WORKIN’ IT OVER, by Bruce Kiskaddon



by Bruce Kiskaddon (1878-1950)

It don’t matter much what a cow boy may own,
You never can git him to leave it alone.
He always has some fool idee in his head,
‘Bout his saddle or pack outfit, even his bed.

Supposin’ his saddle is made with square skirts.
It worries that waddie ontil his soul hurts.
He gits out his knife and he cuts the skirts round;
Then he stitches the edges, or laces ’em down.

Then, mebby he’ll cut the chafes off from his cinches.
He will splice out some straps or cut off a few inches.
He will cut at his pack outfit and rip out the stitchin’
While he changes the breast rig or mebby the britchin’.

He will whittle his bridle, and ‘fore he gets through,
He has got both his spur straps cut half way in two.
When his outfit’s plum ruint he goes to the store;
He buys some new stuff and starts whittlin’ once more.

…by Bruce Kiskaddon

This poem appeared in the Western Livestock Journal in September, 1940, and also was in the Los Angeles Union Stockyards calendar.

We are pleased to have a recitation of this poem by David McCall on the forthcoming 3-CD MASTERS: VOLUME THREE, the poetry of Bruce Kiskaddon, to be released in late April for Cowboy Poetry Week. Voices from the past and from today’s top reciters and poets celebrate cowboy poetry’s popular classic poet.

NEW: See the track list for the three CDs.

You can receive a CD and the Cowboy Poetry Week Poster for a donation of $50 or more to the Center for Western and Cowboy Poetry. Find more and a quick link for donating here.

CDs will likely be $35 postpaid. Posters are never sold.

According to Bill Siems’ Open Range, which includes almost all of Kiskaddon’s nearly 500 poems, Frank M. King wrote of Kiskaddon and calls him a “natural” as well. He comments, “Bruce is an old cowhand who just naturally thinks in rhymes. He never took no poem lessons, nor for that matter not many of any other sort of lessons, but he’s got ’em all tied to a snubbin’ post when it comes to building cowboy and range poetry…”

Find more about Kiskaddon in our features at

This postcard, from our collection, is by artist J. Richard Parry (1883-1952). It’s titled “Holding My Own” is has a 1907 copyright (now in the public domain) and the reverse has a 1910 postmark. We don’t know much about Parry. He illustrated a book “The Mystery of Bonanza Trail” (1910). Searching genealogy records, we find his full name was John Richard Parry, born in 1883 to Elizabeth and John Parry, in Denver. In 1940, his profession is listed as “salesman” in the machinist industry. He died at age 69 and is buried in Wheat Ridge Cemetery, Jefferson County, Colorado.

This poem is in the public domain.