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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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ALL THIS WAY FOR THE SHORT RIDE by Paul Zarzyski

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ALL THIS WAY FOR THE SHORT RIDE
by Paul Zarzyski

After grand entry cavalcade of flags,
Star-Spangled Banner, stagecoach figure 8s
in a jangle of singletrees, after trick riders
sequined in tights, clowns in loud getups,
queens sashed pink or chartreuse
in silk—after the fanfare—the domed
rodeo arena goes lights-out
black: stark silent
prayer for a cowboy crushed by a ton
of crossbred Brahma.

……………………………………What went wrong —
too much heart behind a high kick,
both horns hooking earth, the bull vaulting
a half-somersault to its back—
each witness recounts with the same
gruesome note: the wife
stunned in a bleacher seat
and pregnant with their fourth. In this dark
behind the chutes, I strain to picture,
through the melee of win with loss,
details of a classic ride—body curled
fetal to the riggin’, knees up,
every spur stroke in perfect sync,
chin tucked snug. In this dark,
I rub the thick neck of my bronc, his pulse
rampant in this sudden night
and lull. I know the instant
that bull’s flanks tipped beyond
return, how the child inside
fought with his mother for air
and hope, his heart with hers
pumping in pandemonium—in shock,
how she maundered in the arena
to gather her husband’s bullrope and hat, bells
clanking to the murmur of crowd
and siren’s mewl.

……………………………………The child learned early
through pain the amnion could not protect him from,
through capillaries of the placenta, the sheer
peril of living with a passion
that shatters all at once
from infinitesimal fractures
in time. It’s impossible, when dust
settling to the backs of large animals
makes a racket you can’t think in,
impossible to conceive that pure fear,
whether measured in degrees of cold
or heat, can both freeze
and incinerate so much
in mere seconds. When I nod
and they throw this gate open to the same
gravity, the same 8 ticks
of the clock, number 244 and I
will blow for better or worse
from this chute—flesh and destiny up
for grabs, a bride’s bouquet
pitched blind.

(In Memory of Joe Lear)

© 1996, Paul Zarzyski. Used with permission.
This poem should not be reposted or reprinted without permission.

Iconoclast poet and songwriter Paul Zarzyski tells the sad story that inspired this tribute to his friend, bullrider Joe Lear, in a recent StoryCorps segment recorded at the Western Folklife Center’s recent National Cowboy Poetry Gathering. Listen here. Find other stories at that link and learn how to record your own Storycorps piece at the Western Folklife Center.

His book, All This Way for the Short Ride: Roughstock Sonnets, 1971-1996: Poems, received the Western Heritage Wrangler Award from the National Cowboy & Western Heritage Museum. See the poem on his web site. Read artist and writer Teresa Jordan’s introduction to the book here.

Paul Zarzyski and Tom Russell collaborated on a lyric based on the poem, and you can listen to the popular tune. Find another version here.

Paul’s latest release is Steering With My Knees, an enormously dazzling double CD of music and poetry with an accompanying and likewise engaging “digibook.”

It is described, “Featuring a Veritable Symphony of Esteemed Musicians Playing Electric/ Acoustic / Lap Steel / Bass / Slide Guitars, Alto and Tenor Sax, Piano, Cello, Drums, Trombone, Trumpet, Tuba, Jaw Harp, Didgeridoo, String Bass, Flugelhorn, Fiddle, Flute, Keyboards, Accordion, Pizzicato Viola, Blues Harmonica, Banjo, Mandolin, Theremin… as well as the application of Electric / Foley / Bell Sounds, Voice Impersonations, and, last but not least, The Singing of Poetry and Lyrics.”

Like most things Zarzyski, the entire project is a singular experience.

Find more about Paul Zarzyski at CowboyPoetry.com, www.cowboypoetry.com/paulzarzyski.htm; at his web site, paulzarzyski.com; and on Facebook.

This is a photo of Paul riding “Whiskey Talks” in Great Falls, Montana.

YOO-HOO by Jane Morton

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YOO-HOO
by Jane Morton

My mother always called, “Yoo-hoo,” so we would look her way.
She did it at the sale barn one cattle auction day.

Dad brought his cows to market there, as he did every spring.
He liked to watch the auction and his cattle in the ring.

Some Hereford cows were milling round, and others bawling loud.
The auctioneer was trying hard to stir the morning crowd.

