WHEN I LEAVE THIS LIFE by Elizabeth Ebert (1925-2018)

National Cowboy Poetry Gathering
photo © 2015,  Jessica Lifland


by Elizabeth Ebert 1925-2018

When I leave this life as we all must do
…..And this prairie I’ve loved through the long, long years

There’s a single boon that I ask of you,
…..Don’t waste one precious day in tears.
Have a funeral if you feel you must
…..With the usual rituals for the dead,
A plain pine box, not satin-lined
…..But with a blanket, preferably in red.

No cloying masses of hothouse flowers,
…..Just a cluster of bright balloons, and then
No extolling of virtues I never had,
…..Just a simple prayer and a soft “A-men.”
Let the memories be of the happy times,
…..Let the sound of laughter grace the day.
Find an old cowhand with an old guitar
…..To yodel me joyfully on my way.

And later, whenever the time seems right,
…..On a sunny day from a greening hill,
Scatter my ashes into the wind.
…..Then I shall be part of the prairie still.

© 2006, Elizabeth Ebert, from Prairie Wife
This poem should not be reposted or reprinted without permission

There’s an empty place in the cowboy poetry world that won’t ever be filled: Yvonne Hollenbeck shared the sad news of the passing of beloved South Dakota poet and ranchwoman Elizabeth Ebert, 93, on March 20, 2018.

A Celebration of Life Service for Elizabeth Ebert will be held at 10:00 a.m. on Saturday, March 24, 2018 at the Calvary Lutheran Church in Lemmon, South Dakota. Find an obituary here.

Elizabeth Ebert introduced this poem in her book, Prairie Wife, writing, “Our youngest daughter has promised that when we die our ashes will be mixed together and scattered on this land that we love so well.” She reminded her family that yesterday would have been her 72nd wedding anniversary. Her husband S.J., about whom she wrote many great and varied poems, died in 2008.

Find some of her poetry at CowboyPoetry.com. Seek out her books and recordings.

Journalist Carson Vaughan wrote about Elizabeth Ebert in a February, 2017 American Cowboy profile, “The Grande Dame of Cowboy Poetry.” He quotes her devoted friend Baxter Black about the first time her heard her perform her poetry, “You could just see a flower growing there out of the rest of us standing around like weeds.”

This photograph by photojournalist Jessica Lifland was taken at the 2015 Western Folklife Center’s National Cowboy Poetry Gathering. See more of her photos of Elizabeth Ebert in a wonderful collection from a forthcoming project here.

Liz Masterson, December 30, 2017


The Western music and cowboy poetry world grieves the loss of universally loved and lauded singer Liz Masterson on December 30, 2017. Greatly talented, funny, and with an irrepressible spirit, she leaves countless friends and loving family.

A memorial celebration has been announced:

Sunday, February 4th 2pm-6pm

American Mountaineering Center
710 10th Street
Golden, Colorado 80401

2 to 4 Music and Poetry in the Auditorium

4 to 6 We’ll gather in the Conference Center
for light snacks and sharing memories of our
favorite cowgirl……


Those following her Caring Bridge page received the news of her passing:

Dear Treasured Friends & Family Afar,

Our family is deeply saddened to share the passing of our beloved sister, aunt and family member, the beautifully, talented Liz Masterson.

Liz has been in hospice care in her home since early November with a wonderfully supportive stream of friends and family sharing their love and music with her. She passed away shortly after 6pm this evening following her long battle with ovarian cancer with several dear friends (Ginger, Mag, Susan, Susie), her brother, Ed and sister-in-law, Jeannie nearby.

Two days ago Liz tried to muster the words and strength to send her Caring Bridge community the following update which she wasn’t able to complete:

This is the journal post I didn’t want to write for a while. It’s been hard getting my mind around the now inevitable conclusion that I am losing this battle. Watching my body decline everyday is an undeniable reality I have to face.

On December 11th while on my way to see my oncologist, I fell on the bottom step of my porch and it took Ginger and two of my neighbors to help me get up. Seeing Jerralyn was bittersweet, as it marked the closing of our four and a half year doctor/patient relationship. I was so relieved to have Ginger here to drive me to my appointment.

For those wishing to express their condolences with a thoughtful gift, in lieu of flowers, Liz has asked that you donate to your favorite animal charity, music scholarship or an ovarian cancer or BRCA research alliance or foundation.

More details will be shared in the coming days around her memorial service.

Your continued love, support and music through her journey with cancer and her recent days in hospice are immeasurable, and we are forever grateful that she has such a kind and compassionate community.

With love and gratitude,
Liz’s Family

Social media followed with many friends offering tributes and reminiscences. Her friend Yvonne Hollenbeck wrote, “One of the best voices to ever grace the stage at many a cowboy poetry gathering or folk festival…” Friend Patty Clayton shared the news, “….the songbird has flown. What an amazing life this woman has had. Her last days on this Earth have yielded to a peaceful end to a long, hard and well fought battle that Liz met head on and with such grace and dignity and that never ending sense of humor that continued to make us all laugh even in the hardest of times…”

Over the past years, Liz bravely pursued treatments for her ovarian cancer. She continued to perform, record, and spend time with valued family and friends.

