ROUNDUP IN THE SPRING, by Pat Richardson

patroundup

ROUNDUP IN THE SPRING
by Pat Richardson (1934-2016)

Ropes uncoil in the darkness,
whistle true an’ find their mark
Saddle up an’ snug yer hat down,
make a bronc ride in the dark
Ponies snortin’ in the darkness
hear the spur rowels as they ring
Horse an’ rider work the kinks out,
boys it’s roundup time, it’s spring

Miles away from camp by sunup
dew hangs silver on the grass
A lone mule deer at a distance
stops an’ freezes ’till yer passed
Make a circle change yer mount,
catch a fresh horse from yer string
Days an’ nights all blend together,
boys it’s roundup time, it’s spring

In the evening’ after supper
Bill starts singin’ way off key
But y’ know for some strange reason,
it sounds pretty good to me
In the bunkhouse he gets hushed
every time he tries to sing
But he’s getting’ songs requested
durin’ roundup in the spring

Longtime foes begin’ to visit,
swappin’ stories, lie, an’ brag
An’ the best hand in the crew
takes his turn at ridin’ drag
Every year I’m amazed,
longtime grudges take to wing
An’ the cowboys work together,
boys it’s roundup time, it’s spring

© 1998, Pat Richardson, used with permission
This poem should not be reposted or reprinted without permission.

This week we’re celebrating spring.

Here’s another side of the greatly missed Pat Richardson, California poet, artist, cowboy, and former Pro Rodeo Sports News cartoonist is better known for his humorous poems, but he wrote in a variety of styles. Occasionally he would write a more serious poem like “Roundup in the Spring” (and sometimes completely break the mood with a humorous, unexpected last few lines).

Curly Musgrave (1943-2009), also greatly missed, turned this poem into a song called “Boys, It’s Roundup Time,” on his The Heritage CD.

See Pat in action in a video from the Western Folklife Center’s National Cowboy Poetry Gathering (NCPG), where he was a frequent performer. For a look at the ever-politically incorrect Pat—you’ve been warned—see him in a 2013 NCPG show with his friends Yvonne Hollenbeck, Rodney Nelson, Ramblin’ Jack Elliott, and the late Glenn Ohrlin. Pat starts at about 59:00 at the video here.

Find some of Pat’s poetry and more about him and his book and recordings at CowboyPoetry.com.

This 1888 photo from South Dakota, titled “Branding calves on roundup,” is by John C.H. Grabill (1849-1903). It’s from The Library of Congress Prints and Photographs Division.

Grabill worked in Dakota Territory and The Library of Congress maintains an on-line collection of Grabill photographs.

(You may share this poem with this post, but any other use requires permission. The photograph is in the public domain.)

BIGFOOT, by Pat Richardson

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BIGFOOT
by Pat Richardson (1934-2016)

I ran a little trap line up in Idaho one year;
one night I heard a tapping on the door.
I looked out and there stood Bigfoot, holding up his off hind leg,
acting like his foot was kind of sore.

So I let him come on in, it was mighty cold outside,
and offered him a bowl of beans to eat.
He acted mighty hungry, and as he scarffed them down
I made a close inspection of his feet.

Seems he’d run a jagged splinter in-between two hairy toes
and I thought, “I better pull that if I can.”
I got my shoeing nippers and pulled that splinter out,
and that’s how our relationship began.

He did up all the dishes just to show his gratitude
and soon had things as clean as they could get.
As he stood there looking ’round for something more that he could do
I realized he hadn’t spoken yet.

I asked him ’bout his childhood, and he just made slurping sounds,
seems like talking wasn’t something he could do;
I thought of all the stories that I’d have to tell my kids
if I could teach old Sasquatch something new.

So I’d hold up a simple object, and tell him what it was
and I soon found his mind was sharp and crisp;
and with exact pronunciation he’d repeat each word I said
though I noticed he was hindered by a lisp.

Mississippi gave him problems with all the esses it contained,
and he’d dribble little spitballs on his fur;
I tried tongue depressors, enemas, and books by Baxter Black,
But I never seemed to come up with a cure.

As the winter days passed quickly, I taught him how to cook,
sweep the floor, make the beds, and check the traps;
and with him to help me out it sorta took the pressure off
and for once I had some time to just relax.

I taught him several card games just to while the time away
and at first I think old Bigfoot liked them all;
but if I’d paid more attention, I’d’ve seen the warning signs
’cause as time wore on he favored Five Card Draw.

At first we played for matches, or see who’d warm the beans,
sweep the floor, make the beds, and get the wood.
‘Fore you know it, seems I’m doing all the chores around the place,
and our relationship is going none too good.

Pretty soon I’m betting beaver pelts I can’t afford to lose,
they’re the only thing of value on the place;
and I still think he bluffed a lot, but it was hard to tell
’cause old Bigfoot really had a poker face.

Well, by spring he had me busted, everything I owned was his,
he had my rifle, wore my parka and my cap.
He held title to my cabin and the land I built it on,
he had all my beaver pelts and owned the traps.

