Dwight Eisenhower Inauguration: Richard Nixon giggles as the new president gets lassoed by a cowboy (PHOTO).

The 1953 Inauguration Stunt That Would Never Be Allowed Today

The Vault
Historical Treasures, Oddities, And Delights
Jan. 18 2013 12:32 PM

Nixon Giggles as President Eisenhower Gets Lassoed at His Inauguration

The Vault is Slate's new history blog. Like us on Facebook; follow us on Twitter @slatevault; find us on Tumblr. Find out more about what this space is all about here.

This photograph from the 1953 inauguration of Dwight Eisenhower shows the incoming president being lassoed like an errant calf, while the sour-faced Secret Service and a merrily laughing Richard Nixon look on.

At the time of the 1953 inauguration, the United States was at the height of its infatuation with screen cowboys. Montie Montana, a renowned trick roper who performed in 60 Rose Bowl parades and more than 20 movies (including The Man Who Shot Liberty Valance), was asked to add some cowboy flavor to the inaugural proceedings. Montana suggested to the president that he could present Ike and Nixon with 10-gallon hats, but Ike decided to go with a lassoing instead.

  Slate Plus
March 30 2015 11:32 AM The “How Does a U.N. Official Work?” Transcript What’s it like to manage the U.N.’s Ebola response? Read a transcript of Adam Davidson’s conversation with the assistant secretary-general for field support.