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CowboyPoetry.com

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.

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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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Find our current individual donors and sponsors here on this blog.

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.

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

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Theodore Waddell: My Montana—Paintings and Sculpture, 1959-2016

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Montana native Theodore Waddell’s works have been said to have “immense, poetic dignity.” A new volume, Theodore Waddell: My Montana—Paintings and Sculpture, 1959-2016 from the University of Oklahoma Press looks at the life and experience that informs his work. Rick Newby relies on letters, journals, and interviews to profile the artist and his craft in this eminently readable work.

It’s not possible to label Waddell’s style, beyond “modern.” Large, impressionistic, abstract, full-yet-minimalist-inspired landscapes dominate his painting. In a foreword, former Montana Congressman Pat Williams writes, “The sparsity of his painting, what he leaves out as well as what he puts in, restores the memories of our visions.” The artist is quoted, “The traditional artists don’t like me because I am not realistic enough, and the contemporary artists don’t like me because I am too realistic.”

A number of essays by critics and friends are included in the book, and rodeo poet and lyricist Paul Zarzyski is one of those friends. In a piece titled “From Captain Woodrow Call to Captain Kirk to Captain Teddy-Bob Waddell of the Wild Cowpoke Wild Brushstroke Wild Cosmos West,” he celebrates Waddell’s contribution to “…what’s left of the iconoclastic un-cloned cowboy West…”

Zaryski appreciates the scale and sense of the work, and comments that “…landscape rules the Western roost for me as a poet, especially as a ‘cowboy poet.'” He describes the impact of the first time he saw the 10’x5’ “Sun River Horses.” He writes, “Instead of my drinking ‘it’ in, the painting swallowed me into its being like a T. Rex ingesting a no-see-um.” An image of the painting later appeared as one of Zarzyski’s book covers.

Waddell’s family history as well as his artistic influences are explored. A generous chapter, “The Ranching and Painting Years,” is a candid look at twenty years of ranching near Molt, Montana. An understanding of the artist’s use of space, texture and color, and the influence of weather come to fore from its pages.

The book is lavishly filled with glorious color images and photographs. The reader is left with a satisfying sense of what drives this unique artist and why his canvases and sculptures are impressive and important.

The book’s many-page index of publications by and about Theodore Waddell follow his career and its reception by the art world. An impressive exhibition history is included, which also lists the numerous permanent collections that hold his art.

Theodore Waddell’s painting, “Sheep #12,” was selected as the poster art for the Western Folklife Center’s 2018 National Cowboy Poetry Gathering.

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Find more about Theodore Waddell at theodorewaddell.com. There’s more on the book and order information at the University of Oklahoma Press and other booksellers.

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.

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Theodore Waddell: My Montana—Paintings and Sculpture, 1959-2016

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Photos of a Pioneer,” by Carson Vaughan, The Paris Review, July 24, 2017

The Day the Fires Came,” by Skip Hollandsworth and John Carrithers, Texas Monthly, July 2017

At 200,000 acres, ‘very extreme fire behavior’ seen in Lodgepole Complex,” by Mike Kordenbrock, Billings Gazette, July 22, 2017

National Day Of The Cowboy Honors The Ranching Icon,” by Holliday Moore, kjzz.org, July 22, 2017

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UK’s first sign language poetry slam,” by Camera Daniel Gordon, Jamie Hamilton, Elise Wicker, and Daniel Gordon, BBC.com, July 21, 2017

A Day with the Texas Law Man Who Catches Cattle Thieves,” by Sarah Baird, Saveur, July 19, 2017

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Range Writers Extraordinaire,” by Rod Miller, blog, July 20, 2017

Black ink in the Black Hills,” by Miranda, blog, July 20, 2017

Not A Suburban Housewife,” by Jolyn Young, blog, July 19, 2017

Photosensitization,” by Baxter Black (latest column), BaxterBlack.com, July 19, 2017

Days of ’47 Rodeo settles in to new home with prayer, poem, praise,” by Annie Knox, Deseret News, July 19, 2017

777 ranch Cowboy poetry night,”  ecprogress.com , July 17, 2017

US Forest Service delivering supplies via mule,” by Nikki Torres, July 12, 2017

Artist with an American Heart: Bob Coronato describes the journey that shaped his art style,” by Kaija Swisher,  Black Hills Pioneer July 10, 2017

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How Cowboys Make Deals at the Border,” by Erica Berenstein and Fernanda Santos, New York Times, July 16, 2017

Drought in High Plains the worst some farmers have ever seen,” by Blake Nicholson, Associated Press/Rapid City Journal, July 15, 2017

Mark Zuckerberg Visits a Cattle Ranch,” by Sara Brown, agweb.com, July 13, 2017

The Cowboys of Calabria,” by Gianluca Mercuri, Corriere Della Sera, July 11, 2017

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Ranchers work together to save cattle in fire zones,” by Angie Mindus, The Williams Lake Tribune,  July 13, 2017