Find more about Liz Masterson at her web site.



Stan Tixier, 1932-2017


We were sad to learn of the death of Utah poet Stan Tixier on December 23, 2017. Stan was a long-time part of the BAR-D and a tireless supporter of Cowboy Poetry Week. Each year he would coordinate with librarians, musicians, poets, and the media to present programs at area libraries.

Find some of Stan’s poetry and more about him at CowboyPoetry.com.

See an article “‘The Tabasco Man,’ cowboy poet Stan Tixier, dies at 85,” by Janae Francis, from the Standard-Examiner, December 30, 2017

An obituary here tells about Stan’s rich life, “…Stan served in the Navy as an air traffic controller for 4 years starting in 1951 and in the reserves for four years after that. He began a career in the United States Forest Service in 1959. He had many assignments in Arizona, New Mexico, Washington D.C. and Milwaukee, Wisconsin before transferring to Ogden, Utah in 1982. He retired as Regional Forester in 1991 and he and Jan moved to Eden, Utah. While serving as Regional Forster, Stan also served as the first Chairman of the Inter-Agency Grizzly Bear Committee. He was active in the Society for Range Management and served as its national president in 1991-92. After retiring, Stan began further careers raising foxtrotting horses and writing and performing cowboy poetry. He achieved particular success in the latter, performing often and winning awards at several regional contests….”

It notes, “Visitation will be 5 to 7 p.m. with a Rosary with an open mic following the Rosary at 7 p.m. on December 28, 2017 at Myers Mortuary, 5865 S 1900 W, Roy. A funeral mass will be said at St. Joseph Catholic Church, 514 24th Street, Ogden, at 11 a.m. on December 29, 2017.”


Christmas at the BAR-D


Welcome to the 18th annual Christmas at the BAR-D. We’ll be posting poems, classic, old, and new, throughout the season.

Find a collection of poems, first started in 2000, here.

There’s a Christmas/Winter Art Spur here, and Christmas submissions are welcome through Thursday, December 21, 2017.

See general submission information here.


New poems added often during the season.


Draggin’ the Tree,” by S. Omar Barker
A Journey in Search of Christmas,” by Owen Wister
Christmas Waltz,” by Buck Ramsey

omalleyA Busted Cowboy’s Christmas,” by D.J. O’Malley

Christmas Serenade,” by J.W. Beeson


‘Neath a Christmas Eve Sky,” by Rod Nichols


The Old Time Christmas” and Merry Christmas,” by Bruce Kiskaddon

Merry Christmas!

Selections from the 17th Christmas at the BAR-D:

Christmas at the Home Ranch,” by Bruce Kiskaddon
Seein’ Santa,” by Rod Nichols
A Charlie Creek Christmas,” by DW Groethe
A Christmas Thought,” by Slim McNaught
Here’s to the Cowboys,” by Pat Richardson
Christmas Beneath the Stars,” by Colen Sweeten
The Christmas Trail,” by Badger Clark
A Cowboy’s Christmas Prayer,” by S. Omar Barker


coyoteartspur(Photograph by Carol M. Highsmith, made possible by Carol M. Highsmith and the Gates Frontiers Fund Wyoming Collection within the Carol M. Highsmith Archive, Library of Congress, Prints and Photographs Division)

Art Spur

“The Coyote Christmas Carol Choir,” by Marleen Bussma of Utah
“Christmas Song,” by Ol’ Jim Cathey of Texas
“Coyote Kin,” by Jean Mathisen Haugen of Texas
“Lonesome Coyote,” by Tamara Hillman of Arizona


Big Nevada Sky Christmas - Copy“Big Nevada Sky” © 2017, Lynn Kopelke from a reference photograph by Jessica Hedges

Submitted and Invited Poems

“The Wily Old Cow and Santa,” by Tim Heflin
“Cattle at Christmas,”  by Jo Lynne Kirkwood
“Untitled,” by Robert Dennis
“I Carried Mary,” by Andy Nelson
“The Star and the Sheepherders,” by Ron Secoy
“Cowboy Christmas Day,” by George Rhoades




Lost to us in 2017: Bonnie Hearn, Connie M. Patton, Stan Tixier, Bruce Crane, Bill Barwick, Kenny Krogman, Jim Dunham, Floyd Traynor, Ray Lashley, Nancy Thorwardson, Jim King, Gail T. Burton, and Ed Stabler.



Please join the other generous supporters of the Center for Western and Cowboy Poetry/CowboyPoetry.com and help keep it real:


We work to keep it real at the BAR-D.

