The count of Sedalia
Sedalia needs a mayor, although as an unincorporated chunk of Douglas County,
it is not allowed. There is however, a wise, free-spirited man, who with the counsel of assorted friends meeting twice daily at Bud’s Bar in Sedalia, reigns supreme: Chet Hier.
To describe Hier as colorful would be a disservice, a shortfall really. Royal? Not exactly. Legendary? Now that resonates. He is unquestionably a “man in full,” complete with his own “Guide to Life.”
Born in 1942, Hier had humble beginnings, raised on a Jarre Creek Farm, a mile up the road from Bud’s Bar. Though Hier loved his dad, his grandfather, Charlie, was seminal in his early years. He taught him how to shoot, hunt, farm, milk cows, work with animals and offer no excuses. Though he died in 1954, Grandpa still lives large in his head today. Hier cites a poem that ends with “his hands were my strength.”
Hier had a reputation. Maybe it was friend Billy Moore who said he is “the toughest, meanest guy around.” It didn’t start out that way though. By his own admission, Hier was a cut-up, known for playing pranks
on any and all. He was one of those kids who didn’t even need to hear “I dare you.” Mention his name around town, and people’s eyes would roll.
He lifted weights, fought other boys, vanquished the town bully and talked a lot. He could arm wrestle folks twice his size, embarrassing the heck out of them.
This did not change as he approached manhood.
Likely his most infamous stunt came in 1957 when, with brother Tommy and friend, they transported a wild bear in his trunk, tying it to a tree in front of Bud’s Bar. That caper confirmed what people had been saying for years about Hier being nuts. It was indisputable.
Into everything imaginable, Hier did some bull riding … until he got thrown one day right into the bulls horns, gashing his head. Hier reflects that like skiing, he got too far over his tips. He also fished and hunted, often and hard. One picture in his book sports a 50 pound bass on Lake Powell. It looked real to me!
The legend grew and Hier did little to quash anything untoward, except stories tarring his honor. Hier is nothing if not a straight arrow, decent and warm-hearted. Just ask Billy Moore, who is the Frack to Hier’s Frick.
Professionally, Hier has done it all since his skills encompass anything physical and outdoors. He built the first house in The Village at Castle Pines, while Billy built its roads and early cart paths as an owner of Titan Sand and Gravel. It seems like there is no one either does not know or has not helped.
I asked about spirituality, and it seems that Bud’s Bar may be the center of that universe. To be fair, spirits do arrive at his table, and he’s often joined by gregarious, gracious owner, Garo Chalian. Tables are even reserved from 10 a.m. to 11 a.m. and 3 p.m. to 5 p.m. each day.
To know Hier is to love him, craziness and orneriness included. What goes down every day at “round table court” at Bud’s Bar is country life in these parts chewed, rechewed and occasionally exaggerated.
For a first-hand account of all Hier’s history, one can purchase his book Let Me Think
a Minute at Bud’s Bar. “It hasn’t made a significant best-seller list yet, but one never knows,” he stated. Some advice from within its pages is priceless and part of Hier’s Guide to Life for you: “When you lose, don’t lose the lesson; never miss a good chance to shut up; if you get to thinkin’ you are a person of influence, try ordering someone else’s dog around; it’s better to be a has-been than a never was; sometimes you get, and sometimes you get got; and don’t judge other people by their relatives.” True words to live by…
By Joe Gschwendtner; photos courtesy of Chet Hier