by DAWN VOGEL
Triceratops by Miroslav Petrasko | Flickr
Today, we mourn the passing of Dakota "Trike" Travis, at the age of ninety-seven-years-young. Trike was a loving family man, legendary animal wrangler and stuntman, and perhaps best known to the public for his saurallero achievements on Chengillon. In addition to his long and storied career behind the scenes in Hollywood, Travis assisted with great strides in scientific enquiry into, communication with, and shepherding of the dinosaur inhabitants of Chengillon.
Travis was born in western Colorado on one of the few remaining twenty-third century horse ranches. Family legend claims Travis was born in the stables themselves, though his biographers suspect this may be an exaggeration. Growing up in such an environment, his pursuits naturally turned to animal wrangling, from which he made his career. He met his wife, Hollywood starlet Alexis Knight, on the set of "The Saddle and the Senorita," one of his first big wrangling jobs. Together, they helped revitalize the spaghetti western genre for the twenty-third century while raising their four children, Marram, Senkyo, Dyssodia, and Abalos.
Travis's most significant contributions, however, came after the 2256 mission to Chengillon. A planet initially identified as home to carbon-based lifeforms, the expedition was stunned to find creatures more closely related to the prehistoric inhabitants of Earth than an alien race. While the bulk of the team sent to study these inhabitants was paleontologists, exobiologists, and evolutionary biologists, Travis was part of a smaller group of animal psychologists, philosophers, and handlers who planned to test the dinosaurs of Chengillon for sentience.
Though the details are sketchy, at some point after scientists determined the dinosaurs of Chengillon did not qualify as sentient creatures, Travis either bragged that he could ride a dinosaur as well as he could ride a horse or was dared by some of the other animal handlers to attempt such a ride.
Travis's first experience on the back of a triceratops both earned him the nickname "Trike" and resulted in a three-month stay in the Chengillon sick bay as he recovered from a double hip dislocation. During that time, none of the other handlers were willing to replicate Travis's stunt, so he remained the sole person with the ability to claim that he had ridden a dinosaur.
After his recovery, Travis was not dissuaded from making a second attempt. At this point, he coined the phrase for which he was known for the remainder of his life, and that will likely follow his name throughout history as well: "Call me a sissy, but I'll ride this dinosaur side-saddle." Travis then proved that the triceratops of Chengillon could be ridden, tamed, and even domesticated as pack animals, so long as their rider was willing to accept that their broad backs were not suitable for riding western or English style. In so doing, he developed what has come to be known as the "saurallero" style, which hundreds of thousands of tourists to Chengillon have learned, but very few have mastered.
Travis is survived by his wife, Alexis, and their four children. His daughters, Senkyo and Dyssodia, have followed in their father's footsteps and settled on Chengillon, where both serve as instructors of their father's saurallero style. His son Marram is a script-writer for the revival of the revived spaghetti western genre, and his youngest progeny, Abalos, is an entertainment lawyer. Travis is also survived by seven grandchildren, two great-grandchildren, and his primary steed, Angus (Triceratops horridus).
The Travis family has not yet announced dates or locations for Trike's memorial service. They ask for donations to the Chengillon Community Hospital in lieu of flowers.
Dawn Vogel's academic background is in history, so it's not surprising that much of her fiction is set in earlier times. By day, she edits reports for historians and archaeologists. In her alleged spare time, she runs a craft business, co-runs a small press, and tries to find time for writing. Her steampunk adventure series, Brass and Glass, is available from DefCon One Publishing. She is a member of Broad Universe, SFWA, and Codex Writers. She lives in Seattle with her husband, author Jeremy Zimmerman, and their herd of cats. Visit her at historythatneverwas.com.