THE WEST by Baxter Black



by Baxter Black

They don’t call it Death Valley for nuthin’
And coyotes don’t make a good pet
But livin’ out here with the griz and the deer
you pretty much take what you get

And the Rockies have shoulders like granite
They’re big and they make their own rules
So take what you need but you better pay heed
‘Cause the mountain don’t tolerate fools

And the wind is the moan of the prairie
That haunts and bedevils the plains
The soul stealin’ kind that can fray a man’s mind
Till only his whimper remains

You can stand in the canyon’s cathedral
Where water and sky never rest
And you know in your bones that the meek, on their own
Will never inherit the West

It’s wild and it’s wide and it’s lonesome
Where the dream of first blood still survives
And it beckons to those who can bid adios
To the comfort of 8 to 5 lives

So come all you brave caballeros
Cinch up and reach down inside
Till you feel the heat, then take a deep seat
‘Cause the West, boys, she ain’t broke to ride

© Baxter Black, used with permission

Who better to launch the 17th annual Cowboy Poetry Week with than Baxter Black, who put cowboy poetry on the map.

In his official bio, where he is described as “a cowboy poet, former large animal veterinarian and entertainer of the agricultural masses,” he comments, “My audience is my inspiration. Every cowboy, rancher, vet, farmer, feed salesman, ag teacher, cowman and rodeo hand has a story to tell, and they tell it to me. I Baxterize it and tell it back to ‘em! It doesn’t seem fair, does it?”

He recites S. Omar Barker’s “Cowboy Saying” on the new MASTERS: VOLUME TWO CD from

A few months ago, Baxter 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 “The West” comes from Poems Worth Saving, Baxter Black’s 2013 collection of 164 poems and stories.

Find more about Baxter Black at and find much more, including a weekly column, at

This photograph is courtesy of Baxter Black.

(Please respect copyright. You can share this poem with this post, but request permission for any other use—except recitation.)

Be a Part of it All!


cd7 cd15 cd14 cd13
cd11 cd10x cd09 cd8
_____ 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.

Supporters make possible all of the work of the non-profit Center for Western and Cowboy Poetry, including Cowboy Poetry Week, the outreach Rural Library Program, and

Please join us, and make a donation of whatever you can afford. Supporters have sent donations from $10 to $1000, and we are grateful for them all.

Consider making a donation as a gift to an individual, to commemorate a special occasion, or to honor the memory of someone who treasured our Western heritage.

Donors at the $40 level and higher receive the year’s CD and Cowboy Poetry Week poster.

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):

x-click-but21 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 deductible for federal income tax purposes (except for the value of any CD received, $15).  As in all professional journalistic endeavors, no editorial preference is given to financial sponsors or supporters.



Your generous support will ensure that we can continue to bring you all the news, poetry, and features that you depend on at and that we can continue programs including Cowboy Poetry Week, the Rural Library Program, and Cowboy Poetry Week.

Contributions of any amount are welcome. Your individual support helps us show institutional funders the community interest in our Western arts. We also welcome support at these defined levels:

Sponsor (individuals, gatherings, and non-profit organizations) $500 (commercial $1000; accepted at the discretion of the Center)

your custom 468×60 banner and its links on top-visited pages for a year, in front of our large and interested audience, all day, every day
 event sponsors: your banner with its link posted with your event on our Events Calendar page for a year
 your name and link in our supporters’ and general email newsletters for a year
 supporters’ “Back at the Ranch” newsletter
 your banner and its link on our Wall of Support

Your sponsorship may be paid in quarterly installments. Read more about banners here.


 your name with a link on our Wall of Support
 supporters’ “Back at the Ranch” newsletter with previews
 the 2018 MASTERS CD available in April, 2018
 the 2017 MASTERS CD
 the 2015-2016 BAR-D Roundup CD  (double “best of” volume)
 the 2014 BAR-D Roundup CD
 the 2013 BAR-D Roundup CD (special Christmas double volume)
 the 2012 BAR-D Roundup CD
 the 2011 BAR-D Roundup CD
 the 2010 BAR-D Roundup CD
 the 2009 BAR-D Roundup CD
 the 2008 BAR-D Roundup CD
 the 2007 BAR-D Roundup CD (no longer available)
 the 2006 BAR-D Roundup CD (no longer available)
 the 2018 Cowboy Poetry Week poster by Clara Smith
 the 2017 Cowboy Poetry Week poster by Tyler Crow
 the 2016 Cowboy Poetry Week poster by Gary Morton
 the 2015 Cowboy Poetry Week posted by Don Dane
 the 2014 Cowboy Poetry Week posted by Jason Rich
 the 2013 Cowboy Poetry Week poster by Shawn Cameron
 the 2012 Cowboy Poetry Week poster by R.S. Riddick
 the 2011 Cowboy Poetry Week poster by Duward Campbell
 the 2010 Cowboy Poetry Week poster by Bill Owen
 the 2009 Cowboy Poetry Week poster by Bob Coronato
 the 2008 Cowboy Poetry Week poster by William Matthews
 the 2007 Cowboy Poetry Week poster by Tim Cox
 the 2006 Cowboy Poetry Week poster by Joelle Smith (no longer available)


 your name on our Wall of Support
 supporters’ “Back at the Ranch” newsletter with previews
 the 2018 MASTERS CD available April 2018
 an additional CD of your choice
 the 2017 Cowboy Poetry Week poster by Clara Smith

