photograph of Trey and Janice Hannagan Allen by Carol Barlau; request permission for use

Inspired by Jack Carter “Trey” Allen, III
by Marci Broyhill

Father and daughter leaned against the rail fence
reviewing the day as the sunset commenced.

They talked about livestock, repairs of the day,
the upcoming taxes and bills yet to pay,

how much hay to keep and how much to sell,
a new door for the barn, a new pump for the well,

cedar trees in the pasture and down by the creek.
Those invasive rogue trees to be burned out next week.

As they paused for a moment and gazed to the west
at the glorious sunset, their voices took rest.

They stood there absorbing the radiant sky
so, peaceful, serene. No words could apply.

This setting was right for the man to impart
philosophical thoughts and requests of his heart.

Breaking the silence by clearing his throat,
calmly shifting his hat, the father gave note.

I’ve lived my best years on this ground where we stand.
I’m the third generation to work this grassland.

As a young man, I frequently fell off the track.
But each time I did, this land called me back.

I’ve been giving some thought to my life here on Earth,
hoping my work has contributed worth.

Man, woman or child, we just never know
when the angel of death says, “Hey there, let’s go.”

To make that time easier for those left behind,
let me share what’s been buzzing around in my mind.

When my body can no longer shelter my soul,
when old age or disease have done taken their toll,

when it’s time for my spirit to cross the grand bridge,
to that eternal grassland up over the ridge,

I have some requests, I hope you’ll abide
when my spirit is called to the hereafter side.

I’m a practical man, my style is low-key.
A quiet observance is perfect for me.

I need not a casket to bury my bones
or a cemetery plot with a fancy head stone.

No extravagant flowers in basket or vase,
for this crusty old geezer, they’d be out of place.

Let me merge with this land, my dust to this earth,
to join in the cycle of Nature’s rebirth.

Toss some of my ashes into a warm breeze
to dust the green crown of the cottonwood trees.

Scatter some dust through a shelterbelt row.
There I’ll stand against wind driving dirt, ice and snow.

Shake some dust in the pasture along the fence line,
and behind the horse barn that your pa built with mine,

across the hay meadow that borders the creek,
into the plum brush where blossoms smell sweet,

on my favorite trails where I ride with Roan Red,
on your mother’s perennials, her prize flower bed.

When it rains, I’ll drip, float and trickle around
immersing myself into life-giving ground

to be one with wild flowers and native grass.
I’ll stroke velvet muzzles of those grazing past.

I’ll cradle new life, domestic and wild,
the gentle, the aggressive, each one Nature’s child.

When the scattering of ashes is accomplished and done
I’ll be living in two worlds, not merely one.

Now you sleeve that there sniffle and blink back those tears.
‘Cuz I plan to keep ranching some twenty plus years.

This land will be yours when I cross the divide.
But until then my dear, I’m here by your side.

You’re an honest, smart woman, with a trustworthy man.
If any two ranchers can make it, you can.

Right now, we’re a trio. I like that I do.
When counting my blessings, the best ones are you.

Oh, there’s one more detail I’m a gonna’ to impose.
Get a stainless-steel plate for a message of prose.

Engrave an inscription so all understand
my respect for ranch life, my love for this land.

Then nail that steel plate on a creosote post.
Let it state, Trey Allen remains here, on the land he loves most.

@ 2017, Marci Broyhill
This poem should not be reposted or reprinted without permission

Marci Broyhill comments:

“A Father’s Conversation with His Daughter” was inspired by Jack Carter “Trey” Allen III. I first met Mr. Allen in 2005 at Michael Martin Murphey’s West Fest event at Snow Mass, Colorado. I was in the infancy of my cowboy poetry adventure and attended West Fest to immerse myself in the essence of western culture: the people, art, music and poetry. It was there that I heard and met Trey Allen for the first time.

It was after one of the West Fest concerts as I stood on the grassy slope, the magnificent natural amphitheater setting for the West Fest concerts, that I saw Trey Allen walking in my direction. I was apprehensive, yet summoned up the courage to introduce myself and express my appreciation for his material and presentation. At that time, he was dressed in crisp light taupe attire from head to toe. Trey politely tipped his hat and respectfully said, “Thank you, ma’am.” We shared a few pleasantries and he was gone. Our encounter was brief, yet it is branded in my memory.

