This is an interim blog for CowboyPoetry.com, maintained while a new site is being built. All of the old site remains available at CowboyPoetry.com. This blog includes news, events, poetry, and more.

Visit us on Facebook and Twitter.

This photo, taken in Dodson, Montana, is by Stan Howe, Montana singer, songwriter, musician, storyteller, writer, radio host, auctioneer, and fiddle expert.


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See all of the generous supporters to the Center for Western and Cowboy Poetry and find how to be a part of it all here.


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CowboyPoetry.com is a project of The Center for Western and Cowboy Poetry, a tax-exemptnon-profit organization under Section 501(c)(3) of the Internal Revenue Service Act. The Center seeks grants and donations from individuals, corporate entities, foundations, and private sources.

Contributions to the Center are fully deductible for federal income tax purposes.

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As in all professional journalistic endeavors, no editorial preference is given to financial sponsors or supporters.














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Events: May

Find links to all months here.

• May 4-6, 2017
First annual Bryce Canyon Mule Days Tropic, Utah

• May 4-7, 2017
21st Annual Black Cowboy Festival Rembert, South Carolina

• May 5, 2017
19th Annual Cowtown Society Of Western Music Swingfest Mineral Wells, Texas

• May 11-14, 2017
The Western Heritage Classic Abilene, Texas

• May 12-13, 2017
Cattle Barons Weekend Pendleton, Oregon

• May 13, 2017
Western and Cowboy Music and Poetry  Rock Springs, Wyoming

• May 20, 2017
Cross Timbers Cowboy Poetry and Stories Mineral Wells, Texas

• May 21, 2017
56th Annual Topanga Banjo•Fiddle Contest & Folk Festival Agoura Hills, California

• May 23-28, 2017
47th Bishop Mule Days Bishop, California

• May 26-29, 2017
37th Annual Old West Days Jackson Hole, Wyoming

• May 26-28, 2017
Art in the Park Ritzville, Washington

• May 26-28, 2017
12th Annual Canadian Rockies Cowboy Festival Nordegg, Alberta

• May 26-29, 2017
12th Annual Cowboy Legends Memorial Day Celebration Antelope Island, Utah

• May 27-28, 2017
27th Annual Chuck Wagon Gathering and Children’s Cowboy Festival Oklahoma City, Oklahoma

• May 28-29, 2017
31st Annual Dakota Cowboy Poetry Gathering Medora, North Dakota

Cowboy Poetry Week News


image © 2015, Tyler Crow, “Makin’ a Break for It”


Find more about Cowboy Poetry Week here.



Find Cowboy Poetry Week events on the April calendar.

utstflagj stantixier11150_small
Once again Stan Tixier has organized a number of events for Cowboy Poetry Week at Utah‘s Weber County libraries. Joining him will be poets and musicians Robin Arnold, Bob Urry, Saddle Strings, Sam DeLeeuw, and David Anderson. Find the events on the April calendar.


orflagj  tomswearingen150_small
Oregon poet Tom Swearingen always takes an active part in Cowboy Poetry Week and this year he’ll be making appearances at the Tigard Public Library and the Wilsonville Public Library. Find the events on the April calendar.


florida77 davidcarlton77
Each year, David L. Carlton, seventh-generation Floridian raised in the cattle industry, works with Florida officials for a Cabinet resolution from the Governor and Cabinet of the State of Florida for Cowboy Poetry Week. Here’s this year’s proclamation:



Russ Westwood of the Nevada‘s Annual Mesquite Western Roundup has arranged programs at five Utah libraries: St. George Branch Library, Santa Clara Branch Library (St. George), Washington (Utah) Branch Library, and Hurricane Branch Library.Find the events on the April calendar.


nebraskaflag marci1177
Nebraska Prairie Poet Marci Broyhill and her musician sister Teresa Kay Orr plan two appearances for Cowboy Poetry Week. They’ll present their program, Nebraska’s Outlaw Trail, HWY 12 “Songs and Tales Along the Trail” at the Sioux City, Iowa Lewis & Clark Interpretive Center and The Betty Strong Encounter Center on April 9 and at the City Hall in Dakota City, Nebraska on April 23. Find the events on the April calendar.


washstflg lynnk
Washington poet and musician Lynn Kopelke received a Cowboy Poetry Week proclamation from Washington Governor Jay Inslee:wacpw

A part of the Rural Library Program, Hanna, Alberta, Canada‘s Municipal Library “…will have on display western  poetry as well as ranching material for children and youth.  It will be advertised on our social media outlets and website.”

texasflag kerrville
A part of the Rural Library Program,  the Kerrville, Texas Butt-Holdsworth Memorial Library “…will be doing a display for Cowboy Poetry Week…”

coloflgaj westernbe
Cowtrails  radio will celebrate Cowboy Poetry Week with guests on April 16, 2017. Find the event on the April calendar.

Award-winning DJ Barbara Richhart (“Western Belle”) presents the CowTrails show on KSJD radio from Cortez, Colorado, each Sunday, noon-2:00 PM, Mountain. The show, inaugurated in 2002, is streamed live at ksjd.org. Each show is also available on demand at Cowtrails with Western Belle.

tnflagy shanequeener3
Tennessee musician and poet Shane Queener obtained a Cowboy Poetry Week proclamation from Tennessee Governor Bill Haslam:



azlfag chrisisaacs

Arizona cowboy, packer, and poet Chris Isaacs obtained a Cowboy Poetry Week proclamation from Arizona Governor Douglas A. Ducey:



wyostflgj  shoshoni
Wyoming’s Shoshoni Library holds its 5th annual Cowboy Poetry Gathering in celebration of Cowboy Poetry Week, on Friday, April 21, 2017, 4-6 PM.



tnflagy shanequeener3 poetspunchers
Shane Queener is behind the First Annual Cowboy Poetry Gathering, April 21, 2017 in Lebanon, Tennessee, in conjunction with Cowboy Poetry Week, and hosted by American Heritage Trees (americanheritagetrees.com). Performers include Jeff Swanson, Ronie Powell, Troy Powell, Ray Doyle, and Woody Woodruff. Find more on Facebook and here at CowboyPoetry.com.


orflagj  tomswearingen150_small
Oregon poet Tom Swearingen received a Cowboy Poetry Week proclamation from Oregon Governor Kate Brown:



okflag  jay
Oklahoma rancher, poet, and songwriter Jay Snider received a Cowboy Poetry Week proclamation from Oklahoma Governor Mary Fallin. Also find the proclamation here on the Governor’s web site:



okflag  hoperetreat
Oklahoma’s Hope Retreat Ranch in Choctaw, Oklahoma, invites all to its 2nd annual “Cowboyin’, Horses, and Friends” event, in conjunction with Cowboy Poetry Week. They comment, “This family fun event is on Saturday, April 29 from 10am to 4pm. ” Jay Snider is among the performers.

From the organizers:

Hope Retreat Ranch is a 501(c)3 that provides FREE equine assisted therapeutic riding to children with disabilities and other functional and emotional issues. We are nestled on 37 acres in Choctaw, Oklahoma.

This is an annual fundraiser for our Ranch to help us raise money to build an indoor arena so that we may offer our services to these families year around. Please join us for the fun and festivities!

Find more on Facebook.



ndflagj 208450_1949448423876_7242251_n(3)
North Dakota radio host and poet Jarle Kvale obtained a Cowboy Poetry Week proclamation from North Dakota Governor Doug Burgum:


okflag doves
For the second year, Dove Schmidt has organized a Cowboy Poetry Gathering in Bristow, Oklahoma on Friday, April 21, 2017, in conjunction with Cowboy Poetry Week. She writes:

We want to invite all Cowboy Poets to our annual Cowboy Poetry Gatherin’ here in Bristow, Oklahoma, on Friday, April 21, 2017 from 3 pm to 6 pm, as we honor Cowboy Poetry Week.