Donor $40 US

 your name on our Wall of Support
 supporters’ “Back at the Ranch” e-newsletter with previews
 the 2018 MASTERS CD available April 2018
– the 2018 Cowboy Poetry Week poster by Clara Smith

* $60 for Canada and other countries. We regret that 2013 international postal rate hikes make the mailing of a poster or CD outside of the U.S. about $10.


The Center was formed to serve a mostly rural and under-served 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.











JeanPrescott2016 (1)


abAR-D Banner





Cowboy Poetry Week News


image “Out to Pasture” © 2017, Clara Smith,


Find more about Cowboy Poetry Week here.



Find Cowboy Poetry Week events on the April calendar.


utstflagj samdpic
Poet Sam DeLeeuw has  has organized a number of events for Cowboy Poetry Week at Utah‘s Weber County libraries. Joining her will be poets and musicians Robin Arnold, Thatch Elmer, Saddle Strings, Gordon Champneys, and David Anderson. Find the events on the April calendar.


For years, the late Stan Tixier organized these events. He is greatly missed and the foundation he created for the programs is appreciated throughout the community.


orflagj  tomswearingen150_small
Oregon poet Tom Swearingen always takes an active part in Cowboy Poetry Week and this year he’ll be making appearances at the Oregon City Public Library, the East Portland Rotary Club, and the Canby Public Library.


Find the events on the April calendar.


florida77 davidcarlton77
Each year, David L. Carlton, seventh-generation Floridian raised in the cattle industry, works with Florida officials for a Cabinet resolution from the Governor and Cabinet of the State of Florida for Cowboy Poetry Week. Here’s this year’s proclamation:



Outtoorig  CP_Smith_Poster_15X20_R3
It’s been said that a picture is worth a thousand words. We know many that are worthy of a poem or a song. In Art Spur, we invite poets and songwriters to let selections of Western art inspire their poetry and songs.

Our 48th piece offered to “spur” the imagination is a special Cowboy Poetry Week Art Spur, a painting by artist Clara Smith, “Out to Pasture.” The painting is selected as the poster art for the 17th annual Cowboy Poetry Week.

Submissions are welcome through April 12, 2018. Find more here.


utstflagj marleenbussma
Utah poet Marleen Bussma helps the Enterprise Branch Library in Enterprise, Utah celebrate Cowboy Poetry Week on Saturday, April 21, 2018 at 2:00 PM.


nevadaflagj utstflagj
Russ Westwood, organizer of the popular Mesquite Western Roundup in Mesquite, Nevada, has organized three Cowboy Poetry Week events on Thursday, April 19, 2018 at Utah libraries: the Hurricane Branch Library at 5:00 PM; the Washington Branch Library at 7:00 PM; and the St. George Branch Library at 6:00 PM.


coloflgaj rex
Colorado musician Red Rideout appears at two events celebrating Cowboy Poetry Week:  Wednesday, April 25, 2018 at the Evergreen Library at 6:00 PM and Thursday, April 26, 2018 at the Conifer Library at 6:00 PM.


tnflagy shanequeener3
Musician and poet Shane Queener received a Cowboy Poetry Week proclamation from Tennessee Governor Bill Haslam:



utstflagj samdpic
Utah poet Sam DeLeeuw received a Cowboy Poetry Week proclamation from Utah Governor Gary R. Herbert.



nevadaflagj (1) danielbybee2010150
Nevada poet Dan Bybee received a Cowboy Poetry Week proclamation from Nevada Governor Brian Sandoval:



nmflag Totsie
Award-winning DJ Totsie Slover of The Real West from the Old West show received a Cowboy Poetry Week proclamation from New Mexico Governor Susana Martinez:



washstflg daytonlibrary
Washington’s Dayton Memorial Library holds its Second Annual Cowboy Poetry Night on Thursday, April 19, 2018.


washstflg lynnkopelke2012detail
Washington poet, musician, and artist Lynn Kopelke received a Cowboy Poetry Week proclamation from Washington Governor Jay Inslee:



azlfag chrisisaacs09.jpg

Cowboy, packer, poet and humorist Chris Isaacs received a Cowboy Poetry Week proclamation from Governor Douglas Ducey:


sdglag francie
Francie Ganje of Heritage of the American West received a Cowboy Poetry Week proclamation from Governor Dennis Daugaard:



minnflag Dianetribitt2007
Poet and rancher Diane Tribitt Scott received a Cowboy Poetry Week proclamation from Minnesota Governor Mark Dayton:




texasflag lk05
Poet and regional historian Linda Kirkpatrick received a Cowboy Poetry Week proclamation from Texas Governor Greg Abbott:




cowradio jimandy

Each year for Cowboy Poetry Week, Andy and Jim Nelson’s Clear Out West (C.O.W.)” Radio Show has a special show that includes top cowboy poetry and songs that were originally poems or collaborations with poets.

