General Jimmy Doolittle was an accomplished aviator and leader, but he also had a love for horses and horseback riding. Pancho Barnes and General Doolittle had been friends for many years and Doolittle was a frequent visitor to her ranch. One day, in the early 1940s, he visited his old friend Pancho Barnes at her ranch in the Mojave Desert for a horseback ride.
Barnes was known for her love of horses and her expertise in all things equestrian. She had a stable full of beautiful horses, and she was always happy to share them with her guests.
On this occasion, Barnes outfitted Doolittle with a new saddle that she had just acquired. As they rode, Doolittle couldn’t help but remark on how comfortable the saddle was. “This is a great saddle, Pancho. It gives me a happy bottom!” he exclaimed with a grin.
Barnes was tickled by Doolittle’s comment and decided to make it her own. She thought it was the perfect name for her ranch and the riding club that she had established there. And so, she officially renamed the place the “Happy Bottom Riding Club,” much to the delight of her friends and patrons.
The name caught on quickly, and the Happy Bottom Riding Club became a popular spot for pilots, celebrities, and anyone looking for a good time in the desert. Barnes’ ranch and her love of horses had created a unique and unforgettable atmosphere, and the new name only added to its allure.
The Happy Bottom Riding Club became a legendary institution, and Doolittle’s comment about the saddle that gave him a “happy bottom” became a part of its lore. It was just one of the many memories and stories that would be told and retold for generations to come.