The following article was published in the August 21, 2005 edition of Mike Rugg’s Bigfoot Discovery Museum newsletter from Felton, CA.
Bigfooting with Roger and Bob – The Buddy Knox Story
By Tom Yamarone
One of the best things I took home from the Bellingham Sasquatch Research Conference in May was a CD of Sasquatch songs that included an amazing bigfoot song by rockabilly star Buddy Knox. It also included an interview with him in which he talks about the time he went out “bigfooting” with Roger Patterson and Bob Gimlin in the late 1960’s. I had heard this story a year ago as it was told to me by Bob Gimlin while we were out on expedition with the BFRO in Washington. It was the “small world syndrome” to have a very good friend tell me he had an interview with Buddy Knox and an unreleased demo of a song he subsequently wrote after being out in the woods with the dynamic bigfoot duo. Wow! Here’s how it goes….
Buddy Knox was in Yakima, Washington performing for two weeks at a local lounge. His band leader was a man named Jerry Merritt, a guy who had known Roger and Bob for many years in Yakima. Roger stopped by after one of the shows and started talking about bigfoot with Buddy and the next thing you know, they’re on horseback in the Cascade Mountains looking for our elusive friend. The interview is full of incredible insight into the world of Roger Patterson and Bob Gimlin. These were two of the most determined “field researchers” of the time and you get a feel for their enthusiasm and die-hard nature as Buddy recalls the two days they spent out in the woods. Here’s some of the interview which took place near the end of Buddy’s life while he was residing in Victoria, British Columbia.
A.F. (Alex’s Friend): I’ve heard this story once before, but you’ve got to tell me the sasquatch story….
B.K.: Oh, the bigfoot story. Well, Jerry Merritt, an old friend of mine – I think you know who Jerry is; he’s in the Rockabilly Hall of Fame, too – he was my band leader a lot of times over the years and a friend of mine, he was living in Yakima, Washington and, uh, Jerry booked me into a place called the Chieftain Hotel in the lounge. We sold that lounge out and the guy decided he wanted to keep me over for another week. So I stayed there two weeks in the lounge, you know, and he gave me another thousand a week.
So, in the meantime, I ran into a guy named Roger Patterson. He was a little, small cowboy and all that was on Roger’s mind was this big thing living out in the woods that he called bigfoot. And I said, “What the hell is a bigfoot?” and Roger – that’s all it took for him to start talking and boy, he went to work talking! He always ran around with an Indian boy named Bob Gimlin. (Note: In complete deference to my good friend, Bob Gimlin, I would say that this term was commonly used back then and it was a point of pride, very much in the manner of the Lone Ranger and his sidekick, Tonto. No kidding. Buddy also uses the same terms in the song lyrics. Where we might cringe today hearing this, I am sticking up for Buddy Knox as this was acceptable at that time.) And, uh, the Indian boy was always with him – everything they done!
So, we sat down in the lounge area there and he (Roger) told me about bigfoot which, uh, in scientific terms is called sasquatch which is the same thing as a yeti over there in – where is that? – Tahiti or someplace in the mountains over there. (Note: Tibet was obviously the country he was trying to think of…) And it’s the same thing as the Abominable Snowman but over here he’s called bigfoot or sasquatch. And Roger Patterson was just totally taken with this thing. And Roger owned a large ranch quite aways out of town and he says sasquatch is on his ranch! And I said, “Hah! I got to see this!” (chuckles) So, one Sunday Roger come rolling in and he had a little Volkswagen Bug van and he had this horse Peanut in it. It was a small horse, but it was in his damn van! And he brought over, Bob Gimlin, he brought over a truck with three other horses in it, in this big truck and we commenced to go look for sasquatch. We was headed out of Yakima into the Cascade Mountains….
(edited for brevity)
We climbed on these horses and we were going to go out there all day and stay – it was Sunday; we had Sunday off and we didn’t have to go to work until Monday night…we didn’t have a matinee on Monday – so, I thought we’re going to be out here riding these horses all day Sunday and all night and all day Monday. So, I just decided to enjoy a good horse ride, you know, but he (Roger) was hellbent to catch sasquatch ‘cause he had a gun there that shot a net thing out on this saddle and he carried it right behind his saddle. And it shot a net out there and he was going to capture a damn sasquatch. And he showed me before we went, he showed me this film that you’ve seen a thousand times on television of this female sasquatch walking along and stepping over a log and turning around and looking and you see these breasts sticking out there, so you know it’s a female, you know. He took an 8 mm picture of this thing just when he was out hunting one time and, uh, he never thought about shooting it ‘cause he didn’t know if it was a human dressed up like that and he said, “Shooting it never crossed my mind.” So, he said, “I grabbed my camera.” He had his camera with him and he took about 13 to 14 minutes of the sasquatch walking around this little horse-shoe curve and it disappeared in the woods, you know.
