories and be forever grateful. Rest in peace, Cy Scarborough.”
Charlie DanielsSurprisingly, it wasn’t music, but snowmobiling, that helped forge the longtime friendship between Scarborough and his wife, Jeanne, and country music’s Charlie Daniels and his wife, Hazel.
“The way I met him, we started getting interested in renting snowmobiles and going out and riding trails, and so we decided we wanted to get some of our own. I bought a couple and put them on a trailer and went out and thought, ‘I don’t know what I’m doing, I better just get some help.’ So I called the guy I bought the snowmobiles from and said, ‘Do you know anybody that could help me learn something about snowmobiling?’ So, Cy called. I didn’t know him at the time, and I said, ‘I’d be glad to pay you,’ and he said, ‘Nah, it’d give us a good excuse to go.’ So he and Jeanne met Hazel and myself, and we went out. We just developed a friendship from that day on.
“Cy and Jeanne took me to the hospital when I had my stroke. We were about 20 miles up a snowmobile trail in Beaver Meadows and I started feeling this thing coming on and they escorted me back down and we got in his truck and they took me to the hospital. And (the hospital) flew me to Denver, and when Hazel and myself flew back, Cy and Jeanne met us at the airport. They took us home and Jeanne even fixed food for us.
“I will miss Cy a lot. It’s a big loss, a very big loss. It’s a big loss for the community – we went to dinner a lot together, we spent a lot of time together when we were out there and we’d go to a restaurant and people would come up, ‘Hey, Cy!’ Everybody knew Cy. He’s a big loss to the community.”
Al HarperDurango & Silverton Narrow Gauge Railroad Owner Al Harper said Scarborough became one of his closest friends when Harper moved to town about 24 years ago.
“He went out of his way to come to the railroad to meet me and introduce himself, just telling me how much he loved the railroad, and he wanted to be my friend. Anything I needed to establish in the community, he was there for me.
“Cy was an icon, he was a tremendous asset to this community. He did so much for so many people. Of course, the Bar D itself – I consider that and the train the two must-dos when it comes to Durango. The Bar D band would, at Christmas, go from restaurant to restaurant and do Christmas carols just for fun. They played many benefit events and a lot of people don’t realize that they put on a four-hour concert of music at the depot every Friday before opening day.”