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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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WHEN THEY’VE FINISHED SHIPPING CATTLE IN THE FALL by Bruce Kiskaddon (1878-1950)

terryfinished

WHEN THEY’VE FINISHED SHIPPING CATTLE IN THE FALL
by Bruce Kiskaddon (1878-1950)

Though you’re not exactly blue,
Yet you don’t feel like you do
In the winter, or the long hot summer days.
For your feelin’s and the weather
Seem to sort of go together,
And you’re quiet in the dreamy autumn haze.
When the last big steer is goaded
Down the chute, and safely loaded;
And the summer crew has ceased to hit the ball;
When a fellow starts to draggin’
To the home ranch with the wagon—
When they’ve finished shipping cattle in the fall.

Only two men left a standin’
On the job for winter brandin’,
And your pardner, he’s a loafing by your side.
With a bran-new saddle creakin’,
But you never hear him speakin’,
And you feel it’s goin’ to be a quiet ride.
But you savvy one another
For you know him like a brother—
He is friendly but he’s quiet, that is all;
For he’s thinkin’ while he’s draggin’
To the home ranch with the wagon—
When they’ve finished shippin’ cattle in the fall.

And the saddle hosses stringin’
At an easy walk a swingin’
In behind the old chuck wagon movin’ slow.
They are weary gaunt and jaded
With the mud and brush they’ve waded,
And they settled down to business long ago.
Not a hoss is feelin’ sporty,
Not a hoss is actin’ snorty;
In the spring the brutes was full of buck and bawl;
But they’re gentle, when they’re draggin’
To the home ranch with the wagon—
When they’ve finished shippin’ cattle in the fall.

And the cook leads the retreat
Perched high upon his wagon seat,
With his hat pulled ‘way down furr’wd on his head.
Used to make that old team hustle,
Now he hardly moves a muscle,
And a feller might imagine he was dead,
‘Cept his old cob pipe is smokin’
As he lets his team go pokin’,
Hittin’ all the humps and hollers in the road.
No, the cook has not been drinkin’—
He’s just settin’ there and thinkin’
‘Bout the places and the people that he knowed
And you watch the dust a trailin’
And two little clouds a sailin’,
And a big mirage like lakes and timber tall.
And you’re lonesome when you’re draggin’
To the home ranch with the wagon—
When they’ve finished shippin’ cattle in the fall.

When you make the camp that night,
Though the fire is burnin’ bright,
Yet nobody seems to have a lot to say,
In the spring you sung and hollered,
Now you git your supper swallered
And you crawl into your blankets right away.
Then you watch the stars a shinin’
Up there in the soft blue linin’
And you sniff the frosty night air clear and cool.
You can hear the night hoss shiftin’
As your memory starts driftin’
To the little village where you went to school.
With its narrow gravel streets
And the kids you used to meet,
And the common where you used to play baseball.
Now you’re far away and draggin’
To the home ranch with the wagon
For they’ve finished shippin’ cattle in the fall.

And your school-boy sweetheart too,
With her eyes of honest blue—
Best performer in the old home talent show.
You were nothin’ but a kid
But you liked her, sure you did—
Lord! And that was over thirty years ago.
Then your memory starts to roam
From Old Mexico to Nome.
From the Rio Grande to the Powder River,
Of the things you seen and done—
Some of them was lots of fun
And a lot of other things they make you shiver.
‘Bout that boy by name of Reid
That was killed in a stampede—
‘Twas away up north, you helped ’em dig his grave,
And your old friend Jim the boss
That got tangled with a hoss,
And the fellers couldn’t reach in time to save.

You was there when Ed got his’n—
Boy that killed him’s still in prison,
And old Lucky George, he’s rich and livin’ high.
Poor old Tom, he come off worst,
Got his leg broke, died of thirst
Lord but that must be an awful way to die.

Then them winters at the ranches,
And the old time country dances—
Everybody there was sociable and gay.
Used to lead ’em down the middle
Jest a prancin’ to the fiddle—
Never thought of goin’ home till the break of day.
No! there ain’t no chance for sleepin’,
For the memories come a creepin’,
And sometimes you think you hear the voices call;
When a feller starts a draggin’
To the home ranch with the wagon—
When they’ve finished shippin’ cattle in the fall.

…from Kiskaddon’s 1924 version in Rhymes of the Ranges

Bruce Kiskaddon’s masterpiece is a well loved classic, in the repertoire of most serious reciters. Hear top poet Waddie Mitchell recite it.

Bruce Kiskaddon drew on his cowboying experiences for his poetry. Find much more about him in features at CowboyPoetry.com.

This 2017 photo is by Colorado poet and rancher Terry Nash. He told us, “I took it on the mountain just before we began gathering cattle to ship.”

Terry Nash can be found at events across the West, including the upcoming 2nd annual West End Cowboy Gathering in Nucla, Colorado, October 31, 2018 along with Dale Burson, Valerie Beard, Floyd Beard, and Peggy Malone. Next month, he is also a part of the Western Slope Cowboy Gathering, November 2-3, 2018 in Grand Junction, Colorado. He’ll join Trinity Seely, Al Albrethsen, Floyd Beard, Dale Burson, Jerry Brooks, Nona Kelley Carver, The Great Western Heritage Show (Rick Cosby and Gary Mansfield), Dale Page, Rod Taylor, Rocky Sullivan, Peggy Malone, and the Ramblin’ Rangers (Bonnie Jo and Brad Exton).

Terry’s recent CD is A Good Ride.” Find more about him at CowboyPoetry.com  and visit his site, terrynashcowboypoet.com.
(Please respect copyright. You can share this poem and photo with this post, but any other use of the photo requires permission. The poem is in the public domain.)

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.

CP_Smith_Poster_15X20_R3
Cowboy Poetry Week
Eighteenth annual: April 21-27, 2019

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Heber Valley Western Music and Cowboy Poetry Gathering,” Utah Stories, October 11, 2018

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Alternative Dining and New Age Spa,” a poem in the latest column by Baxter Black, baxterblack.com, October 10, 2018

The Top 10 topics for the monthly farm/ranch staff meeting,” by Mark Parker, Farm Talk, October 9, 2018

Yee-haw! Cowboys share poetry and prose at Western Slope Cowboy Gathering,”
by Cloie Sandlin, Beacon, October 7, 2018

7 reasons to visit the West this winter,” by Suzanne Van Atten, The Atlanta Journal-Constitution, October 6, 2018

Durango Cowboy Poetry Gathering Parade,” (photos), Durango Herald, October 6, 2018

Culture Days showcases depth of local culture in Stony Plain,” by Joshua Aldrich, Stony Plain Reporter, October 5, 2018

Hereford tour showcases adaptability of the cattle to different environmental conditions,” by Rachel Gabel, The Fence Post, October 5, 2018

Ohio man says rescued cow is a regular backseat passenger,” Associated Press, Yahoo, October 5, 2018

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In Our Thoughts: Dennis Gaines

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35th National Cowboy Poetry Gathering- Tickets on Sale Now

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Cowboy Poets And Musicians Honour Western Tradition,” by Cory Gialleonardo, highriveronline.com, September 30, 2018

NCBA Contest Seeks Cowboy Poets,” southeastagnet.com, September 26, 2018

Legendary Sire Dual Pep Dies at 33,” by Kelsey Pecsek Hruska and Molly Montag, Quarter Horse News, September 26, 2018

Horses with Heritage,” by Jennifer Denison, Western Horseman, September 21, 2018

Anatomy Of Beef Cattle,” beef2live.com, September 19, 2018

Art Gallery: Charles Goodnight,” by Michele Powers Glaze, Cowboys & Indians, September 11, 2018

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At the Cowboy Poetry Gathering, Tall Tales, Resonant Rhymes,” by Chris Wohlwend, New York Times, September 26, 2018

I Should’a Brought a Raincoat,” the latest column by Baxter Black, baxterblack.com, September 25, 2018

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Kick-off to Sierra Valley Art + Ag Trail, Plumas News, September 23, 2018

