THE GREATEST SPORT, by Georgie Sicking (1921-2016)

wildhorsesrphoto © Shirley Ross

THE GREATEST SPORT
by Georgie Sicking (1921-2016)

An old Nevada mustang,
As wild as she could be,
I’ll tell you all for sure,
She made a gambler out of me.

I forgot I was a mother,
I forgot I was a wife,
I bet it all in the hose I rode,
On him I bet my life.

The thrill of the chase with my roan,
Horse trying to give me a throw.
The smells of the rocks and the sagebrush,
The rattle of rocks as we go.

Blood running hot with excitement,
Mouth getting dry from the same,
In this world, ain’t nothin’ but the mustang,
Roan horse me and the game.

Mustang is getting winded
It slows down to a lope.
Roan horse is starting to weaken,
Mustang gets caught in a rope.

Roan horse’s sides are a heavin’,
And I am all out of breath.
Mustang faces rope a tremblin’,
It would have run to its death.

Sanity returns and I’m lookin’,
At the wild horse I just caught,
My prize of the chase,
Good looking or pretty it’s not.

A hammer head, crooked leg,
It’s awful short on the hip.
Little pig eyes, a scrawny U neck,
And it’s really long on the lip.

No, she sure ain’t worth much,
For sure she ain’t no pearl.
But she took me away from a humdrum life,
Right to the edge of the world.

Now mustanging is a fever like,
Alchohol, gamblin’ and such.
I guess it don’t really matter if what you catch,
Ain’t worth all that much.

This was before the laws passed,
That feed the city people’s dreams.
I was lucky to enjoy the greatest sport,
Of cowboys and of kings.

© Georgie Sicking, used with permission

Much-loved cowboy and Cowgirl Museum and Hall of Fame inductee Georgie Sicking, who died in 2016 at age 95, continues to inspire poets and cowboys. She has said that this poem is the result of her many mustanging experiences, experiences that “take you to the edge of the world.”

She tells about her first time in her book, Just More Thinking, when her husband, Frank, worked for the Green Cattle Company, which “…branded the O RO. They really had good horses, and rules were that those horses were not to be run after mustangs. Frank and I sighted a bunch of mustangs one day. I was riding a big brown O RO gelding. I told Frank that I bet old Ranger could give me a throw at one of those wild ones. He said that no way could Ranger carry my weight and run as fast as a wild horse, so to prove my point, I roped the mustang, which got away with my rope. I wanted that kept quiet as I didn’t want Frank to lose his job because of my breaking the rules. Roscoe Latham was the boss at the time. Frank and I went to the ranch one day, and Roscoe looked at me and said, ‘Young lady, I want to see you in my office,’ and I got scared! I walked in, he was sitting behind a desk, frowning. He said, ‘I have heard that you roped a mustang,’and I said, ‘yes.’ He said, ‘I also heard that you lost your rope,’ and I said, ‘yes.’

“He reached down under his desk and handed me a new rope, saying, ‘Now don’t lose this one.’ He still let me ride O RO horses.”

When WWII began and cowboys were hard to find, Georgie was hired on at the O RO, the only woman who ever drew pay at the Arizona ranch.

Georgie often mustanged with her friend Leonard Stephens, and the outstanding documentary about her, Ridin’ & Rhymin’  includes scenes of them recounting their experiences. She writes in Just More Thinking, that a ranch where they worked, “…was overrun and grazed off by wild horses. Sometimes the check from the main office would be slow…and [we] would rope enough horses for a truckload, and he would haul them to Fallon or Fernley to sell them. Then we would buy groceries.”

Georgie preferred to be called a “cowboy,” not “cowgirl.” She is quoted in Tough by Nature, Some people had the idea that all you had to do to be a cowgirl was put on a pretty dress and a pair of boots and a big hat and get a faraway look in your eyes…and you’re a cowgirl. They’ve been kind of hard to educate.”

