MASTERS CD Series

 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.

The current CD series is MASTERS.

Coming in 2020:  MASTERS: VOLUME FOUR, the poetry of Badger Clark.

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MASTERS: VOLUME THREE contains over 60 tracks in a three-disc CD of the poetry of  Bruce Kiskaddon. Voices from the past and from today’s top reciters and poets celebrate cowboy poetry’s popular classic poet.  Kiskaddon expert Bill Siems introduces the CD.

Find more about MASTERS: VOLUME THREE here.

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MASTERS: VOLUME TWO (April, 2018) contains 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 children—bring forth Barker’s humor and humanity. Andy Hedges introduces the CD.

Find more about MASTERS: VOLUME TWO here.

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The first CD in the series. MASTERS (2017), includes the works of Larry McWhorter, J.B. Allen, Sunny Hancock, and Ray Owens, reciting their poetry in recorded poems, “live” performances, and their recitations of other masters’ works (Buck Ramsey, S. Omar Barker, and Henry Herbert Knibbs). Jay Snider introduces the CD.

Find more about MASTERS (2017) here.

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Previous to the MASTERS series, the Center produced ten volumes of The BAR-D Roundup.

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The Center’s Cowboy Poetry Week celebration—recognized by unanimous U.S. Senate resolution—is held each April during National Poetry Month. Each year, a compilation CD and the celebration’s poster—by Shawn Cameron in 2019; by Clara Smith in 2018; by Jason Rich in 2017; by Gary Morton in 2016; by Don Dane in 2015; by Jason Rich in 2014; Shawn Cameron in 2013; by R.S. Riddick in 2012, Duward Campbell in 2011, Bill Owen in 2010, Bob Coronato in 2009; William Matthews in 2008; Tim Cox in 2007; and Joelle Smith in 2006—are offered to libraries in the Center’s Rural Library Project. The outreach program is a part of the Center’s commitment to serve rural communities and to preserve and promote our Western heritage.

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

 

DYING BREED, by Jay Snider

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DYING BREED
by Jay Snider

The note was neatly written
On an old brown paper bag
Bound and nicely folded
Inside a little American flag

We found it on the mantel
Near some pictures that he had
Of an old bay hoss he used to ride
His wife, his mother and his dad

It was pressed beneath a Bible
That sixty years ago was new
He often said when it was with him
He felt the Lord rode with him too

The note read smooth and easy
The words were simple, plain, and true
Reflections of a lifetime
Of an old time buckaroo

It read: “I’m just a simple cowboy
I’ve grown accustomed to meager ways
Cause it’s sometimes hard to make ends meet
On what punchin’ cattle pays

“But if wealth is somehow measured
By the many friends you’ve made
And success is hitched to freedom
Then I reckon I’ve been well paid

“But I’ve heard we’re nearin’ extinction
The cowboy’s just a vision from the past
His ways are old and antiquated
That our future is fadin’ fast

“But in my mind,” the note read on,
“I tend to disagree
Cause I see the cowboy in the young bucks
The ones who follow you and me

“I’ve seen ’em ridin’ rangy broncs
And spur ’em jump for jump
Then loose the rein and pet ’em some
When they’ve ridden out the hump

“I’ve heard ’em hoop and holler
Bustin’ brush and dodgin’ trees
Stand hat in hand and reverent
Old Glory wavin’ in the breeze

“I’ve watched ’em tradin’ horses
Swappin’ lies on a cattle deal
Then sign it proud and proper
With just a handshake for the seal

“I’ve seen a sadness in their eyes
For an orphaned calf in pain
When in spite of their compassion
All efforts were in vain

“I know they treat their elders
With respect and dignity
Still tip their hats to womenfolk
Just the way that it should be”

It read: “As long as little buckaroos
Dream of ridin’ wild and free
There will always be good cowboys
To follow you and me

“These words I write, though roughly penned
I hope fit somewhere in the cowboy creed
The cowboy will live eternal
We darned sure ain’t no dying breed ”

© 2002 Jay Snider
This poem should not be reposted or reprinted without permission

Popular Oklahoma rancher, poet, and reciter Jay Snider comes from a long line of cowboys and his sons are growing the next generation.