Home of rare cattle protected,” TimesUnion, September 22, 2018

‘Cowboy Bob’ Robert Dale Hagert,”  OurayNews, September 22, 2018

Stranded on I-94 with a load of cows,” by Katie Pinke,  Agweek, September 21, 2018

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Cowboy Crossroads with Andy Hedges,”  Part Two with Joel Nelson, Cowboy Crossroads, September 19, 2018 

Cowboy Poetry, Music and Art Show, Oct. 7,” Ekalaka Eagle, September 21, 2018

Russell, Ramblin’ Jack and a Night at the Opera,” by Chris Aaland, Durango Telegraph, September 20, 2018

The thinking behind ‘Ride for the brand’,” by Jennifer Dorsey, Jackson Hole News & Guide, September 19, 2018

Sask. author honoured for years of literary work,” by Jonathan Guignard, Global News, September 18, 2018

Tee Cross Branding Traditions,” by Jennifer Denison, Western Horseman, September 17, 2018

Real-World Solutions for Unwanted Horses,” by Christine Hamilton, Western Horseman, September 17, 2018

Women on the auction block,” by Rae Price, WLJ, September 14, 2018

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That Time Again,” the latest column by Baxter Black, baxterblack.com, September 17, 2018

Love and seasons,” by Jessie Veeder, Inforum, September 16, 2018

Cowboy poets headed to Sweet Home Oct. 6,” by Alex Paul Sep, democratherald.com, September 14, 2018
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For the love of the ranch,” by Jessica Claypole, Bolivar Herald-Free Press, September 12, 2018

14th Annual Not Just Cowboy Poetry and 6th Annual Apple Pie Throwdown,” Willits News, September 11, 2018

The Top 10 excuses heard by veterinarians,” by Mark Parker, FarmTalk, September 11, 2018

Florida Cattlemen Promoting Events,” Southeast AgNet Radio Network, September 11, 2018

Photographer Christy Burleson Shoots Pendleton Round-Up,” by Kristin Brown, Cowboys & Indians, September 7, 2018

BC Cowboy Heritage Society Newsletter September, 2018

Cowboys & Indians 2018 NFR SWEEPSTAKES deadline September 30, 2018

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Cowboy Crossroads with Andy Hedges,”  with Joel Nelson, Cowboy Crossroads, September 5, 2018 

Lawn Clippings,” the latest column by Baxter Black, baxterblack.com, September 10, 2018

Country music, cowboy poetry provide enjoyable evening for Craig arts patrons at Luttrell Barn,” by Andy Bockelman, Craig Press, September 8, 2018

You can’t put just one brand on Durango,” by Frank Lockwood, Durango Herald, September 8, 2018

$3M Marana cattle fraud shatters friendship, puts 2 families on financial brink,” by Curt Prendergast, Arizona Daily Star, September 7, 2018

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Western Wordsmiths,  the new site of the Western Wordsmiths chapter of the International Western Music Association

The Chestnut Conundrum,” by Kelli Neubert, Western Horseman, September
6, 2018

Student Cowboy Poetry Contest, Chisholm Trail Heritage Center (deadline November 1, 2018)

Cast Iron Care Tips by Kent Rollins, YouTube series

The Top 10 ways to spot an out-of-towner at the coffee shop,” by Mark Parker, FarmTalk,  September 5, 2018

Cowboy and Drover Jubilee to celebrate Barkerville’s rich cowboy heritage,” by Lindsay Chung, Quesnel Observer, September 4, 2018

From rookie to rancher: Learning how to be a cowgirl,” by Carrie Veselka, Progressive Cattleman, August 23, 2018

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Labor Day on the Farm,” in the latest column by Baxter Black, baxterblack.com, September 4, 2018

Horses Handle Cattle Best,” by Ross Hecox, Western Horseman, August 16, 2018

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Eye on the West: Photography and the Contemporary West September 1-December 16, 2018 at Yale’s Beinecke Rare Book & Manuscript Library

Cowboy Symposium celebrating 30th anniversary ,” by Ray Westbrook, A-J Media, August 31, 2018

Annual Alzada Cowboy Poetry, Music and Art Show, ” Ekalaka Eagle, August 31, 2018

Cowboy Music And Poetry Gathering Announced At Lincoln Theater,” by BWW News Desk, August 29, 2018

Lincoln Theater celebrates cowboy culture,” Napa Valley Register, August 29, 2018

Finding Meaning,” by Skip Hellewell, lagunabeachindy.com, August 20, 2018

Ranching and rodeo with the Wrights,” by Rod Miller, blog, August 20, 2018

The Top 10 comments overheard on a cattlemen’s tour,” by Mark Parker, FarmTalk, August 28, 2018

Museum Minute: Theodore Roosevelts’s Special Saddle,” by Kamila Kudelska, Buffalo Bill Center of the West, August 23, 2018

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How Poetry Helped Sustain John McCain During His Years as a Prisoner of War,” by Olivia B. Waxman, Time, from April, 2018

From the Horseman’s Mouth,” by Kelli Neubert, Western Horseman, August 24, 2018

Centennial Celebration of the First Henry Stampede and Stockman’s Reunion,” by Ellen Carney, The Preston Citizen, August 24, 2018

WILLA Award Winners & Finalists to be celebrated at this year’s conference,”  Women Writing the West, August 22, 2018

Ranch Horse News,” Western Horseman, Fall 2018

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She Does the Books,” a poem, in the latest column by Baxter Black, baxterblack.com, August 20, 2018

Cowboy troubadour,” by Ollie Reed Jr., ABQJournal, August 19th, 2018

Wild Horses, Wild Life In San Juan; Rancho Mission Viejo Rodeo,” by Ashley Ludwig, patch.com, August 17, 2018

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Central Coast musician shares California’s unsung country music legacy,” by Tom Wilmer, kcbx.org, August 16, 2018

One Grand Celebration begins today,” heraldextra.com, August 16, 2018

Naomi Katherine Camden,” Lewiston Tribune, August 15,2018

Where’s the beef? How Coloradans are getting hooked on local meat,” by Haley Witt, gazette.com, August 15, 2018

Calving Season: Coming of Age on a Montana Cattle Ranch,” by Nathan Reich, New York Times, August 14, 2018

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Hoofbeats and paw prints and measuring time,” by Jessie Veeder, Meanwhile, Back at the Ranch (blog), August 13, 2018

The Canine Crew,” by Jennifer Denison, Western Horseman, (undated) posted August 13, 2018

Historian and cowboy poet recounts good ol’ days of cattle drives on B.C. trail,” CBC  News, August 11, 2018

Fiddles and vittles; Cowboy gathering a peek back into the Old West,” by Tracy Harmon, Pueblo Chieftan, August 11, 2018

Hay shortage leaves Texas ranchers scrambling for cattle feed,” by Bob Sechler,
American-Statesman, August 10, 2018

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35th annual National Cowboy Poetry Gathering featured poets and musicians

Paisley’s Cowboy Poetry a huge hit,” by S. Garrett Shaw, Lake County Examiner,
August 8, 2018

Herd of cows help Florida police corner a fleeing suspect,” (video), The Guardian, August 8, 2018

Beatties reopening Kay El Bar to guests,” by Kevin Cloe, Wickenburg Sun, August 8, 2018

Federal agency studies unauthorized bridge in North Dakota,” The Associated Press, August 07, 2018

Cowboy poets gather Aug. 9-11,” Daily Courier, August 2, 2018

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Four Sixes cowboy Boots O’Neal to receive first-ever RHA Working Cowboy Award,” everythinglubbock.com, August 4, 2018

An authentic way,” by Gwen Petersen, The Fence Post, August 3, 2018

Rollin’ out good grub in Pinedale,” by Darius Larson, The Independent, August 3, 2018

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Cowboy Crossroads with Andy Hedges,”  with Amy Hale Auker, Cowboy Crossroads, August 1, 2018

Crowds ‘buzz’ into annual Paisley Mosquito Festival,” by Michael Acosta, Lake County Examiner, August 1, 2018