Of Ridin’ & Rhymin’” the award-winning documentary about Georgie Sicking by Greg Snider and Dawn Smallman of Far Away Films (www.farawayfilm.com), Hal Cannon, retired Founding Director of the Western Folklife Center, comments, “Georgie Sicking is why ‘to cowboy’ is best used as a verb to explain a work, a life, and a big open land. This film captures her level gazed life in such a powerful way that it defines the American West.” A DVD is available at http://farawayfilm.com/rr.html.

Find some of her poetry and more about Georgie Sicking at CowboyPoetry.com.

This photograph, by Shirley Ross, was taken on the Virginia Range near Fernley, Nevada. Shirley Ross, who lives in Chico, California, is a native of Honey Lake Valley in Lassen County. She comments, “Even though I have lived in Chico for a number of years, I always return to the high desert to photograph any wildlife I come across, revisit ranches I lived on growing up, and to visit life-long friends and even some new ones.” She has many impressive photos of wild horses birds of prey, and more.

Thanks to Cindy Stout Quigley of CMQ Photography for introducing us to Shirley Ross.

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

TO BE A TOP HAND by Georgie Sicking (1921-2016)

georgiex1

TO BE A TOP HAND
by Georgie Sicking (1921-2016)

When I was a kid and doing my best to
Learn the ways of our land,
I thought mistakes were never made by
A real top hand.

He never got into a storm with a horse
He always knew
How a horse would react in any case and
Just what to do.

He never let a cow outfigure him,
And never missed a loop.
He always kept cattle under control
Like in a chicken coop.

He was never in the right place at the wrong time,
Or in anybody’s way.
For working cattle he just naturally knew,
When to move and when to stay.

I just about broke my neck tryin’,
To be and to do,
All those things a good cowboy,
Just naturally knew.

One day while riding with a cowboy,
I knew was one of the best,
For he had worked in that country for a long time,
Had taken and passed the test.

I was telling of my troubles,
Some bad mistakes I made.
That my dreams of being a top cowboy,
Were startin’ to fade.

This cowboy looked at me and said,
With a sort of a smile,
A sorry hand is in the way all the time,
A good one just once in a while.

Since that day I’ve handled lots of cattle,
And ridden many a mile.
And I figure I’m doin’ my share if I get in the way,
Just every once in a while.

© Georgie Sicking, from Just More Thinking, used with permission.
This poem should not be reposted or reprinted without permission.

Cowboy Poetry Week is a fine time to remember much-loved and much-missed cowboy and Cowgirl Museum and Hall of Fame inductee Georgie Sicking, who remains a great inspiration to many.

In Tough by Nature by Lynda Lanker, Georgie Sicking told that she was the only woman who ever drew pay on Arizona’s Oro Ranch, where she worked during World War Two. She preferred to be called a “cowboy,” not “cowgirl.”

She was quoted in Tough by Nature, “Some people had the idea that all you had to do to be a cowgirl was put on a pretty dress and a pair of boots and a big hat and get a faraway look in your eyes…and you’re a cowgirl. They’ve been kind of hard to educate.”

Of Ridin’ & Rhymin’, the award-winning documentary about Georgie Sicking by Greg Snider and Dawn Smallman of Far Away Films, Hal Cannon, Founding Director (retired) of the Western Folklife Center, comments, “Georgie Sicking is why ‘to cowboy’ is best used as a verb to explain a work, a life, and a big open land. This film captures her level gazed life in such a powerful way that it defines the American West.” Find a preview of this must-see film here.

Find much more about Georgie Sicking and more of her poetry at CowboyPoetry.com.

This photo of Georgie Sicking graces the cover of The BAR-D Roundup: Volume Five from CowboyPoetry.com. The circa 1940 photo was taken at a carnival on her first date with the man who became her husband (photo courtesy of Georgie Sicking and Dawn Smallman).

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

BE YOURSELF by Georgie Sicking, 1921-2016

georgiex

BE YOURSELF
by Georgie Sicking, 1921-2016

When I was young and foolish,
The women said to me,
“Take off those spurs and comb your hair
If a lady you will be.

“Forget about those cowboy ways
come and sit a while,
We will try to clue you in
On women’s ways and wiles.

“Take off that Levi jumper
Put up those bat wing chaps.
Put on a little makeup and
We can get a date for you, ‘perhaps.’