My next encounter with Mr. Allen was ten years later, August 2015, in Abilene, Kansas at the Cowboy Poetry Rodeo where I was a participant. Mr. Allen was one of the judges. The third time was in October of 2015 at Old West Days in Valentine, Nebraska where Trey was a featured performer. Trey was ill both times; fighting multiple myeloma. Still, Trey portrayed a positive attitude of living, strutting his pink boots, bright neon colored shirts, flashy scarves and ties giving inspiration to all present.

Trey was scheduled to entertain at the Chickasaw County Cowboy Poetry and Western Music Gathering in Lawler, Iowa the following January 2016. Due to his on-going, energy-sapping cancer, he had to decline that appearance. I was asked to “fill in” for Trey Allen. Wow, what boots to fill. I was humbled and honored.

The following was garnered from CowboyPoetry.com.

Jack Carter “Trey” Allen III was born January 20, 1971 in Richardson, Texas. He respected the cowboy code of life and was employed in the ranching, cowboy-style of living most of his life which generated a wealth of background experiences for his colorful, original cowboy poetry which he recited with ease.

He was diagnosed in 2013 of multiple myeloma. A photo of Trey, taken by Carol Barlau became the reference photograph used by Don Dane for his painting titled “Cowboy True, Thru and Thru.” That art work became the poster for Cowboy Poetry Week, April 19-25, 2015.

Understanding the severity of his illness, Trey asked his three daughters that at upon his death, they take a road trip with his ashes. He directed them to scatter his remains on all the ranches on which he worked. Jack Carter “Trey” Allen III died July 7, 2016 in Manhattan, Kansas with family at his bedside.

My three brief encounters with the brave, unselfish man, Jack Carter “Trey” Allen III, inspired me to write “A Father’s Conversation with His Daughter.” Thank you, sir.

[Find a tribute to Trey Allen here and more at CowboyPoetry.com.]


Marc Broyhill


Marci Broyhill, Prairie Poet & Storyteller grew up on the Cedar-Dixon County Line between Nebraska’s Cowboy Trail, Highway 20 and Nebraska’s Outlaw Trail, Highway 12. Marci is on the Humanities Nebraska Roster with her program, Nebraska’s Outlaw Trail, Highway 12. She balances her presentations with current information, history, reflection and humor. Marci currently lives in Dakota City, Nebraska. Find more at marcibroyhill.com.

2015Marci BroyhilMarci Broyhill and two new fans of Cowboy Poetry. South Sioux City, Nebraska Library honoring Cowboy Poetry Week (2015).

2015Marci Broyhill2.jpgMarci Broyhil, Doc Middleton (aka Kyle Rosfeld) and Teresa Kay Orr. Naper, Nebraska honoring Cowboy Poetry Week (2015).

2017marcibroyhill.jpgTeresa Kay Orr and Marci Broyhill in Dakota City, Nebraska honoring Cowboy Poetry Week.  Marci adds, “Teresa Kay is my sister. Whenever possible, we do events together. She brings the element of music. Together, we provide a bit of fun sibling banter.”

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.


 “Cowboy poetry champs recognized,” McPherson Sentinel, June 22, 2017

Cattle ranchers sue to return country-of-origin labeling,” by the Associated Press, Wyoming Daily, June 21, 2017

Cattle stolen from ranch in the middle of the night,” abc13.com (Houston), June 20, 2017

How Bad is the Drought in NorthEast Montana? It’s BAD.,” by Taylor Brown, Northern Ag Network, June 19, 2017

To Keep Predators Away, Montana Ranchers Compost Dead Cattle,” by Rachel Cramer, mtnpr.org, June 13, 2017


COWBOY CROSSROADS with Andy Hedges and guest Randy Rieman,” (podcast, Part 2), June 20, 2017

What is the future of the Texas cowboy?,” by Bryan Mealer, The Guardian, June 19, 2017