This year’s program airs April 16-22, 2018 on its syndicated stations, and the following week it is available for listening on the COW web site, The music and poetry selections are:

“Spin That Pony” by Dave Stamey, from a collaboration with Les Buffham; Paul Hamblin’s rendition of “The Strawberry Roan” from Curly Fletcher’s poem; Jon Chandler’s “Back Story” from a poem by Waddie Mitchell; and Don Edwards’ “Ridin’, based on Badger Clark’s poem. Other selections include poems: Baxter Black’s “All Ranch Rodeo”; Waddie Mitchell’s “Evening Chat”; Yvonne Hollenbeck’s “Money in Horses; and Doris Daley’s “Say Hi to Grandpa.”

Clear Out West is “…a weekly syndicated cowboy radio show dedicated to introducing the cowboy culture to new folks, and bringing back some great memories to some old cowboys. Join your hosts, Andy and Jim Nelson, every week for some great cowboy music, some awesome cowboy poetry and some serious goofing off!”

Find more at


wyostflgj lkeltner
Wyoming’s Leslie Keltner, cowboy poet, Western songstress, and keeper of traditions received a Cowboy Poetry Week proclamation from Wyoming Governor Matthew H. Mead:



coloflgaj terrynash
Poet and rancher Terry Nash appears on KWGL, “The Range Legendary Country” radio in Grand Junction, Colorado on Monday, April 16 at 10:20 AM and talks about Cowboy Poetry Week . Visit the station’s Facebook page.


texasflag llindy.jpg texasrebel
L.L. “LuckyLindy” Segall celebrates Cowboy Poetry Week, appearing Friday, April 20 at 10:00 AM CDT on KNAF 910 on the “Talk of the Texas Hill Country” show with Jerry Sotello, produced by Angela Compton. He’ll be sharing the late Carlos Ashley’s poetry.

He’s also involved with the first annual “Texas Hill Country Cowboy Gathering: A Celebration of Song, Story, Poetry and Art” scheduled for November 8-10, 2018 in Fredericksburg, Texas.


washstflg susanmatley150
Washington state writer and musician Susan Matley celebrates Cowboy Poetry Week on her blog at She writes, “Two years ago I interviewed four cowboy poet friends. This week’s blog shares what they’ve been up to since then.” The poets are Janice Gilbertson, Lynn Kopelke, Doris Daley, and Clark Crouch.


calflag.png chucklearn
California musician and great friend of the BAR-D Chuck Learn celebrates Cowboy Poetry Week on Sunday, April 21 at the Santa Clarita Cowboy Festival when he will recite classic and modern cowboy poetry  on the Outwest Stage.


coloflgaj terrynash
Poet and rancher Terry Nash received a proclamation from Colorado Governor John Hickenlooper, proclaiming Sunday, April 15 as Cowboy Poetry Day:





nebraskaflag marc-broyhill
Nebraska storyteller and poet Marci Broyhill received a Cowboy Poetry Week proclamation from Governor Pete Ricketts:




sdglag francie
Francie Ganje of Heritage of the American West have organized Cowboy Poetry Week activities at South Dakota libraries:

Local libraries celebrate Cowboy Poetry Week

STURGIS, SD – As part of the nation-wide celebration of Cowboy Poetry Week,  libraries in the Black Hills are centering their participation around the Center for Western & Cowboy Poetry’s Rural Library Project.

The program’s mission is to serve as an outreach activity to rural communities where the focus on cowboy poetry and writing  often serves as a history lesson as well as a literary one.

At the Belle Fourche Public Library, Belle Fourche, SD, director Wanda Nelson has created a display that includes Belle Fourche and other area cowboy poet publications.  “Here in Belle Fourche, cowboy poetry continues as  a popular form of literature and entertainment,” says Nelson. “We have a wealth of poets right here close to home.”


Children’s story hour and a community book walk are part of the activities planned at the Whitewood Public Library.  The community is home to a well-known cowboy poet, Robert V. Carr, who lived there in the late 19th century.  Carr wore many hats during his time in the community – as the editor of the local paper to a student at the South Dakota School of Mines. Memorabilia from the well-known cowboy poet along with other historical memorabilia from Crook City (a community just north of Whitewood that no longer exists) are also on display at the library.

WWLibaryCowboyPoetry2018B (2) - Copy

The Whitewood Cowboy Poetry Walk is set for Wednesday, April 18, 2018 from 9:30-3:00pm and features Carr’s life and works.  According to Weyer, there will be a dozen or more displays located along Laurel Street in Whitewood that tell his story – including his participation in Seth Bullock’s Cowboy Brigade.  School children will dress in period costume and there will be a question and answer session following the walk.  The event is open to the public.


