I can tell Coots Matthews stories all day long. He was my hero and I am blessed to have known him and had the great privilege of working along side him.
I use to ask Coots to tell me stories, like a little boy would, and though I'd probably heard them before from him, or from my buddy, David, also a great story teller, I always wanted to hear them over and over again. In fact, I use to write them down, afterward, so I would not forget. The more we drank, the better his stories got.
I told this Coots story about John Wayne and the making of the move, The Hellfighters, when I gave presentations around the country about the history of oil well firefighting and blowout control many years ago. This one always brought the house down, so to speak, and made people laugh. Here's another:
Coots worked for Halliburton as a cementer and pressure pumper during the 1950's. In 1957 he got fired from Halliburton for wrecking his fourth Halliburton pickup in three years. He knew Boots Hansen and Red Adair and when he got fired, Myron Kinley hired him immediately on the recommendation of Red. Coots worked for Kinley a year or so, then left with Red in 1958 to form the Red Adair Company . The rest, of course, is history.
When asked about wrecking four Halliburton pickups Coots would always say,
"Well, pods, back in those days them sumbitches at Halliburton worked our asses off. We never got time off. I wrecked all them pickups because I never could figure out a way to drive the goddamn things while I was trying to sleep."
Coots, on the right, circ. 1963-64, shortly after the big fire in Algeria