We’ll be hosting this great event at the Bristow Library conference room, and hearing from great poets including Ryan Mileham, Ken Howry, Larry Hatfield, Elvin Anderson, and several others.

This year, we will be giving awards for the top poets, with a panel of judges keeping score sheets. It’ll be a fun time of getting together with great friends, and sharing some cowboy poetry poetry here in Oklahoma. There will be finger foods and the coffee pot will be on! If you would like to be in the line up of poets, just contact me either by private message or text or call me at 918-939-9085 and we’ll get you on the list!

Dawn sent a photos from last year, including one of the Bristow Mayor presenting a Cowboy Poetry Week proclamation:




coloflgaj  cortez
Colorado’s Cortez Public Library celebrates National Poetry Month on Friday, April 21 at 10am with an Open Mic showcasing poets in the area, school children, residents of nursing homes and anyone interested in joining our celebration, including Cowboy Poets. Find more from the library here.


coloflgaj ccpg
The Colorado Cowboy Poetry Gathering presents a special movie preview Saturday, April 22, 2017. From their announcement:

Pre-theater release viewing
SATURDAY, April 22 at 7:00 PM
Doors open at 6:00 PM
Tickets sold at the door
(cash/check only)
$20 (ages 17 & older)
$10 (ages 11-16)
$5 (ages 5-10)
NOTE– Facility is not ADA accessible, Restrooms are in basement, no elevator.
Maple Grove Grange
3130 Youngfield St. Wheat Ridge, CO

Celebrate National Cowboy Poetry Week!

Everything in the Song is True is a feature length documentary film about four iconic characters who define the American West:

* Gary McMahan – renowned cowboy singer-songwriter, poet & champion yodeler
* Brice Chapman – one of the world’s most talented trick ropers and horse trainers
* Yvonne Hollenbeck – fourth generation rancher & award-winning poet & quilter
* Jeff Nourse – rancher, singer-songwriter & iron sculptor

Spanning the wide-open spaces from Colorado to New Mexico to Texas and the Dakotas, filmmaker Douglas Morrione traveled alongside these characters for nearly two years to capture the sights and songs that are unique to the American West experience. For more information – www.coloradocowboygathering.com.

Hosted and Presented by Colorado Cowboy Gathering, Inc.
Fund raiser to support CCG.
Thanks again for your support and we will see you at the movie screening.



texasflag judyjames
Cowboy Jubilee radio with Judy James has a special Cowboy Poetry Week show, Saturday, April 21, 2017, with special guest Terry Nash. The two-hour show is hosted live and on the internet every Saturday morning from 7:30- 9:30 AM. Listen at judyjamesradio.com.


nmflag totsie
Totsie Slover, radio host of “Old West from the Real West, has received a Cowboy Poetry Week proclamation from New Mexico Governor Susana Martinez:



utstflagj ej7brooksie
Poet and reciter Jerry Brooks received a Cowboy Poetry Week proclamation from Utah Governor Gary R. Herbert:



wyostflgj coloflgaj rexr
Colorado musician Rex Rideout appears in a Cowboy Poetry Week performance at Cody, Wyoming’s Park County Public Library,  April 7, 2017 at 1:00 PM and another at Golden, Colorado’s Arthur Lakes Library at the Colorado School of Mines,  April 28, 2017 at 12:00 PM.


Arizona’s Pinetop-Lakeside Public Library is having a poetry contest for Cowboy Poetry Week, with the winner receiving at MASTERS CD. Find more on their Facebook page and at their web site.



ndflagj 208450_1949448423876_7242251_n(3) markKerr
North Dakota radio host and poet Jarle Kvale and poet Mark Kerr will appear at the Rolla Public Library in a Cowboy Poetry Week event on Thursday April 20, 2017 at 7 PM.


nebraskaflag marci1177
Prairie poet Marci Broyhill recieved a Cowboy Poetry Week proclamation from Nebraska Governor Pete Ricketts:



Western Jukebox
from Bob O’Donnell plans a special Cowboy Poetry Week show on Saturday, April 22, 2017. He will feature each of the ten volumes of The BAR-D Roundup and MASTERS; 45 poems and 45 artists. He will also feature ten poems per podcast during Cowboy Poetry Week. Find more about the Western Jukebox on Facebook and find the podcasts here.


Nevada poet Dan Bybee received a Cowboy Poetry Week proclamation from Nevada Governor Brian Sandoval:



orflagj  tomswearingen150_small
Oregon poet Tom Swearingen took the opportunity of introducing Cowboy Poetry Week at an event at the Rotary Club of Canby, Oregon, on March 31, 2017.

tscpwPhotograph by Judi Hester Aus of Rotary Club of Canby


tnflagy shanequeener3 poetspunchers
Tennessee’s Wilson Post has an April 12 feature article by Ken Beck, “Preserving Western Heritage in words and music,” about Shane Queener and the First Annual Cowboy Poetry Gathering, April 21, 2017 in Lebanon, Tennessee, held in conjunction with Cowboy Poetry Week, and hosted by American Heritage Trees. Find the article here and more about the event on Facebook and here at CowboyPoetry.com.


coloflgaj westernbe
Award-winning DJ Barbara Richhart (“Western Belle”) of Cowtrails with Western Belle received a Cowboy Poetry Week proclamation from the Cortez, Colorado city council:



(photo via Barbara Richhart , courtesy of Stephanie Alderton of the Cortez Journal)


washstflg clarkc
Washington poet and publisher Clark Crouch writes, “Here at The Creekside Retirement home in Woodinville, we’re all set for a great Cowboy Poetry Week. A poetry group which I host here is featuring a western themed reading on the 19th and on the 22nd a featured entertainment will be the Notable Exceptions (with Judy Coder and Jennifer Epps, formerly with the Horse Crazy Cowgirl Band). Several times during the week the chef is going all out with western chow! It’s gonna be a fun week.”


cowradio jimandy
Each year for Cowboy Poetry Week, Andy and Jim Nelson’s “Clear Out West” Radio Show has a special show that includes top cowboy poetry and songs that were originally poems or collaborations with poets. This year the cowboy poetry selections are from the new MASTERS CD from CowboyPoetry.com.

This year’s program airs April 17-23, 2017, and the following week it is available for listening on the COW web site, clearoutwest.com. The music and poetry selections are:

The Texas Trailhands, “West of Santa Rosa,” a collaboration with poet Les Buffham
J.B. Allen recites his poem, “Reasons for Stayin’,” from the MASTERS CD
Dave Stamey, “A Poet with Something to Say,” a collabroation with Waddie Mitchell
Ray Owens recites his poem, “Tracks that Won’t Blow Out,” from the MASTERS CD
Jean Prescott, “March Winds,” a collaboration with Yvonne Hollenbeck
Larry McWhorter recites his poem, “Advice to the Traveler,” from the MASTERS CD
Sunny Hancock recites his poem, “The Horse Trade,” from the MASTERS CD
Wylie and the Wild West, “Lasca,” with Paul Zarzyski, from the poem by Frank Desprez

Clear Out West is “…a weekly syndicated cowboy radio show dedicated to introducing the cowboy culture to new folks, and bringing back some great memories to some old  cowboys. Join your hosts, Andy and Jim Nelson, every week for some great cowboy music, some awesome cowboy poetry and some serious goofing off!”

