Montie Montana Ropes Horse in Post-Divorce Wrangling

Times Staff Writer

Old-time Western film and rodeo star Montie Montana on Thursday tossed a legal lasso around the neck of Larry, a 12-year-old pinto that had been at the center of a divorce settlement dispute between Montana and his former wife.

The divorce settlement between Montana, 75, and his wife of 12 years, Eleanor, was kept private by mutual agreement except for the announcement that Montana was given custody of the horse.

"I feel like I'm getting my right arm back again," Montana said about Larry, who plays key roles in the 300 rodeo shows the cowboy said he still puts on each year.

The prepared joint statement by attorneys for Montana and his former wife did not disclose who would receive the 15-acre Montie Montana Rodeo Ranch in Agua Dulce, how the Montanas' horse equipment would be divided or any cash settlement. The agreement avoided a trial that had been scheduled to start Thursday in San Fernando Superior Court.

"In order that the public can continue to enjoy the performances of the horse affectionately known as Larry, Elly has regretfully agreed that he will be awarded to Montie," the joint statement said. "The settlement follows the law and is equitable to both parties."

Montana said he had been given temporary custody of Larry in February, 1985.

Praising Larry as "the best and gentlest horse I've ever had," Montie Montana said he planned to ride the pinto in the 1987 Rose Parade, which he said would mark his 54th appearance in the parade.

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