The Rapid City Public Library will feature its popular Local History Room along with a display of cowboy poetry and western literature it offers to patrons year round.  As does the Sturgis Public Library where director Julie Moore Peterson  points out that along with Cowboy Poetry Week, April 15-21, 2018, it is also National Poetry Month.  “Cowboy poetry relates to so many people who work hard every day on ranches and farms,” she observes, “who often times use humor to get over the tough times.” She adds, “I think cowboy poetry should be preserved as an art form because it is an important historical reference as well.”


Cowboy Poetry Week in South Dakota is recognized by Governor Dennis Daugaard who has signed an official Proclamation in support of the prominent place cowboy poets and western writers hold in the state.


More to come….





It will be a great 17th annual Cowboy Poetry Week, and behind it are the people who make it and the Rural Library Program and everything else possible at the Center for Western and Cowboy Poetry: the generous supporters.

Thanks to those whose generosity fuels all of the Center’s programs (February, 2017-February 2018):

Bryce Angell, ARIZONA COWBOY POETS GATHERING (sponsor), Armovaz, Denise Arvidson in memory of Ross Christian Arvidson, Sally Baldus, Michael Babiarz-KVMR, Stephen Barnard, Norma Battenfield, Valerie and Floyd Beard, ALMEDA BRADSHAW (sponsor), Bert and Carol Braun-THE COWPOKE FOUNDATION in memory of Pat Richardson (sponsor), Paul R. Brown III, Wendy Brown-Barry, Jerry Brooks, Marci BROYHILL (sponsor), Marleen Bussma, Daniel Bybee, Ron Cagle, Greg Camp, Jeff Campbell, Maurice Carter, Jim and Stella Cathey in memory of Joan Taylor and Garland Haak and Louise M. Fritts,  Steve and Marge Conroy in memory of Allen “Hook” Hill, KEN COOK (sponsor), Hugh Cooke, Doris Daley, Teddie Daley, Marvin and Elaine Del Chiaro, Eileen Dirksen in memory of “California” Steve Dirksen, Patricia Frolander, Charmaine Ganson,  Del Gustafson, Jean Mathisen Haugen, Thomas F. Hawk, HEBER VALLEY WESTERN MUSIC & COWBOY POETRY GATHERING (sponsor), Buzz Helfert, Sarah Hendricks, YVONNE AND GLEN HOLLENBECK (sponsor), Eldon Housley, Judy James, Dee Strickland Johnson (“Buckshot Dot”), Laverna B. Johnson, Robert Kinsey, Linda Kirkpatrick, Jo Lynne Kirkwood, Susie Knight, Colleen Kohler, Lynn Kopelke, Georganna Kresl, Jarle Kvale, CHUCK AND CINDY LEARN (sponsor), Deanna Dickinson McCall, Gary McMahan-HorseApple Entertainment, Susan Matley in memory of Liz Masterson, Al “Doc” Mehl, Rod Miller, Howard Moon, Dick Morton, Mike Moutoux, Terry Nash, NATIONAL COWBOY POETRY RODEO (sponsor), ANDY NELSON-CLEAR OUT WEST (sponsor), Rodney Nelson, Nika Nordbrock, Kay Kelley Nowell, Dale Page, Shelly Pagiliai-Prairie Moon Quilts, Susan Parker, Maryanne Patterson, Linda and Bill Patterson, JEAN AND GARY PRESCOTT (sponsor), Shane Queener,  Cindy Quigley, Paul Quinton, RANGE (sponsor), George Rhoades, Diana Rice, Barbara Richhart (Western Belle)-Cowtrails, Betty and Ken Rodgers in memory of Trisha Pedroia, Roberta Rothman, Chester Roundtree, Sandy Seaton Sallee, Marjorie Satterfield, Mary Seago, Ron Secoy, Susan Shuma, Totsie Slover, Lawrence Smith, Sally Smith-Joelle Smith Western Art, SANDI AND JAY SNIDER (sponsor), Marilyn and Kip Sorlie, SPALDING LABS’ FLYING SL RADIO RANCH SHOW (sponsor), Dave Stamey, David Stanley, Patrick Sullivan, Rocky Sullivan, Sunshine Prairie Farm, Tom Swearingen, P’let and Mike Tcherkassky, Jim Thompson (California), Smoke Wade,  John Waters, WESTERN FOLKLIFE CENTER (sponsor), WESTERN MUSIC ASSOCIATION (sponsor), and Jim White.

Thanks also to the Margaret T. Morris Foundation for foundation support and to Laura and Edmund Wattis Littlefield, Jr. for substantial program support.

Be a part of it all! Join this great community of people helping to preserve and promote the arts and life of the real working West:




For Cowboy Poetry Week’s second year, in April 2003, the United States Senate passed a resolution, with unanimous approval, recognizing our Cowboy Week celebration. In past years, twenty three states’ governors have officially proclaimed Cowboy Poetry Week and there are a growing number of activities across the West and beyond.