SD governor declares statewide emergency as drought conditions worsen,” The Fence Post, June 19, 2017


Handyman Jacks,” poem by Baxter Black (latest column), BaxterBlack.com, June 19, 2017

A herd of ‘rebel cows’ has been living wildly in the Italian mountains for years,” by Catherine Edwards, The Local, June 19, 2017

Lies They Tell Writers, Part 39: Believe in yourself,” by Rod Miller, (blog), June 18, 2017


Librarian of Congress Names Tracy K. Smith Poet Laureate,” Library of Congress, June 14, 2017

‘Cautious But Not Silent;’ Photographer Kevin Martini Fuller’s Three Decades of Cowboy Poet Portraits,” by Renata Certo-Ware, untouchableblog.com, June 12, 2017

Great Ranches of the Great Basin,” American Cowboy, June 15, 2017

For Sale: A $7 Million Wild West Town,” by KC McGinnis, Logan Jaffe, and Joshua Thomas, (video) The Daily 360,  New York Times, June 15, 2017


Have a cow: A new way to buy beef…,” by Rachel Nania, wtop.com, June 14, 2017

COWBOY CROSSROADS with Andy Hedges and guest Randy Rieman,” (podcast, Part 1), June 13, 2017

It Happened in Langtry,” by G. R. Schiavino, American Cowboy, June 12, 2017

Sandhills Savior,” poem by Baxter Black (latest column), BaxterBlack.com, June 12, 2017

‘Trial of a Lifetime’ Plays Out in Tiny South Dakota Town,” by Reuters, cattlenetwork.com, June 12, 2017


Women of the West – Liz Brannan, by Jennifer Denison,” Western Horseman, June 8, 2017

Rawhide Robinson Rides the Interweb,” Rod Miller, blog, June 9, 2017

Genoans send Cowboy Festival into sunset,” by Kurt Hildebrand, The Record-Courier, June 8, 2018

Behind the Chutes: Rodeo secretaries keep the show running smoothly,” by Allie Bohus, American Cowboy, June 7, 2017

Putting Cowboys—and Their Industry— in True Historical Context,” by Edward Dolnick, New York Times Books, June 2, 2017


In Montana, land transfer threatens the American rancher’s way of life,” by Elliott D Woods, The Guardian, June 6, 2017

Great Ranches of the Southwest,” American Cowboy, June 6, 2017

Cleaning Up Messes,” by Baxter Black (latest column), BaxterBlack.com, June 5, 2017

Renaissance Man of the West, Part I,” by William C. Reynolds, Western Horseman, June 5, 2017

National Day of the Cowboy,” American Quarter Horse Association, June 5, 2017

200 cows take over downtown San Diego streets in historic cattle drive,” Pam Kragen, San Diego Tribune,  June 3, 2017



Trailing a Thief,” by Carol Hutchison, The Cattleman, June 2017

Paddock to patient: How Australian beef cattle are being used to create heart valves and save lives,” by Kathleen Calderwood, ABC (Australia), June 2, 2017


Where palette meets palate,” by Rod Miller, (blog) May 31, 2017

COWBOY CROSSROADS with Andy Hedges and guest Paul Zarzyski,” (podcast in two parts), May 31, 2017

The Grapevine,” by Baxter Black (latest column), BaxterBlack.com, May 31, 2017

River Bend Ranch to host Cowboy Poetry event,” Durango Herald, May 30, 2017

NM True TV – “The Cow Country Code”  with Deanna Dickinson McCall, YouTube, May 30, 2017

Will your next load of hay arrive by Uber Freight?,” by Lynn Jaynes, Progressive Forage, May 26, 2017


Cowboy Express train
to Elko’s National Cowboy Poetry Gathering


We were on a (rare) break May 4-25.