My folks were in their usual seat where they had said they’d be,
And I had started toward them when my mother spotted me.

She jumped up quick and called, “Yoo-hoo,” and then she waved her hand.
She’d bid on thirty Herefords with our own CU brand.

The auctioneer looked toward my mom and gave a little nod.
A feedlot buyer raised her bid, and I was thanking God.

I didn’t dare to signal her for fear they’d think I’d bid,
And Mom had no idea at all of what she almost did.

So needing to get down there fast, I headed for the stair.
Then came another, “You-hoo Yo-ooooo,” that caught me unaware.

I’d almost closed the distance when my mother waved once more.
The auctioneer acknowledged her, the way he had before.

I watched the feedlot buyer as I slipped into my seat,
And when the fellow didn’t bid, my heart near ceased to beat.

My dad sat focused on the ring completely unaware
Of all the action going on right there beside his chair.

From up in back there came a bid, and I could breathe again.
I prayed the field had narrowed down to real cattle men.

I took Mom’s hand soon as I could and held it tight in mine.
I said, “How are you doin’, Mom?” She said, “I’m doin’ fine.”

Now Mom had been to auctions, and she knew what not to do.
Of course a real no no would have been to call, “Yoo-hoo.”

But Mom forgot herself that day and learned to her chagrin
How close she came to buyin’ back the cows that Dad brought in.

When Dad caught on he realized, as he had not before,
That thanks to Mom his cattle brought a buck a hundred more.

© 2008 revised, Jane Morton
This poem should not be reported or reprinted without permission

Much-loved Colorado poet and writer is recovering from an accident in which she suffered fractured vertebrae. She’s facing a long recovery. Cards are welcome: 7961 E. Natal Ave., Mesa, AZ 85209.

Jane Morton often writes about her family’s ranch history, which began with her great great grandfather, a circuit-riding Baptist minister who left Illinois and headed to Colorado in 1872. Generations later, her mother, Eva Lena Ambrose, was surprised to discover that her husband, a teacher and coach, was determined to return to the family farm that eventually became the family ranch. Her mother faced a hard life with dignity.

Jane Morton has award-winning books and a CD of her poetry. Don’t miss reading more of her poems about her family and their ranch history at CowboyPoetry.com.

This 1939 photo by Russell Lee is titled, “Scene in cattle auction barn. Heifer is coming in from pen. San Augustine, Texas.” It is from The Library of Congress Prints & Photographs Division, part of the Farm Security Administration – Office of War Information Photograph Collection. Find more about it here.

Russell Lee taught photography at the University of Texas, Austin, from 1965-1973, and is best known for his FSA photos. Find more about him at Texas State University’s Russell Lee Collection.

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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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

AIN’T A HERMIT by Floyd Beard

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AIN’T A HERMIT
by Floyd Beard

Well now I ain’t no real recluse,
hermit ain’t my real excuse,
but neighbors they are sparse where I come from.
I often sit and talk a spell
but a poet said it well.
I like folks best when they are scattered some.

So let my story now unwind,
build a picture in your mind
of canyon land, that’s rugged, vast and free.
Where broken canyons braid for miles,
mountain peaks stack up in piles;
A torn and arid range is what you’ll see.

There I awake and stretch and yawn
and I ride out on the dawn
where prairies melt into the canyons deep.
A bunch of cattle I find there
in the cool crisp morning air,
On gramma grass around a canyon seep.

Melodic spurs, steel shoes on rock
softly sing out as we walk
‘Neath sandstone cliffs that beetle way up high.
The prickly pear are in full bloom
where the ponderosa loom,
In stark contrast against an azure sky.

Near noon I pass a basin pool
of fresh water clear and cool.
‘Neath pines the cattle shade up from the sun.
I sit and lean against a tree
pony hobbled grazing free.
My canyon cafe’s charm is next to none.

I catch my pony, cinch my kack,
settle down upon his back.
My circle still has lots of miles to go.
Around a bend I stop and see,
a big mulie watching me.
He bounces off a makin’ quite a show.

Through rocks and brush on trail so dim,
upward to the canyon rim,
My pony and a good dog by my side.
We pause atop the sandstone cliffs
and enjoy the fragrant whiffs
of sagebrush as we gaze on vistas wide.

Now cross’t the mesa I ride out,
Salt and water on my route.
The grass is green, the mill is pumping free.
Shore, we could use a soaking rain.
But you won’t hear me complain,
With grass and water, I’ll just let’er be.