Your help is needed to maintain the programs of the non-profit Center for Western and Cowboy Poetry, including CowboyPoetry.com, and to create the 2018 MASTERS CD and the 2018 Cowboy Poetry Week poster, both of which are offered to hundreds of libraries across the West in Cowboy Poetry Week’s Rural Library Program.

The 2018 programs cannot go forward without your involvement. Please renew your support or make a first-time donation.

Give what you can: $20, $40, $100. Every donation is valued. At the $40 level and above, you’ll receive the 2018 CD and Cowboy Poetry Week poster. And, you’ll be helping to keep it real, to preserve and celebrate the vibrant life and art of the cowboying and ranching world. Next year is the BAR-D’s 19th anniversary. Please help keep the words and the work alive.

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.

As in all professional journalistic endeavors, no editorial preference is given to financial sponsors or supporters.

See more about donations and thank-you gifts here.

Bill Barwick, November 10, 2017



Bill Barwick’s many friends in the Western music and cowboy poetry world mourn his passing on November 10, 2017. A multi-talented musician, songwriter, singer, and more, Bill received many awards, including a Western Heritage Wrangler Award from the National Cowboy & Western Heritage Museum. He will also be remembered as the original voice of television’s Westerns Channel.

Bill Barwick had a stroke in 2015, and this show on Equestrian Legacy Radio was recorded just a few weeks before.

Find a Denver Post obituary here.

Find more at BillBarwick.com.

Kenny Krogman, 1947-2017


With great sadness, we learned of the death of South Dakota rancher, Kenny Krogman, husband of popular poet Bonnie Krogman, on October 23, 2017. He is remembered fondly by countless friends and family.

An obituary here tells about his life:

Kenneth “Kenny” (‘don’t call me Ken’) William Krogman was born in Pierre, SD on July 2, 1947, to Bill & Marie Krogman. He died of a heart attack while hauling cattle on October 23, 2017.

Growing up on the ranch with four brothers and two sisters, Kenny was often in trouble. At age 5, his mother insisted that he wear dress pants to Alter Society. Once there, he refused to get out of the car; so she left him in it where he proceeded to build a campfire in the backseat. As they watched the brand new car burn to the ground, his dad asked him why he got out. “Got too damn hot in there,“ he replied.

While standing at the blackboard of the Cody Rural School, the teacher asked him to spell the word “ship.” Kenny often said, “I musta spelled it wrong, because I spent the rest of the day standing in the corner.”

Kenny graduated from White River High School in 1965. He became one of the first athletes in South Dakota to earn All-State Football honors 3 years in a row. He received scholarship offers from all of the Big 10 colleges, but chose the ranch life instead.

Two years later, he met Bonnie Golder of Wood, SD. They were married on horseback on July 25, 1969. Living on the family ranch and building their cow herd, Kenny still found time to trade horses, hunt, & fish. Their daughter Marti was born in 1972. In 1976, they moved to Bonnie’s childhood home east of Wood. Miles was born in 1977, followed by Matt in 1979. During this time, Kenny developed an obsession for team roping. One particular night at the White River arena, he finished roping and headed home. His favorite horse, King, was in the trailer, but Bonnie & the 3 kids were left in the grandstands. Fortunately, they were able to catch a ride home. When Bonnie asked him what he had been thinking, he responded, “Well, apparently, I wasn’t.” ….

….read the entire obituary here.


Jim Dunham, 1942-2017

We share the sad news from the Arizona Cowboy Poets, and their photo collage:


We are so very sad to announce that Jim passed away Monday, September 18, 2017. There will be a celebration of Jim’s life at 10 am on Sunday, October 1 at Jim and Barb Buchanan’s home, 8250 N Buchanan Drive, Prescott (about 7 ½ miles out Williamson Valley Road) Buck Ryberg will officiate and there will be an open mic time. Please bring a lawn chair and if you have one, an instrument. There will be music poems, happy memories and fun. Casual dress.

The family requests in lieu of flowers please make a donation to your favorite charity.

Jim Dunham was a popular performer. An obituary tells, “Jim was an integral part of the Arizona Cowboy Poets Gathering, both as a committee member and as a performer for many years. He was awarded the prestigious Gail I. Gardner Award For a Cowboy Poet in 2012. ”

Poet Nona Kelley Carver shared a poem:

by Nona Kelley Carver

Far down in Arizona,
where the evening breezes play,
there’s a sadness felt among us,
for a cowboy died today.

He wasn’t tall in stature,
but was loved throughout the land,
for  he sang and played sweet music
with the Rusty Pistols Band.

There was music in his laughter,
there was music in his soul,
there was music from his guitar.
Cowboy music made him whole.

He sang and played the old songs,
sometimes wrote some of his own.
He might practice until daylight
to improve each note and tone.

His music was a blessing.
Some of it more like a prayer.
He shared it with his family,
and friends who gathered there.

But put away your grieving,
now that he has left our land,
for he’s singing there in heaven,
where he’s joined the Angel Band.

© 2017 Nona Kelley Carver