Last year (2017) poets and others who worked on Cowboy Poetry Week recognition from state officials, included: Chris Isaacs (Arizona), Terry Nash (Colorado), David L. Carlton (Florida), Bobbie Hunter (Idaho), Geff Dawson (Kansas), Diane Tribitt (Minnesota), DW Groethe (Montana), Marci Broyhill (Nebraska), Dan Bybee (Nevada), Totsie Slover (New Mexico), Keith Ward (North Carolina), Jarle Kvale (North Dakota), Jay Snider (Oklahoma),  Shane Queener (Tennessee), Linda Kirkpatrick (Texas), Jerry Brooks (Utah), Lynn Kopelke (Washington), and Leslie Keltner (Wyoming).

We’re interested in pursuing recognition in all states with ranching cultures and cowboy poetry activities. If you’d like to be involved, this year or in the future, please email us.

For 2018, the following states’ governors are being contacted, alphabetically by state. This list is updated frequently. Please let us know if you are contacting your governor, so that we can avoid duplicate efforts.

azlfag  Arizona – Chris Isaacs (received)

coloflgaj Colorado- Terry Nash (received)

florida77  Florida-David Carlton  (received)

idahoflj Idaho – J.B. Barber, Cowboy Poets of Idaho

minnflag  Minnesota – Diane Tribitt Scott (received)

montanaflg Montana – DW Groethe

nebraskaflag Nebraska – Marci Broyhill (received)

nevadaflagj Nevada – Daniel Bybee (received)

nmflag New Mexico-Totsie Slover (received)

ndflagj North Dakota – Jarle Kvale

okflag Oklahoma – Jay Snider

orflagj Oregon-Tom Swearingen

sdglag South Dakota – Francie Ganje, Heritage of the American West (received)

tnflagy Tennessee – Shane Queener (received)

texasflag Texas-Linda Kirkpatrick (received)

utstflagj Utah – Sam DeLeeuw (received)

washstflg Washington – Lynn Kopelke (received)

wyostflgj Wyoming – Leslie Keltner (received)

Find more about Cowboy Poetry Week here.

Cowboy Poetry Week 2018 Art Spur: “Out to Pasture” by Clara Smith


© Clara Smith, “Out to Pasture,”
Request the artist’s permission for any use of this image


It’s been said that a picture is worth a thousand words. We know many that are worthy of a poem or a song. In Art Spur, we invite poets and songwriters to let selections of Western art inspire their poetry and songs.

Our 48th piece offered to “spur” the imagination is a special Cowboy Poetry Week Art Spur, a painting by artist Clara Smith, “Out to Pasture.” The painting is selected as the poster art for the 17th annual Cowboy Poetry Week.


Clara Smith’s aunt, the late Joelle Smith, was the first Cowboy Poety Week print poster artist, in 2006.

Clara Smith comments on “Out to Pasture”:

This piece was inspired by a number of photos taken by my Aunt Joelle of our mares in our field at home. The scene captures one of my favorite moments in time of our horses out on a fall evening.

From her official bio:


Clara is a Western Artist and Graphic Designer from Bend, Oregon. Ever since she was little, Clara was drawing horses and creating. Her love for Western art and culture was heavily influenced by her late aunt, Western artist Joelle Smith, who taught her how to draw and ride horses. Similar to Joelle’s work, Clara strives to illustrate real Western life through her work, documenting culture and traditions of the American cowboy. The authenticity of her work is very apparent as the subjects are all real people, real horses, set in real places. Currently attending Oregon State University, Clara is working towards a degree in Graphic Design. Her design work combines her artistic ability, often incorporating hand drawn illustrations with digital applications, creating a balance between multiple design mediums.

Find more in our feature here and visit


Submissions were welcome from all, through Thursday, April 12, 2018. Stat tuned for selected poems, to be posted during Cowboy Poetry Week.


Find previous Art Spur subjects here and at




by Yvonne Hollenbeck

There’s been a lot of poems and songs
about those cattle drives,
but I’ve never heard a poem or song
about those cowmen’s wives.

Did you ever stop and wonder
about how those guys get fed?
Who boils that brew and cooks the stew
and bakes up all that bread?

Well, I know who and so do you,
so I wrote this little thing
’bout why I’d like to be in Texas
when we round up cows next spring.


In a kitchen in an old ranch house on a cold and autumn day,
sat a bunch of fellers telling yarns about the cowboy way.

They tell of places they have been and country they have seen.
One prefers the Badlands where the grass is never green,

while others tell their windy tales of Sandhills, lush and wet,
as they eat their eggs and pancakes ‘cause it soon is time to get

outside and saddle up their mounts and ready for the ride,
for the roundup is about to start. I too must get outside

and load up all the food and drink and pack it in my truck,
then find a place along the trail where they can stop for chuck.