Find more at clearoutwest.com.


utstflagj stampede2xy
Utah’s Terri and Steve Taylor of Stampede! and poets Dan Korth and Bill Gubler celebrate Cowboy Poetry Week at the Herriman Library, 5380 W. Main, in Herriman, Utah, Monday, April 17 at 6:30 PM – 8 PM.


washstflg dayton
Washington’s Dayton Memorial Library, located in a small farming and ranching community, celebrates National Poetry Month with a cowboy poetry event, Thursday, April 27 at 6PM:



washstflg lauralee2
Washington musican, songwriter, and poet Lauralee Northcott celebrates Cowboy Poetry Week with a show at the Winthrop Library on April 27. Find more about Lauralee at her web site.



wyostflgj  lkeltner

Wyoming’s Leslie Keltner, cowboy poet, Western songstress, and keeper of traditions received a Cowboy Poetry Week proclamation from Wyoming Governor Matthew H. Mead. Leslie is the CEO of Runumuk Cowgirl Productions, which for 7 years produced the Songs of the Cowboys in Cody, Wyoming. She tells us, “I am currently, blissfully engaged in the almost daily assistance of educating our our 6th generation American cowboy granddaughter [who, earlier this month, at age 2 1/2, competed in her first Western horsemanship competition] in the ways of her family legacy!”



montanaflg DW05p
Montana poet and picker DW Groethe obtained a letter of recognizion from Montana Governor Steve Bullock:



caflag wendyb
California poet and horsewoman Wendy Brown-Barry, always involved with Cowboy Poetry Week events,  let her Facebook friends know:


Cowboy Poetry Week is April 16-22, 2017. The Mariposa County Library helps me and other cowboy poets celebrate this week every year. This year I am offering a Workshop for anyone interested in writing their own cowboy poem. Come share your story, and let’s keep the Spirit of the West alive! If you are interested, please sign up at the Mariposa County Library with your contact information in the next week or so, and we will schedule the workshop. And please visit my web site: www.wendybrown-barry.com.


albflag DorisDaleyworman150x
Popular Alberta poet Doris Daley writes in her newsletter:

April is Poetry Month and April 16-22 is Cowboy Poetry Week. Read a poem, write a limerick, think up a rhyme with your grandkids, read an old classic from your school days, visit www.cowboypoetry.com. Poets and songwriters are fanning the embers of our stories. Let’s all make an effort this coming week to unplug from one type of reality, just for a few minutes or hours, put down our phones and ipads (on which you are probably reading this email) and be dazzled by another type of reality: one called Real Life. Beauty. Words. Poetry. Magic. Commotion. Sparkle. Memory.  Let’s tune in to those during Poetry Month.

Find more about Doris at CowboyPoetry.com and at her site.


coloflgaj terrynash11150 westernbelle07 rexr
Coloradans poet Terry Nash, dj Barb Richhart, and musician Rex Rideout each had a hand in obtaining a Cowboy Poetry Week proclamation from Colorado Governor John Hickenlooper. All three are involved in many great events throughout the state that celebrate Cowboy Poetry Week and cowboy poetry and Western music in general, including the Colorado Cowboy Poetry Gathering. Special thanks to Rex, who has obtained the Governor’s proclamation for many years.



eques jay
Tune in Thursday, April 20, at noon Central, on Equestrian Legacy Radio for a Cowboy Poetry Week program with poet Jay Snider, with hosts Jennifer Denison and Gary I. Holt.


orflagj duane
Cowboy poet Duane Nelson (above) and musician Joe Sartin appear Wednesday, April 19, 2017 at The Dalles-Wasco County Library  in The Dalles, Oregon at 6:30 PM in a special Cowboy Poetry Week program.


Colorado’s Fort Morgan Public Library and Museum shared a photo of their Cowboy Poetry Week display:


The library has regular Brown Bag programs (poets Jane and Dick Morgan have been a part of them) and the May 9 program, at noon, will feature cowboy humorist and author Stu Campbell.


nevadaflagj spanishsprings

Nevada’s Spanish Springs Library shared a photo of their display:


Managing Librarian Julie Smyres Machado, a friend of the late poet Hal Swift, who always had an energetic involvement in Cowboy Poetry Week, notes of Cowboy Poetry Week and their display, “It is very popular, and sometimes even draws media attention!”


orflagj tomswearingen150_small
Oregon poet Tom Swearingen (above) shares photos of cowboy poet Duane Nelson  and musician Joe Sartin from their Cowboy Poetry Week event at The Dalles-Wasco County Library  in The Dalles, Oregon on April 20, 2017. They had Tom get up to do a few poems as well.

Duane Nelsonduane2

Joe Sartin

Tom Swearingentoms



nyflag markmu stonystagecoachw

Poet Mark Munzert celebrates Cowboy Poetry Week at two events:

April 22, 2017 Stony Creek Ranch Resort, Stony Creek, New York

April 23, 2017 The Stagecoach West Irving, New York

Mark administers a Cowboy Poetry Group on Facebook.


caflag wendyb
Poet Wendy Brown-Barry is interviewed by Bob Borchard of Old Town Mariposa about cowboy poetry and Cowboy Poetry Week. Find the video here.



It’s a great 16th annual Cowboy Poetry Week, and behind it are the people who make it and the Rural Library Program and everything else possible at the Center for Western and Cowboy Poetry: the generous supporters.

Thanks to those who donated April 2016-2017:

Bryce Angell, Arizona Cowboy Poets Gathering (Sponsor), Denise Arvidson, Sally Baldus, Valerie and Floyd Beard, C.W. Bell, Almeda Bradshaw (Sponsor), Jerry Brooks, Paul R. Brown III, Marci Broyhill (Sponsor), Marleen Bussma, Daniel Bybee, Greg Camp, David Carlson, Andy Carr, Stella and Jim Cathey, Christopher Chambers, Bob Coker, Ken Cook (Sponsor), Cowboy Poets of Idaho (Sponsor), John Dean, Robert Dennis, Devin Dingler, Jeri Dobrowski (Sponsor), Ray Doyle, Cameron La Follette, Pat Frolander, Janice Gilbertson, Joanne Grinage, DW Groethe, Del Gustafson, Doug Gustafson, Jean Mathisen Haugen, Yvonne Hollenbeck (Sponsor), Thomas F. Hawk, Heber Valley Cowboy Music & Poetry Gathering (Sponsor), Judy James, Dee Johnson (Buckshot Dot), LaVerna B. Johnson, Mark Kerr, Andria Kidd, Robert Kinsey, Linda Kirkpatrick, Jo Lynne Kirkwood, Susie Knight, Colleen Kohler, Lynn Kopelke, Jarle Kvale, KC La Course, Chuck and Cindy Learn (Sponsor), Deanna Dickinson McCall, Gary McMahan, Slim McNaught, Susan Matley, Al “Doc” Mehl, Robert Miller, Monterey Cowboy Poetry & Music Festival (Sponsor), Howard Moon, Paul Moon, Tom Morgan (Sponsor), Jane and Dick Morton, Mike Moutoux, Linda Nadon, Terry Nash, National Cowboy Poetry Rodeo (Sponsor), Andy Nelson (Sponsor), Rodney Nelson, Nika Nordbrock, Kay Kelley Nowell, Bill Ott, Dale Page, Susan Parker, Kent Penter, Jean Prescott (Sponsor), Cindy Quigley, Paul Quinton, Beth Rand, RANGE Magazine (Sponsor), George Rhoades, Kent Reeves, Barbara Richhart, Betty and Ken Rodgers, Roberta Rothman, Claud Roundtree, Sandy Seaton Sallee, Marjorie Satterfield, Scofield’s Cowboy Camprfire, Ron Secoy, Totsie Slover, Joelle Smith Art, Jay Snider (Sponsor), Marilyn and Kip Sorlie, Spalding Labs (Sponsor), Melissa and Dave Stamey, Dave Stanley, Rocky Sullivan, Tom Swearingen, Hal Swift, P’let and Mike Tcherkassky, Jim Thompson (California), Stan Tixier, Smoke Wade, Keith Ward, John Waters, Western Folklife Center (Sponsor), Daniel Wilson, and Rosemary Yull.