They say gambling’s an addiction that can only be controlled
if you recognize the problem runs real deep.
Well, I can recognize my problem from half a mile away
’cause he weighs eight hundred pounds and drives my Jeep.

© 2004, Pat Richardson, from Pat Richardson, Unhobbled
Few are missed as much as the late Pat Richardson, California poet, humorist, artist, cowboy, and former Pro Rodeo Sports News cartoonist.

Pat was known for his deadpan delivery of his humorous poems, and Baxter Black famously said of Pat Richardson’s poetry, “If you boiled cowboy poetry down to what’s worth savin’, this is what the stew would smell like.”

See Pat in action in a video from the Western Folklife Center’s National Cowboy Poetry Gathering, where he was a frequent performer.

“Bigfoot” is on The BAR-D Roundup: Volume Ten, a double CD of top classic and contemporary cowboy poetry from CowboyPoetry.com.

Find some of Pat’s poetry and more about him and his book and recordings at CowboyPoetry.com.

This photograph of the George McGregor Cabin, Yukon River near Coal Creek, Circle, Yukon-Koyukuk is from The Library of Congress Prints and Photograph Division. The description includes, “Significance: George McGregor, a miner- turned-trapper, built this cabin in 1938. McGregor staked some of the richest ground on Woodchopper Creek in the 1920s. He sold out in the 1930s and turned to trapping. His modest cabin, which he also used as his fish camp, is representative of the small log cabins built by solitary trappers.”

Find more about the photograph here.

(Please respect copyright. You may share this poem with this post, but any other use requires permission. The photograph is in the public domain.)

COWBOY BANKER by Pat Richardson (1934-2016)

seenoevil© 2006, Jeri Dobroski, photo of Pat Richardson, Jess Howard, and Stan Howe

COWBOY BANKER
by Pat Richardson (1934-2016)

“I wanna be a cowboy,” said the banker Larry Brown,
“an’ work out in the country, ‘steada cooped up here in town.”
When his wife got wind of this she nearly went berserk
he made a hundred grand a year, doin’ banker work.

She said,” You can’t ride a horse, you can barely drive a Jeep
the whole idea’s dumber than a hundred head of sheep.”
“Ben said he’d teach me everything I need to know
an’ how long can that take? There’s just giddyup an’ whoa.”

He went thumbin’ through a catalog of “Western wear an’ feed”
with his calculator hummin’, addin’ up the things he’d need
“A thousand for a saddle? There must be some mistake
a misprint he reckoned, a grand for heaven’s sake?”

A hat an’ vest, boots an’ spurs, an’ naturally a rope
a bridle, reins, an’ silver bit, an’ a bar of saddle soap
a pickup an’ a trailer, an’ assorted odds an’ ends
“It’s pretty dang expensive now, I’ll tell you that my friend

“Saddle blankets, underclothes, an’ oh yes a pair of chinks.”
When he hit the total button, took an hour just to blink.
So he gave up that cowboy scheme an’ sez with some dismay,
“I can’t afford to be a cowboy on a lousy banker’s pay.”

© 2001, Pat Richardson, used with permission

The late California poet, humorist, artist, cowboy, and former Pro Rodeo Sports News cartoonist Pat Richardson was known for his deadpan delivery of his humorous poems. It’s always hard to resist to mention that Baxter Black said of Pat Richardson’s poetry, “If you boiled cowboy poetry down to what’s worth savin’, this is what the stew would smell like.”

At the forthcoming Western Folklife Center’s 35th National Cowboy Poetry Gathering, January 28 – February 2, 2019 in Elko, Nevada, there will be a show remembering Pat Richardson and other favorite cowboy poets who have recently left us: Georgie Sicking (1921-2016), Jess Howard (1936-2016, Pat Richardson’s brother), and Elizabeth Ebert (1925-2018). Performers for the show, all friends of those poets, are Yvonne Hollenbeck, Rodney Nelson, Brenn Hill, Dave Stamey, and DW Groethe. The show will be Saturday afternoon, February 2, at 1:30 pm, at the G Bar Three Theatre at the Western Folklife Center.

There’s more at CowboyPoetry.com about each of the poets being remembered: Pat RichardsonGeorgie Sicking, Jess Howard, and Elizabeth Ebert.

The complete National Cowboy Poetry Gathering lineup includes 3hattrio, Amy Hale Auker, Mike Beck, Geno Delafose & French Rockin Boogie, John Dofflemyer, Joshua Dugat, Maria Lisa Eastman, Mary Flitner, Jamie Fox & Alex Kusturok, Ryan & Hoss Fritz, Dick Gibford, DW Groethe, Andy Hedges, Brenn Hill, Tish Hinojosa, Yvonne Hollenbeck, Ross Knox, Ned LeDoux, Daron Little, Corb Lund, Carolyn Martin’s Swing Band, Sid Marty, Deanna Dickinson McCall, Gary McMahan, Waddie Mitchell, Michael Martin Murphey, Joel Nelson, Rodney Nelson, Diane Peavey, Shadd Piehl, Vess Quinlan, Halladay & Rob Quist, Henry Real Bird, Brigid Reedy, Randy Rieman, Jake Riley, Matt Robertson, Olivia Romo, Trinity Seely, Sean Sexton, Sourdough Slim, Dave Stamey, Gail Steiger, Colter Wall, and Paul Zarzyski.

