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OUT OF THE VAULT: Stolen auto recovered Round-Up style

Published on December 30, 2017 3:00AM

Not all rodeo champs wear chaps and spurs. A car thief in December 1917 found out the hard way that there’s more than one way for an irate owner to recover a stolen vehicle.

Si Reetz, a well-known Pendleton barber, was not a cowboy. But Reetz used some of the best Round-Up moves he could muster after his car was stolen from the First Christian Church Dec. 30, 1917, the second time it had gone missing. Reetz was quite upset as he walked downtown, and there met up with Gus Byers, to whom he related his tale of woe. Byers invited him to climb into his vehicle to search for the missing car.

Just east of Pendleton on Wildhorse Road, they passed a car that turned out to be the stolen Saxon. Byers turned his car around and they chased the thief into Pendleton. The two cars raced down East Court Street, and when the driver of Reetz’s car realized he was being chased, he “stepped on her.” The Byers car shattered local speed records in the race.

Reetz jumped to the running board as Byers pulled alongside the Saxon. As soon as the cars were running even, Reetz jumped to the running board of his stolen car and threw both arms around the driver’s neck in a classic bulldogging move. The thief, a well-known 17-year-old Pendleton youth, immediately stopped the car and surrendered.

Reetz shoved the boy over to the passenger side of the Saxon and then drove him around town, lecturing the young fellow on the impropriety of taking a car without the owner’s consent. But Reetz promised to bring no charges against the boy as long as he held to his word to “be good.”


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