Thanks also to Laura and Edmund Wattis Littlefield, Jr. for substantial program support and the Margaret T. Morris Foundation for Cowboy Poetry Week program support.

Be a part of it all! Join this great community of people helping to preserve and promote the arts and life of the real working West: https://blog.cowboypoetry.com/joinus.




For Cowboy Poetry Week’s second year, in April 2003, the United States Senate passed a resolution, with unanimous approval, recognizing our Cowboy Week celebration. In past years, twenty three states’ governors have officially proclaimed Cowboy Poetry Week and there are a growing number of activities across the West and beyond.

Last year (2016) poets and others who worked on Cowboy Poetry Week recognition from state officials, included: Chris Isaacs (Arizona), Rex Rideout (Colorado), David L. Carlton (Florida), Bobbie Hunter (Idaho), Geff Dawson (Kansas), Diane Tribitt (Minnesota), DW Groethe (Montana), Marci Broyhill (Nebraska), Hal Swift (Nevada), Totsie Slover (New Mexico), Keith Ward (North Carolina), Jarle Kvale (North Dakota), Jay Snider (Oklahoma), Heritage of the American West (South Dakota), Linda Kirkpatrick (Texas), Jerry Brooks (Utah), Lynn Kopelke (Washington), and Rhonda Stearns (Wyoming).

We’re interested in pursuing recognition in all states with ranching cultures and cowboy poetry activities. If you’d like to be involved, this year or in the future, please email us.

For 2017, the following states’ governors are being contacted, alphabetically by state. This list is updated frequently. Please let us know if you are contacting your governor, so that we can avoid duplicate efforts.

azlfag  Arizona-Chris Isaacs (received)

coloflgaj Colorado-Terry Nash, Barb Richhart, Rex Rideout (received)

florida77  Florida-David Carlton  (received)

idahoflj Idaho-Cowboy Poets of Idaho

minnflag  Minnesota- Diane Tribitt Scott

montanaflg Montana-DW Groethe (received)

nebraskaflag Nebraska-Marci Broyhill  (received)

nevadaflagj Nevada-Dan Bybee (received)

nmflag New Mexico-Totsie Slover (received)

ndflagj North Dakota-Jarle Kvale (received)

okflag Oklahoma-Jay Snider  (received)

orflagj Oregon-Tom Swearingen  (received)

sdglag South Dakota-Heritage of the American West/Francie Ganje

tnflagy Tennessee-Shane Queener (received)

texasflag Texas-Linda Kirkpatrick

utstflagj Utah-Jerry Brooks (received)

washstflg Washington-Lynn Kopelke  (received)

wyostflgj Wyoming- Leslie Keltner (received)

Find more about Cowboy Poetry Week here.

Events: Gatherings and More















Submission information

We welcome your event date and link for cowboy poetry and Western music events. Please send information at least several weeks before your event. Email us.

We regret that we can’t list individual performers’ or groups’ shows or “shows” that have just one or two performers or groups, including house concerts; those are too numerous for us to maintain. (We do welcome information for established venues with a roster of regularly-scheduled programs, even if those programs feature just one or two performers. The season’s schedule is welcome, at least several weeks before the season begins.)

We sometimes include other events of interest, such as rodeos and art shows.

We will consider separate blog posts with event information. Please send the announcement in plain text, not in graphic or pdf format. You can attach a logo, photo or graphic.

Be sure to include date, times, ticket information, a description, and performers’ names, along with contact information: a phone number, email address, or web link that can be posted.

Support our sponsor supporters!



News Bits and Links

readingnews“Reading the News,” by Erwin E. Smith, c. 1908 from The Library of Congress

We receive and come across all sorts of interesting information from a wide range of sources. Below, we gather some quick links to news stories, web features, and other items of interest gathered from the web, social media, and from you, the most recent posted first.

Your suggestions for consideration of inclusion are welcome (as well as your comments). Email us.



Find Cowboy Poetry Week news here.


Celebration of the American Cowboy” and Cowboy Poetry Week (audio), Equestrian Legacy Radio, April 20, 2017

Would You Wear a Dress Made From Cow Manure?,” by Sara Murphy, Yahoo, April 19, 2017

20 mule team hitched to new Borax wagons,” (video), YouTube, April 17, 2017


The Podcast Spreading the Love of Cowboy Culture,” by Carson Vaughan, The Atlantic, April 19, 2017

There were lots of horsemen in my childhood years,” by Rodney Nelson, Farm & Ranch Guide, April 12, 2017

Pick it Out,” by Baxter Black (latest column), BaxterBlack.com, April 17, 2017


My Heroes Have Always Been Cowboys, a musical documentary with Waylon Jennings” (1983), YouTube


Roy musician captures sounds of beloved Western performers,” by Janae Francis, Standard Examiner, April 16, 2017

Dear Lady at the Bank…,” by Ruby Uhart, blog, March 26, 2017|


Preserving Western heritage in words and music,” by Ken Beck, Wilson Post, April 12, 2017


Spring: From the experts,” by Jessie Veeder, Meanwhile, Back at the Ranch blog, April 11, 2017

The Night Man in the Heifer Lot,” by Baxter Black (audio), Western Horseman, April 10, 2017

The Toast,” (poem) by Baxter Black (latest column), BaxterBlack.com, April 10, 2017

Was Mark Twain right?,” by Rod Miller, blog, April 8, 2017

Cowboy Poetry and Western Music Roundup: community celebrates of National Poetry Month, by Michelle McConnaha, Ravalli Republic, April 7, 2017

CATTLE COUNTRY: Museum honours B.C cowboys,” by Gaeil Farrar, Williams Lake Tribune, April 6, 2017


Road to recovery,” by Sherry Bunting, agmoos.com, April 7, 2017

Yevgeny Alexandrovich Yevtushenko—‘Cowboy Poet,'” by Paul Zarzyski, Western Folklife Center, April 7, 2017

An Empty Saddle for Yevtushenko,” by Carson Vaughan, Paris Review, April 5, 2017

Aaron Pritchett headlining a revamped Cowboy Festival,” by Marcia Love, Spruce Grove Examiner, April 6, 2017

The Heart of Cowboy Camp,” by Jolyn Young, American Cowboy, April 5, 2017

The Cowboy Movie

Monterey Cowboy Poetry & Music Festival will probably be cancelled,” by Tom Leyde, montereyherald.com, April 5, 2017

Cowboy songs and music return to the library,” Cody Enterprise, April 5, 2017


The College Rodeo Team,” by Baxter Black (audio), Western Horseman, April 3, 2017

Latest “Back at the Ranch” radio from Jarle Kvale  April 1, 2017


Whether it’s a hat or a cap, don’t wear it backwards,” by Rodney Nelson, Farm and Ranch Guide, March 30, 2017

Out of the Ashes Benefit
, takes place everywhere, April 29, 2017


Grandpa’s Time,” by Baxter Black (latest column), BaxterBlack.com, March 27, 2017

Harold’s Lost Bull,” by Baxter Black (audio), Western Horseman, March  27, 2017

Nebraskans lend a helping hand to ranchers in Texas,” by Bridget Fargen, 1011now.com, March 27, 2017