Best Fried Hush Puppies,” (a don’t-miss video; see the last few minutes), by Kent Rollins, YouTube, July 31, 2018

National Day of the Cowboy makes first ride,” by Angel Carpenter, Blue Mountain Eagle, July 31, 2018

Millard County Fair Aug. 8-11,” Millard County Chronicle Progress, July 31, 2018

Outback,” the latest column by Baxter Black, baxterblack.com, July 30, 2018

Idaho Wildfire Burns 100,000 Acres, Displaces Thousands of Cattle,” by Wyatt Bechtel, Drovers, July 30, 2018

In the Bunkhouse with Red Steagall,” by Kristin Brown, Cowboys & Indians, July 20, 2018

It’s a dangerous business,” by Tayler Teichert, Progressive Cattleman, July 12, 2018

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Plano Musician Braeden Paul,” by Jeff Campbell, Plano Magazine, July 17, 2018

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Rancher, farmer, cowboy poet: meet the Salem man driving the mule team at the parade,” Ashley Stilson, Daily Herald, July 24, 2018

The Top 10 trophies they ought to hand out at the county fair,” by Mark Parker, FarmTalk, July 24, 2018

The Roper’s Rule,” a poem, in the latest column by Baxter Black, baxterblack.com, July 23, 2018

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Andy Hedges: Cowboy Songster & Poet Extolling the Virtues of the American West,” by Spring Sault, texashillcountry.com,  July 20, 2018

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Wink Ranch, May 2018,” by Dawn Wink, Dewdrops (blog), July 23, 2018

Troubadours sing about America West at Luna Rossa Winery,” Deming Headlight, July 20, 2019

The King Ranch,” (video) Western Horseman (at Facebook), July 20, 2018

Treasures within Treasures — William Clark Letter,” by Nancy McClure, Buffalo Bill Center of the West, July 20, 2018

Riverbend Live! brings two country acts to Winston,” by Erica Welch, The News-Review, July 20, 2018

Kansas farmers react to ‘cow cuddling’ trend: ‘Holy cow’,” by Emily Younger, nrtoday.com, July 18, 2018

Paisley Cowboy Poetry fundraiser kicks off Mosquito Festival,” by Kurt Liedtke, heraldandnews.com, July 19, 2018

Fake News: ‘Cattle Crusher’ Post Goes Viral on Facebook,” by Wyatt Bechtel, Drovers,
July 18, 2018

New Prairie City celebration honors Western lifestyle” by Angel Carpenter, Blue Mountain Eagle, July 17, 2018

Civilized,” by Baxter Black (latest column), BaxterBlack.com,  July 16, 2018

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Inside the Story: 14-year-old cowboy poet bringing back the Old West,” by Dan
Rascon, kutv.com, July 11, 2018

Kelly Inducted into Utah Cowboy Hall of Fame,” wasatchwave.com, July 11, 2018

A Flagship’s Proposed Slogan — ‘The World Needs More Cowboys’ — Draws Fire Out
West,” by Claire Hansen, The Chronicle of Higher Education, July 10, 2018

Wanted: The Perfect Horse,” by Kelli Neubert, Western Horseman, July 6, 2018

2018 Western Horseman Youth Art Contest Winners,” by Katie Frank, Western
Horseman, July 6, 2018

Taking Note: Poetry Reading Is Up—Federal Survey Results,” by Sunil Iyengar,
NEA, June 7, 2018

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A Close Call,” by Baxter Black (latest column), BaxterBlack.com,  July 9, 2018

The Jackie Robinson of Rodeo,” by Christian Wallace, Texas Monthly, July, 2018

A Hidden History of Black Cowboys, As Told By Dom Flemons…,” by Craig Havighurst, wmot.org, July 6, 2018

Fiddling, harmonizing Quebe Sisters at Strand,” Village Soup, July 6, 2018

Horses Had Dentists 3,000 Years Ago,” by Megan Gannon, National Geographic, July 2, 2018

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The Last Cowboys: A Cattle-Ranching Family Fights to Survive,”  by Simon Worrall, National Geographic, June 29, 2018

Tornado damages ranches in Harding County, South Dakota,” tsln.com, June 29, 2018

Cowboy Poetry is alive and kicking,” Flint Hills Media Project,  June 2018

Picture This!,” Elko Daily Free Press, June 29, 2018

Poetry in (rodeo) motion,” Rodeo News, June, 2018

31st Annual Gathering of Cowboy Poets Set for mid-August,” signalsaz.com, June 28, 2018

Cowboy poetry at Westgate library,” by Brian Roche, wtvy.com, June 28, 2018

Where’s the beef? Texas man accused of being all hat, no cattle,” by Patrick Johnston, Wichita Falls Times Record News, June 28, 2018

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Value on tradition,” by Hunter Marrow,  Hunter Marrow, The Argus Observer, June 22, 2018

Cowboy Crossroads with Andy Hedges,”  with Michael Martin Murphey, Cowboy Crossroads, June 19, 2018

Saddle up! The Reno Rodeo Cattle Drive rides into town…,” DailyMail.com, June 17, 2018

Manhattanites keep Cowboy Poetry alive,” by Ann Olamiju, wibw.com, June 15, 2018

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Cattle Couplets and Equine Quatrains,” by Rod Miller, Saddlebag Dispatches, Summer 2018.

Bar D Chuckwagon celebrates 50th summer season,” by Katie Chicklinski-Cahill, Durango Herald, June 21, 2018

Singing cowboy Ron Ball still wears the white hat,” by Claire Woodcock, Trail-Gazette, June 21, 2018

Riverbend Live Just Over Two Weeks Away,” by Kyle Bailey, KQEN, June 21, 2018

Stavely hosts 18th annual Willow Creek Cowboy Gathering,” by Ian Gustafson, nantonnews.com,  June 20, 2018

2018 Legends and Legacies draws full crowd,”  by Roger Cline, Big Spring Herald, June 20, 2018

A Day to Remember,” by Baxter Black (latest column), BaxterBlack.com,  June 19, 2018

Dryden performs original cowboy poetry at Arizona Heritage Center,” eacourier.com, June 19, 2018

Working Ranch Cowboys Association: For the Greater Good,” by Savanna Simmons, tsln.com, June 18, 2018

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Lies They Tell Writers, Part 44: Editors Love Enthusiasm.,” by Rod Miller (blog), June 18, 2018

How ranchers in the West survive on their winnings from rodeo riding,” by Carson
Vaughan, Washington Post, June 15, 2018

In Yellowstone, Heavy Lies the Stetson (on Kevin Costner’s Head),” by Carson
Vaughan, In These Times, June 14, 2018

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The Role Of The Rodeo In A Changing West,” 1a.org, June 14, 2018

Cowboying Up,” Durango Telegraph, June 14, 2018

Cowboy Poetry [is] Earlier this year,” by Michael Acosta, Lake County Examiner, June 13, 2018

Festival celebrates arts, culture,” Independent Enterprise, June 13, 2018

Big Book of Buzzwords,” by Baxter Black (latest column), BaxterBlack.com,  June 12, 2018

Louis L’Amour’s Legacy,” by Jesse Hughey, Cowboys & Indians, June 7, 2018

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It isn’t always money that makes us rich,” by Jessie Veeder, Meanwhile, Back at the Ranch (blog), June 11, 2018

You Can’t Stop This Two-legged Ranch Dog From Working the Herd,” by Sara Brown, Drovers, June 7, 2018

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Rick Huff’s Best of the West Reviews, Summer 2018

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Saddling up for Kansas Cowboy Poetry Contest,” WIBW, June 8, 2018

Chopper Cowboys,” by Katie Frank and Jennifer Denison, Western Horseman, June 7,
2018

End of May is payday for cattle ranchers,” by Gilroy Dispatch, June 6, 2018

On D-Day anniversary, Nampa ceremony honors those ‘too young to shave,’KTVB,
June 6, 2018

Horsemen gather in Barriere from all over B.C. to enjoy Rendezvous 2018,” by Jill Hayward, Barriere Star Journal, June 5, 2018