Find Jay at the 31st annual Cowboy Christmas Poetry Gathering in Wickenburg, Arizona, December 6-7, 2019. Other featured performers include Mary Kaye, Leon Autrey, and Trinity Seeley.

Jay returns to the Western Folklife Center’s 36th annual National Cowboy Poetry Gathering, January 27-February 1, 2020, in Elko, Nevada.  See Monday’s post for a list of participants and visit nationalcowboypoetrygathering.org for more, including descriptions of workshops, films, and other events at the gathering.

Jay Snider’s recent CD, Classic Cowboy Poetry: The Old Tried and True, showcases his fine reciting. He delivers poems by Bruce Kiskaddon, Henry Herbert Knibbs, Will Ogilvie, Sunny Hancock, and others, to carry listeners back to time when, to quote Kiskaddon,
“cattle were plenty and people were few.”

For a great look at how Jay Snider handles the classics, see a video of him reciting Sunny Hancock’s “The Bear Tale” at the 2010 Western Folklife Center National Cowboy Poetry Gathering.

Find more about Jay Snider at cowboypoetry.com , and at jaysnider.net.

Photo courtesy of Jay Snider.

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

THE TWISTER, by Jay Snider

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THE TWISTER
by Jay Snider

If he bucks me off, he’ll have to shed his skin
Was the claim the twister made
He said, “There ain’t a bronc that’s drawed a breath
Can shake me loose from this Wade”

Strong words like those need provin’, son
Are you sure you’re up to the test
He said “Let’s catch one up, ya’ll stand aside
Watch this bronc rider do the rest”

Well, we were impressed by the twister’s sand
Thought, heck, this might even be fun
So we bunched ‘em up and circled ‘em round
And cut out the little red dun

He’s a spindly, sorta wild eyed colt
Long necked and a little light boned
But every puncher that had tried him before
In one jump, had been dethroned

“He’s bad as they come in these parts,” I said
The twister just shot me a grin
Said “Bad broncs are my business, if he bucks me off
He’ll have to jump right out of his skin”

So Charlie Bob roped him and snubbed him up close
Ole’ Slim got a mouthful of ear
It took Rusty and Bub and ole’ Jake to hold him
While the twister stacked on his gear

Then the twister stepped on, took a mighty deep seat
Charlie Bob pitched him his head
The colt went from round pen floor to tree top high
Then his north end went south instead

I’ve seen cowboys throwed higher and harder
But I can’t remember just when
And I reckon, Ole’ Snake, be a fittin’ name
Cause this colt just shed his skin

The twister, you see, learned his lesson well
‘Cause he now sings a different song
“It takes a plenty bad hombre to throw me off
But it sure don’t take him long”

© Jay Snider
This poem should not be reprinted or reposted without permission.

This photo of popular Oklahoma rancher, poet, and reciter Jay Snider is from Lawton, Oklahoma, 1979. He told us that the bull “belonged to F&F Rodeo Company and was simply called #33.”

“Twister” is on Volume Nine of The BAR-D Roundup” from CowboyPoetry.com.

Jay is returning to the Western Folklife Center’s 36th annual National Cowboy Poetry Gathering, January 27-February 1, 2020, in Elko, Nevada.

He joins other poets and storytellers Doris Daley, John Dofflemyer, Carolyn Dufurrena, Maria Lisa Eastman, Patricia Frolander, DW Groethe, Andy Hedges, Carol Heuchan, Chris Isaacs, Randi Johnson, Jarle Kvale, Annie Mackenzie, Waddie Mitchell, Joel Nelson, Rodney Nelson, Jonathan Odermann, Vess Quinlan, Henry Real Bird, Brigid Reedy, Randy Rieman, Jake Riley, R.p. Smith, Gail Steiger, Michael Stevens, Tom Swearingen, Forrest VanTuyl, and Paul Zarzyski.