I’m soon unloading food supplies…it’s not an easy deal
to feed those men while on the trail and plan for every meal.

And when the noon meal’s over, the work is never through;
you have to clean and pack and move the meal site all anew.

They’ll stop the drive at sundown and again they have to eat,
and then I start all over and I’m really getting beat!

They set up camp and bed ‘em tight, some men stay with the cattle;
I head on home to pack more food, for eating’s half the battle.

And while the men are fast asleep, I prepare tomorrow’s menu;
just two more days of rounding up and then this job will be through.

So when you hear those poems and songs about those cattle drives,
just think about the “unsung” ones…’bout the cowman’s wives.

With that I guess I’ll bid “good-bye” and say just one more thing:
I’d sure like to be in Texas when we round up cows next spring!

© 2008, revised, Yvonne Hollenbeck
This poem should not be reposted or reprinted without permission

Popular cowboy poet and champion quilter Yvonne Hollenbeck delights audiences across the West. Here her latest book and CD are Rhyming the Range. Both collect her original poems. The book includes the most requested poems from her two out-of-print books and all of her newest poetry.

Yvonne is a part of the must-see film, Everything in the Song is True, Doug Morrione’s award-winning feature-length documentary “of four iconic western characters”: Gary McMahan, Yvonne Hollenbeck, Brice Chapman, and Greg Nourse. Find more about the film at and on Facebook.  It’s now available to stream at Amazon.

Find more about Yvonne Hollenbeck and her complete schedule, which includes quilting events, at

Find more of Yvonne Hollenbeck’s poetry at

This photo of twin bull calves was taken in 2016 at the Hollenbeck’s South Dakota ranch, where Yvonne and her champion calf-roper husband Glen raise cattle and quarter horses. Read a recent article about Glen, “Glen Hollenbeck: Still riding for the G2 Brand,” by Hannah Johlman at the Tri-State Livestock News.

(Please respect copyright. You can share this poem and photo with this post, but for other uses, please ask permission.)

MASTERS: VOLUME TWO, the poetry of S. Omar Barker

2018_MastersCD_Cover_700X700 (2)

Praise for previous CD volumes:

“This album [MASTERS (2017)] represents four of the finest poets to ever come out of cowboy culture. We are not likely to see their kind again and the world should be grateful to for preserving their voices.” Andy Hedges, songster and host of COWBOY CROSSROADS

“…The annual anthology takes listeners on an oral excursion to places throughout the West, introducing them to colorful cowboy characters, explaining their connection to the land, and telling their tales of tough times and the rewards they receive from living the Western lifestyle…” Jennifer Denison, Senior Editor, Western Horseman

“The Center for Western and Cowboy Poetry’s annual anthologies are creating a valuable, high quality and thoroughly enjoyable resource for everyone…” Steve Green, Archivist, Western Folklife Center

“…without peer…intelligently produced… I equate them to one of those Ken Burns specials, like his Civil War, Jazz, or Baseball….the best of the best.” Rick Huff, Rick Huff’s Best of the West Reviews

“For those of us who love cowboy poetry, this is perhaps the best anthology we’ve yet heard.” Cowboy Magazine

The Center for Western and Cowboy Poetry produces compilation CDs of classic and contemporary poetry recitations. The CDs are offered to libraries in the Center’s Cowboy Poetry Week Rural Library project, given as premiums to the Center’s supporters, and available to the public.

2018_MastersCD_Cover_700X700 (2)

Our twelfth CD (following ten volumes of The BAR-D Roundup and the first MASTERS volume) is MASTERS: VOLUME TWO (April 2018).

MASTERS: VOLUME TWO has over 60 tracks in a double CD of the poetry of S. Omar Barker.  Many of today’s top reciters and poets—including individuals, siblings, couples, parents and their offspring—bring forth Barker’s humor and humanity.

Andy Hedges introduces the CD and it includes the voices of J.B. Allen, Amy Hale Auker, Floyd Beard, Valerie Beard, Baxter Black, Almeda Bradshaw, Jerry A. Brooks, Marleen Bussma, Jim Cathey, Ken Cook, Geff Dawson, Sam DeLeeuw, DW Groethe, Andy Hedges, Jessica Hedges, Maggie Rose Hedges, Yvonne Hollenbeck, Chris Isaacs, Linda Kirkpatrick, Susie Knight, Ross Knox, Jarle Kvale, Deanna Dickinson McCall, Rusty McCall, Gary McMahan, Rod Miller, Waddie Mitchell, Dick Morton, Terry Nash, Andy Nelson, Jim Nelson, Joel Nelson, Rodney Nelson, Kay Kelley Nowell, Kent Reeves, Rex Rideout, Randy Rieman, Kent Rollins, Sandy Seaton Sallee, Jay Snider, Red Steagall, Gail Steiger, Tom Swearingen, Smoke Wade, Keith Ward, and Paul Zarzyski.

S. Omar Barker (1894-1985) wrote some 2,000 poems in his long career. He was one of the founders of the Western Writers of America, Inc. and many of his poems were published by Western Horseman.