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Rim Country’s hidden gem – Dee Strickland Johnson, AKA ‘Buckshot Dot‘,” by Robin D. Bowen, Payson Roundup, June 5, 2018

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Flynt and Frank,” by Baxter Black (latest column), BaxterBlack.com,  June 4, 2018

Arizona Cowboy Poets Gathering video

Gardening season means secret manure stashes, friendly father-daughter rivalry,” by Jessie Veeder, Inforum, June 3, 2018

Witness Footage of Cows Flying Through a Wyoming Tornado,” rock97online.com, May 29, 2018

‘The Last Cowboys’ Review: Giving Good Rein,” by Andrew Graybill, Wall Street Journal,
May 25, 2018

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Museum curator on archiving Will James’ art and writing: His ‘work should not be forgotten’,” by Anna Paige, Billings Gazette, June 1, 2018

A Cowboy’s Crown,” by Katie Frank, Western Horseman, June 1, 2018 (from a 2016 article)

Wylee Mitchell: Poetry in motion at rodeos,” by Anthony Mori, Elko Daily Free Press, May 31, 2018

Medora, ND and Mt. Rushmore,” by Vic Anderson, eptrail.com, May 31, 2018

Nevada authorities ask for help after 200+ cows missing,” Ag Daily,  May 21, 2018

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Cowboy Crossroads with Andy Hedges,”  with Wallace McRae, Cowboy Crossroads, May 30, 2018

Feedlot Cowboy,” by Baxter Black (latest column), BaxterBlack.com,  May 30, 2018

The Top 10 hay-making challenges,” by Mark Parker, farmtalknewspaper.com, May 30, 2018

Rare quadruplet calves born on central Minnesota farm,”  by Robin Huebner, agweek.com, May 30, 2018

Rancher Explores Cowboy Culture In Kazakhstan,” by Jerome McDonnell, wbez.org,
May 8, 2018

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2018 National Cowboy Poetry Rodeo and Chisholm Trail Western Music Show August 2-4, 2018, Abilene, Kansas

Coyotes Conquered North America. Now They’re Heading South,” by JoAnna Klein, New York Times, May 24, 2018

Tending the fields like a pioneer…,” by Murray Crawford, reddeeradvocate.com, May 23, 2018

“Open Air Art Day in New Raymer June 2,” South Platte Sentinel, May 22, 2018

A tradition: Dakota Cowboy Poetry Gathering,” thedickinsonpress.com, May 21, 2018

Marion C. Manwill 1930-2018,” heraldextra.com, May 20, 2018

Coffee table book displays artists’ renderings of horses,”  by Glenn Dromgoole, theeagle.com, May 20, 2018

‘Black Cowboys’ and ‘The Best Country Blues You’ve Never Heard’ Chart New Trails
through Old-Time Music,” by Mark Reynolds, popmatters.com, May 18, 2018

Riverbend Live Announces 2018 Season,” by Kyle Bailey, kqennewsradio.com,  May 17, 2018

Town: National Cowboy Poetry Rodeo” (video with Geff Dawson),  eaglecomtv.net, May 14, 2018

Celebrating the Colt,” by Kelli Neubert, Western Horseman, May 10, 2018

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Livestock auction finds community helping youths,” Calaveras Enterprise, May 6, 2018

Higher Education,” by Rod Miller, blog, May 5, 2018

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Iconic Cap-K Ranch still going strong after 131 years as cattle operation,” by Scott Condon, Aspen Times, May 6, 2018

Celebrate western heritage and the Air Force this week in Abilene,” by Nathaniel Ellsworth, Abilene Reporter-News, May 6, 2018

Mom Leads Sons to Cattle Farming,” by Linda Williams, Lancaster Farming, May 4, 2018

Exploring the impacts of a world without food animals,” farmanddairy.com, May 4, 2018

Calving conundrums,” by Peggy Sanders, The Fence Post, May 4, 2018

How the West was one at Abilene’s Western Heritage Classic,” by Greg Jaklewicz, Abilene Reporter-News, May 3, 2018

Black Cowboys Are Real,” by Rory Doyle, Bitter Southerner, May 1, 2018

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Never felt more like singing the blues: Gibson guitar firm files for bankruptcy,” by Edward Helmore, The Guardian, May 1, 2018

25th Anniversary Cowboy Festival Gala” (video), sctv.com, May 1, 2018

Our Amazing Grasslands~Schell Ranch” (video), USDA NRCS South Dakota,
April 30, 2018

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Classified Ads (Interpreted),” by Baxter Black (latest column), BaxterBlack.com,  April 30, 2018

Mesquite Days returns to bring festivities to the Virgin Valley,” by Terell Wilkins, The Spectrum, April 30, 2018

Stagecoach 2018: The 10 things we’ll remember about the festival,” by Vanessa Franko and Kelli Skye Fadroski,  The Press-Enterprise,  April 30, 2018

Oklahoma wildfire causes significant cattle fatalities,” by Ashley Williams, globalmeatnews.com, April 28, 2018

__________

Cowboy Crossroads with Andy Hedges,”  with John Erickson of “Hank the Cowdog” (audio), Cowboy Crossroads, April 26, 2018

__________

My Baby, The Bull” By Darrell Arnold, Western Horseman, as written in December 1985, posted April 27, 2018

Eight members of rodeo’s first family will compete in Clovis. A new book tells their story,” by Marek Warszawski, Fresno Bee, April 26, 2018

Montana Playwrights Network Writer’s Challenge,” Helena Independent Record, April 25, 2018

Western writers’ cookbook brings Old West and contemporary, home-style cooking together,” by Kristen Inbody, Great Falls Tribune, April 24, 2018

Cowboy poet visits Whitecourt,” by Taryn Brandell, Whitecourt Star, April 23, 2018

‘Black Cowboys’ Sheds Light On Overlooked Music Of African-Americans Who Went
West,” by Eric Westervelt, Here and Now, April 23, 2018

Whitewood students learn about local Cowboy Poet,” (video) KEVN, April 18, 2018

__________

Calving season and small triumphs,” by Jessie Veeder, Meanwhile, Back at the
Ranch (blog), April 23, 2018

Stars Share Spotlight as Cowboy Festival Turns 25,” scvnews.com, April 22, 2018

“‘The Rider,’ starring a real rodeo horseman, is a breath of fresh prairie air for westerns,” by Ann Hornaday, Washington Post, April 18, 2018

Suspect charged, arrested in million dollar cattle embezzlement case,” High Plains / Midwest Ag Journal, April 16, 2018

________

Just 14-years-old, this cowboy poet holds his own on the national stage,” by JaNae Francis, Standard-Examiner, April 21, 2018

Winter Blues,” by Frank Gleeson (poem), Williams Lake Tribune, April 20, 2018

A sign of the future in Morris: Cows + solar panels + fast electric car charger,” by Elizabeth Dunbar, mprnews.org,  April 20, 2018

A Cowboy’s Artist,” (on Bill Owen),  Western Horseman, archived article posted April 20, 2018

Flashback: Will Rogers’ Short Maguey,” by Dick Spencer III, Western Horseman, as written in April 1975, posted April 20, 2018

__________

The Dude Wrangler,” by Dave Stamey, Facebook, April 19, 2018

Dom Flemons Is Rewriting the American Songbook,” by Sriram Gopal, Washington City Paper, April 19, 2018

Western Folklife Center presents Texas songster Andy Hedges,” Elko Daily Free Press, April 18, 2018

__________

Ashley: Cowboy poet with Hill Country roots,” by Lindy Segall, Fredericksburg Standard, April 18, 2018

__________

Q&A: Dom Flemons” (with video), by Kristin Brown, Cowboys & Indians, April 16, 2018

For Nebraska cowboy poet R.P. Smith, the spirit of the West lives on in rhyme,” by Blake Ursch, Omaha World-Herald, April 16, 2018

I Was Only Trying to Help,” by Baxter Black (latest column), BaxterBlack.com,  April 16, 2018

“Lies They Tell Writers, Part 44: Anyone can learn to write,” by Rod Miller, blog, April 16, 2018