Musicians and singer-songwriters include An American Forrest, Mike Beck, Cat Clifford, Dylan Clough, Geno Delafose & French Rockin’ Boogie, Dom Flemons, Pipp Gillette & Lloyd Wright, DW Groethe, R.W. Hampton, Andy Hedges, Hot Club of Cowtown, Ned LeDoux, Corb Lund & the Hurtin’ Albertans, Miko Marks, Marinna Mori, Tracy Morrison, The Munsick Boys, Brigid Reedy, Randy Rieman, Trinity Seely, Dave Stamey, Gail Steiger, Michael Stevens, Jessie Veeder, and Wylie and The Wild West.

“Special guests” are also promised.

Visit nationalcowboypoetrygathering.org for much more, including descriptions of workshops, films, and other events at the gathering.

Jay Snider has a recent CD, Classic Cowboy Poetry: The Old Tried and True, which showcases his fine reciting. He delivers poems by Bruce Kiskaddon, Henry Herbert Knibbs, Will Ogilvie, Sunny Hancock, and others, to carry listeners back to time when, to quote Kiskaddon, “cattle were plenty and people were few.”

For a great look at how Jay Snider handles the classics, see a video of him reciting Sunny Hancock’s “The Bear Tale” at the 2010 National Cowboy Poetry Gathering:

Find more about Jay Snider at cowboypoetry.com/js.htm, and at his web site, jaysnider.net.

This more recent photo of Jay is by Dee Dobson of Buckles & Bling Photography.

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

OF HORSES AND MEN, by Jay Snider

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OF HORSES AND MEN
by Jay Snider

It’s been told of good horses lost
In simple words that cowboys use
He dern sure was a good one
He’s the kind you hate to lose

He’s the kind you could depend on
In the river and the breaks
In rough country and wild cattle
He’d be the one you’d take

His efforts weren’t ruled by stature
With him you’d finish what you’d start
His limits were governed only
By the dimension of his heart

His expectations were simple
Merely fairness from a friend
But when he’d feel the need to run
It’s best not to fence him in

Pure poetry in motion
As across the plains he’d fly
A tried and true compadre
In a seasoned cowboy’s eye

His courage was unmatched by mortal men
From conquistadors to kings
Cowboys sing his praises
At roundups in the spring

Ain’t it strange how thoughts of horses lost
Mirror those of men passed on
And though they’ve gone to glory
Their spirit’s never gone

Sometimes simple words seem best
When final words we choose
He dern sure was a good one
He’s the kind you hate to lose

© 2003, Jay Snider
This poem should not be reposted or reprinted without permission

Third-generation Oklahoma cowboy and rancher Jay Snider told us:

The inspiration for this poem came to me on December 7, 2002. I had to put down a little bay stud that we owned for near a dozen years. Cancer had invaded one of his kidneys and the vet gave him little hope. It truly was a sad day for us. I remember telling my wife and sons, “Doc sure was a good one. He’s the kind you hate to lose.”

That same day, I had been asked to do a poem at an old man’s funeral who lived north of where we live. He was as good a cowman as ever came out of our country. After the service, his eldest son said to me, “Dad sure was a good one. He’s the kind you hate to lose.”

I could not get those words out of my mind. I started this poem that night; however, I could not finish it until March 19, 2003 when we received word that Larry McWhorter had passed away. Then it came to me what I had been trying to say all along.

Jay is appreciated as well for his fine reciting. Enjoy his rendition of Sunny Hancock’s (1931-2003) “The Bear Tale” in a video from the Western Folklife Center’s 2011 National Cowboy Poetry Gathering.