‘Fear the worst, hope for the best’: Ranchers forced to leave 20,000 cattle behind,” by Linda Givetash, Metronews, July 12, 2017

Ranchers allowed 5-year extension to graze cattle in Point Reyes National Seashore,” by Tara Duggan, San Francisco Chronicle, July 12, 2017

The Next Last Packers,” by Clare Menzel, Flathead Beacon, July 9, 2017

Hay Crew Haiku,” a Ranch Communications video by Robin Boies, YouTube/Western Folklife Center, July 7, 2017

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Singing through the history of B.C.’s cowboys,” by Parker Crook, Vernon Morningstar, July 12, 2017

Time to get gathered: Grand Encampment Cowboy Gathering features familiar faces and activities this year,” Saratoga Sun, July 12, 2017

Wild West poetry promises rattlers, rustlers and ranchers,” by Laureen Diephof, The Salinas Californian, July 12, 2017

Chuck wagon meals: ‘This is a way to be a cowboy’,” by Deborah Gertz Husar, Herald-Whig, Julu 12, 2017

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Payson Book festival returns,” by Teresa McQuerrey, Payson Roundup, July 11, 2017

Pestilence,” by Baxter Black (a poem in the latest column), BaxterBlack.com, July 10, 2017

Cowboy poet visits Luna Rossa,” Deming Highlight, July 10, 2017

Rain or shine, this is the life we chose?,” by Jessie Veeder, blog, July 9, 2017

My Favorite Book: Part 9,” by Rod Miller, blog, July 9, 2017

Mules Helping U.S. Forest Service Supply Firefighters Battling California Fire,” Associated Press, northernag.net, July 7, 2017

You Can Only Eat Steak If You Get More Than 7/10 On This Quiz,” by Gena-mour Barrett,
BuzzFeed, July 5, 2017

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 “COWBOY CROSSROADS with Andy Hedges and guest Don Hedgpeth,” (podcast), July 5, 2017

White Oaks Rodeo,” by Baxter Black (latest column), BaxterBlack.com, July 3, 2017

Texas, Oklahoma and Kansas celebrating 150 years of the Chisholm Trail,” by Todd Glasscock, Cleburne Times-Review, July 4, 2017

Ranchers save cattle, lose rangeland in wildfires,” by Dan Wheat, Capital Press, July 3, 2017

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Rural Media Group launches new cable network, The Cowboy Channel on July 1,”
The Fence Post, June 28, 2017

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No summer will ever be the same…,” by Jessie Veeder, blog, June 29, 2017

Geronimo’s Children,” by Dave Stamey, Facebook, June 29, 2017

Western Folklife Center entertains all year long,” by Cynthia Delaney, Elko Daily, June 29, 2017

Some good cowboy photos:

Western Horseman Editor Ross Hecox’ photo blog

On Instagram:
Amy Hale Auker
Jessica Hedges
COWBOYS film
Western Horseman
Kent Rollins

Other Western photography:
Ken Rodgers

Some good radio (listen anytime):

Clear Out West (C.O.W.) from Jim and Andy Nelson
CowTrails from Western Belle Barbara Richhart
Back at the Ranch from Jarle Kvale
Cowboy Crossroads from Andy Hedges
Calling All Cowboys with Charley Engel
Flying SL Ranch Radio from Spalding Labs

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 “Gathering memories and making more,” by Cynthia Delaney, Elko Daily, June 28, 2017

Annual 777 Ranch cowboy poetry and music gathering (July 6),” ecprogress.com, June 27, 2017

Horse-Riding Librarians Were the Great Depression’s Bookmobiles,” by Eliza McGraw, smithsonian.com, June 21, 2017

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Balin’ Wheat,” by Baxter Black (latest column), BaxterBlack.com, June 26, 2017

Ian Tyson, the cowboy folksinger,” by John Mackie, Vancouver Sun, June 25, 2017

U.S. Ranchers Are Being Forced to Sell Cattle Due to Drought,” by Megan Durisin, Jeff Wilson, and Sydney Maki, Bloomberg.com, June 23, 2017,

Scientists work to develop heat-resistant ‘cow of the future’,” by University of Florida Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences, Science Daily, June 23, 2017

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 “Cowboy poetry champs recognized,” McPherson Sentinel, June 22, 2017

Cattle ranchers sue to return country-of-origin labeling,” by the Associated Press, Wyoming Daily, June 21, 2017

Cattle stolen from ranch in the middle of the night,” abc13.com (Houston), June 20, 2017

How Bad is the Drought in NorthEast Montana? It’s BAD.,” by Taylor Brown, Northern Ag Network, June 19, 2017

To Keep Predators Away, Montana Ranchers Compost Dead Cattle,” by Rachel Cramer, mtnpr.org, June 13, 2017

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COWBOY CROSSROADS with Andy Hedges and guest Randy Rieman,” (podcast, Part 2), June 20, 2017

What is the future of the Texas cowboy?,” by Bryan Mealer, The Guardian, June 19, 2017

