SMU Memories from Jim Grant ’62, Peruna Handler

The year was 1960 and SMU was playing Rice in a night game at the Cotton Bowl  in the first conference game after losing 3 tough non-conference games away.  There was a good crowd looking  for a win.  Neither my partner or I had ever run Peruna before and we never thought of a little practice before hand.  No problem we thought.  Incidentally, back then you ran the entire length of the field whereas today I believe they just run down and across the field.  Well, it was time to run and the horse knew it.  So, we struck out down the field ahead of the band.  That little horse was fast as “greased lighting” and I did pretty well for 80 yards but around the 20 I began to lose my balance and around the 10 yard line did a complete flip in the air and landed on my feet (at least this is this way I remember it after over 50 years).  Wasn’t hurt except for my pride and, of course, the whole stadium saw it and reacted accordingly.  What we learned was that little horse was so fast all you needed to do was lean back and he would fly you down the field.  Incidentally, that little horse when we were in school was much faster than what I see today.  He was the Secretariat of his time.

The Peruna handlers always had a great time going on the away games—Austin, Lubbock, Waco etc.  One great trip was a train trip to Lubbock to play Tech.  Peruna road in the baggage car with his hay and we were in the passenger cars with our dates.  Lots of fun.

About Astria Smith

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