Find more about Jay Snider at CowboyPoetry.com and and at his site, jaysnider.net.

Jay Snider and Ernie Sites are the featured performers for the forthcoming Sunny Hancock/Leon Flick Memorial Cowboy Poetry Show, in Paisley, Oregon on July 26, 2019. Kathy Moss will emcee and The Jody Cooper Band will also perform. The popular event raises funds for a local cowboy crisis fund and scholarship and honors the memories of Leon Flick and Sunny Hancock, two late, beloved Lake County cowboys and poets.

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This photo at the top of this page of Jay Snider with his son and grandson is courtesy of Buckles & Bling Photography, specialists in rodeo and family photography.

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

HEROES OF OLD by Jay Snider

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HEROES OF OLD
by Jay Snider

The end of the trail is a cross we all bear.
We’re all branded the day of our birth.
Make no mistake, it’s the choices we make
plot the course that we ride here on earth.

With luck we have gathered up heroes
like our daddies and granddaddies did.
The face and name likely won’t be the same
as the heroes they knew as a kid.

What shall we do when our heroes are gone
and we’re thinking we’re here all alone?
It’s not courage we lack, so we’ll follow his track,
pull his hat down real tight and ride on.

If ever their trails be forgotten
all heroes may cease to exist.
The hats that they wore should be passed ever more
and new names must be scribed to the list.

It’s a task that is chocked full of danger
and cursed with the Devil’s own kiss.
Lift high up your cup for the kids looking up
are the targets we must never miss.

The tracks that we make, they will follow.
We must never veer from that trail.
Never give up the fight because right is still right.
That code they set down without fail.

Take care of the hat that you’re wearing.
Protect it as if it’s pure gold.
Don’t ever look back, place your hat on the stack.
That’s the makings of heroes of old.

© 2017, Jay Snider
This poem should not be reprinted or reposted without permission

Oklahoma rancher, poet, and songwriter Jay Snider told us that he worked on this poem for some time after his father passed away, and while driving home from the Cochise Cowboy Poetry Gathering in 2017, he finally put it together, pulling off the road several times to work on it. Jay’s father was a top roper and rodeo cowboy and his grandfather was a brand inspector for the Texas and Southwestern Cattle Raisers Association.

Jay Snider’s recent CD, Classic Cowboy Poetry: The Old Tried and True, showcases his fine reciting. Like some poetry time traveler, he delivers poems by Bruce Kiskaddon, Henry Herbert Knibbs, Will Ogilvie, Sunny Hancock, and others, to carry you back to time when, to quote Kiskaddon, “cattle were plenty and people were few.”

Enjoy his rendition of Sunny Hancock’s (1931-2003) “The Bear Tale” in a video from the Western Folklife Center’s 2011 National Cowboy Poetry Gathering.

Find more about Jay Snider at CowboyPoetry.com and visit JaySnider.net for more about his CDs and his performance schedule.

Back in 2007 in a Picture the West feature at CowboyPoetry.com, Jay wrote that this photograph showed his mother and his father “…with 7 of the 9 saddles he won through the years in the Senior Pro Rodeo Association and the National Old Time Ropers Association. His rodeo career began in the early 1940s and continued to rope steers up until the last couple of years. I’m sure he still can but prefers to coach his sons and grandsons from the chutes. That’s a blessing in itself. I have never known a better horseman than he.” Find more photographs, with generations of Sniders, in Picture the West.