SD governor declares statewide emergency as drought conditions worsen,” The Fence Post, June 19, 2017

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Handyman Jacks,” poem by Baxter Black (latest column), BaxterBlack.com, June 19, 2017

A herd of ‘rebel cows’ has been living wildly in the Italian mountains for years,” by Catherine Edwards, The Local, June 19, 2017

Lies They Tell Writers, Part 39: Believe in yourself,” by Rod Miller, (blog), June 18, 2017

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Librarian of Congress Names Tracy K. Smith Poet Laureate,” Library of Congress, June 14, 2017

‘Cautious But Not Silent;’ Photographer Kevin Martini Fuller’s Three Decades of Cowboy Poet Portraits,” by Renata Certo-Ware, untouchableblog.com, June 12, 2017

Great Ranches of the Great Basin,” American Cowboy, June 15, 2017

For Sale: A $7 Million Wild West Town,” by KC McGinnis, Logan Jaffe, and Joshua Thomas, (video) The Daily 360,  New York Times, June 15, 2017

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Have a cow: A new way to buy beef…,” by Rachel Nania, wtop.com, June 14, 2017

COWBOY CROSSROADS with Andy Hedges and guest Randy Rieman,” (podcast, Part 1), June 13, 2017

It Happened in Langtry,” by G. R. Schiavino, American Cowboy, June 12, 2017

Sandhills Savior,” poem by Baxter Black (latest column), BaxterBlack.com, June 12, 2017

‘Trial of a Lifetime’ Plays Out in Tiny South Dakota Town,” by Reuters, cattlenetwork.com, June 12, 2017

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Women of the West – Liz Brannan, by Jennifer Denison,” Western Horseman, June 8, 2017

Rawhide Robinson Rides the Interweb,” Rod Miller, blog, June 9, 2017

Genoans send Cowboy Festival into sunset,” by Kurt Hildebrand, The Record-Courier, June 8, 2018

Behind the Chutes: Rodeo secretaries keep the show running smoothly,” by Allie Bohus, American Cowboy, June 7, 2017

Putting Cowboys—and Their Industry— in True Historical Context,” by Edward Dolnick, New York Times Books, June 2, 2017

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In Montana, land transfer threatens the American rancher’s way of life,” by Elliott D Woods, The Guardian, June 6, 2017

Great Ranches of the Southwest,” American Cowboy, June 6, 2017

Cleaning Up Messes,” by Baxter Black (latest column), BaxterBlack.com, June 5, 2017

Renaissance Man of the West, Part I,” by William C. Reynolds, Western Horseman, June 5, 2017

National Day of the Cowboy,” American Quarter Horse Association, June 5, 2017

200 cows take over downtown San Diego streets in historic cattle drive,” Pam Kragen, San Diego Tribune,  June 3, 2017

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Trailing a Thief,” by Carol Hutchison, The Cattleman, June 2017

Paddock to patient: How Australian beef cattle are being used to create heart valves and save lives,” by Kathleen Calderwood, ABC (Australia), June 2, 2017

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Where palette meets palate,” by Rod Miller, (blog) May 31, 2017

COWBOY CROSSROADS with Andy Hedges and guest Paul Zarzyski,” (podcast in two parts), May 31, 2017

The Grapevine,” by Baxter Black (latest column), BaxterBlack.com, May 31, 2017

River Bend Ranch to host Cowboy Poetry event,” Durango Herald, May 30, 2017

NM True TV – “The Cow Country Code”  with Deanna Dickinson McCall, YouTube, May 30, 2017

Will your next load of hay arrive by Uber Freight?,” by Lynn Jaynes, Progressive Forage, May 26, 2017

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Cowboy Express train
to Elko’s National Cowboy Poetry Gathering

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We were on a (rare) break May 4-25.
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Cowboy music comes to Learning Center,” by Forrest Grimes, Seguin Gazette, May 3, 2017

The Story of a Texas Rancher Girl,” by Peyton Waldrip, gobrangus.com

Texas Rancher Girl blog

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COWBOY CROSSROADS with Andy Hedges and guest Dom Flemons,” (podcast), May 2, 2017

Saddle up, partner, cowboy poetry contests are headed your way,” by Beccy Tanner, kansas.com, May 2, 2017

The Drover’s Camp Camooweal (Bush poets)

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Nebraska Writers Guild “Fur Trade Days” Poetry Contest (deadline June 8)

Who’s in Charge?,” by Baxter Black (latest column), BaxterBlack.com, May 1, 2017

Yee-Haw! Cowboy Festival a good time,” by Sarah Drinkwine, Record-Courier, April 30, 2017

Western Music Association Music & Poetry Gathering, May 13, Villa Rica, Georgia

Meeker Cowboy Poet Gathering, June 2, Meeker, Colorado

Equestrian Legacy Radio’s RENDEZVOUS 2017,  June 1-3 Hurricane Mills, Tennessee

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American Cowboy Magazine
: final print edition
Facebook post, April 28, 2017

Steiger, Auker Headline ‘Working Cowboy’ at Sharlot Hall,” Daily Courier, April 27, 2017

Ancient Horse DNA Shows Scythian Warriors Were Adept Domesticators,” by Kenneth Chang, New York Times, April 27, 2017

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Find Cowboy Poetry Week news here.

