2009 photo by Jeri Dobrowski
Yvonne Hollenbeck shared the sad news of the passing of poet, saddlemaker, and rode champion Bob Schild, January 20, 2020. She wrote:
Bob Schild was one of the finest cowboy poets in our modern day, and was such a fine person. A world champion NIRA saddle bronc rider, a world class gentleman. He will be sorely missed.
Rod Miller has a fine tribute, “The Whistle Has Sounded,” at his blog.
Arrangements are being handled by Hawker Funeral Home, where there will be an Find an obituary here, which tells, “Visitation for family and friends will be Thursday, January 30th from 11:00 am to 12:00 pm at the Hawker Funeral Home, 132 S. Shilling Avenue in Blackfoot. Interment will follow in the Groveland Cemetery.” There will be a celebration of life at a later date.
This poem of his says much about the man:
ODE TO AN OLD FRIEND
by Bob Schild (1931-2020)
This life’s been a grand undertaking
On a long and a tortuous trail;
Emotions and dreams kept us floating
Like ships breaking waves at full sail.
We’ve partaken of visual wonders…
Watched the trout rise to harvest a fly—
While mountains—shaken by thunder—
Flashed neon ‘neath lightning-framed sky…
We’ve thrilled at the elk’s lusty whistle
Marveled at spots on a fawn;
Then, quick as a shot from a pistol:
These symbols of freedom were gone.
We’ve rigged a team in dray trappings,
Sowed joy from a buckboard behind,
Motivated by multitudes clapping,
In response to old ballads aligned.
We’ve sought for the fruits of the forest—
These ravaged and gutted by man,
Whose intentions—not always the purest,
Embrace his municipal plan.
We’ve seen sections of lush vegetation—
Which loss we may never atone,
Yield to a civilization…
Its asphalt, skyscrapers and stone.
Ox wagons, once truly symbolic…
A vestige of migrations west,
Wore wheels that preceded the frolic
of autos man soon would possess.
Songs Written in Delicate sonnets,
Harmonized in a warm hearted swoon,
Emphasized a pure life on the planet—
While rockets raced up to the moon.
We’ve seen the invincible humbled,
Our century three quarters gone,
From the full bloom of youth we have stumbled
And still times march presses on.
Now fanatics die by the legion;
They call this, “Allegiance to God,”
Others leap to defend each his region;
It’s the righteous who bloody the rod!
It’s peculiar, the road we have traveled,
And, no doubt, we’d transverse it again.
Do not bolt as the world comes unraveled,
But, drive on, for great goodness remains.
© 2006, Bob Schild, used with permission
A long-time part of CowboyPoetry.com, Bob Schild shared his story, with photos:
I was born in Rexburg, Idaho in 1931, at the beginning of The Great Depression; any and all financial stability previously enjoyed by the family (I was the second of five) gone. To the day my Dad died, he was never able to recapture the good times. These times had been tough before, now they were catastrophic.
By the time I reached seven years of age, after several relocations, we settled on a farm-livestock operation on the Fort Hall Indian Reservation. Harry Hart, soon to become World Champion Steer Wrestler (1939) maintained a practice arena on the edge of the property. In the summer months nearly all the area calf ropers and steer wrestlers met there regularly to hone their skills; my brother Jack and I were usually rapt observers, dragging our own rope fragments and dabbing a loop on anything we could approach. There, and then, was born in us both the desire to become rodeo hands….
The story continues here, where there are additional poems.
Steer wrestling, courtesy Bob Schild