“Forget about that roping.
That will make calluses on your hands.
And you know it takes soft fingers
If you want to catch a man!

“Do away with that Stetson hat
For it will crush your curls.
And even a homely cowboy wouldn’t
Date a straight-haired girl.”

Now being young and foolish,
I went my merry way.
I guess I never wore a dress
Until my wedding day.

Now I tell my children,
No matter what you do,
stand up straight and tall,
Be you, and only you.

For if the Lord had meant us, all to be alike,
And the same rules to keep,
He would have bonded us all together,
Just like a band of sheep.

© Georgie Sicking, used with permission

Much-loved cowboy and Cowgirl Museum and Hall of Fame inductee Georgie Sicking, who died a year ago, November 6, 2016, at age 95, continues to inspire poets and cowboys. This autobiographical poem is just one her many popular verses.

Find an interview with Georgie Sicking and her recitation of this poem here.

In the impressive book, Tough by Nature, by Lynda Lanker, Georgie Sicking tells that she was the only woman who ever drew pay on Arizona’s Oro Ranch, where she worked during World War Two. She prefers to be called a “cowboy,” not “cowgirl.”

She is quoted in Tough by Nature, “Some people had the idea that all you had to do to be a cowgirl was put on a pretty dress and a pair of boots and a big hat and get a faraway look in your eyes…and you’re a cowgirl. They’ve been kind of hard to educate.”

Of Ridin’ & Rhymin’, the award-winning documentary about Georgie Sicking by Greg Snider and Dawn Smallman of Far Away Films, Hal Cannon, Founding Director (retired) of the Western Folklife Center, comments, “Georgie Sicking is why ‘to cowboy’ is best used as a verb to explain a work, a life, and a big open land. This film captures her level gazed life in such a powerful way that it defines the American West.” A DVD of the outstanding film is available here.

Georgie Sicking’s photo (above) graces the cover of The BAR-D Roundup: Volume Five from CowboyPoetry.com. The circa 1940 photo was taken at a carnival on her first date with the man who became her husband (photo courtesy of Georgie Sicking and Dawn Smallman).

Find some of her poetry and more about Georgie Sicking at CowboyPoetry.com.

 

TO BE A TOP HAND by Georgie Sicking (1921-2016)

georgiex1

TO BE A TOP HAND
by Georgie Sicking (1921-2016)

When I was a kid and doing my best to
Learn the ways of our land,
I thought mistakes were never made by
A real top hand.

He never got into a storm with a horse
He always knew
How a horse would react in any case and
Just what to do.

He never let a cow outfigure him,
And never missed a loop.
He always kept cattle under control
Like in a chicken coop.

He was never in the right place at the wrong time,
Or in anybody’s way.
For working cattle he just naturally knew,
When to move and when to stay.

I just about broke my neck tryin’,
To be and to do,
All those things a good cowboy,
Just naturally knew.

One day while riding with a cowboy,
I knew was one of the best,
For he had worked in that country for a long time,
Had taken and passed the test.

I was telling of my troubles,
Some bad mistakes I made.
That my dreams of being a top cowboy,
Were startin’ to fade.

This cowboy looked at me and said,
With a sort of a smile,
A sorry hand is in the way all the time,
A good one just once in a while.

Since that day I’ve handled lots of cattle,
And ridden many a mile.
And I figure I’m doin’ my share if I get in the way,
Just every once in a while.

© Georgie Sicking, from Just More Thinking
This poem should not be reposted or reprinted without permission.

Much-loved cowboy and Cowgirl Museum and Hall of Fame inductee Georgie Sicking would have turned 96 this year. A great inspiration to many, she is dearly missed.

In the impressive book, Tough by Nature by Lynda Lanker, Georgie Sicking tells that she was the only woman who ever drew pay on Arizona’s Oro Ranch, where she worked during World War Two. She preferred to be called a “cowboy,” not “cowgirl.”

She is quoted in Tough by Nature, “Some people had the idea that all you had to do to be a cowgirl was put on a pretty dress and a pair of boots and a big hat and get a faraway look in your eyes…and you’re a cowgirl. They’ve been kind of hard to educate.”