Cowboy music comes to Learning Center,” by Forrest Grimes, Seguin Gazette, May 3, 2017

The Story of a Texas Rancher Girl,” by Peyton Waldrip, gobrangus.com

Texas Rancher Girl blog


COWBOY CROSSROADS with Andy Hedges and guest Dom Flemons,” (podcast), May 2, 2017

Saddle up, partner, cowboy poetry contests are headed your way,” by Beccy Tanner, kansas.com, May 2, 2017

The Drover’s Camp Camooweal (Bush poets)


Nebraska Writers Guild “Fur Trade Days” Poetry Contest (deadline June 8)

Who’s in Charge?,” by Baxter Black (latest column), BaxterBlack.com, May 1, 2017

Yee-Haw! Cowboy Festival a good time,” by Sarah Drinkwine, Record-Courier, April 30, 2017

Western Music Association Music & Poetry Gathering, May 13, Villa Rica, Georgia

Meeker Cowboy Poet Gathering, June 2, Meeker, Colorado

Equestrian Legacy Radio’s RENDEZVOUS 2017,  June 1-3 Hurricane Mills, Tennessee


American Cowboy Magazine
: final print edition
Facebook post, April 28, 2017

Steiger, Auker Headline ‘Working Cowboy’ at Sharlot Hall,” Daily Courier, April 27, 2017

Ancient Horse DNA Shows Scythian Warriors Were Adept Domesticators,” by Kenneth Chang, New York Times, April 27, 2017


Find Cowboy Poetry Week news here.


Training wild mustangs with convict cowboys” (video), CNN via MSN, April 26, 2017

Porter Rockwell pulls the trigger in True West,” by Rod Miller (blog), April 26, 2017

The Cowboy and the City Girl Southern Poetry Tour Comes to Edgefield,” Edgfield Advertiser, April 26, 2017


Landscaping,” by Baxter Black (latest column), BaxterBlack.com, April 25, 2017

Master of the Mustang Tent: Renowned Cowboy Poet Waddie Mitchell Returns to Stagecoach—to Emcee, Not Perform,” by Brian Blueskye, CV Independent, April 25,2017

Concert for a Cause,” by Jennifer Denison, Western Horseman, April 25,2017

Horses, cows, snakes, coyotes, ” by Kay Hively, Neosho Daily News, April 25, 2017

The Dude Wrangler,” by Dave Stamey, Facebook, April 19, 2017


Podcast seeks to stoke interest in cowboy poetry,” by Angie Haflich, hppr.org, April 24, 2017

Savvy with a Slow Cooker,” (video) by Shannon and Kent Rollins, Western Horseman, April 24, 2017

Cowboy poetry has pioneers, too,” by Sally Bates, Daily Courier, April 23, 2017

There’s a cowboy in everyone,” by Nikolas Samuels, The Signal, April 22, 2017

Photojournal of the Ranch, Spring 2017,” by Dawn Wink, Dewdrops (blog), April 22, 2017

A Horseman Rides Away,” by Jennifer Denison, Western Horseman, April 20, 2017


Celebration of the American Cowboy” and Cowboy Poetry Week (audio), Equestrian Legacy Radio, April 20, 2017

Would You Wear a Dress Made From Cow Manure?,” by Sara Murphy, Yahoo, April 19, 2017

20 mule team hitched to new Borax wagons,” (video), YouTube, April 17, 2017


The Podcast Spreading the Love of Cowboy Culture,” by Carson Vaughan, The Atlantic, April 19, 2017

There were lots of horsemen in my childhood years,” by Rodney Nelson, Farm & Ranch Guide, April 12, 2017

Pick it Out,” by Baxter Black (latest column), BaxterBlack.com, April 17, 2017


My Heroes Have Always Been Cowboys, a musical documentary with Waylon Jennings” (1983), YouTube


Roy musician captures sounds of beloved Western performers,” by Janae Francis, Standard Examiner, April 16, 2017

Dear Lady at the Bank…,” by Ruby Uhart, blog, March 26, 2017|


Preserving Western heritage in words and music,” by Ken Beck, Wilson Post, April 12, 2017


Spring: From the experts,” by Jessie Veeder, Meanwhile, Back at the Ranch blog, April 11, 2017

The Night Man in the Heifer Lot,” by Baxter Black (audio), Western Horseman, April 10, 2017

The Toast,” (poem) by Baxter Black (latest column), BaxterBlack.com, April 10, 2017