Al Jackson, a living legend,” by Cynthia Delaney, Elko Daily Free Press, April 14, 2018

Bovines online: Farmers are using AI to help monitor cows,” by Ryan Nakashima, Yahoo! News, April 13, 2018

__________

Dom Flemons,” (audio) by Ann Powers, World Cafe, April 12, 2018

A Devastating Fall Couldn’t Keep This Rodeo ‘Rider’ Off Wild Horses,” by Terry
Gross, Fresh Air, April 10, 2018

The New Head Catch,” by Baxter Black (latest column), BaxterBlack.com,  April 10, 2018

__________

Cowboy Crossroads with Andy Hedges,”  with Jerry Brooks (audio), Cowboy Crossroads, April 10, 2018

Husband-and-Wife Work Crew,” by Kelli Neubert, Western Horseman, April 9, 2018

The Last Cowboys  (forthcoming book)

The Ranch at the End of the West,” by Mike Coppock, Cowboys & Indians, March 27,
2018

__________

Neighbor Kelly,” by Jessie Veeder, Meanwhile…Back at the Ranch (blog), April 9,
2018

Cowboy poet masters skill of storytelling,” by Ryan Soderlin, KMTV, April 9, 2018

Quiet Pride” (about Shawn Cameron), by Jennifer Denison, Western Horseman, undated

A Nevada Legacy,” (video) by John Wright, J.M. Capriola, undated

__________

Western Folklife Center seeks Programs Manager April 6, 2018

Alaskan cowboys bring local beef to the table,” by Jennifer Tarnacki, Homer News, April 5, 2018

Remembering the Queen of Cowboy Poetry,” by Chynna Lockett, South Dakota Public Broadcasting, April 5, 2018

Drovers of the Chisholm Trail,” (video), Western Horseman, April 5, 2018

A Love Story,” by Baxter Black (latest column), BaxterBlack.com,  April 4, 2018

__________

April Events at the Dayton Library,” Waitsburg Times, April 5, 2018

Poetry reading at Kingman library,” by Vanessa Espinoza, Daily Miner, April
5, 2018

Cowboy poet releases new album,” by Tammy Rollie, Western Wheel, April 4, 2018

On New Album, D.C. Musician Dom Flemons Shares the Lesser-Known History of
African American Cowboys,” by Stephanie Williams, dcmusicdownload.com, April 4,
2018

Genoa celebrates Western Heritage April 27-29,” Record-Courier, April 3, 2018

Herd of wild horses blocks Arizona road,” by Ben Hooper, upi.com, April 3, 2018

__________

Hail and Farewell: Elizabeth Ebert, ‘Grand Dame of Cowboy Poetry,’ 1925-2018,”
by Simon Reichley, Melville House, April 4, 2018

The Days When Cattle Were King and Barns Were Round,” by Jessica Hedges,
Branded in Ink, April 3, 2018

For Cowboy Poets, One Topic is Taboo,” by Carson Vaughan, In These Times,
April 3, 2018

Misty Morning Gathers,” Ross Hecox, Western Horseman, April 3, 2018

GPS finds home on the range,” by Tyler Harris, Nebraska Farmer, March 29, 2018

__________

Elizabeth Ebert, ‘Grand Dame of Cowboy Poetry,’ Dies at 93,” by Carson Vaughan, New York Times, April 1, 2018

William S. Hart Park 2018 Events, ” by Johnathan Sanchez, The Signal, March 31, 2018

Dude ranches of the Wild West,” by Jim Winnerman, St. Louis Post-Dispatch, March 31, 2018

For the Compton Cowboys, Horseback Riding Is a Legacy, and Protection,” by  Walter
Thompson-Hernández, New York Times, March 31, 2018

In the Battle for the American West, the Cowboys Are Losing,” by Jim Carlton, Wall Street Journal, March 30, 2018

6 artists added to the official Kansas Touring Roster,”  The Emporia Gazette, March 30, 2018

Glen Hollenbeck: Still riding for the G2 brand,” by Hannah Johlman, Tri-State Livestock News, March 29, 2018

Santa Clarita Cowboy Festival Celebrating Our Western Past,” The Magazine of Santa Clarita, March 29, 2018

__________

Smooth to the Chute,” by Ross Hecox, Western Horseman, March 28, 2018

“A Celebration Among the Saguaros,” by Rod Miller, blog, March 28, 2018

Cowboy Poetry Named Advocate of the Arts 2018,” Wasatch Wave, March 28, 2018

Ranchers Get More Grazing Flexibility With New Program,” by Amanda Peacher, Wyoming Public Media, March 27, 2018

__________

To live in these moments,” by Jessie Veeder, Back at the Ranch blog, March
26, 2018

Flashback: An Old Ranch Custom,” by Luis B. Ortega, written February 1951,
Western Horseman, March 25, 2018

…National Cowboy Museum showcases rarely seen oddities and outliers with
exhibit ‘Unlocking the Vault’,” by Brandy McDonnell, NewsOK, March 25, 2018

_________

2018 National Cowboy Poetry Gathering photos by Jessica Lifland, posted March
22, 2018

“My Favorite Book, Part 13,” by Rod Miller, blog, March 22, 2018

The Top 10 indications spring is officially here,” by Mark Parker, FarmTalk,
March 20, 2018

Experience Old Florida Folk Fest at Summer Crush Gary Roberts,” TCPalm, March
19, 2018

Ranch Life: Dirty Boots and Hands,” by Wyatt Bechtel, drovers.com, March 17, 2018

Western Oklahoma drought intensifying,” by Derrell S. Peel, Progressive Cattleman, March 14, 2018

Writers present scholarship,” Payson Roundup, March 16, 2018

__________

Cowboy Crossroads with Andy Hedges,”  with Riders in the Sky (audio), Cowboy Crossroads, March 20, 2018

A Pox on this Column,” by Baxter Black (latest column), BaxterBlack.com,  March 20, 2018

Top Two Houston Steers Sell for $776,000; Reserve Sets World Record,” by Greg Henderson, agweb.com, March 19, 2018

Paul Zarzyski.com and “Butte”

Academy of Western Artists’ awards  March 18, 2018

Kansas Cowboy Poetry Contest

Ranching on the Rocks,” Western Horseman (from 2012), March 19, 2018

__________

Gads, gut hooks, and grapplin’ irons,” by Rod Miller, blog, March 13, 2018

The Top 10 items you probably won’t find in town folks’ homes,” by Mark Parker, Farm Talk, March 13, 2018

Lorraine,” by Baxter Black (a poem in the latest column), BaxterBlack.com,  March 12, 2018

A Time To Stay, A Time To Go” (video), by Baxter Black, drovers.com, March 12, 2018

The Tragedy of Cattle Kate,” by Eliza McGraw, Smithsonian, March 12, 2018

Spirit of the West Radio with Hugh McLennan

Western Writers of America, Spur Award winners and finalists

Crews continue work to contain wildfires that have burned more than 1.4
million acres across four states,” by Josh Wallace, newsok.com,  March 10, 2017

__________

Western Writers of America Announces 2018 Spur Award Winnersprnewswire, March 9, 2018

Elko, Nevada, Cowboy Poetry Festival brings out the best in all of us,” by Nadine Bailey, redding.com, March 9, 2018

Cowboy Festival returning to the River City,” by Sean Brady, kamloopsthisweek.com,  March 8, 2018 0

The Faces of the 34th National Cowboy Poetry Gathering,  Western Foklife Center

__________

Cowculations,” by Kelli Neubert, Western Horseman, March 7, 2018

__________

Moapa Valley Days Events Planned For This Weekend,” by Maggie McMurray, Moapa Valley Progress, March 7, 2018

Jekyll & Hide Cattle Company,” by Baxter Black (a poem in the latest column), BaxterBlack.com,  March 6, 2018

The Top 10 farm and ranch rarities,” by Mark Parker, FarmTalknewspaper.com,
March 6, 2018

A year later, ranchers are healing after Kansas’ largest wildfire,” by Amy Bickel, hpj.com, March 5, 2018