A large crevasse defines the trail,
down through boulders, brush and shale
We wind our way back to the canyon floor.
Passed by an old homesteader’s shack,
weathered walls now sag and crack,
A vestige of their dreams held long before.

I rein my pony toward home,
turning loose my thoughts to roam
O’re morning trails and canyon coves of rest.
Storm clouds build high o’re canyon brow
so we hit a long trot now
To hustle to the barn shore might be best.

Back on my ranch house porch I stand
cup of coffee in my hand.
I’m lost in thought and thunder from above.
My collie cowers ‘neath my feet,
rain washed breezes smell so sweet,
Revival to the country that I love.

Well like I said back at the start,
ain’t a hermit in my heart
though I live out where the land is vast and free.
I love my friends and all their ways
but I’m most at home those days
in the saddle, just my pony, dog and me.

© 2015, Floyd Beard, used with permission
This poem should not be reposted or reprinted without permission

Colorado rancher Floyd Beard’s poem was recently chosen for a Spur Award from the Western Writers of America. He was named the Western Music Association’s top Male Poet in 2016.

Floyd tells us, “‘Ain’t a Hermit’ is written about making a circle in the canyons of Southeast Colorado near the Dry Cimarron where we run cattle with our family. The area is an arid and rugged canyon country. Each of the stanzas with their descriptive language are sights that we experience while out riding and checking cattle. I hope that you enjoy riding along and making a circle with me.”

Floyd acknowledges that the line in the poem, “I like folks best when they are scattered some.” is a reference to Badger Clark’s, “The Old Cowman.”

This photo, by Valerie Beard, is of Floyd Beard and his notable mustache. Below are some photos of Floyd Beard’s country.

Floyd Beard’s recent CD is Short Grass Country (and it includes this poem).

Find more about Floyd Beard at CowboyPoetry.com; at his web site, floydbeardcowboy.com; and on Facebook.

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CowboyPoetry.com
celebrates our Western heritage and today’s working West, dedicated to preserving our important history and to promoting the Western arts that carry on those traditions.  It’s a part of the non-profit Center for Western and Cowboy Poetry.

The Center was formed to serve a mostly rural and underserved community of Western writers, musicians, and artists; to help preserve Western and Cowboy Poetry and its associated arts; to offer a central resource for poets, libraries, schools, and the public; and to educate the public about the history and value of Western and Cowboy Poetry and its associated arts.

Supporters make a difference. With individual support, the Center can continue its programs, expand some of those efforts, and take on new projects. Individual support helps show institutional funders the community interest in our Western arts.

We thank our supporters, who are listed below. They make an important difference to the community of Western writers, musicians, and artists as we work together to preserve Western heritage and support Western and Cowboy Poetry and its associated arts. Please join us.

2017

The BAR-D supporters make all of the programs of the Center for Western and Cowboy Poetry possible: Cowboy Poetry Week, the Rural Library Program, and CowboyPoetry.com.

Claud Roundtree
Janice Gilbertson
Andria Kidd
Laverna B. Johnson
Betty and Ken Rodgers in memory of Trisha Pedroia
Nika Nordbrock
Dick and Jane Morton
Christopher Chambers
Joanne Grinage
Susan Matley
Keith Ward
Thomas F. Hawk
Jo Lynne Kirkwood
Howard Moon
DW Groethe
Rodney Nelson
Susan Parker
Denise Arvidson in memory of Ross Christian Arvidson
Gary McMahan-HorseApple Entertainment
Steve and Marge Conroy in memory of Allen “Hook” Hill
David Stanley
Paul R. Brown III
Susie Knight
Barbara Richhart (Western Belle)-Cowtrails

Significant 2017 program support: Laura and Edmund Wattis Littlefield Jr.

Cowboy Poetry Week 2017 Foundation support: Margaret T. Morris Foundation

VISIT OUR SPONSORS

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

2016

The BAR-D supporters make all of the programs of the Center for Western and Cowboy Poetry possible: Cowboy Poetry Week, the Rural Library Program, and CowboyPoetry.com.