Was Mark Twain right?,” by Rod Miller, blog, April 8, 2017

Cowboy Poetry and Western Music Roundup: community celebrates of National Poetry Month, by Michelle McConnaha, Ravalli Republic, April 7, 2017

CATTLE COUNTRY: Museum honours B.C cowboys,” by Gaeil Farrar, Williams Lake Tribune, April 6, 2017


Road to recovery,” by Sherry Bunting, agmoos.com, April 7, 2017

Yevgeny Alexandrovich Yevtushenko—‘Cowboy Poet,'” by Paul Zarzyski, Western Folklife Center, April 7, 2017

An Empty Saddle for Yevtushenko,” by Carson Vaughan, Paris Review, April 5, 2017

Aaron Pritchett headlining a revamped Cowboy Festival,” by Marcia Love, Spruce Grove Examiner, April 6, 2017

The Heart of Cowboy Camp,” by Jolyn Young, American Cowboy, April 5, 2017

The Cowboy Movie

Monterey Cowboy Poetry & Music Festival will probably be cancelled,” by Tom Leyde, montereyherald.com, April 5, 2017

Cowboy songs and music return to the library,” Cody Enterprise, April 5, 2017


The College Rodeo Team,” by Baxter Black (audio), Western Horseman, April 3, 2017

Latest “Back at the Ranch” radio from Jarle Kvale  April 1, 2017


Whether it’s a hat or a cap, don’t wear it backwards,” by Rodney Nelson, Farm and Ranch Guide, March 30, 2017

Out of the Ashes Benefit
, takes place everywhere, April 29, 2017


Grandpa’s Time,” by Baxter Black (latest column), BaxterBlack.com, March 27, 2017

Harold’s Lost Bull,” by Baxter Black (audio), Western Horseman, March  27, 2017

Nebraskans lend a helping hand to ranchers in Texas,” by Bridget Fargen, 1011now.com, March 27, 2017


 “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


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


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


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)


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


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


‘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


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


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


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


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


Gimp,” by Baxter Black (latest column), BaxterBlack.com, February 27, 2017

The Factory Farming Tour,” by Baxter Black (audio), Western Horseman, February 27, 2017


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


‘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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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

A VISITOR by Bruce Kiskaddon (1878-1950)

visitorA VISITOR
by Bruce Kiskaddon (1878-1950)

Just take a good look at what’s gathered up here.
A bunch of six calves and a visitin’ steer.
He can’t be a father, he can’t be a mother;
Of course you can’t tell, he might be a big brother.

This steer he was probably goin’ somewhere.
When he noticed them calves and just wanted in there.
The ol cows has gone to the water to drink,
And the calves that’s awake is too young fer to think.

It is likely by now that this steer doesn’t know
Exactly what place he had started to go.
You can’t depend much on a steer that is true
Fer he don’t know himself what he’s aimin’ to do.

He is generally speakin’ an onsartin’ feller;
He might hide in the bresh, he might stand out and beller.
The cows and the bulls aint so likely to run
But when steers git stampeded it ain’t any fun.

Well, the steer is fulfillin’ his mission on Earth.
A slight operation soon after his birth,
Decided his fate and laid out his career;
He’s a whole lot of beef and that’s why he’s a steer.

… by Bruce Kiskaddon

This poem was among Kiskaddon’s last works. In 1949 he and illustrator Katherine Field (1908-1951) renewed their partnership, creating poems and illustrations for the Los Angeles Union Stockyards calendar, as they had done years before, 1936-1942. Kiskaddon died in 1950 and had written six-months’ worth of poems in advance. Field illustrated them all before her own death in 1951.

That information and almost all of Kiskaddon’s nearly 500 poems is included in “Open Range” by Bill Siems. Find more about Kiskaddon and more about Siems’ book at CowboyPoetry.com in our Kiskaddon features.






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.


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
Colleen Kohler
Bryce Angell
Ken Cook (sponsor)
Wendy Brown-Barry
Jeff Campbell
Yvonne Hollenbeck (sponsor)
Chuck Learn (sponsor)
Marjorie Satterfield
Sandi and Jay Snider (sponsor)
Nika Nordbrock
Marleen Bussma

Significant 2017 and 2018 program support: Laura and Edmund Wattis Littlefield Jr.

