GIT HIM SLICKER BROKE, by Bruce Kiskaddon (1878-1950)


by Bruce Kiskaddon (1878-1950)

When yore breakin’ out a broncho,
Better get him slicker broke;
Or sometime you’ll have to try it
When it isn’t any joke.
When the wind begins a blowin’
Till it snaps his mane and tail,
And you see a black cloud comin’
Full of lightnin’ rain and hail.

And you know if you it him off
He will likely pull away
So you try it in the saddle
And yore hopin’ that you stay
But yore horse starts a buckin’
When you git it halfway on.
While yore arms and sleeves is tangled
Then he throws you and he’s gone.

It’s a mighty nasty feelin’
That a feller caint explain;
When yore standin’ there bare headed
And plum helpless, in the rain.
Fer yore slicker’s tore and busted
And the wind has took yore hat;
And you see yore hoss and saddle
Go driftin’ down the flat.

‘Bout that time you git an idee
And you don’t furgit it, pal.
Better slicker break a broncho
In a mighty good corral

…by Bruce Kiskaddon (1878-1950)

This poem appears in Bruce Kiskaddon’s second book, Rhymes of the Ranges and Other Poems, published in 1947.

Kiskaddon worked for ten years as a cowboy, starting in 1898, working in southeastern Colorado’s Picketwire area. He wrote many poems still read and recited today. See features about him at

The great Bill Owen (1942-2013) was a storyteller, too, with his paintings.They invite you in. This one, “Waiting Out the Storm,” is a perfect example. His web site quotes him about this painting, “Typical of Arizona, the cowboys figured the rain would end shortly, so those who had a slicker threw it over their saddle to keep it dry and then sat in the saddle house until the storm passed.”

Bill Owen was a cowboy’s painter. His web site tells, “Bill always felt compelled to record what he believed to be the true endangered species of our time: the contemporary working cowboy. He was extremely passionate about the importance of portraying each and every detail with complete accuracy.His greatest accomplishments and proudest moments were realized when a true cowboy looked at one of his pieces and said, ‘That’s exactly the way it is!’”

At the Center for Western and Cowboy Poetry, we were honored to have Bill Owen’s “Born to This Land” as the 2010 Cowboy Poetry Week poster art.

Find more about Bill Owen at and at Another way Bill Owen’s legacy continues is with the Bill Owen, Cowboy Artist, Memorial Scholarship Fund, Inc., which “…provides scholarships to young people of the Arizona ranching community to further their education beyond high school.”

Special thanks to Valerie Owen Fillhouer for her generous permission for the use of this image.

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