When Walt Garrison received a call from Don Meredith recently, all he could hear through the phone was laughter. Garrison had mailed his former Dallas Cowboys teammate a gag gift--Trailer Trash cologne wrapped in crime-scene tape--and Meredith was so amused he couldn't even say thanks. So what exactly does Trailer Trash cologne smell like? "It's got the scent of aluminum," chuckles Garrison.
A few days later another old teammate, Dan Reeves, called Garrison to say hello. Cliff Harris and Charlie Waters also stay in touch, as do Bob Lilly, Don Perkins and many others who suited up with him for Dallas and coach Tom Landry in the late 1960s and early '70s. While Garrison, a former fullback whose toughness compensated for a lack of size and natural talent, isn't the official social director for Cowboys alums, he doesn't stray far from the party.
As a player he was at the heart of the offense, blocking for running backs Perkins and Calvin Hill and protecting passers Meredith and Roger Staubach. In nine seasons he rushed for 3,886 yards and played in two Super Bowls.
Thirty years after becoming a former Cowboy, Garrison, 60, remains an active cowboy, competing in team roping at rodeos when he's not tending to his 32-acre ranch in Argyle, Texas, 32 miles northwest of Dallas. He grew up in nearby Lewisville, where he was on his high school football and rodeo teams, and went to Oklahoma State, becoming a fifth-round draft pick in 1966. Even as a Dallas rookie, Garrison tried to keep his hand in rodeo, wrestling steers on nights before home games. Once Landry heard about that, he put a stop to it, but he allowed his fullback to return to bulldoggin' in the off-season.
Thanks to his longtime association with the U.S. Smokeless Tobacco Co., for whom he's now a consultant, Garrison makes frequent rodeo appearances even when he's not competing. Upon retiring from the NFL, he became a vice president of the company, making TV and radio commercials until '86 (the year Congress banned smokeless tobacco ads on broadcast media).
When he's not at a rodeo or working on the ranch, Garrison enjoys hanging with his sons, Marty and Ben, and grandsons Case, 11, and Ty, 10 months. The old Cowboy also likes to whittle, a hobby he picked up because he couldn't sleep at training camp. Finally, he has those former teammates to keep up with. "You make changes in your occupation, but it's hard to change friends," Garrison says. "Friends and memories--thank God I have both." --Mike McAllister
The workhorse back is now a rancher, rodeo rider, tobacco-company rep and unofficial social director for ol' Cowboys.
LET THE CHIPS FALL
The garrulous Garrison is an avid whittler.
WALTER IOOSS JR. (COVER)