__________

Cowboys sold out the show,” by Teri Nehrenz, Mesquite Local News, March 2,
2018

As Washington state looks for cleaner power, a Montana coal town faces an
uncertain future,” by Hal Bernton, Seattle Times, March 1, 2018

Cowboy Poetry Festival a hit with families,” by David Nystrom, Prescott Valley
Tribune, February 28, 2018

Eureka County 4-H Youth Share Journey Through Cowboy Poetry,” by Joelle Mackay, Eureka Sentinel, February 28, 2018|

__________

Fractious Freight,” by Ross Hecox, Western Horseman, February 28, 2018

Advice Column,” by Baxter Black (latest column), BaxterBlack.com,  February 27, 2018

Wisdom from Down Under,” by Rod Miller (blog), February 26, 2018

__________

EquiFest draws thousands of horse lovers to Kansas Expocentre,” by By Katie Moore, cjonline.com, February 25, 2018

Ancient DNA rules out archeologists’ best bet for horse domestication,” by Cathleen O’Grady, arstechnica, February 25, 2018

Watch what you pray for,” by Yvonne Hollenbeck, Tri-State Livestock News,
February 23, 2018

_________

Glendale Folk and Heritage Festival,” The Glendale Star, February 22, 2018

Pitching a wearable to make cattle farming more sustainable…,” by Jonathan Shiever, Yahoo! Finance, February 22, 2018

Elko Basques teach us a lesson,” by Monika Madinabeitia, Elko Daily, February 22, 2018

__________

Land lover,” by Josie Glassberg, Reno News, February 22, 2018

Tunes on the Trail,” by Gene Fowler, TexasCoopPower.com, March 2018

__________

Heifer’s Hood Ornament,” by Baxter Black (latest column), BaxterBlack.com,  February 20, 2018

Rifters return to Society Hall,” Alamosa News, February 20, 2018

Humor, Western zeal part of Spirit of the West,” by Daisy Perez, citizentribune.com, February 19, 2018

At 21, FisherPoets comes of age,” Daily Astorian, February 19, 2018

Teddy Roosevelt’s Saddle,” by Dick Spencer III, written January 1958, Western Horseman, February, 2018

Lies They Tell Writers, Part 43: Read Aloud What You’ve Written,” by Rod Miller
(blog), February 17, 2018

How a coalition of caretakers is keeping Wyoming’s ghost towns alive,” by Elise Schmelzer and Christine Peterson, Star-Tribune, February 17, 2018

BC Cowboy Heritage Society Newsletter February, 2018

Everyone seemed to have enjoyed it,” by Brendan Kyle, 100milefreepress.net, February 16, 2018

What Do Gender Relations Look Like in Rural America?,” by Kyle Young, thisisreno.com, February 16, 2018

__________

Quick Q and A with Dom Flemons,” by Kathy Sands-Boehmer, Everything Sundry (blog), February 15, 2018

Cowboy spirit to come alive in Ellensburg this weekend,” by Daisy Perez, Daily Record, February 15, 2018

Western Fest,” Tacoma Weekly, February 15, 2018

__________

Save American Poetry, Read a Cowboy,” by Max Ufberg, Pacific Standard, February 14, 2018

Dom Flemons announces a double release,” by Pamm Tucker, Bluegrasstoday.com, February 14, 2018

Enjoy an evening of cowboy poetry, music,” pvtrib.com, February 14, 2018

__________

Cowboy Crossroads with Andy Hedges,”  with Andy Wilkinson (audio), Cowboy Crossroads, February 13, 2018

The Mountain,” by Baxter Black (a poem in the latest column), BaxterBlack.com,  February 13, 2018

__________

Gathering Hangover- Cochise Cowboy Poetry Gathering 2018,” by Jessica Hedges, Branded in Ink (blog), February 7, 2018

Kentrollins.com,  blog, recipies, and more

__________


Guy William Logsdon
, tulsaworld.com, February 8, 2018

Cowboy Poetry with Pickles,” by Rod Miller, blog, February 8, 2018

Pig Tales,” by Baxter Black (latest column), BaxterBlack.com,  February 6, 2018

Woody Guthrie Expert, Educator Guy Logsdon Dies,” newson6.com, February 6, 2018

One More Time,” by TJ Casey & Jim Reader;  in honor of late Bill Stearns, Wyoming cowboy and Senior World Champion Bronc Rider, YouTube, February 4, 2018

National Cowboy Poetry Gathering YouTube channel.

_____________________________

Trail gone cold: Dusty Richards, Rod Miller (blog),  January 23, 2018

__________

Cowby Arts and Gear Museum

Moving the Remuda,” by Ross Hecox (photo blog), Western Horseman, January 22, 2018

Country Artist and Cowboy Poet Receives National Golden Spur Award,” by Mary Beth Holm, Daily Toreador, January 22, 2018

New brochure will highlight Elko art,” by Adella Harding, Elko Daily, January 22, 2018

Time machine: Cowboy Arts and Gear Museum restores G.S. Garcia’s shop,” by Toni R. Milano, Elko Daily,  January 20, 2018

Cowboy poetry set to come to Payson with symposium, program,” by Shelby Slade, Daily Herald, January 19, 2018

34th National Cowboy Poetry Gathering,” by Dennis Cassinelli, Mesquite Local News,

Quirky places to eat on your next trip…,” by Mary Forgione, Los Angeles Time, January 19, 2018

__________

Writing in My Sleep,”  by Rod Miller, blog,  January 17, 2018

Braymer Bait,” by Baxter Black (latest column), BaxterBlack.com,  January 16, 2018

Corb Lund and Ian Tyson: The Last cowboys,” by Mike Ross, gigcity.ca, January 14, 2018

Red Steagall chosen for National Golden Spur Award,” by Ray Westbroom, lubbockonline.com, January 13, 2018

Small Towns, Cowboy Charm,” Western Horseman, undated

Trailing Cattle in the Snow,” Western Horseman, January 2018

__________

Ranching by the signs,” by Rhonda Sedgwick Stearns, tsln.com, January 11, 2018

Women Writing About the Wild: 25 Essential Authors,” Kathryn Aalto, outsideonline.com, January 9, 2018

__________

Singer Ian Tyson on his early folk days and being inspired by Bob Dylan,” by Brad Wheeler, Globe and Mail, January 8, 2018

__________

Cowboy Crossroads with Andy Hedges,”  with Gary McMahan (audio), Cowboy Crossroads, January 9, 2018

Things You Can Count On,” by Baxter Black (latest column), BaxterBlack.com,  January 8, 2018

The Birth of the American Cowboy,” Christopher Knowlton excerpt, Delanceyplace.com,
January 8, 2018

My Favorite Book, Part 12,” by Rod Miller, blog,  January 8, 2018

Cowboy Poets Ramble Back To Golden,” by Jean Lotus, patch.com, January 8, 2018

Man arrested after allegedly stealing more than $8 million in cattle,” cbs7.com, January
8, 2018

____

NCBA Cowboy Poetry Contest Finalists’ videos, vote through January 15, 2018

Visiting Kansas’ Iconic ‘Home On The Range,’” by C.J. Janovy, Here and Now, January 3,
2018

__________

21st Century Working Horses,” by William Reynolds, Western Horseman, January 2, 2018

__________

2017 – A Year to Forget,” by Baxter Black (latest column), BaxterBlack.com,  January 1, 2018

Colorado Cowboy Poetry Gathering, January 19-21, 2018

JOHNNY CLARE by Larry McWhorter (1957-2003)

larrymcw

JOHNNY CLARE
by Larry McWhorter (1957-2003)

In north central Oklahoma
In the land known as the Osage,
The spring and early summer
Rest so easy on the eye.
Where the lush, green, rolling carpet
Marks the passing of Mariah
As she dances, sometimes gently
With the clouds which dot the sky.

Much like a ballerina
She pirouettes and leaps
Across her stage of prairie
And she seems to never pause
While high above the scenery
A hawk critiques the drama
While voicing his approval
Flapping wings in mute applause.