Of Ridin’ & Rhymin’, the award-winning documentary about Georgie Sicking by Greg Snider and Dawn Smallman of Far Away Films (www.farawayfilm.com), Hal Cannon, Founding Director (retired) of the Western Folklife Center, comments, “Georgie Sicking is why ‘to cowboy’ is best used as a verb to explain a work, a life, and a big open land. This film captures her level gazed life in such a powerful way that it defines the American West.” See a clip here.

Find much more about Georgie Sicking and more of her poetry at CowboyPoetry.com.

This photo of Georgie Sicking graces the cover of The BAR-D Roundup: Volume Five from CowboyPoetry.com. The circa 1940 photo was taken at a carnival on her first date with the man who became her husband (photo courtesy of Georgie Sicking and Dawn Smallman).

This is a scheduled post. We’re on a break until May 25.

BE YOURSELF by Georgie Sicking, 1921-2016

georgiex

BE YOURSELF
by Georgie Sicking, 1921-2016

When I was young and foolish,
The women said to me,
“Take off those spurs and comb your hair
If a lady you will be.

“Forget about those cowboy ways
come and sit a while,
We will try to clue you in
On women’s ways and wiles.

“Take off that Levi jumper
Put up those bat wing chaps.
Put on a little makeup and
We can get a date for you, ‘perhaps.’

“Forget about that roping.
That will make calluses on your hands.
And you know it takes soft fingers
If you want to catch a man!

“Do away with that Stetson hat
For it will crush your curls.
And even a homely cowboy wouldn’t
Date a straight-haired girl.”

Now being young and foolish,
I went my merry way.
I guess I never wore a dress
Until my wedding day.

Now I tell my children,
No matter what you do,
stand up straight and tall,
Be you, and only you.

For if the Lord had meant us, all to be alike,
And the same rules to keep,
He would have bonded us all together,
Just like a band of sheep.

© Georgie Sicking, used with permission

It is with great sadness that we learned (from Diane Scott) of the passing of much-loved cowboy and Cowgirl Museum and Hall of Fame inductee Georgie Sicking, 95, on November 6, 2016. This autobiographical poem is just one her many popular verses.

Find a short video with the poem and additional footage here.

In the impressive book, Tough by Nature, by Lynda Lanker, Georgie Sicking tells that she was the only woman who ever drew pay on Arizona’s Oro Ranch, where she worked during World War Two. She prefers to be called a “cowboy,” not “cowgirl.”

She is quoted in Tough by Nature, “Some people had the idea that all you had to do to be a cowgirl was put on a pretty dress and a pair of boots and a big hat and get a faraway look in your eyes…and you’re a cowgirl. They’ve been kind of hard to educate.”

Georgie Sicking has been a great inspiration to many.

Of Ridin’ & Rhymin’, the award-winning documentary about Georgie Sicking by Greg Snider and Dawn Smallman of Far Away Films, Hal Cannon, Founding Director (retired) of the Western Folklife Center, comments, “Georgie Sicking is why ‘to cowboy’ is best used as a verb to explain a work, a life, and a big open land. This film captures her level gazed life in such a powerful way that it defines the American West.” See a clip here.

Georgie Sicking’s photo graces the cover of The BAR-D Roundup: Volume Five from CowboyPoetry.com. The circa 1940 photo was taken at a carnival on her first date with the man who became her husband (photo courtesy of Georgie Sicking and Dawn Smallman).

Georgie was at the first Western Folklife Center National Cowboy Poetry Gathering in 1985, and appeared there and at other gatherings many times, until the last couple of years.

Services will be held on Saturday, November 19 at 1:00 pm at The Gardens Funeral Home in Fallon, Nevada.

Find an obituary here.

Cards can be sent to Georgie Sicking’s daughter, Sue Jarrard, PO Box 341 Kaycee, WY 82639

Find some of her poetry and more about Georgie Sicking at CowboyPoetry.com.

As Linda Marie Kirkpatrick commented, “I wanted her to live forever.” She will be greatly missed.

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