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home : features : features May 30, 2016

7/15/2014 11:15:00 AM
Slice of life: Railroad cowboy Gary "Shiloh" Hasiak
As part of an ongoing series highlighting people in the community, Williams-Grand Canyon News recently sat down to talk with with railroad cowboy Gary "Shiloh" Hasiak about his typical day
“Trace,” Rick “Dusty” George, Gary “Shiloh” Hasiak and Heath “Slim” Noto wait at the Grand Canyon Railway amphitheater before their performance. Ryan Williams/WGCN
“Trace,” Rick “Dusty” George, Gary “Shiloh” Hasiak and Heath “Slim” Noto wait at the Grand Canyon Railway amphitheater before their performance. Ryan Williams/WGCN
Williams-Grand Canyon News

How long have you been doing this?

I started working here 14 years ago and I worked for about eight years and took a break and came back to it.

How did you get involved?

Well actually (Mayor) John (Moore) chased me down for about four years asking me to come and work for him and finally I just said yes.

Had you ever done anything like this?

My wife and I we'd rendezvous all the time, so we were already into the reenactment stuff and had a lot of the gear already.

Tell us about the show.

This show has been going on probably since the railroad began. I don't know where the show came from, who wrote it, but it's been evolving ever since. The new lines that we have they just sort of pop out, and if they work then they work. A lot of the stuff is different just from when I left here and then came back. There's a few new lines that are really good, they work real well

What's a typical day like?

It starts with coffee in the morning. I get dressed and come in, leave the house at about 6:15 a.m. I come in and feed the horses, sit there in the car and drink my coffee and wait for them to eat. Then at about 7:00 a.m. the rest of the guys start coming in and we get to ride horses to work, that's a good day.

Then we come in and we do the show. After the show we've got several hours off in the afternoon where we can go and do whatever we need to do. I'm a cabinetmaker so I go to my shop in the afternoon. And then about 2:30 p.m. or quarter to 3 we start coming back into the barn and get the horses ready again, get them loaded up, and go on out to the robbery site and sit out there and wait for the train. We get out there a little early, we'll go out riding and just romp through the woods for a little while.

And then the train comes at about 5:00 and we chase it and jump on there and rob everybody. It's fun, it's got brand new people every day. The job never gets old.

What's the best part of this job?

Just messing with people, making them laugh, having a good time. Occasionally we'll get like a Make-A-Wish kid in here and we'll get him out there with us and we'll do things with him, give him a certificate, make him a part of the gang and all that. That's a good part too.

What's the worst part of the job?

There's not a whole lot of negatives. Occasionally we'll get somebody on the train that didn't come out and watch the show so they don't know that this is going to happen and they think that the robbery is real and react accordingly. There was one time, this was years ago, we had two guys that were from Japan and they were actual sumo wrestlers.

They didn't speak any English, and they thought the robbery was real and once we went through one of them jumped up and grabbed one of the guys and just pinned him to the floor. It's mostly the people that don't speak English and they don't realize that it's not the real thing. That's a rare thing, it doesn't usually happen very often.

What are some of the more unusual things you've experienced in this job?

One of the things that happened on the train that caught me off guard and all I could do was laugh, there was a guy on there that had a prosthetic leg. He was sitting there and I was going through robbing and I got to him and he was sitting down and he had his leg turned up so his foot was up here and he had his beer bottle sitting on top of it. I lost it, I didn't have any words. It was funny. We usually got comebacks and stuff for just about anything but every now and then they hit you with something like that.

It's just a great job. When you can go to work and just have fun all the time that's a good thing. In the summer time it's the best. In the wintertime it's a little rough, it gets a little cold and snowy. We still got to do the show. If one person comes out to watch we'll do the show for them.

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