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Training wild mustangs with convict cowboys” (video), CNN via MSN, April 26, 2017

Porter Rockwell pulls the trigger in True West,” by Rod Miller (blog), April 26, 2017

The Cowboy and the City Girl Southern Poetry Tour Comes to Edgefield,” Edgfield Advertiser, April 26, 2017

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Landscaping,” by Baxter Black (latest column), BaxterBlack.com, April 25, 2017

Master of the Mustang Tent: Renowned Cowboy Poet Waddie Mitchell Returns to Stagecoach—to Emcee, Not Perform,” by Brian Blueskye, CV Independent, April 25,2017

Concert for a Cause,” by Jennifer Denison, Western Horseman, April 25,2017

Horses, cows, snakes, coyotes, ” by Kay Hively, Neosho Daily News, April 25, 2017

The Dude Wrangler,” by Dave Stamey, Facebook, April 19, 2017

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Podcast seeks to stoke interest in cowboy poetry,” by Angie Haflich, hppr.org, April 24, 2017

Savvy with a Slow Cooker,” (video) by Shannon and Kent Rollins, Western Horseman, April 24, 2017

Cowboy poetry has pioneers, too,” by Sally Bates, Daily Courier, April 23, 2017

There’s a cowboy in everyone,” by Nikolas Samuels, The Signal, April 22, 2017

Photojournal of the Ranch, Spring 2017,” by Dawn Wink, Dewdrops (blog), April 22, 2017

A Horseman Rides Away,” by Jennifer Denison, Western Horseman, April 20, 2017

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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

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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

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

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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|

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

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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

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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

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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

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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

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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

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 “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

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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

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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

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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)

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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

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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

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‘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

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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

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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

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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

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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

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

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

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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

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‘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

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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

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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

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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

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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

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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

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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

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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

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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

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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

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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

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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

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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

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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

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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

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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

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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

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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

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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

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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

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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

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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

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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 LOST RANGE by Henry Herbert Knibbs (1874-1945)

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photo: Connecticut State Library, State Archives, PG 460, Colt Patent Fire
Arms Manufacturing Company, Box 2, Folder 7, Item 4

 

THE LOST RANGE
by Henry Herbert Knibbs (1874-1945)

Only a few of us understood his ways
and his outfit queer,
His saddle horse and his pack-horse,
as lean as a winter steer,
As he rode alone on the mesa,
intent on his endless quest,
Old Tom Bright of the Pecos,
a ghost of the vanished West.

His gaze was fixed on the spaces;
he never had much to say
As he jogged from the Rio Grande
to the pueblo of Santa Fè;
He favored the open country
with its reaches clean and wide,
And called it his “sagebrush garden—
the only place left to ride.”

He scorned new methods and manners,
and stock that was under fence,
He had seen the last of the open range,
yet he kept up the old pretense;
Though age made his blue eyes water,
his humor was always dry:
“Me, I’m huntin’ the Lost Range,
down yonder, against the sky.”

That’s what he’d say when we hailed him
as we met him along the trail,
Out from the old pueblo,
packing some rancher’s mail,
In the heat of the upland summer,
in the chill of the thin-spread snow…
Any of us would have staked him,
but Tom would n’t have it so.

He made you think of an eagle
caged up for the folks to see,
Dreaming of crags and sunshine
and glories that used to be:
Some folks said he was loco—
too lazy to work for pay,
But we old-timers knew better,
for Tom was n’t built that way.

He’d work till he got a grub-stake;
then drift, and he’d make his fire,
And camp on the open mesa,
as far as he could from wire:
Tarp and sogun and skillet,
saddle and rope and gun…
And that is the way they found him,
asleep in the noonday sun.

They were running a line for fences,
surveying to subdivide,
And open the land for the homesteads—”
The only place left to ride.”
But Tom he had beat them to it,
he had crossed to The Other Side.

The coroner picked his jury—
and a livery-horse apiece,
Not forgetting some shovel—
and we rode to the Buckman lease,
Rolled Tom up in his slicker,
and each of us said, “So-long.”
Then somebody touched my elbow
and asked for an old-time song.

Tom was n’t strong for parsons—
so we did n’t observe the rules,
But four us sang, “Little Dogies,”
all cryin’—we gray-haired fools:
Wishing that Tom could hear it
and know that we were standing by,
Wishing him luck on the Lost Range,
down yonder, against the sky.

…by Henry Herbert Knibbs, from “Saddle Songs and Other Verse,” 1922

It’s often noted that Henry Herbert Knibbs—known for poems such as “Where the Ponies Come to Drink” and “Boomer Johnson”—was not a cowboy. But Knibbs was not inexperienced with Western life.