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


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.


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
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
Heber Valley Cowboy Music & Poetry Gathering
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


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):


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.






PRAIRIE PHANTOMS by Brenda “Sam” DeLeeuw

samdpicphoto by Anita L. Crane, Photography by Neets.

by Brenda “Sam” DeLeeuw

What makes a herd of prairie mares
Put their noses into the wind,
Hurdle the sage, kick out with rage
Against strong winds, as ears are pinned?

To the onslaught of hooves and legs,
The prairie cactus imparts pain.
Sharp thorns like teeth, grab flesh beneath,
Red stains on hocks and shins remain.

Which specter makes them bolt and race,
Tails slapping warnings to the rest?
They’ll bite and kick through sagebrush thick,
Outrunning spirits, three abreast.

Harsh storms hurl phantoms at their heels,
Setting off a frenzied, wild race.
Bold banshees whip, across each hip,
Driving them at their breakneck pace.

Though out of breath, they will race on,
Not yet willing to end their craze.
Each biting flanks, within their ranks.
Red nostrils flared and eyes ablaze.

It’s not until phantoms vanish,
Will heaving mares shorten their strides.
At last they mill, beyond the hill.
Sweat, dirt and gouges mark their hides.

Though ghosts are gone for present time,
The mares stand keyed, with ears alert.
Ghosts may return, dust devils churn,
Fueling the air with sage and dirt.

And, once again the mares will lift
Keen nostrils to the blowing storm.
A sense of fear, from what they hear;
Strange wailings from some lifeless form.

Red droplets stream across each hoof.
Rays from a setting sun expose
The still wet hide, on mares wild-eyed.
They’re watching, as their breathing slows.

These wild mares begin to settle
And feel the stinging and the pains.
They paw the sod with hooves unshod,
Roll in cooled mud from recent rains.

They outran the prairie phantoms,
As flashing streaks whipped at their tails.
Showing their speed, they took the lead,
Spurred by some distant ghostly wails.

With setting sun, will come some peace.
Mares nicker softly and grow still.
Phantom threat gone, with light of dawn.
A new day’s warmth, removes night’s chill.

Until next time, this herd of mares
Will allow summer days to pass.
Remain at ease ‘mid cooler breeze,
At home in flaxen prairie grass.

© 2017, Brenda “Sam” DeLeeuw
This poem should not be re-posted or reprinted without permission


Popular award-winning poet Brenda “Sam” DeLeeuw is best known for her humorous presentations, but she also writes serious poetry. This poem is from her new CD, Cowboy Seasons: Poetry of the West.


Her bio tells, “Twenty-plus years a rancher’s wife; she’s herded horses, cows, sheep, and two rodeo queens…Sam’s background gives her all the ideas for her often humorous, but sometimes tear-evoking, stories. Much of her original poetry is taken from her own family’s genealogy—happenings from day to day life, from people she’s met and the places she’s been.”

Top musician Dave Stamey has called her, “One of the finest Western entertainers working today.”

See Rick Huff’s review of the new CD here.

Catch Sam next at the Western Legends Roundup in Kanab, Utah, August 25-27, 2017.

Find more about her at her site, cowgalpoet.com, which includes videos and more, including news of a new book, Ladies, Horses and Cowboys.

RIDIN’ WITH JIM by Andy Nelson

by Andy Nelson

It’s been years now, and I can’t tell you how,
Many times I’ve wanted to rewrite the end;
I fret and I ponder, and most often wonder,
If I’ll ever be as good a cowboy as my friend.

Friends come and go, as does every foe,
But certain people touch your life forever;
Jim was a horseman, unlike most men,
And a better farrier I’ve never seen, ever!

He was old and grizzled, and his blood sizzled,
If I wasn’t paying attention to his advice;
He taught me all, that he could recall,
About horses and shoein’, at least twice.

But I was young, and awfully high strung,
I didn’t have time to listen to his stories;
I had to ride fast, and not be the last,
To tout my accomplishments and glories.