National Cowboy Poetry Rodeo (sponsor)
Eileen Dirksen
Denise Arvidson
Joanne Grinage
Dee Strickland Johnson (“Buckshot Dot”)
Santa Clarita Cowboy Gathering (sponsor)
Gary Brown
Bryce Angell
Hal Swift (multiple donations)
Robyn Stangel
Sally Smith-Joelle Smith Western Art
Rhonda Stearns (sponsor)
Betty and Ken Rodgers
Rodney Nelson
Valerie and Floyd Beard
Susan Parker
Almeda Bradshaw (renewing Sponsor)
John Waters
Jim Thompson (California)
Ray Doyle
Dan Wilson
Marjorie Parker
C.W. (Charles) Bell
Wendy Brown-Barry
Ken Cook (renewing Sponsor)
Saddle Up at Pigeon Forge (renewing Sponsor)
Douglas Gustafson
Susie Knight
Yvonne and Glen Hollenbeck (multiple donations) donations in memory of Ray Hanzlik,
Jess Howard, Pat Richardson, and Jack Walther
Cindy Quigley
Cowboy Poets of Idaho (renewing Sponsor)
Marleen Bussma
David Stanley
Terry Nash
H. Paul Moon-WESTDOCUMENTARY.COM
Melissa and Dave Stamey in memory of Pat Richardson
KC La Course
Scofield’s Cowboy Campfire
Jean Prescott Music (renewing Sponsor)
Denise Arvidson in Memory of Ross Christian Arvidson
RANGE (renewing Sponsor)
Jean Haugen
Monterey Cowboy Poetry & Music Festival (renewing Sponsor)
Stella and Jim Cathey in memory of Jack “Trey” Allen and Ronnie G. Murphey
Kent Penter
Jon Dean
Stella and Jim Cathey in memory of Ed Nesselhuf
Ron Secoy
Western Folklife Center (renewing Sponsor)
Robert Dennis
Deanna Dickinson McCall
Rosemary Yull
George Rhoades
Tom Morgan
Andy Nelson
Linda Kirkpatrick
Chuck Learn (multiple donations)
Daniel Bybee
Tom Swearingen
Kay Kelley Nowell
Jean Mathisen Haugen
Del Gustafson
David Carlton
Patricia Frolander
Sally Smith – Joelle Smith • Clara Smith Art
Valerie and Floyd Beard
Jarle Kvale
Daniel Wilson
Mike Moutoux
Sally Baldus
Kent Penter
Dale Page
Totsie Slover
Bob Miller
Gary McMahan-HorseApple Entertainment
Kent Reeves-The Whole Picture Consulting
Robert Kinsey
Susie Knight
Al “Doc” Mehl
Terry Nash (multiple donations)
Charles (C.W.) Bell
Dee Strickland Johnson (“Buckshot Dot”) (multiple donations)
Arizona Cowboy Poets Gathering (renewing sponsor)
Marleen Bussma
Slim McNaught-Slim’s Custom Leather
Spalding Labs (renewing sponsor)
Jim Thompson (California)
Stella and Jim Cathey in memory of Charles H.(Chuck) Munzert
Rocky Sullivan
John Waters
Bob Coker
Jay Snider (renewing sponsor)
P’let and Mike Tcherkassky
Jerry Brooks (multiple donations)
Smoke Wade
Chuck Learn (sponsor)
Roberta Rothman
Linda Nadon (in memory of Georgie Sicking)
Kip and Marilyn Sorlie
Sandy Seaton Sallee
Lynn Kopelke
Mark Kerr
Paul Quinton
Marci Broyhill (sponsor)
Andy Carr
Devin Dingler
Bill Ott
Jeri Dobrowski (sponsor)
Cameron La Follette
Judy James-Cowboy Jubilee
Beth Rand-Joyful Horse Project/Restoration Ranch
Stan Tixier
Greg Camp

Significant 2016 program support: Laura and Edmund Wattis Littlefield Jr.

Cowboy Poetry Week 2016 Foundation support: Margaret T. Morris Foundation

VISIT OUR SPONSORS

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

You can make a donation by check or money order, by mail (please use the form here for mail) or by a secure, on-line credit card payment through PayPal (a PayPal account is not required):

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

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

Donors at the $40 level and higher receive the year’s CD and Cowboy Poetry Week poster. (The CD fair market value is $15 and that amount is not deductible as a charitable contribution.)

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

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Cowboy Poetry Week News

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

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Find more about Cowboy Poetry Week here.