The deer, the birds, the woodchuck
Bear witness from their browsing
As they share their home with cattle,
The stewards of this land,
Who took the place of buffalo
In harvesting the bluestem
After they themselves were reaped
When progress dealt death’s hand.

Should you travel through this country
Heading west toward Ponca City,
Fifteen miles out of Pawhuska
On the highway state funds pave,
Some fifty yards or so due south
Of tar and asphalt ribbon
Amid the grass wild roses grow
And there you’ll find a grave.

It once lay on the open plain
Surrounded by tall bluestem.
There’s now a trap with shorter grass,
Well kept, devoid of weeds.
It seems so humble at first glance,
Steel fence, a cross of concrete.
‘Til close examination shows
A cast-iron plaque which reads:

“Johnny Clare
May 1890–May 1910
Cowboy employed by Dr. Hall
Thrown from his horse and
Killed at this spot
Courtesy, Continental Oil Company.”

To be a cowboy was the call
This young man gladly answered.
He’d not trade lots with anyone.
In life he’d found his pearl.
He loved to ride and rope rough stock
To test his skill and courage,
To polish up the dance floor
With a smiling blue eyed girl.

Young Johnny lived the cowboy’s life
And lived it to the fullest.
His pride would let no brute escape
As long as he drew breath.
So he thought not of consequence,
And outlaw steer his quarry,
And on the warm, spring, Osage day
He died a cowboy’s death.

Dwight Barnard was the man who found
Young Johnny’s prostrate body,
He’d tried to crawl but soon succumbed
To sun and broken bone.
From pulling grass out by the roots
His hands were torn and bloody.
Wild with pain he’d pawed the ground,
Afraid to die alone.

The horse he’d rode still stood nearby,
The outlaw steer stood with him.
A stout length of manila hemp
Was stretched between the pair.
There were no human witnesses
To relay what had happened.
The truth now lives with God above
And died with Johnny Clare.

A tinker happened by the way,
And saw a small crowd gathered.
The group was friends and comrades
Of this young man who’d been slain.
He reached into his wagon box,
Produced a tarp of canvas,
With wagon sheet for coffin,
To rest the lad was lain.

A short time later, lore maintains,
A buckboard journeyed out there.
It carried Johnny’s mother
To his final resting place.
Her black dress blowing in the wind,
It’s said she stood for hours,
Praying and remembering,
As tears streamed down her face.

Beneath the rich, black Osage sod
Her precious son was buried.
The one to whom she’d given life
And nourished from her breast.
And though her sorrow knew no bounds,
There was one consolation,
At least she could die knowing
Where her Johnny lay at rest.

How many young men like her son
Have gone to seek their fortune?
Their siren call a lowing herd,
The whispering prairie wind,
Which beckoned to the spirit
Of the ones who tamed the West.
Who left their loved ones wondering
If they’d ever meet again.

How many young men like her son
Met death upon the prairie?
Their flesh preceding bleaching bone
In melding with the sod.
So let us think of Johnny’s grave
As everlasting tribute
To those unfound whose dying gasps
Were heard by none but God.

In north central Oklahoma
In the land known as the Osage,
The spring and early summer
Rest so easy on the eye.
The lush, green rolling carpet
Covers Johnny Clare, young cowboy.
But his spirit’s free and dancing
With Mariah in the sky.

© Larry McWhorter, used with permission
This poem should not be reposted or reprinted without permission.

What beautiful language. A much loved and respected cowboy’s cowboy, poet, and musician, Larry McWhorter left behind an impressive collection of poetry.

Listen to Larry McWhorter reciting this poem here.

He wrote about his inspiration for “Johnny Clare” in his book, Cowboy Poetry: Contemporary Verse, where these words are accompanied by a photo of him at Johnny Clare’s gravesite:

Having been in numerous wrecks and tight spots I have to give thanks to God for protecting me through all of them. Through His grace there was always someone close by the times I was badly hurt.

Anyone who has ever had an angry cowbrute on the end of the their rope knows how fast things can get out of hand. A wreck can occur so quickly you don’t even have time to be scared until it’s over.

Don Wells of Pawhuska, Oklahoma gave me a rough outline of this story and told me where the grave was. Having found the spot, I stood there scanning the surrounding area trying to picture how it might have looked nearly 80 years before.

A genuine chill went through my body as I thought of how Johnny must have felt; unable to move and knowing he might not be found or even missed for days.

I visited with an old Osage Indian who was ten years old when the tinker in the poem came to town with the story. His information was invaluable.

Find more to the story and photographs at CowboyPoetry.com, where there is also more about him and his poetry.

The works of Larry McWhorter, J.B. Allen, Sunny Hancock, and Ray Owens are featured in the first MASTERS  Volume 1 CD (2017) from CowboyPoetry.com. They recite their poetry in recorded poems, “live” performances, and also recite other masters’ works (Buck Ramsey, S. Omar Barker, and Henry Herbert Knibbs). Jay Snider introduces the CD.

Larry McWhorter’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 and at jeanprescott.com.

This photograph is courtesy of Jean Prescott.

Thanks to Andrea Waitley for her generous permissions.

(Please respect copyright. You can share this poem and photo with this post, but for other uses, seek permission.)

In Our Thoughts: Dennis Gaines

dennisgainesjldxxphoto by Jeri Dobrowski

Thanks to Teresa Burleson for sharing this sad news, from Steve Conroy of the Cochise Cowboy Poetry and Music Gathering:

Cowboy, poet, and storyteller Dennis Gaines is “dealing with serious cancer and does not expect to have long. Please keep Dennis in your prayers and if you have an opportunity, send him a note or give him a call.”

Dennis Gaines
8954 FM 60 West
Somerville, TX 77879
830-285-0333

Find more about Dennis at cowboypoetry.com/dg.htm.

STEENS MOUNTAIN COW CAMP by Tom Swearingen

steens

STEENS MOUNTAIN COW CAMP
by Tom Swearingen

We’ve been working out of cow camp
Up at Cucamonga Creek
On a late summer gather
For now going on a week

My wife and I are helping out
A friend named Tim O’Crowley
He and his wife Susan run
The cattle in this valley

Each day some dif’rent work to do
Maybe ailing cows to tend
‘Course rounding up the strays and
There’s a fence or two to mend

Diamond Valley lies before us
On spectacular display
A big ‘ol slice of heaven
On a bright September day

Southeast Oregon high desert
Where the Kigers still run free
Among the sage and paintbrush
And the quaking Aspen tree

Looking southward up the canyon
Miles of rimrock walls our right
To our left windswept mesas
Not another soul in sight

Steens Mountain in the near distance
Just flat takes our breath away
Beauty on the summer range
Makes our work feel more like play

More than once I’ve heard Tim share a
Thought that I now know is true
Cowboying is easier
When it comes with a great view

© 2014, Tom Swearingen, used with permission
This poem should not be reposted or reprinted without permission

Tom Swearingen told us about the inspiration for this poem: “… my wife Carla and I spent a wonderful week helping Tim and Susan O’Crowley gather several dozen remnant pairs and a handful of bulls off summer range at the base of the Steens Mountains in Diamond Valley, Southeastern Oregon.

“This is Oregon’s buckaroo country. Nearest ‘town,’ Diamond, population 5. This land is also home range to the Kiger Mustangs. In exchange for a place to operate their Steens Mountain Guest Ranch, Tim and Susan look after 600 Red Angus cows and their calves for the Otleys, a local cattle family. Their lease is three canyons wide and 25 miles long running right up to the breathtaking Steens Mountain Wilderness Area.”

Tom Swearingen shared related photos in a 2014 Picture the West.

Tom Swearingen is a part of California’s upcoming Monterey Cowboy Festival, November 3, 2018, along with Paul Zarzyski, Corb Lund, Waddie Mitchell, Andy Hedges, Almeda Bradshaw, Mike Beck, Ernie Sites, CowBop, The Carolyn Sills Combo, John Pardi, Juni Fisher, Joni Harms, the Midlands, and The Hasslers.

Tom Swearingen’s most recent CD is “Rhyme ´Em Cowboy!” Find more about it and him at his site, oregoncowboypoet.com.