Lee Shippey wrote about him in a 1931 article in the Los Angeles Times. He notes that Knibbs was born in the Canadian east, went to Harvard, and had a novel published while he was still a student there. He writes, “…when a man can come out of the East, handicapped by such an un-Western sounding name as Henry Herbert Knibbs, and become a man whose songs and stories are loved by the cow men and prospectors and adventurers of all the Western States, he must have something.”

He continues, “While still a young Canadian he tramped the great Canadian forests and all he asked was a canoe, a pack and a gun and he could supply himself with food and shelter. Later he came down into Maine and had a unwritten contract to supply several lumber camps with fresh meat. He was so successful in that business that a special game warden was assigned the task of catching him in some unlawful act.” He goes on to tell that the warden could never catch Knibbs doing anything wrong, and that Knibbs would sometimes lead him on wild chases. Then one day Knibbs found the warden in medical distress and nursed him back to health. The warden didn’t want to pursue Knibbs after that, and persuaded his superiors to call off the hunt. In fact Knibbs was offered a warden position, but he declined, as he had decided to head for California.

Knibbs headed West, and after some newspaper work, “He built himself a little covered wagon—a spring wagon with a canvas top on it—and set out to see California. For the better part of a year he jogged about, visiting many places where still motor cars cannot go, for good horses and a light wagon could take him to many places where there were no roads.”

It is noted that at the time of the column he had published a number of novels and that five of his stories were made into motion pictures. Shippey writes, “But it is probably that his poems will outlive his prose. For there are many western authors but few poets whose work really appeals to the men of plains and ranges, to cow men and prospectors and those who know life in that vanishing domain which is western in spirit as well as geographically.”

This photo is from the Connecticut State Archives, available through Creative Commons. The caption describes it, “An autographed promotional photo of Henry H. Knibbs in the desert with 2 pack mules and a walking stick in cowboy garb…”

Find more about Knibbs at CowboyPoetry.com.

 

National Day of the Cowboy Art Spur 2017, “On to Greener Pastures”

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It’s been said that a picture is worth a thousand words. We know many that are worthy of a poem or a song. In Art Spur, we invite poets and songwriters to let selections of Western art inspire their poetry and songs.

Our 46th piece offered to “spur” the imagination is a special National Day of the Cowboy Art Spur, a photograph from Colorado ranchers and poets Valerie and Floyd Beard, titled “On to Greener Pastures.” Valerie comments, “We were helping the family move the cows that were calving later to another pasture where there would be more feed. It was such a beautiful day in beautiful country in the canyons of Southeastern Colorado.”

Events across America celebrate the thirteenth annual National Day of the Cowboy, Saturday July 22, 2017.

American Cowboy magazine launched the National Day of the Cowboy in 2004. Bethany Braley was involved with that launch and now she heads the National Day of the Cowboy organization, which works year round on the celebration.

Submissions were welcome from all through Wednesday, July 19, 2017.

Thanks to all who participated.

Selected poems are posted below.

Find previous Art Spur subjects here and at CowboyPoetry.com.

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POEMS:

“Market Day,” by Marleen Bussma of Utah
“The Trickster,” by Jean Mathisen Haugen of Wyoming
“With Apologies,” by Lynn Kopelke of Washington
“The Boring and Mundane,” by Jeff Campbell of Texas
“The Lord’s Pasture,” by Ol’ Jim Cathey of Texas

 

MARKET DAY
by Marleen Bussma

Hope didn’t leave. It just wore out, ground down by restless wind
that polishes men’s broken dreams. Their spirits bruised and skinned.
Young blades of grass look brown, long past their expiration date.
The land has dropped down to its knees to pray for rain and wait.

Cole puts his truck in neutral after pulling up in line.
His metal wreck-on-wheels coughs, spits, and struggles with a whine.
He hoped this year would turn out kind and give him room to breathe.
Instead, he sees disastrous, looming setbacks that bequeath

a pile of debts to add to last year’s sinking bottom line.
Tough times and disappointments have put iron in his spine.
The winter, like an uninvited guest, had over stayed
and left behind its remnants. Weakened cattle dearly paid.

The snow was like a weapon as it battered and abused.
It crusted over cattle faces ’til their nostrils fused.
The cows were calving in unseasoned cold day after day.
Some newborns didn’t make it, one more loss to mull and weigh.

Harsh, tiring cold arrested, booked, and jailed all ranching life.
Bleak hard work barely paid off and demoralized Cole’s wife.
Those bitter, brutal days locked up in mem’ry and defeat
now move aside to make room for the blazing, blistering heat.

The spring had started well with water from the melting snow,
but rain clouds hold a grudge and move on, like the rodeo.
The sun and wind suck moisture like a calf that’s late for lunch.
The dust hangs like a curtain for a final sucker punch.