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NEWS AND EVENTS

Find Cowboy Poetry Week events on the April calendar.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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azlfag chrisisaacs

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

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

Much more to come…

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GOVERNORS’ PROCLAMATIONS

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

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

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

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

azlfag  Arizona-Chris Isaacs (received)

coloflgaj Colorado-Terry Nash

florida77  Florida-David Carlton  (received)

idahoflj Idaho-Cowboy Poets of Idaho

minnflag  Minnesota- Diane Tribitt Scott

montanaflg Montana-DW Groethe

nebraskaflag Nebraska-Marci Broyhill

nevadaflagj Nevada-Dan Bybee

nmflag New Mexico-Totsie Slover

ndflagj North Dakota-Jarle Kvale

okflag Oklahoma-Jay Snider

orflagj Oregon-Tom Swearingen

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

tnflagy Tennessee-Shane Queener (received)

texasflag Texas-Linda Kirkpatrick

utstflagj Utah-Jerry Brooks

washstflg Washington-Lynn Kopelke  (received)

wyostflgj Wyoming- Leslie Keltner

Find more about Cowboy Poetry Week here.

Events: April

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• through April 1, 2017
25th Annual Tin Pan South Songwriters Festival Nashville, Tennessee

•  April 1, 2017
21st Annual Cowboy Poetry Night Gateway, Colorado

• April 8-9, 2017
Folkfest New Braunfels, Texas

• April 14th, 15th, & 16th, 2017
14th Annual Columbia River Cowboy Gathering and Western Music Festival Kennewick, Washington

• April 14th, 15th, & 16th, 2017
9th Annual Cowboy Idol Competition at the 14th Annual Columbia River Cowboy Gathering and Western Music Festival Kennewick, Washington

• April 15, 2017
Ranch Day at the National Ranching Heritage Center Lubbock, Texas

• April 20-22, 207
Trappings of Texas Custom Cowboy Gear and Western Art Exhibit Alpine, Texas

• April 21-23, 2017
101st Annual Meeting, Texas Folklore Society Tyler, Texas

• April 21 – 22, 2017
Western Heritage Awards at the National Cowboy and Western Heritage Museum Oklahoma City, Oklahoma

• April 21 – 23, 2017
96th Annual Red Bluff Roundup Red Bluff, California

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• April 14-16, 2017
30th Annual St. Anthony Cowboy Poetry Gathering St. Anthony, Idaho

CPI2013Visit our Sponsor supporters: Cowboy Poets of Idaho

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• April 16-22, 2017
16th annual Cowboy Poetry Week

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Cowboy Poetry Week Events:

• Sunday, April 9, 2017 ( 2:00 PM)
Lewis & Clark Interpretive Center and The Betty Strong Encounter Center  Sioux City, Iowa.

• Saturday, April 15, 2017
Wilsonville Public Library Wilsonville, Oregon

Sunday, April 16, 2017
CowTrails radio  noon-2:00 MTN

• Monday, April 17
Weber County Southwest Branch  Roy, Utah  (6:30 PM)

• Tuesday, April 18, 2017
 Tigard Public Library  Tigard, Oregon (7:00 PM)

• Tuesday, April 18, 2017
St. George Branch Library St. George, Utah (6:00 PM )

• Tuesday, April 18, 2017
Santa Clara Branch Library St. George, Utah  (4:00 PM)

• Wednesday, April 19, 2017
Washington Branch Library Washington, Utah (7:00 PM)

• Wednesday, April 19, 2017
Hurricane Branch Library, Hurricane, Utah (5:00 PM)

• Wednesday, April 19, 2017
Weber County Pleasant Valley Branch South Ogden, Utah (6:30 PM)

• Thursday, April 20,  2017
Weber County Ogden Valley Branch  Huntsville, Utah (6:30 PM)

• Friday, April 21, 2017
5th annual Cowboy Poetry Gathering Shoshoni, Wyoming 4-6 PM

•  Sunday, April 23, 2017
City Hall  Dakota City, Nebraska  (2:00 PM)

More to come …

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• • •

•  April 19-23, 2017
24th Annual Santa Clarita Cowboy Festival Santa Clarita, California

•  April 28-20, 2017
6th Annual Genoa Cowboy Festival Genoa, Nevada

•  April 28-30, 2017
Stagecoach Indio, California

•  April 9, 2017
Western Music Association Colorado Chapter Showcase Denver, Colorado

•  Dates not yet received for 2017
46th Annual Bob Wills Day Festival Turkey, Texas

•  Dates not yet received for 2017
19th Annual Missouri Cowboy Poetry Festival Mountain View, Missouri