It’s told that Barker enjoyed signing his name with his brand, created from his initials and laid sideways for “Lazy SOB,” but, that’s not a completely accurate story. In an article written by Barker for Hoofs and Horns magazine, Barker introduces himself, “This S.O.B. (my initials, not my ancestry) has never claimed to qualify as a sure ‘nough cowboy.” Later in the article, he comments, “Incidentally, when I applied for (Lazy S O B) for our cattle brand, they wrote back that some other S O B already had it. So we had to be satisfied with (Lazy S B).”

The photo below of S. Omar Barker and his horse, which appears inside MASTERS: VOLUME TWO, is courtesy of the S. Omar Barker Estate. Find more about Barker at

barkerhorserifle© Estate of S. Omar Barker; request permission for reproduction

The MASTERS CD is dedicated to all those who proudly carry on the ranching tradition.


The Center’s Cowboy Poetry Week celebration—recognized by unanimous U.S. Senate resolution—takes place each April during National Poetry Month. Each year, a compilation CD and the celebration’s poster (by Clara Smith in 2018) have been offered to libraries in the Center’s Rural Library Program. The outreach program is part of the Center’s commitment to serve rural communities and to preserve and promote our Western heritage.

The annual CD is a premium for our supporters and also available for purchase. Find information about past years’ CDs here.

We need your support to continue and expand these programs. Join us and be a part of it all.



Track list and sources
Order information



Track list and sources

Tracks were recorded for MASTERS: VOLUME TWO except where noted.


1.  INTO THE WEST by S. Omar Barker;  Andy Hedges
from Cowboy Songster Vol. 2 (2016)

2.  ABOUT S. OMAR BARKER  Andy Hedges

3. “PURT NEAR!” by  S. Omar Barker;  Randy Rieman
from Old Favorites  (2003)

4. COW COUNTRY SAYING  by S. Omar Barker; Brigid Reedy

5.  THE MAIN ITEM by S. Omar Barker;  Gary McMahan .

6.  COWPUNCHER’S CREED by S. Omar Barker;  Amy Hale Auker

7.  COW WORK WON’T WAIT  by S. Omar Barker;  Ken Cook

 8.  COWBOY’S COMPLAINT  by S. Omar Barker;  Dick Morton
from Cowboy Classics (2006)

 9.  ROPE MUSIC  by S. Omar Barker;  Gail Steiger

10.  RAIN ON THE RANGE  by S. Omar Barker;  Joel Nelson courtesy of the Western Folklife Center, recorded at the National Cowboy Poetry Gathering (2015)

11.  SNOWED UNDER by S. Omar Barker;    Johnny Reedy

12.  COWBOY SAYING by S. Omar Barker;   Baxter Black

13.  CODE OF THE COW COUNTRY by S. Omar Barker;   Geff Dawson

14.  COWPUNCHER PRAISE by S. Omar Barker;   Floyd Beard

15.  WELL GROUNDED by S. Omar Barker;   Keith Ward

16.  COWBOY’S OPINION by S. Omar Barker;   Tom Swearingen

17.  HOSSES VERSUS HORSES  by S. Omar Barker;  Paul Zarzyski
from Spurrin’ the Words (2005), Montana 4-H

18.  GRAND CANYON COWBOY  by S. Omar Barker;  Rusty McCall (1986­-2013) from an unreleased CD, Contemporary and Classic Cowboy Poetry  (2006)