Range stock ponds now are craters gaping open for a drink.
All wells, some close to failing, feel the water table sink.
Dry stubborn grass that stuck around is stunted, runty feed.
If rain should come it can’t make up for all the hungry need.

The road into the sales barn crawls with trailers full of stock.
Trucks nestle with their bumpers like LA at four o’clock.
Cole sees his neighbors, like himself, in line to save a dream.
They gamble, selling off cow-calf pairs hoping to redeem

their livelihood next year if nature deals a kinder hand.
They live exposed and vulner’ble to hang on to their land.
It takes a bit of gambler to survive this ranching life.
He’s thankful that he has a partner in his loving wife.

Cole puts his truck in gear and nears the choice he’s made to sell.
He blocks his mind from second guessing. Worries want to swell.
Hope hasn’t left. It lies in wait, perchance to grow and sprout.
A new truck might be in the future if his plans work out.

© 2017, Marleen Bussma
This poem may not be reposted or reprinted without permission.

greenerpastures

THE TRICKSTER
by Jean Mathisen Haugen

It was coming into summer time,
the foothills were spattered with wild flowers—
Indian Paintbrush, bluebells, and sego lilies—
viewing them could take up hours.

But the folks on this little soi’ree
had no time to stop to take a view—
it was time to move the cattle to the mountains
where the grass was fresh and new.

There was quite a herd of black angus
they were pushing up the hills—
blocking up the highway some
and giving the drivers thrills.

But cattle have the right-of-way in Wyoming,
that’s the way it has always been,
and tourists just have to wait a bit
and then move slowly on again.

They had nearly more cowboys than cows,
folks liked to ride along,
from the oldest to the little ones
and some would sing old songs.

But mostly it was, “Git back here,
you muley stubborn cow
and git that calf back with you
and do it here and now!”

My uncle asked my Ma to go—
she’d not done that in years,
borrowed a horse from her father-in-law
and got right back into gear.

Now Grandpa was a trickster,
he liked to job some of the folks,
and make them pay attention close
to avoid some of his jokes.

He loaned Ma an ornery horse,
who seemed tame and didn’t fight,
but now and then she’d turn her head
and try to take a bite!

Ma didn’t appreciate his joking
and it proved to be a long day,
moving cattle up the switchbacks
to Sawmill Creek, which was their way.

She’d cuss that mare
and call her names back several generations,
and shocked some of the folks along,
but she corrected that mare’s gyrations.

She made the ride, the mare settled down
and when Ma got back that day,
Grandpa was grinning by his truck,
thinking this joke was a good way

to settle up some differences
he’d had with his daughter-in-law.
He didn’t know he’d figured wrong
and had well underestimated Ma!

She rode the mare over to him
and that mare tried to take a bite
out of Grandpa’s hind end—
yep, Ma was on the fight.

She climbed down and wagged her finger
right there in the old man’s face,
“Don’t ever pull that on me again!”
and she put him in his place.

Grandpa kinda’ hung his head—
she had ruined all his raptures.
He sold the mare the following day—
before she sent him to greener pastures!

© 2017, Jean Mathisen Haugen
This poem may not be reposted or reprinted without permission.

greenerpastures

WITH APOLOGIES…
by Lynn Kopelke

They’re sorrel. They’re chestnut. They’re bay.
They’re yaller. They’re spotty. They’re gray.
They come in all sizes.
Their looks win no prizes.
When seen they are going away.
It’s not the first end that you meet.
Don’t nuzzle ner git any treats.
Tho’ it does process food
To discuss that is rude
For it’s not the end that eats.
I know they occur naturally.
They’re out there for all to see.
But to be more than fair,
The equine derriere
Is something to strive not to be.

© 2017, Lynn Kopelke
This poem may not be reposted or reprinted without permission.

greenerpastures

THE BORING AND MUNDANE
by Jeff Campbell

In the bright early morn
Moving cattle to green pasture
Just a day in the life
Of a Colorado rancher

The young hand stated
This sure is a bore
Could use some excitement
Shake up this dull chore

The old hand just laughed
Said you got a lot to learn
You’ll appreciate today
When the tables start to turn

Now take this blue sky
It will go dark in a hurry
And whether May or November
It can make this Cowboy worry

The spring thunderstorms
Bring along mud and the rain
Slogging along soaked
Your focus hard to retain

Winter’s bitter wind brings
Freezing ice, deep snow
Makes even a short ride
Feel like miles to go

Then there’s sick cows and calves
Bruised hooves, a lame horse
Wildfires, rattlesnakes
And ole coyotes of course

So enjoy the bright sunshine
The sweet smell of evergreens
The wildflowers blooming
The song the warbler sings

Embrace the uneventful
And try hard not to complain
Cause one day you’re going to miss
All this boring and mundane

© 2017, Jeff Campbell
This poem may not be reposted or reprinted without permission.

greenerpastures

THE LORD’S PASTURE
by Ol’ Jim Cathey

We kicked them blankets an’ hit the floor to greet another day,
‘Course, them aches an’ pains we ignored,
Headin’fer where Cookie’s fire roared,
For that, we quietly thanked the Lord,
His Grace would give us strength an’ courage, to get us on our way.