(Note: We all know the Patterson-Gimlin footage is just under a minute long with the classic 12 stable seconds somewhere in the middle of it…perhaps Roger was showing a loop of the footage or Buddy watched it for what seemed like “13 to 14 minutes.” Doesn’t matter. What does matter is that he got to experience the bigfooting world of Roger and Bob sometime after the film was taken!)
And we rode up to this log and I saw the sasquatch step over this log like it was a little stump, and this damn log was this high! (I assume he’s pointing somewhere chest high or above.) There was no way in the world I could hardly even jump over it, you know, so the sucker had to be 7 or 8 feet tall – had to be!
(Note: I think in the course of the many bigfoot encounters Roger had investigated, he was telling Buddy about some of these on top of showing him the film. Then, they went out in an area where Roger had followed up on a sighting and/or found tracks – later we hear about Buddy seeing a place where Roger had cast some tracks. So, I’m sure Buddy over the course of the day – or the years since then – has confused some of these details. He thinks he was at the film site and we know he wasn’t. In some similar creek watershed in the Cascades, Buddy thought he was seeing the downed logs and stumps visible in the film. Still, what a great two days to recall!)
And, uh, he (Roger) said, “Yeah, that thing was about 7 and ? feet tall – easy! And he said, “I don’t know how much it weighed but I’d guess 500 pounds or 600 pounds,” and he said it was big and (there) was hair all over it. He said he never got a good look at the face – couldn’t see a look of the face in the camera – and a little later on, I saw him on Johnny Carson and he showed that same film on Johnny Carson. And he interviewed Roger and I saw him just again on TV on a show about sasquatches and he’s an older man now, not a young, skinny cowboy, you know.
(Note: Now back to the bigfooting that Sunday and Monday…)
And he found these prints when he was out there hunting and he went back to town and got some plaster to come back and make some plaster casts. And I saw these damn prints and these things were an easy foot and a half – close to 2 feet long! – and the imprints and everything was there. I don’t see how he could have falsed (sic) them up so easy, you know. One print was a little rough – he had 4 or 5 prints, you know, plaster casts of these. So, he brought plaster and everything along with him on another horse. And net guns and the whole works on this other horse. So, I could tell he was either planning an elaborate joke or he was deadly serious about this. And I found out later that he was deadly serious.
So, we done a matinee and a show that (Saturday) night and the next morning he come and got me in the hotel and he said, “Load up! We’re going!” So, we cut out and Roger Patterson got the horses and we started looking for sasquatch. And we looked all day long and we looked on up until it got dark and we decided to set up a camp site. So, and I said, “What are we gonna eat?” and Jerry said, “Oh, Roger brought some food, yeah.” And he brought out this little sack of trail nuts and stuff and raisins and you know, like not even a hand full – oh, just about a hand full – for all of us to eat! This was our supper. So, I lived on trail nuts and stuff for two days, you know. And the next morning we crawled out (from under our blankets) at first day light and Roger’s out there and loaded up, ready to go. And he had the horses already saddled and everything. We just slept on the ground, you know. I just slept in my clothes and folded up one of those little rolling things behind the saddle and used it as a pillow. And it was warm, so we weren’t cold or nothing. And we hunted until about 5 or 6 the next afternoon – never saw prints, never got a smell. He said they smell horrible! And he said once we smell that smell, we’ll follow the smell and see if we can find him.
Well, we never got a smell of the smell and we never saw any footprints or nothing like that, but Roger showed me where he found the other footprints and you could tell – there was plaster all over the ground and you could tell he had made something plaster there. And , uh, so I just took it that he was telling the truth and you know, I didn’t think he was a liar or nothing…
(interview ends here…)
There’s more to this story that I’ll save for another edition of the newsletter. Suffice it to say, I find this to be a wonderful glimpse into “bigfooting” with Roger and Bob. The song which accompanies this interview was folkstyle ballad and a lot of work was done on this acetate by Alex Solunac of Victoria, B.C. to make it “listenable”…It was the hit of the Bellingham weekend as we listened to it over and over.