 “Library Hosting Poetry Contest,” by Jackie Gold-Irwin, Hanna Herald,  March 23, 2017

Cowboy Poetry Is the American Art Form You’ve Never Heard Of,” by Carson Vaughan, Vice, March 22, 2017

Black Hills Western Arts Council looks to keep cowboy heritage in Hot Springs,” by John D. Taylor, Hot Springs Star, March 21, 2017

Branding the American West,” by Dana Joseph, Cowboys & Indians, April 2017 issue


Latest Andy Hedges’ COWBOY CROSSROADS, with remembrances of Guy Clark, poetry, music, and more, March 21, 2017

StoryCorps interviews at the Western Folklife Center, with Paul Zarzyski and others


Anything That Can Go Wrong,” (poem) by Baxter Black (latest column), BaxterBlack.com, March 20, 2017

The Disappearing Family Ranch,” by Bob Martin, krqe.com, March 19, 2017

Ranching in the Sandhills began with a hunt for stray cattle,” by Troy Smith, Cattle Business Weekly, March 15, 2017


Deadline for Western Folklife Center National Cowboy Poetry Gathering applications: March 31

The Haflinger Deal,” by Baxter Black (audio), Western Horseman, March  20, 2017

Burying Their Cattle, Ranchers Call Wildfires ‘Our Hurricane Katrina’,” by Jack Healy, New York Times, March 20, 2017

Donated saddle keeps blessing as it finds its second new home in fire-ravaged Kansas,” by Kathy Parker, Tri-State Livestock News, March 17, 201

Post-wildfire reality sinks in for High Plains ranchers,” by Sherry Bunting, Progressive Cattleman, March 17, 2017

My Favorite Book, Part 7,” by  Rod Miller (blog),  March 16, 2017

Smart cows: The future of ranching?,” by Courtney Dickson, CBC, March 15, 2017

Brother’s riding ability was really something to behold,” by Rodney Nelson, Farm & Ranch Guide, March 15, 2017

Today’s Wild West (television; video)


The Roots of Cowboy Music,” by Carvell Wallace, MTVNews.com, March 15, 2017

Phone on the Range,” by Ryan T. Bell, Western Horseman, March 15, 2017

Beast Mode,” Ross Hecox’ photo blog, Western Horseman, March 15, 2017

First annual Bryce Canyon Mule Days

Western Horseman Youth Contest

Wish it Was You,” by Angela Meyer (tribute to PBR bull rider Ty Pozzobon), YouTube

Ty Pozzobon Foundation

British Columbia Cowboy Heritage Society newsletter, March 2017


The Top 10 ways to use a horse as a weather gauge,” by Mark Parker, FarmTalk,  March 14, 2017

Miserable,” (poem) by Baxter Black (latest column), BaxterBlack.com, March 13, 2017

Margarine vs. Butter,” by Baxter Black (audio), Western Horseman, March 13, 2017

Obituary: Vold ran one of North America’s largest stock companies,” by Jon Pompia, The Pueblo Chieftain, March 13, 2017

A Start Date for the Bison Invasion of North America,” by Nicholas St. Fleur, New York Times, March 13, 2017

Western Writers of America 2017 SPUR AWARD winners

Prisoners Train Wild Animals and Rehabilitate Themselves,” by Shania Alba, Cronkite News, March 8, 2017

A Thing or Three: Preserving history is a collaborative effort,” by Amy Macavinta,  hjnews.com,  March 3, 2017


‘Feels Like’ Forecasting,” (poem) by Rodney Nelson, Farm and Ranch Guide, March 1, 2017

Hats off to the ranchwife,” by Yvonne Hollenbeck, Tri-State Livestock News, March 9, 2017


Working Ranch Cowboys Association WRCA Foundation Wildfire Relief Fund  (Facebook) March 8, 2017

Taken in their prime: Three die trying to save ranch from Texas wildfires,” by Jon Mark Beilue, amarillo.com, March 7, 2017

Multiple Structures Lost in Wildfires; Roberts County Wildfire Burns Hank The Cowdog Author’s Home,” by Karl Wehmhoener, myhighplains.com, March 7, 2017


Gray County officials identify two of three killed in wildfires,” by Ronald Balaskovitz, amarillo.com, March 7, 2017

Wildfires burning 100,000 acres in Texas panhandle, killing 3,” by Claire Ricke,
kxan.com, March 7, 2017

To Be Honest,” by Baxter Black (latest column), BaxterBlack.com, March 6, 2017

Prolapse from the Black Lagoon,” by Baxter Black (audio), Western Horseman, March 6, 2017

When Tom met Sally,”  by Laura, Black Ink, March 6, 2017


Following the calves: Not in South Dakota anymore,” by Laura, Black Ink, March 3, 2017

The new interior secretary just rode into work on a horse,” by Juliet Eilperin, Washington Post, March 2, 2017

Bruce Kiskaddon,” by William Reynolds, Western Horseman, March 1, 2017

Was It Theft or a Misunderstanding?,” by Ellen H. Brisendine, tscra.org, March, 2017

Kent Rollins: Cowboy Cook” (video) Heartlandia TV, March 2017


School Is in Session (with Kent Rollins),” by Jennifer Denison and Ross Hecox, Western Horseman, March 1, 2017

Thermal cameras arm drones for cattle scouting,” by Austin Black, Iowa Farmer Today,
February 24, 2017

Images from the National Cowboy Poetry Gathering 2017 by Jessica Lifland


Gimp,” by Baxter Black (latest column), BaxterBlack.com, February 27, 2017

The Factory Farming Tour,” by Baxter Black (audio), Western Horseman, February 27, 2017


Driving Me Crazy,” by Kelli Neubert, Western Horseman, February 24, 2017

TEXT from Moocall: Cow 37 is calving,” by Debbie Furber, Canadian Cattlemen, January 13, 2017


‘And the River Ran Red’ debut performance,” by Rod Miller (blog), February 23, 2017

Cowboy poets coming to town,” by Gail D. Yovanovich, Alpine Avalanche, February 23, 2017

Cowboy Crossroads: Andy Hedges’ interview with Michael Martin Murphey, Part 1, February 22, 2017

700,000-Year-Old Horse Found in Yukon Permafrost Yields Oldest DNA Ever Decoded,” by Blake de Pastino,  Western Digs, February 22, 2017

Miles City Cowboy Poetry Gathering 2017, by Sharon Moore, Fallon County Extra, February 17, 2017


Cowboy poet, singer to perform at GPT,” (Geff Dawson) Abilene-RC.com, February 22, 2017

Cowboys (documentary film trailer)

Things Aren’t What They Seem,” by Baxter Black (latest column), BaxterBlack.com, February 20, 2017

A County Agent’s Life,” by Baxter Black (audio), Western Horseman, February 20, 2017

Hemp for Cows? Colorado Approves Hemp-animal Feed Study,” Associated Press, agweb.com, February 14, 2017


Western Horseman Youth Art Contest Guidelines

Lack of Direction,” by Dave Stamey (from his newsletter/Facebook), February 14, 2017

33rd National Cowboy Poetry Gathering pictures by Jessica Lifland, Charlie Ekburg, and Claire Steninger,” from The Western Folklife Center Flickr.com, February 14, 2017

Temple Grandin named to the National Women’s Hall of Fame,” by Jennifer Dimas, colostate.edu, February 10, 2017

Swing Shift,” by Peter Campbell/Jennifer Denison, (video) Western Horseman


My Kinda Truck,” poem by Baxter Black (latest column), BaxterBlack.com, February 13, 2017