The wrangler brought the horses in, Pap was there to throw his loop,
We’d call the name of ours to ride,
Pap’s aim an’ skill was undenied,
A lessor job, he’d not abide,
Most all times, yore ride would start with bolt an’ jolt, with shout an’ whoop!

Daybreak brought a crispy morn, we coffeed, then mapped out our plan,
That ol’ windmill shore needs repair,
Mama cows moved to better fare,
Along with salt to get up there,
Just a few of the things to do when yore ridin’ fer the Man.

There’d been a scatterin’ of rain, ’nuff to settle that ol’ dust,
Them ol’ mama cows was trailin’,
Put a bit of dust a sailin’,
‘Cuz that ol’ wind was a wailin’,
So we pulled our hats down tight, an’ faced right into that windy gust.

As we slow but sure make that gradual climb to summer feed,
We often lean in to discuss,
How mama cows depend on us,
To give them care without much fuss
As we watch ‘em close an’ keep ‘em safe… to meet their ever need.

Like how we each hold close to our Lord where ever we may roam,
Just like them cows, we have a need,
But from our sins we have been freed,
He gave His life to intercede,
So we each arrive at the Lord’s pasture, our Heavenly home!

© 2017, Ol’ Jim Cathey

greenerpastures

National Cowboy Poetry Rodeo 2017, August 3-5, 2017, Abilene, Kansas

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From the National Cowboy Poetry Rodeo (NCPR):

It’s not too late to put the National Cowboy Poetry Rodeo on your calendar. We still have a few spots open in the competition—so visit the website at ncpr.us for rules and entry forms and join us August 3rd after the parade at the Shockey and Landes Building, Abilene, Kansas, for our annual get-together and open mic event.

Then Friday and Saturday mornings until we are done, we start in with the cowboy poetry rodeo competition with free admission. On Saturday afternoon, August 6, 2016, at 4:00 p.m., get your tickets to the Matinee show where the winners will be crowned and perform their winning poetry followed by the Chisholm Trail Western Music Show with Geff Dawson and Cowboy Friends. For more information, visit our web site at ncpr.us. Tickets available online.

Take time to see all the sights in Abilene and the area while you are in Kansas. You can see one of the biggest free fairs and rodeo in the Midwest, the Central Kansas Free Fair and Wild Bill Hickok PRCA Rodeo while you are there, plus many, many more attractions. Some of our contestants and judges will be performing during the rodeo each night so don’t miss it!

Don’t miss eating at the Brookeville Hotel where they serve family-style fried chicken dinners. If you would like to come as a contestant or a spectator, contact Geff Dawson, geff.b@ranchcowboy.com or call 785-456-4494 and we will get you hooked up. You’re not going to want to miss this event. We have several special guests coming to judge and entertain, and contestants can win thousands of dollars and prizes. Entries are open now.

Many poets who have participated in the NCPR have had high praise for the experience, including Yvonne Hollenbeck, Doris Daley, Linda Kirkpatrick, DW Groethe, Janice Gilbertson, Andy Nelson, the late Pat Richardson, and others. A celebration of “excellence through competition,” many lasting friendships are made at the NCPR.

Find more about the National Cowboy Poetry Rodeo on Facebook; at CowboyPoetry.com; and at the NCPR web site, ncpr.us.

This photo shows the 2016 contestants and judges.

 

SHE SADDLES HER OWN HORSE by Marleen Bussma

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SHE SADDLES HER OWN HORSE
by Marleen Bussma

It’s forty miles from nowhere as the night wind sighs and sings.
It teases the thermometer that wavers, wilts, then wrings
all heat from sky and land that shivers, though it’s springtime’s start.
Now twenty-two below, the moon shines with just half a heart.

Cold Levis on the chair slip over long-johns warm from bed.
Kate staggers as she stumbles to get dressed and clear her head.
It’s 3:00 A.M. and time to check the calving shed’s penned herd.
She fights the wind through darkness. She’s the only thing that’s stirred.

Tonight she is the mid-wife with a flashlight’s extra eye.
It flicks across the red backs in the stalls they occupy.
Kate hears the heavy panting of a heifer hard at work.
She’s lying in the straw. Each quiver has become a jerk.

Kate’s witnessed birth a hundred times, a ranching genesis.
She cherishes the part she plays and doesn’t think of this
as business, but a way of life. She thrives on the demands,
the rhythm of the seasons, and hard work done with her hands.

The heifer bellows. Eyes are pools of panic, angst, and pain.
She thrashes with her head, casts spools of drool out to complain.
Two tiny cloven hooves appear and then a little nose.
A wet slick body slips out in the afterbirth that flows.

The heifer looks behind her with eyes wide in great surprise.
Kate grabs a gunny sack to briskly rub and scrutinize
this wet, dependent critter that begins to breathe and move.
Kate places it near mother’s nose and hopes she will approve.