Of course I wasn’t one, to ever be out done,
I was so full of myself, cocky, and young;
I knew it all back then, but that was when,
My wits weren’t near as sharp as my tongue.

So I did my own thing, never wondering,
What was missing in my life back then;
It wasn’t ’til later, my ego would crater,
And I would become teachable again.

My oats I kept sowing, not ever knowing
God sent him to make me a better man;
So He took him away, one cold spring day,
And I was left alone to do the best I can.

I never did think, he’d die on the brink,
Of me becoming the cowboy that I should;
But now it’s too late, I’d sealed my own fate,
I’d have to venture alone into manhood.

I knew that I, couldn’t break down and cry,
Or let the others see how deep I was hurt;
I felt ashamed, and myself I had blamed,
For this old hand that lay cold in the dirt.

Many times he tried, before the day he died,
To share what he learned from life’s travails;
But I didn’t take time, my life was mine,
What could I learn from his stories and tales.

Well, now I feel cheated, for the way I treated,
Riding with that old cowboy as a chore;
And still I pray, that some how, some way,
I could gather strays with Jim once more.

Periodically I’m given, a chance while still livin’,
To ride horseback once again with Jim;
When I fall in a deep, almost comatose sleep,
God allows me a brief rendezvous with him.

I know it’s a dream, but to me it sure seems,
Just as real as the first day we rode together;
We don’t ever talk, we simply ride and walk,
Enjoying the quakies, the sage, and each other.

We ride up fall creek, where the willows are thick,
And the untouched water cascades down,
A doe and fawn, bound effortlessly on,
We’re partnered up and miles from town.

The sun peaks over, and spots this old drover,
And illuminates his face under his hat;
His peaceful look, like the cover of a book,
Shows contentment for where he is at.

He is astride Big Joe, and we all know,
That big ol’ steed was his favorite mount;
With his rawhide hack, and slicker on back,
We ride while cows and blessings we count.

The dew burns off, I hear a cow cough,
And Jim sets out for the top of a draw;
I tag along side, our horses in stride,
And we surround the strays without flaw.

We ride all day, gatherin’ mavericks and strays,
And I know at any moment it will end;
I hold on tight, this couldn’t be more right,
But the home corral is just around the bend.

I don’t want to wake, but as a new day breaks,
The stock’s waiting for me in the morning light;
But first I thank God, and I give Jim a nod,
For the wonderful ride we took that night.

It don’t sound like much, of a vision or such,
But it helps me ’til the next visit to be had;
And I’m proud to say, in a boastful kinda way,
That old cowboy was my mentor, and my Dad!

I took much for granted, but the seed he planted,
And now I cherish each and every ride;
My heart’s still hurtin’, but this I am certain,
Jim and Big Joe are waitin’ on the other side.

© Andy Nelson
This poem should not be re-posted or reprinted without permission

Here’s wishing all a happy Father’s Day!

Andy Nelson—second-generation farrier, popular cowboy poet, emcee, rodeo announcer, and co-host (with his brother Jim) of the popular syndicated Clear Out West (C.O.W.) radio show—honored the memory of his farrier father, James W. Nelson (1920-1993), in a special Father’s Day tribute at CowboyPoetry.com.

Andy and his brother Jim have passed on their farrier skills on to their children. A bio at C.O.W. Radio tells, “Andy and Jim Nelson were born and raised in the small southern Idaho town of Oakley, where they were taught the way of the cowboy by one of the last great horsemen, their father Jim. They followed their dad all over the great basin of southern Idaho, northern Utah, and northern Nevada learning how to shoe horses, and although they no longer shoe horses for a living, the brothers have had the farrier way of life forever branded on their hides.”

Andy shared these photos of his father.

This poem is the title poem of Andy Nelson’s award-winning book that includes his stories and poems and his father’s writings as well, along with photographs. He wrote about the inspiration for that book, “My dad was gone before any of my children could get to know him, all that are left now are photographs and stories.”

Find more about Andy Nelson in our feature at CowboyPoetry.com and at his site, cowpokepoet.com. Visit clearoutwest.com, where you can listen to weekly archived radio shows, full of cowboy poetry, Western music, and much cowboy humor.