Feedlot Heroes,” by Baxter Black (audio), Western Horseman, February 13, 2017

Cowboy Poetry Returns to Mesquite,” Mesquite Local News, February 13, 2017

Annual Elko event corrals cowboy poetry, music, stories,” by F. Andrew Taylor,
reviewjournal.com, February 11, 2017


The Grande Dame of Cowboy Poetry,” by Carson Vaughan, American Cowboy, February 2017

The National Cowboy Poetry Gathering is the Essential Western Culture Experience,”
by Bobbie Jean Sawyer, Wide Open Country, February 10, 2017

Western Weather: A Livelihood, An Inconvenience And A Muse,” by Noah Glick, KNUR, February 9, 2017

An Oak Tree and a Sea Change,” by Amy Hale Auker, Western Folklife Center, February 9, 2017

10 Things to Do at the National Cowboy Poetry Gathering,” by Lydia Schrandt, 10best.com,  February 9, 2017


Cowboy Poetry,” (forthcoming film) by Hannah Logan Peterson

Coyote Cage Fighting,” by Jolyn Young, blog, February 6, 2017

National Cowboy & Western Heritage Museum illuminates Hollywood’s love affair with the ‘Old West’,” by by Michaela Marx Wheatley, newsok.com, January 26, 2017


Small Animal Repair,” by Baxter Black (latest column), BaxterBlack.com, February 6, 2017

Instant Tenderness,” by Baxter Black (audio), Western Horseman, February 6, 2017

A National Gathering In Rural Nevada: How Does Elko Do It?,” by Noah Glick, KUNR, February 6, 2017

Elko’s Cowboy Poetry Gathering Emphasizes Storytelling In Divisive Times,”
by Noah Glick, KUNR, February 3, 2017

33rd National Cowboy Poetry Gathering: Ranch Family Show, Western Folklife Center YouTube, February 5, 2017

33rd National Cowboy Poetry Gathering: The Roots of Cowboy Music, Western Folklife Center YouTube, February 5, 2017

33rd National Cowboy Poetry Gathering: Pouring ‘Em Kinda Strong, Western Folklife Center YouTube, February 5, 2017

33rd National Cowboy Poetry Gathering: Hardcore Cowboy, Western Folklife Center YouTube, February 5, 2017

33rd National Cowboy Poetry Gathering: A Day in the Life, Western Folklife Center YouTube, February 4, 2017


20th annual National Cowboy Poetry Rodeo (August 3-5, 2017)

Cowboy Poetry & Music Gathering celebrates 25 years,” by Steve Stockmar, willcoxrangenews.com, February 2, 2017

33rd National Cowboy Poetry Gathering: Keynote Address with Andy Wilkinson,” Western Folklife Center YouTube, February 2, 2017

Paul Zarzyski connects with poets at workshop,” by Hasani Grayson, Elko Daily Free Press, February 1, 2017


Ed Stabler, 1942-2017

33rd National Cowboy Poetry Gathering: Luke Bell and Doug Moreland and the Flying Armadillos,” Western Folklife Center YouTube, February 2, 2017

2017 National Cowboy Poetry Gathering YouTube Channel

Elko Cowboy Arts & Gear Museum,” KENVtv, January 31, 2017


Mechanical Problems,” by Baxter Black (latest column), BaxterBlack.com, January 31, 2017

‘The Moth’ to wrangle authentic Old West stories at cowboy poetry event in Nevada,” by Mary Forgione, Los Angeles Times, January 31, 2017

Cowboy poets are well versed in Old West lore,” by Alison Stanton, The Republic,  January 31, 2017

Cowboy Poetry & Music Gathering celebrates 25 years,” by Steve Stockmar, svherald.com, January 26, 2017


Cat Laws,” by Baxter Black (audio), Western Horseman, January 30, 2017

The Cowboy Poets Gather,” Russell Bowers, audioboom.com, January 30, 2017

Black Diamond bard saddling up for National Cowboy Poetry Gathering,” by Dave Dormer, CBC News, January 29, 2017

Dave Stamey returns to the National Cowboy Poetry Gathering,” by Hasani Grayson, Elko Daily Free Press, January 28, 2017

Telling Tales: Keynote speaker Andy Wilkinson explains why stories are important,” by
Marianne Kobak McKown,  Elko Daily Free Press, January 28, 2017

Deep West Video presents the Tribal Film Translation Project,” by Toni R. Milano,  Elko Daily Free Press, January 28, 2017

Andy Hedges brings classic material” by Hasani Grayson, Elko Daily Free Press, January 28, 2017

Not all Miracles work out,” by Bill Spiegel, High Plains Journal, January 23, 2017


How Cowboy Culture, Music, and Poetry Are Being Celebrated,” by Shelby Oldham, good4utah.com, January 27, 2017

The herd that calmed my nerves,” by Laura, Black Ink, January 27, 2017

Cowboy Poetry & Music Gathering celebrates 25 years,” by Steve Stockmar, Sierra Vista Herald,  January 26, 2017

Legendary Western combo, in its 83rd year, plays Cochise Gathering,” by Steve Stockmar, Sierra Vista Herald, January 25, 2017


Getting cattle from the trains,” by Chris Beutler, Today’s Producer, January 25, 2017

Old West feeling at the Colorado Cowboy Poetry Gathering,” by Christy Steadman, Golden Transcript, January 25, 2017

Cowboy poets tickle Stock Show crowds with wit, wisdom,” by Shirley Jinkins, Star-Telegram, January 24, 2017


Colorado Ranching Is Still Feeling The Sting Of The Rural Recession,” by Ben Markus, cpr.org, January 25, 2017

The Top 10 things the kid you hired does his first week on the job,” by Mark Parker, Farm Talk, January 24, 2017

Mars investigating cattle Skittles,” by Candice Choi, agriview.com, January 23, 2017


Storytelling is theme of National Cowboy Poetry Gathering,” by Marianne Koback McKown, Elko Daily Free Press, January 24, 2017

High Wire Act,” by Baxter Black (latest column), BaxterBlack.com, January 23, 2017

Ranchers show how cattle grazing and wildlife can co-exist,” by John Holland, Modesto Bee, January 18, 2017


The All Ranch Rodeo,” by Baxter Black (audio), Western Horseman, January 23, 2017

Black Cowboys, Busting one of America’s Defining Myths,” by Emily Raboteau, New York Times, January 22, 2017

Pennsylvania mayor due in court over hoard of wild west memorabilia,” Associated Press, January 22, 2017

Rancher, Farmer, Fisherman,” by David Rooney, hollywoodreporter.com, January 20, 2017

Famous local cowboy yodels way into Montana hearts,” by Sarah Brown, The Prairie Star, January 19, 2017

Sad Song” by Rod Miller, blog, January 17, 2017


Grass-Fed Beef, Sold One Cow at a Time,” by Nick Wingfield, NewYork Times, January 17, 2017

Keeper of the Keys,” by Baxter Black (latest column), BaxterBlack.com, January 17, 2017

Growing Up a Farmkid,” by Whitney Turek, theodysseronline.com, January 9, 2018


Andy Hedges’ “Cowboy Crossroads” podcast with Waddie Mitchell, Part 2,  January 17, 2017

Cowboy identity theft,” by Yvonne Hollenbeck, Tri-State Livestock News, January 9, 2017

Home on the Range,” (video), PBS, first aired 2010


The Chain Gang,” by Baxter Black (audio), Western Horseman, January 9, 2017

Life lessons learned on the backs of old horses,” by Jessie Veeder, Inforum, January 15, 2017

Aloha from the Parker Ranch,” by Kelli Neubert, Western Horseman, January 2017

The Cowboy Way: Alabama


Ride like a man, Act like a lady. A cowboy poet’s story.,” Rosebud’s, January 13, 2017