The cow lows softly, gives a lick, then rises to her feet.
With hind legs first, the recent mother slowly stands to greet
and nuzzle, lick and nudge, all part of life’s age-old routine.
A wash-rag tongue caresses, laps, until the newborn’s clean.

As sturdy as a worn-out shoe, four fickle feet aspire
to get a grip then stand up stiff and firm, just like barbed-wire.
The jelly-legs give out and rest a minute on the ground.
He tries again and takes some steps to mother where he’s found

an udder filled with what he needs, an in-house drink buffet.
He gives a nose-bump, starts to suck, and lunch is on its way.
The sky is growing light and pushes darkness to the west.
Fatigue is etched around Kate’s eyes and shows that she needs rest.

She’s wearing blobs of cow-crud, splattered with mysterious spots,
decides to take a breather in the cow-shed where she squats.
Her eyes are closed. Her head leans forward with Mixmaster hair.
She’s dirty, rank, and smelly, but she’s sure her horse won’t care.

This ranch has been her life and she knows how to make it run.
A ride across the hills is gold, like dancing in the sun.
Kate shuns the busyness of town; just give her life that’s plain.
She’ll take this young calf’s romping and a summer’s inch of rain.

© 2017, Marleen Bussma
This poem should not be reposted or reprinted without permission

 
Marleen Bussma has a new CD, Saddle Up for Cowboy Poetry, which includes this poem.

Marleen comments, “Much has been written about men on the ranch. Since the days of homesteading, women in the west have rolled up their sleeves to carve out a life on the land. Some have worked beside their husbands, while others have been on their own. The subject of this poem is a composite of all the women who have ridden a horse while doing their daily chores.”

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About Marleen:

Marleen grew up on a farm in North Dakota.  Her adult life has taken her away from those daily chores, but her heart still lies in the land of the meadowlark.  She has put together many verses on the plight of the women of the west from frontier days to modern farm and ranch times.  She wants to be that cowboy coming into camp for a fresh horse.  She understands the struggle to deal with Mother Nature.  She feels at home where her stories take place.

You can find out more about Marleen, her new CD, Saddle Up for Cowboy Poetry, and her award winning book, Is She Country?, on her website marleenbussma.com.

Marleen will be joining the Durango Cowboy Poetry Gathering October 5th – 8th, 2017.

Announcing the Featured Poets & Musicians of the 34th National Cowboy Poetry Gathering

WFC2018

 

From the Western Folklife Center:

 

Announcing the Featured Poets & Musicians of the 34th National Cowboy Poetry Gathering

We are thrilled to announce the artist line-up for the 34th National Cowboy Poetry Gathering, January 29-February 3, 2017, in Elko, Nevada. Tickets go on sale to Western Folklife Center members beginning September 5, and to the general public on October 5. Members also get tickets to free members-only shows and for the first time this year, members receive a discount on the price of a 3-Day Deluxe Pass, which is $60 during the member pre-sale period and $80 starting October 5. To purchase or renew a membership, click here.

Featured Poets & Musicians

Amy Auker, Prescott, AZ
Mike Beck, Monterey, CA
Ryan Bell, Seattle, WA
Caleb Klauder Country Band, Portland, OR
Cowboy Celtic, Victoria, British Columbia, Canada
John Dofflemyer, Lemon Cove, CA
Carolyn Dufurrena, Winnemucca, NV
Maria Lisa Eastman, Hyattville, WY
Ramblin’ Jack Elliott, Marshall, CA
Dom Flemons & Brian Farrow, Hillsborough, NC
Patricia Frolander, Sundance, WY
Pipp Gillette, Crockett, TX
Kristyn Harris, McKinney, TX
Andy Hedges, Lubbock, TX
Yvonne Hollenbeck, Clearfield, SD
Rita Hosking & Sean Feder, Davis, CA
Ross Knox, Midpines, CA
Betty Lynn McCarthy, Buffalo, MO
Michael Martin Murphey, Walden, CO
Wally McRae, Colstrip, MT
Waddie Mitchell, Twin Bridges, NV
Terry Nash, Loma, CO
Joel Nelson, Alpine, TX
Rodney Nelson, Almont, ND
Shadd Piehl, Mandan, ND
Vess Quinlan, Florence, CO
Henry Real Bird, Garryowen, MT
Brigid Reedy, Whitehall, MT
Riders In The Sky, Nashville, TN
Randy Rieman, Cascade, MT
The Rifters, Cimarron, NM
Matt Robertson, Okotoks, Alberta, Canada
Jack Sammon, Condong, New South Wales, Australia
Sean Sexton, Vero Beach, FL
Sand Sheff, Moab, UT
Andy Wilkinson, Lubbock, TX
Wylie & the Wild West, Conrad, MT
Paul Zarzyski, Great Falls, MT

We will be adding Basque artists in the coming weeks!