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

FOUR LITTLE WORDS, by Jay Snider

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FOUR LITTLE WORDS
by Jay Snider

Four little words have stuck in my mind
From the time I was just a small child
“There’s a good feller” is what he would say
When he talked of the men he admired

I remember those men he talked about
Sure ‘nuff cowboys, tough, but kind
They said what they meant and meant what they said
These men are gettin’ harder to find

“There’s a good feller,” meant he was true to his word
That’s all you expect of a man
You knew for sure he was proud to meet you
By the genuine shake of his hand

“There’s a good feller,” meant you could depend
On this man no matter the task
Never got too tough, too cold, or too late
For his help, all you need do is ask

“There’s a good feller,” meant he had a light hand
Be it with horses or cattle or crew
He spent most of his life learning this cowboy trade
And he’d be honored to teach it to you

“There’ a good feller” meant don’t ask him to do
What ain’t on a true and honest track
He knows it’s easier to keep a good reputation
Than it is to try to build one back

“There’s a good feller,” meant he’s a fair-minded man
He helped write cowboyin’s unwritten laws
He won’t ask you to do what he wouldn’t do
Yet knows, at times, the short end you’ll draw

“There’s a good feller,” meant, when he’s down on his luck
He can still hold his head way up high
‘Cause he did his best and gave it his all
He knows with faith and God’s help he’ll get by

“There’s a good feller,” just four little words
And their meaning won’t run all that deep
But when Dad would use ‘em to describe certain men
You knew they were at the top of the heap

“There’s a good feller,” just four little words
But they’ve always been favorites of mine
If after my trails end, my name’s brought up
“There’s a good feller” would suit me just fine

© Jay Snider, used with permission.

Third-generation Oklahoma cowboy and rancher, poet, and songwriter Jay Snider’s poem has long been a part of “Poems for Solemn Occasions” at CowboyPoetry.com.

It seems a fitting poem now as the Texas Cowboy Poetry Gathering has announced that this year’s event, the 33rd, held last weekend, is its last. Few gatherings earned such great respect of participants and audiences. Deep and lasting friendships were made there and so many poets and musicians have written eloquently about their experiences and the bittersweet end of an outstanding event.

The gathering loved the poets and musicians back, as these two photos by Barbara Richerson attest. A memorial to poets was created in Railroad Park and dedicated in 2014. Designed by Gathering President Don Cadden, it is dedicated to the men and women who have participated in the and have passed on. Their names are inscribed on brass plates that are mounted on a “steel book” of remembrance on the site (pictured with Joel Nelson). The 2016 30th annual event honored poets and musicians no longer with us. Find reports on these events with more photos at cowboypoetry.com: 2014 and 2016.

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An unwavering mission drove the event; Don Cadden commented, “… we have worked diligently to keep it truly cowboy and respectful of the values and traditions of the ranching way of life.” Read the gathering’s announcement on their Facebook page.

Jay Snider, a long-time participant at the Texas Cowboy Poetry Gathering, comments, “The Texas Cowboy Poetry Gathering has touched countless lives in the past 33 years. I think Joel Nelson said it best in a conversation that fateful Thursday night, when he said the gathering has changed many, many lives. I know it has changed mine.

“The monument that was erected to memorialize the many great poets of the past who attended the gathering and have since passed on is a testament to the kind of gathering the Texas Cowboy Poetry Gathering has been.”

Hats off to the people who worked so hard and did such an outstanding job.

Jay Snider is appreciated for his poetry as well for his impressive reciting. Find more about him at jaysnider.net and at cowboypoetry.com.

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

TYRONE AND TYREE, by Jay Snider

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TYRONE AND TYREE
by Jay Snider

I’ve learned lots of lessons
’bout cowboyin’ up
’cause I’ve been a cowboy
since I was a pup

And my dad taught me
just like his dad taught him
rewards without effort
come seldom and slim

And if workin’ for wages
or bossin’ a crew
a job left half finished
reflects upon you

And good leaders of men
who while bossin’ the crew
won’t ask of their men
what they wouldn’t do

‘Cause men are just men
and it’s by God’s design
we all pull on our britches
one leg at a time

But some men are leaders
while others hold back
they stray off the trail
and are hard to untrack

But with proper persuasion
will likely fall in
’cause that’s just the nature
Of hosses and men

Which put me to thinkin’
’bout Tyrone and Tyree
the best team of Belgians
you ever did see