Find more at nationalcowboypoetrygathering.org and check out their YouTube channel for a great archive of cowboy poetry and Western music performances and more.

Jeri Dobrowski took this photo of Pat Richardson, Jess Howard, and Stan Howe at the 2006 National Cowboy Poetry Gathering. Find her photography at jeridobrowski.com.

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

ROUNDUP IN THE SPRING by Pat Richardson (1934-2016)

grabillroundup

 

ROUNDUP IN THE SPRING
by Pat Richardson (1934-2016)

Ropes uncoil in the darkness,
whistle true an’ find their mark
Saddle up an’ snug yer hat down,
make a bronc ride in the dark
Ponies snortin’ in the darkness
hear the spur rowels as they ring
Horse an’ rider work the kinks out,
boys it’s roundup time, it’s spring

Miles away from camp by sunup
dew hangs silver on the grass
A lone mule deer at a distance
stops an’ freezes ’till yer passed
Make a circle change yer mount,
catch a fresh horse from yer string
Days an’ nights all blend together,
boys it’s roundup time, it’s spring

In the evening’ after supper
Bill starts singin’ way off key
But y’ know for some strange reason,
it sounds pretty good to me
In the bunkhouse he gets hushed
every time he tries to sing
But he’s getting’ songs requested
durin’ roundup in the spring

Longtime foes begin’ to visit,
swappin’ stories, lie, an’ brag
An’ the best hand in the crew
takes his turn at ridin’ drag
Every year I’m amazed,
longtime grudges take to wing
An’ the cowboys work together,
boys it’s roundup time, it’s spring

© 1998, Pat Richardson, used with permission

This week we’re celebrating spring.

The greatly missed Pat Richardson, California poet, artist, cowboy, and former Pro Rodeo Sports News cartoonist is better known for his humorous poems, but he wrote in a variety of styles. Occasionally he would write a more serious poem like “Roundup in the Spring” and completely break the mood with a humorous, unexpected last few lines.

Curly Musgrave (1943-2009), also greatly missed, turned this poem into a song called “Boys, It’s Roundup Time,” on his The Heritage CD.

Pat Richardson was known for his deadpan delivery of his humorous poems, and Baxter Black famously said of Pat Richardson’s poetry, “If you boiled cowboy poetry down to what’s worth savin’, this is what the stew would smell like.”

See Pat in action in a video from the Western Folklife Center’s National Cowboy Poetry Gathering, where he was a frequent performer.

Find some of Pat’s poetry and more about him and his book and recordings at CowboyPoetry.com.

This 1888 photo from South Dakota, titled “Branding calves on roundup,” is by John C.H. Grabill (1849-1903). It’s from The Library of Congress Prints and Photographs Division.

Grabill worked in Dakota Territory and The Library of Congress maintains an on-line collection of Grabill photographs.

(You may share this poem with this post, but any other use requires permission. The photograph is in the public domain.)

 

HERE’S TO THE COWBOYS by Pat Richardson (1934-2016)

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HERE’S TO THE COWBOYS
by Pat Richardson (1934-2016)

Here’s to the cowboys I’ve known in my lifetime,
all the tough hands that lived on the fringe.
They weren’t much to look at, and darn hard to open
’cause it seems most were just hung with one hinge.

I know you’re thinkin’, “They’re too hard to handle,”
but pardner that’s where you are all wrong.
They’ll come to getcha come Hell or high water
and you’re dang glad that they happened along.

When the going got tough, they loved the excitement
though they never quite knew what was in store.
They’d make some joke, “Put your oars in the water
and by God don’t you be rowing for shore.”

A cowboy can stand a whole lot more than most:
lump jaws, hoof rot, and orn’ry old critters,
but when it comes time, to reel in your line,
the thing they can’t stand are the quitters

So here’s to the cowboys I’ve known in my lifetime
that could handle a horse, a rope or a steer
I’d drink to their health if they had any left—
“So Merry Christmas, cowboys, and Happy New Year.”

© 2006, Pat Richardson, used with permission
Oh how we miss the late Pat Richardson, California poet, humorist, artist, cowboy, and former Pro Rodeo Sports News cartoonist.

Known for his deadpan delivery of his humorous poems, Baxter Black has said of Pat Richardson’s poetry, “If you boiled cowboy poetry down to what’s worth savin’, this is what the stew would smell like.”

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

This poem is included on the double-CD of classic and contemporary Christmas cowboy poetry, The BAR-D Roundup: Volume 8 from CowboyPoetry.com.

This image was one of Pat’s last Christmas cards. It speaks for itself.