In Arizona, A Place Where Westerns Are Still King,” by Stina Sieg, wbur.org, January 11, 2017

BHSS Pioneer Awards Breakfast: Slim McNaught,” Tri-State Livestock News,  January 5, 2017

Western Folklife Center shares traditions,” by Cortney Erndt, grouptour.com, December 27, 2016


A Journey to the FDA,” by Baxter Black (latest column), BaxterBlack.com, January 10, 2017

The Producer Meeeting,” by Baxter Black (audio), Western Horseman, January 9, 2017

Starting the Year with a Surge of Rainfall Has Local Cattle Ranchers Hopeful for Greener Pastures,” by Jason Oliveira, abc30.com, January 6, 2017


The Way I Remember Him,” (poem) by Trey Allen, Western Horseman, January 6, 2017

My Favorite Book, Part 5,” by Rod Miller,  blog,  January 4, 2017

The First American Cowboys,” by Tom Correa,  American Cowboy Chronicles blog, January 2, 2017


Andy Hedges’ “Cowboy Crossroads” podcast with Waddie Mitchell, January 2, 2017

John’s Scrapbook,” by Baxter Black (latest column), BaxterBlack.com, January 2, 2017

Hints for the Hired Man,” by Baxter Black (audio), Western Horseman, January 2, 2017

City played a role in Old West cattle drives,” by Linda Riggs Mayfield, whig.com, January 1, 2017

Diary of a Christmas blizzard: A comparison,” by Jessie Veeder, inforum.com, January 1, 2017

The Moth podcast to visit Elko’s Cowboy Poetry Gathering,” by Jenny Kane, Reno Gazette-Journal, December 30, 2016

THE MEDICINE KEEPERS by J.B. Allen (1938-2005)


by J.B. Allen (1938-2005)

A man might live and work beside
The fellers ’round the wagon
And never say two words unless
It’s just hooraw and braggin’.

But sometimes in the solitude
Of some ol’ line camp shack
He smooths a fruit can label out
And writes there on its back

A group of words redeemed from time
To last when he moves on,
Set down with hurried flourish
‘Fore his mem’ry of ’em’s gone.

The spellin’ may not be exact
Or commas where they ought,
But there within those rugged lines
A mood is somehow caught.

It might be full of sadness
From a death or crippled friend,
To just the mournful yearnin’
For a way that’s bound to end.

Some others could be bawdy
While full of life and mirth
Or stories ’bout some saddle horse
That has no peers on earth.

There’s many through the years been lost
Or burned or throwed away,
But others yet survive
To give us views of yesterday.

And still amongst the workin’ hands
The words come now and then
To write a livin’ history
Of the stock, and earth, and men.

© 1997, J.B. Allen; used with permission

We’re celebrating the 16th annual Cowboy Poetry Week with some of the best of the best.

Texan J.B. Allen was a working cowboy for over three decades. He was a frequent performer at the Western Folklife Center’s National Cowboy Poetry Gathering and also at the Texas Cowboy Poetry Gathering, Nara Visa, the Arizona Cowboy Poets Gathering, and other events. His poetry is included in many anthologies and in his own books and recordings. His book, The Medicine Keepers, received the Western Heritage Wrangler Award from the National Cowboy and Western Heritage Museum in 1998.

Buck Ramsey (1938-1998), in his introduction to The Medicine Keepers, wrote of J.B. Allen, “More than most cowboys, he held to the ways and memories…thought and talked the old lingo” and stated, “…in my opinion he is the best living writer of traditional cowboy verse.”

This is just one of J.B. Allen’s poems on the new MASTERS CD from CowboyPoetry.com. The recording also includes J.B.’s recitation of Buck Ramsey’s “Anthem.”

Find more about J.B. Allen at CowboyPoetry.com.

Top Texas artist Duward Campbell’s created this painting above of his good friend JB Allen and his horse, Pilgrim, in 2005. We were proud to have it as the art for the 2011 Cowboy Poetry Week poster from CowboyPoetry.com. Find more about it here.

BLACK DRAUGHT by Larry McWhorter (1957-2003)

Larry McWhorter 002-5x5-

photos by Kevin Martini-Fuller

by Larry McWhorter (1957-2003)

“Good Lord, what a dink,” I thought as the boss
Said, “Put that black colt in your string.”
I’d rode lots of duds but none quite compared
To this pitifully ugly, poor thing.

Taylor, he read me just like the Good Book
And probably felt the same way
But his heart beat soft for children and colts
So he took a moment to say,

“Just give ‘im a chance to prove himself, son.
You asked that of me when you hired.
Find out his limits and bring ‘im on slow,
Don’t get him too mad or too tired.

“Just look at that eye all shiny and bright.
Now he won’t win a prize in a ring
But somethin’ about him I kinda like.
Out here show points don’t mean a thing.”

The boys were grinnin’ when I roped him out
And went to the pen that was round.
My face sure got red as I pulled up my cinch
When he squealed and fell to the ground.

And thus we began our rocky romance,
Not liking each other at all.
But somehow that horse was ready to go
When we started workin’ that fall.

I still hadn’t stuck a tag on him yet
But name ‘im I figured I’d ought.
There was but one thing he brought to my mind
So I dubbed him the title, “Black Draught.”

He’d put on some bone and muscle and fat
By the end of our third workin’ season.
The boys still grinned at my little black horse
But now for a different reason.

Ever alert, he was easy to teach.
A pretty good horse he had made.
One day he even out cut Taylor’s ace,
The cowboss then offered a trade.

In the evening after we’d stripped kacks and fed
He’d taxi me up to the house.
No saddle, or bit, just denim on hide
Then he with a hose I would douse.

I guess you could say we made quite a team
But friends, he was far from a pet.
If things was just right or I’d fall asleep
He’d still try to pile me off yet.

One day the heirs split up the old ranch
And though I’m not averse to change,
They’d started to ruin a good place in my mind
So I went in search of a new range.

The sad time had come for good friends to part ways
So I went to tell him good-bye.
I stroked his dark hide and felt a wet cheek.
I must have got sand in my eye.

He smelled of my arm and nipped at my shirt.
He’d not seen me like this before
But the realization had just hit me square
That we’d be together no more.

I’d been, seen and done a lot of new things
In the year since I left him behind,
But no matter how I pushed him away
He clung to my heart and my mind.

I met an old friend in Childress one night
And though it might have been tacky,
Before I asked of his wife and his kids
I said, “Tell me Dave, how’s ol’ Blackie?

A look I’d not seen come over his face,
He reached down and got me a beer.
His hand on my back, he led me away
And said, “Let’s go talk over here.

“A few weeks ago we had a big storm
That cloud was a terrible sight
The wind blew real hard, the thunder was loud,
The lightnin’ was flashin’ all night.

“We went out to feed the horses the next day
But Blackie, who always came first,
He didn’t show up with the rest of the bunch.
We started to fear for the worst.

“Taylor and I rode out there and found him.
He lay all alone on a hill.
And, Hoss, there’s no good way to tell you except
To say that he’s layin’ there still.

“A strange thing happened with that little horse.
He sure acted good with you there.
But after you left he turned for the worse.
It seemed like he just didn’t care.

“He’d linger outside the bunkhouse all day
Or aimlessly wander around.
I really think he was looking for you
But you was nowhere to be found.

“Boy, to see the way that little horse wilted,
It sure would have tore you apart.
I’ll always believe that quick lightnin’ bolt
Give rest to a poor broken heart.”

I stood there a while and let it soak in.
My little black horse had gone home.
I’ll always wonder if he’d be alive
If I’d fought that fool urge to roam.