19.  SOME HORSES I HAVE RODE by S. Omar Barker;  Floyd Beard

20.  MEMO ON MULES  by S. Omar Barker;  Sandy Seaton Sallee

21.  YOU KNOW WHAT HAPPENED by S. Omar Barker;  Kent Reeves

22.  BEAR HUNTERS BOLD by S. Omar Barker;  Ross Knox
from  Make Me a Cowboy Again for a Day (2006)

23.  BRUIN WOOIN’ by S. Omar Barker;   Andy Hedges
from Cowboy Recitations (2017)

24.  BEAR ROPIN’ BUCKAROO by S. Omar Barker;  Terry Nash
from December Stragglers (2013)

25.  RULE OF THE RANGE by S. Omar Barker;  Chris Isaacs

26.  RAWHIDE ROOSTER  by S. Omar Barker;  Smoke Wade

27.  THE RING­TAILED WOWSER by S. Omar Barker;  Jerry A. Brooks

28.  THE BUFFALO by S. Omar Barker;  Susie Knight

29.  THE COYOTE by S. Omar Barker;  Jarle Kvale

30.  CRY, COYOTE! by S. Omar Barker;  DW Groethe


1.  OLD TIME COWBOYS by S. Omar Barker;  Jay Snider

2.  THE RIDERS by S. Omar Barker;  Andy Hedges
from Episode 3 of the Cowboy Crossroads podcast (2017)

3.  ONE OR THE OTHER by S. Omar Barker;  Rod Miller

4.  WHAT’S A BRONCO? by S. Omar Barker;  Gary McMahan

5.  RULE FOR RIDIN’ by S. Omar Barker;  Geff Dawson

6.  FOUR­ FOOTED DYNAMITE by S. Omar Barker;  Chris Isaacs

7.  MUSTANG MANNERS by S. Omar Barker;  Almeda Bradshaw

8.  CORRECTION PLEASE  by S. Omar Barker;  Maggie Rose Hedges

9.  NO DIFFERENCE by S. Omar Barker;  Jim Nelson

10.  USELESS QUESTION  by S. Omar Barker;  Kay Kelley Nowell

11.  TEXAS ZEPHYR  by S. Omar Barker;  Linda Kirkpatrick

12.  THE CHUCKWAGON by S. Omar Barker;  DW Groethe

13.  BUCKAROO BREW by S. Omar Barker;  Kent Rollins

14.  CANNED TERMATERS by S. Omar Barker;   J.B. Allen (1938­-2005)
from Classics (2005)

15.  JACK POTTER’S COURTIN’ by S. Omar Barker;  Randy Rieman
from Old Favorites  (2003)

16. MUSSED MISS by S. Omar Barker;  Andy Nelson

17.  OPEN AND SHUT CASE  by S. Omar Barker;  Yvonne Hollenbeck

18.  CAREFUL, COWBOY!  by S. Omar Barker;  Jessica Hedges

19.  DOUBLE ATTRACTION by S. Omar Barker;   Valerie Beard

20.  BEDTIME STORY by S. Omar Barker;  Sam DeLeeuw

21.  WATCHIN’ EM RIDE by S. Omar Barker;   Keith Ward …

22.  RANCH

MOTHER by S. Omar Barker;  Deanna Dickinson McCall

23.  RANCHMAN’S WIDOW by S. Omar Barker;  Almeda Bradshaw

24.  TRAIL DUST  by S. Omar Barker;  Marleen Bussma

25.  COAL MINE  by S. Omar Barker;  Jerry A. Brooks

26.  THE WHITE MUSTANG  by S. Omar Barker;  Rex Rideout


27.  THANKSGIVING ARGUMENT by S. Omar Barker;  Waddie Mitchell

28.  THREE WISE MEN  by S. Omar Barker;  Red Steagall

29.  COWBOY’S CHRISTMAS PRAYER  by S. Omar Barker;  Ol’ Jim Cathey

30.  COWBOY’S NEW YEAR RESOLUTIONS  by S. Omar Barker;  Jay Snider

31.  RANCHMAN’S RESOLUTIONS  by S. Omar Barker;  Gail Steiger

32.  A COWBOY TOAST  by S. Omar Barker;  Rodney Nelson



Thanks to the poets, reciters, and families and to the estate of S. Omar Barker, Andy Hedges, Margaret Allen, Montana 4-H, the Western Folklife Center, the Cowboy Crossroads podcast, Andy Nelson and Clear Out West (C.O.W.) radio, Totsie Slover and The Real West from the Old West radio, Craig Stuke, and Chris Kirby. Produced by Margo Metegrano and compiled and mastered by Butch Hause at the Ranger Station Studio, Berthoud, Colorado, all with generous funding support from Laura and Edmund Wattis Littlefield, Jr. and our community’s all-important sustaining donors.

Dedicated to all those who proudly carry on the ranching tradition.



Order information

The MASTERS: VOLUME TWO CD is available for $25 postpaid. Order with a credit card at Paypal or by mail:, Box 1107, Lexington, VA 24450.



Cowboy poetry records the heartbeat of the working West, a tradition that spans three centuries. Its enduring popularity is celebrated at today’s cowboy poetry gatherings and daily in social media and at, a program of the non-profit Center for Western and Cowboy Poetry, Inc.

The Center’s Cowboy Poetry Week celebration—recognized by unanimous U.S. Senate resolution—takes place each April during National Poetry Month. Each year, a compilation CD and the celebration’s poster (by Clara Smith in 2018) have been offered to libraries in the Center’s Rural Library Program. The outreach program is part of the Center’s commitment to serve rural communities and to preserve and promote our Western heritage.

Events: Gatherings and More















Submission information

We welcome your event date and link for cowboy poetry and Western music events. Please send information at least several weeks before your event. Email us.

We regret that we can’t list individual performers’ or groups’ shows or “shows” that have just one or two performers or groups, including house concerts; those are too numerous for us to maintain. (We do welcome information for established venues with a roster of regularly-scheduled programs, even if those programs feature just one or two performers. The season’s schedule is welcome, at least several weeks before the season begins.)

We sometimes include other events of interest, such as rodeos and art shows.

We will consider separate blog posts with event information. Please send the announcement in plain text, not in graphic or pdf format. You can attach a logo, photo or graphic.

Be sure to include date, times, ticket information, a description, and performers’ names, along with contact information: a phone number, email address, or web link that can be posted.

Support our sponsor supporters!