Why they’d lay in those collars
and pull stride for stride
work sunup to sundown
till the day that they died

But Tyree would get balky
not pull like he should
so Tyrone would reach over
and scold him right good

Then the load they were pullin’
would even right out
that’s the lesson in life
that I’m talkin’ about

‘Cause some hosses are leaders
while some will pull back
they’ll stray off the trail
and are hard to untrack

But with proper persuasion
will likely fall in
see, that’s just the nature
of hosses and men

Which put me to thinkin’
’bout what Dad had said
and a couple of visions
then danced in my head

In my mirror, while shavin’
which one will I see
could I be Tyrone
or would I be Tyree

And to leaders of men
let’s all raise a cup
here’s to pullin’ your weight
and to cowboyin’ up

© 2005, Jay Snider, used with permission
This poem should not be reprinted or reposted without permission

Here’s another poem to suggest new year’s resolutions.

Popular Oklahoma rancher, poet, and songwriter Jay Snider is known for his own writing and as well for his fine reciting.

He has a recent CD, Classic Cowboy Poetry: The Old Tried and True, which showcases his fine reciting. He delivers poems by Bruce Kiskaddon, Henry Herbert Knibbs, Will Ogilvie, Sunny Hancock, and others, to carry listeners back to time when, to quote Kiskaddon, “cattle were plenty and people were few.”

Enjoy his rendition of Sunny Hancock’s (1931-2003) “The Bear Tale” in a video from the Western Folklife Center’s 2011 National Cowboy Poetry Gathering.

Find Jay at the 33rd annual Texas Cowboy Poetry Gathering, February 22-23, 2019 in Alpine, Texas among this year’s outstanding lineup.

Performers include Apache Adams, Gary Allegretto, Amy Hale Auker, Eli Barsi, Floyd Beard, “Straw” Berry, Mike Blakely, Dale Burson, Don Cadden, Bob Campbell, Craig Carter, Zack Casey, Allan Chapman & Rodeo Kate, Justin Cole, High Country Cowboys, Doris Daley, Mikki Daniel, John Davis, Kevin Davis, Doug Figgs, Ray Fitzgerald, Rolf Flake, Ryan & Hoss Fritz, Belinda Gail, Pipp Gillette, Jeff Gore, Kristyn Harris, Andy Hedges, High Country Cowboys, Yvonne Hollenbeck, Randy & Hanna Huston, Chris Isaacs, Jill Jones & Three Hands High, Jim Jones, Linda Kirkpatrick, Ross Knox, Daron Little, Deanna Dickinson McCall, Pat Meade, Glenn Moreland, Terry Nash, Joel Nelson, Sam Noble, Kay Nowell, Jean Prescott, Gary Prescott, Mike Querner, Luke Reed, Randy Rieman, Gary Robertson, Trinity Seely, R.P. Smith, Jay Snider, Gail Steiger, Michael Stevens, Caitlyn Taussig, Rod Taylor, Doug Tolleson, Keith Ward, and Jim Wilson.

Find more about Jay Snider at CowboyPoetry.com and visit JaySnider.net.

This photo is by popular poet and wilderness guide Sandy Seaton Sallee, from December, 2015. She describes it, “Fred and Frank, our big blue Brabant/Percheron team, near our home above the Yellowstone River. Airedale pup Kate enjoyed the ride!” Sandy and her husband Scott run Black Mountain Outfitters, Inc., located in the heart of Paradise Valley, just north of Yellowstone National Park in Montana and also Slough Creek Outfitters, offering world-famous Yellowstone Cutthroat Trout fishing. Find more about Sandy Seaton Sallee at CowboyPoetry.com.

Don’t miss the video of another team at Black Mountain Outfitters of “The Tail End of Christmas 2018.”

(Please respect copyright. You can share this poem and this photograph with this post, but for any other uses, request permission from the poet and the photographer.)