by Baxter Black
They call ‘em a vanishing breed.
They write books and take pictures
and talk like they’re all dyin’ out.
Like dinosaurs goin’ to seed
But that’s my friends yer talkin’ about.
Like Tex from Juniper Mountain.
He carved out a way of life
where only the toughest prevail.
He’s fifty-seven an’ countin’.
His sons now follow his trail.
And Mike who still ain’t got married.
At home in the seat of a saddle,
a sagebrush aristocrat.
I reckon that’s how he’ll be buried;
A’horseback, still wearin’ his hat.
There’s Bryan, Albert and Floyd.
Cowmen as good as the legends
to whom their livelihood’s linked,
Who’d be just a little annoyed
To know they’re considered extinct.
Some say they’re endangered species
Destined to fade into footnotes
like ropes that never get throwed.
To that I reply, “Bull Feces!”
They’re just hard to see from the road.
© Baxter Black, used with permission
Baxter Black, top cowboy poet and occasional philosopher, hardly needs an introduction. From Elko to NPR, he put cowboy poetry on the map.
Great friend of the BAR-D Chuck Learn looks forward to reciting this poem at the 26th annual Santa Clarita Cowboy Festival, April 11-14, 2019 in Historic Old Town Newhall, California.
Jim and Bobbi Jean Bell of the OutWest Shop host the popular Buckaroo Book Shop and the OutWest Stage at the Santa Clarita Cowboy Festival. Chuck Learn will be at the OutWest Stage.
Featured performers at the Santa Clarita Cowboy Festival include Kristyn Harris, Carolyn Sills Combo, Sourdough Slim, Almeda Bradshaw, Jerry Hall and Trick Shot, Joyce Woodson, John Bergstrom, The Cowboy Way, Joe Herrington, The Hanson Family, and many others.
The event offers much entertainment and many activities. Find all of the featured performers and much more at cowboyfestival.org.
Recently, Baxter Black asked us to relay this message, a policy announcement: “Since Baxter Black is no longer doing live performances, there are inquiries about others using his material in their performances. His policy is that anyone is welcome use his material in appropriate occasions, including non-profit or paid-for performances. He requests that the poems or stories be performed the way they are written, allowing for editing of length if needed. Please give the author credit.”
His office adds that no one, for any reason, has permission to include his work “on cds, books, or dvds…or to try to sell it in any manner, including online.”
This version of “Vanishing Breed?” comes from Poems Worth Saving, Baxter Black’s 2013 collection of 164 poems and stories.
This photograph of cowboy Sam Hedges is by poet, cowboy, and entrepreneur Jessica Hedges, who is proudly married to Sam. Her Branded in Ink company “serves the ag community through the art of storytelling on social media and beyond.” Her photography is available as prints, cards, and more. Find more at brandedinink.com.
(Please respect copyright. You can share this poem and photo with this post, but please request permission for any other use—except recitation of the poem.)