This photo is by Susan O’Crowley.

(Please respect copyright. You can share this poem and photo with this post, but for other uses, please seek permission.)

HE TALKED ABOUT MONTANA, by Elizabeth Ebert (1925-2018

cowboygrabill

HE TALKED ABOUT MONTANA
by Elizabeth Ebert

He talked about Montana
For he’d worked there in his youth,
And you somehow got the feeling
That most of it was truth.
Talked about the things he’d done there,
Memories from a happy past.
Talked about Montana rivers
Running cold, and deep and fast,
About pines upon a hillside
And mountains rising high,
About the endless reaches
Of a blue Montana sky.

Said he left there at the war’s start,
Went to tell his folks good-bye.
Then there was a wartime wedding
To a girl who got his eye.
Said she’d keep the home fires burning,
‘Til the war was past and won,
Wrote her love to him in letters,
Sent him pictures of their son.
And the letters and the pictures
Helped him bear the death and blood.
And he’d dream about Montana
As he slogged through foreign mud.

They would buy a little ranch there,
And he’d teach the boy to ride.
It would be a bit of heaven,
With his family at his side.
But he came home to discover
Someone else was in his place.
She had found another lover.
It was more than he could face
For he was tired of fighting,
So he merely let them go.
It was then he started drinking,
Just to ease the pain, you know.

He’d work a month cold sober,
And then he’d draw his pay,
He was headed for Montana;
But the booze got in his way,
And he never made it out of town,
‘Fore the money all was spent
And he was busted flat again,
And he didn’t know where it went.
So he’d come back asking for his job.
And he’d hope you’d understand.
And you always hired him on again
For he was a darned good hand.

And he’d talk about Montana.
And you’d get a glimmer then,
Of the cowboy that he used to be,
And the man he might have been
Before the war and wife and whiskey
Had bent him out of shape.
Now the war and wife were history
And the whiskey was escape.
But he swore that he was going back
And he’d do most anything
For Montana sure was pretty
When it greened up in the spring.

Then he finally got an offer
To tend a band of sheep.
It was just for winter wages,
Barely paid his board and keep.
But it was in Montana,
So he was on his way,
He could stand to winter woollies,
He would work for little pay,
For he’d be there in the springtime
When the sky turned clear and blue,
And he’d go back to punching cattle
When his winter job was through.

Don’t know why he left the sheep camp,
Started walking into town,
Maybe he just needed whiskey
To wash the lonely down.
Quick come Montana’s blizzards.
Deep falls Montana’s snow.
And unforgiving are the winds
When they once begin to blow.
He’d come looking for his Paradise,
He hadn’t come to die.
But he froze upon a lonely road
‘Neath a cold Montana sky.

© 1997, Elizabeth Ebert, used with permission
This poem should not be reposted or reprinted without permission.

South Dakota’s much-loved poet, the late Elizabeth Ebert, was celebrated for her powerful writing as well as her quick wit and humor.

Baxter Black has said of her (and referring to this poem): “To say that I admire Elizabeth’s writing seems meager comment on her talent. She writes from inspiration with such graceful force it’s like her pen has power steering. There are so many first class pieces in her books, most contemporary cowboy poets would covet even just one so good in their armory. If her poems were mountains and the verses peaks, this would be the eagle soaring over all: ‘Before war and wife and whiskey/ Had bent him out of shape/ Now the war and wife were history/ And the whiskey was escape.'”

Listen to her recite this poem in a 1994 video, recently posted on Facebook by the Western Folklife Center.

Her long-time friend, South Dakota poet Yvonne Hollenbeck has an article about Elizabeth Ebert in the current issue of RANGE magazine, with photos and poetry. It begins, “The year was 1929 when four-year-old Elizabeth Summers penned her first poem. The country was headed into the Great Depression and and times were especially hard for farm families on the South Dakota prairie, but she constantly wrote verses noting the struggles as well as the good times experienced during her youth.”

Journalist Carson Vaughan wrote about Elizabeth Ebert in a February, 2017 American Cowboy profile.

Find more about Elizabeth Ebert at CowboyPoetry.com.

This iconic image, c. 1888, titled “The Cow Boy,” is by J.C.H. Grabill, a photographer from Sturgis, Dakota Territory. It is from The Library of Congress Prints and Photographs Division. Find more about it at .

Grabill worked in Dakota Territory and The Library of Congress maintains an on-line collection of Grabill photographs.

(Please respect copyright. You can share this poem with this post, but any other use requires permission. The photo is in the public domain.)

REINCARNATION, by Wallace McRae

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REINCARNATION
by Wallace McRae

“What does Reincarnation mean?”
A cowpoke asked his friend.
His pal replied, “It happens when
Yer life has reached its end.
They comb yer hair, and warsh yer neck,
And clean yer fingernails,
And lay you in a padded box
Away from life’s travails.”

“The box and you goes in a hole,
That’s been dug into the ground.
Reincarnation starts in when
Yore planted ‘neath a mound.
Them clods melt down, just like yer box,
And you who is inside.
And then yore just beginnin’ on
Yer transformation ride.”

“In a while, the grass’ll grow
Upon yer rendered mound.
Till some day on yer moldered grave
A lonely flower is found.
And say a hoss should wander by
And graze upon this flower
That once wuz you, but now’s become
Yer vegetative bower.”

“The posy that the hoss done ate
Up, with his other feed,
Makes bone, and fat, and muscle
Essential to the steed,
But some is left that he can’t use
And so it passes through,
And finally lays upon the ground
This thing, that once wuz you.”

“Then say, by chance, I wanders by
And sees this upon the ground,
And I ponders, and I wonders at,
This object that I found.
I thinks of reincarnation,
Of life and death, and such,
And come away concludin’: ‘Slim,
You ain’t changed, all that much.'”

© Wallace McRae, used with permission
This poem should not be reposted or reprinted without permission
Wallace McRae, third-generation Montana rancher and National Endowment for the Arts Heritage Fellow penned this modern classic. The NEA comments, in a bio, that “Reincarnation” is, “…a poem destined to outlive him; it has already become part of oral tradition and is recited by cowboys around the country who have never met the author.”

See a fun video of Wallace McRae and Paul Zarzyski performing “Reincarnation” at the 2009 Western Folklife Center’s National Cowboy Poetry Gathering.

Find Wallace McRae at the 24th annual Cowpoke Fall Gathering, November 8-11, 2018 in Loomis, California. He is featured along with Paul Zarzyski, Kristyn Harris, Larry Maurice, Bill Brewster, Jeff Severson, and The Heifer Bells. Visit cowpokefallgathering.com, where you can also learn about their school programs.

Wallace McRae will tell you that “Reincarnation” is his least favorite of his poems. For a wonderful look at this complex man, watch a recent Western Folklife Center video in which he “… tells a true story about Northern Plains ranching, with a moving tribute to a neighbor.”

For another aspect of his work, view his presentation of his stirring,  masterful poem, “Things of Intrinsic Worth,” performed in 2013 and a part of WESTDOCUMENTARY, a feature-length documentary work-in-progress by H. Paul Moon.

Find more of Wallace McRae’s poetry and more about him in our feature at CowboyPoetry.com.

This 2012 photograph, titled, “A lone horse in hill country near the American River at Coloma in El Dorado County, California,” is by Carol M. Highsmith and included in the Jon B. Lovelace Collection of California Photographs in Carol M. Highsmith’s America Project, The Library of Congress, Prints and Photographs Division.

The collection notes that, “Highsmith, a distinguished and richly-published American photographer, has donated her work to the Library of Congress since 1992. Starting in 2002, Highsmith provided scans or photographs she shot digitally with new donations to allow rapid online access throughout the world. Her generosity in dedicating the rights to the American people for copyright free access also makes this Archive a very special visual resource.”

Wallace McRae relishes being known as “The Cowboy Curmudgeon.” You can share this post, but please don’t otherwise use his poem without permission.

(Please respect copyright. You can share this poem with this post, but any other use requires permission. This photograph is in the public domain.)