Find more cowboy poems and more special tributes to fathers by other poets for Father’s Day in a collection at CowboyPoetry.com.


THE RAINS by Charles Badger Clark, Jr. (1883-1957)


by Charles Badger Clark, Jr. (1883-1957)

You’ve watched the ground-hog’s shadow and the shiftin’ weather signs
Till the Northern prairie starred itse’f with flowers;
You’ve seen the snow a-meltin’ up among the Northern pines
And the mountain creeks a-roarin’ with the showers.
You’ve blessed the stranger sunlight when the Winter days were done
And the Summer creepin’ down the budded lanes.
Did you ever see a Springtime in the home range of the sun,
When the desert land is waitin’ for the Rains?

The April days are sun and sun; the last thin cloud is fled.
It’s gold about the eastern mountain crest,
Then blaze upon the yellow range all day from overhead
And then a stripe of gold across the west.
The dry wind mourns among the hills, a-huntin’ trees and grass,
Then down the desert flats it rises higher
And sweeps a rollin’ dust-storm up and flings it through the pass
And fills the evenin’ west with smoulderin’ fire.

It’s sun and sun without a change the lazy length o’ May
And all the little sun things own the land.
The horned toad basks and swells himse’f; the bright swifts dart and play;
The rattler hunts or dozes in the sand.
The wind comes off the desert like it brushed a bed of coals;
The sickly range grass withers down and fails;
The bony cattle bawl around the dryin’ water holes,
They stagger off along the stony trails.

The days crawl on to Summer suns that slower blaze and wheel;
The mesas heave and quiver in the noon.
The mountains they are ashes and the sky is shinin’ steel,
Though the mockin’-birds are singin’ that it’s June.
And here and there among the hills, a-standin’ white and tall,
The droopin’ plumes of yucca flowers gleam,
The buzzards circle, circle where the startin’ cattle fall
And the whole hot land seems dyin’ in a dream.

But last across the sky-line comes a thing that’s strange and new,
A little cloud of saddle blanket size.
It blackens ‘long the mountains and bulges up the blue
And shuts the weary sun-glare from our eyes.
Then the lightnin’s gash the heavens and the thunder jars the world
And the gray of fallin’ water wraps the plains,
And ‘cross the burnin’ ranges, down the wind, the word is whirled:
“Here’s another year of livin’, and the Rains!”

You’ve seen your fat fields ripplin’ with the treasure that they hoard;
Have you seen a mountain stretch and rub its eyes?
Or bare hills lift their streamin’ faces up and thank the Lord,
Fairly tremblin’ with their gladness and surprise?
Have you heard the ‘royos singin’ and the new breeze hummin’ gay,
As the greenin’ ranges shed their dusty stains–
Just a whole dead world sprung back to life and laughin’ in a day!
Did you ever see the comin’ of the Rains?

…by Charles Badger Clark, Jr.

“The Rains” was published in 1910 in Pacific Monthly, and you can see it here on Google Books.

Badger Clark got his cowboying experience in Arizona. He became the Poet Laureate of South Dakota, where he was born and lived for most of his life. He wrote many lasting poems, and some found their way into song, including “The Old Cow Man,” “Riding’,” “Spanish is a Loving Tongue” and “To Her.”

The South Dakota Historical Society Foundation holds Badger Clark’s papers and offers his books for sale.

Find poetry and more in our features about Badger Clark: .

This photograph, titled, “Complex clouds form after many inches of rain over several days near Stockton, California,” is by contemporary photographer, author, and publisher Carol M. Highsmith and included in the Carol M. Highsmith Archive at The Library of Congress Prints and Photographs Division.

Information at the collection notes, “Highsmith, a distinguished and richly-published American photographer, has donated her work to the Library of Congress since 1992. Starting in 2002, Highsmith provided scans or photographs she shot digitally with new donations to allow rapid online access throughout the world. Her generosity in dedicating the rights to the American people for copyright free access also makes this Archive a very special visual resource.”

Find more about Carol Highsmith and her work at carolhighsmith.com and on Facebook at Carol M. Highsmith’s America.

Find more about the photograph here.