HERE’S TO THE COWBOYS by Pat Richardson (1934-2016)



by Pat Richardson (1934-2016)

Here’s to the cowboys I’ve known in my lifetime,
all the tough hands that lived on the fringe.
They weren’t much to look at, and darn hard to open
’cause it seems most were just hung with one hinge.

I know you’re thinkin’, “They’re too hard to handle,”
but pardner that’s where you are all wrong.
They’ll come to getcha come Hell or high water
and you’re dang glad that they happened along.

When the going got tough, they loved the excitement
though they never quite knew what was in store.
They’d make some joke, “Put your oars in the water
and by God don’t you be rowing for shore.”

A cowboy can stand a whole lot more than most:
lump jaws, hoof rot, and orn’ry old critters,
but when it comes time, to reel in your line,
the thing they can’t stand are the quitters

So here’s to the cowboys I’ve known in my lifetime
that could handle a horse, a rope or a steer
I’d drink to their health if they had any left—
“So Merry Christmas, cowboys, and Happy New Year.”

© 2006, Pat Richardson, used with permission
Oh how we miss the late Pat Richardson, California poet, humorist, artist, cowboy, and former Pro Rodeo Sports News cartoonist.

Known for his deadpan delivery of his humorous poems, Baxter Black has said of Pat Richardson’s poetry, “If you boiled cowboy poetry down to what’s worth savin’, this is what the stew would smell like.”

Find some of Pat’s poetry and more about him at

This poem is included on the double-CD of classic and contemporary Christmas cowboy poetry, The BAR-D Roundup: Volume 8 from

This image was one of Pat’s last Christmas cards. It speaks for itself.