Good horses abound and run through my dreams
But he’s the main memory I’ve got.
He wasn’t the best but he was my ace
And I sure do miss him alot.

If You should call me to ride your range, Lord,
And You have a works in the spring,
I’d sure take it kind, when you hand out the mounts
If Ol’ Blackie was stuck in my string.

© 2000, Larry McWhorter, used with permission

Here’s another “best of the best” for the 16th annual Cowboy Poetry Week from much loved and respected cowboy, poet, and musician, Larry McWhorter, who left behind an impressive collection of poetry.

In his book, Contemporary Verse by Larry McWhorter, he comments on this poem:

Ol’ Blackie is the horse who taught me not to judge a book by its cover. His winning personality and heart just kept saying, “Give me a chance and between us we’ll get it done.

I’ll never forget how one day he really dug in and jerked a crippled Hereford bull into a trailer. There was some timing, leverage, and luck involved, but, still, that little horse didn’t know he was doing something impossible for someone his size….

Blackie and I had been a lot of miles together and I think he liked me because I believed in him. This poem about him and other poems about him and other poems written about other horses by other poets is, I suppose, our way of getting to ride again.

Listen to Larry McWhorter recite this poem.

This is one of four poems by Larry McWhorter on the new MASTERS CD. He also recites “Where the Ponies Come to Drink” by Henry Herbert Knibbs.

Larry’s friend, Texas singer and songwriter Jean Prescott produced an impressive double-CD album of his work in 2010, with his recitations and also recordings by some of his friends reciting his work, including Oscar Auker, Red Steagall, Waddie Mitchell, Andy Hedges, and others. Find more about that project at CowboyPoetry.com. The CD is available directly from Jean Prescott at jeanprescott.com and at CD Baby and other outlets.

Find more poetry and more about Larry McWhorter at CowboyPoetry.com.

This photo of Larry McWhorter is by top photographer Kevin Martini-Fuller, who has photographed participants of the National Cowboy Poetry Gathering for over three decades. Find some of those photos at his site.

More about Cowboy Poetry Week.

Thanks to Andrea Waitley for her kind permissions.

THE HORSE TRADE by Sunny Hancock (1931-2003)

Sunny Hancock

photo by Kevin Martini-Fuller


by Sunny Hancock (1931-2003)

I traded for a horse one time,
he wouldn’t take no beauty prize;
A great big long-eared, blue roan gelding,
not too bad for weight or size.
I had to make some tough old circles
and this trader guaranteed
This horse would show me lots of country
and not need too much rest or feed.

He said “Now this here ain’t no kids’ horse
but he’ll pack you up the crick,
He will bump up on some occasions
and he has been known to kick.
I wouldn’t trade him to just anyone
without having some remorse
But if you’re a sure enough cow puncher,
mister, he’s your kind of horse.

I stepped on that horse next mornin’;
he began to buck and bawl.
That trader maybe hadn’t lied none,
but he hadn’t told it all.
Because we sure tore up the country
where he throwed that equine fit
And I almost ran out of hand holds
by the time he finally quit.

I guess that musta’ set the pattern;
things just never seemed to change,
Although I showed him lots of country,
every corner of the range.
But every time I’d ride that booger,
why, he’d keep me sittin’ tight.
I knew I’d make at least three bronc rides
‘fore he’d pack me home that night.

Which woulda been OK
with lots of horses that I knowed.
But that old pony had my number;
I’d just barely got him rode.
And the thing that really spooked me
and put a damper on my pride
Was he was learning how to buck
faster than I was learnin’ how to ride.

I pulled into camp one evening;
it was gettin’ pretty late.
I see this grey horse in the corral
and there’s a saddle by the gate.
I looked that grey horse over
and I sure liked what I seen,
Then this kid showed up around the barn;
he musta been about sixteen.

He said he’d lamed that grey that morning
coming down off the granite grade,
And he wondered if I had a horse
I’d maybe like to trade.
He said he didn’t have the time to stop
and rest and let him heal,
And since that beggars can’t be choosers,
he’d make most any kind of deal.

When a feller’s tradin’ horses,
why, most anything is fair,
So I traded him that blue roan
for his grey horse then and there.
But them my conscience started hurtin’
When I thought of what I did,
To trade a “fly blown” dink like that
off to some little wet-nosed kid.

So next mornin’ after breakfast,
why, I tells him, “Listen lad,
If you want to know the truth,
that trade you made last night was bad.
That old blue horse is a tough one,
bad as any one you’ll see.
He’ll kick you, strike you, stampede.
He’s a sorry SOB.

“It’s all I can do to ride him
and I’ll tell it to you straight,
I think you’ll be awfully lucky
just to ride him past the gate.
There’s two or three old horses
out there in the saddle bunch.
They ain’t got too much going for ’em
but I kinda got a hunch

“They’ll probably get you where you’re going
if you just don’t crowd ’em none,
But damn, I hate to see you ride
that blue roan booger, son!”
He said, “I told you there last night
I’d make most any kind of trade,
And I appreciation your tellin’
what a bad mistake I made.

“But my old daddy told me when you’re tradin’
that no matter how you feel,
Even if you take a whippin’
that a deal is still a deal.
That horse, you say has lots of travel,
and he’s not too bad for speed.
Well, sir, I’m kinda’ in a tight
and that’s exactly what I need.

“I traded for him fair and square
and damn his blue roan hide,
When I pull outta’ here this morning,
that’s the horse I’m gonna ride.”
I watched him cinching up his saddle
and he pulled his hat way down,
Stepped right up into the riggin’
like he’s headed straight for town.

Stuck both spurs up in his shoulders,
got the blue roan hair a-flyin’
Tipped his head straight back and screamed
just like a hungry mountain lion.
You know, I’ve heard a lot of stories
’bout the bucking horse ballet.
I’ve heard of poetry in motion,
but the ride I saw that day

Just plumb complete defied description
though I can see it plain,
Like it had happened in slow motion
and was branded on my brain.
I don’t suppose I could explain it
to you even if I tried.
The only thing that I can say is,
by the saints, that kid could ride.

He sat there plumb relaxed
like he was laying home in bed,
And every jump that pony made,
that kid’s a-half a jump ahead.
When it was over I decided
I could learn a few things still,
And I said, “Son, I’m awfully sorry
I misjudged your ridin’ skill.”

He just said, “Shucks, that’s OK, mister,”
as he started on his way,
“But if you think this horse can buck,
don’t put your saddle on that grey.”

© 2002, Sunny Hancock, used with the permission of the Hancock Family

It’s Cowboy Poetry Week, and what better way to celebrate than with this all-time favorite poem. Sunny Hancock, a “cowboy’s cowboy,” was at the first Westerm Folklife Center cowboy poetry gathering in 1985 and was a regular participant for many years. He cowboyed all over the western U.S.and when he retired, he and his wife, Alice, lived outside of Lakeview, Oregon. They were friends and inspirations to many.

The new MASTERS CD from CowboyPoetry.com has a recording of Sunny reciting this poem, and others, in front of live audiences at the National Cowboy Poetry Gathering.

A September, 2014 post of this poem became our most popular Facebook post ever, with currently over 2.5K Likes, over 445 comments, and over6,850 shares. People continue to Like and comment on that post.

Gary McMahan tells the poem with music, and you can listen to the entire piece at his site.

Find more about Sunny Hancock at CowboyPoetry.com.

This photo of Sunny Hancock is by top photographer Kevin Martini-Fuller, who has photographed participants of the National Cowboy Poetry Gathering for over three decades. Find some of those photos at his site.

More about Cowboy Poetry Week.