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

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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.)

Donors

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CowboyPoetry.com
celebrates our Western heritage and today’s working West, dedicated to preserving our important history and to promoting the Western arts that carry on those traditions.  It’s a part of the non-profit Center for Western and Cowboy Poetry.

The Center was formed to serve a mostly rural and underserved community of Western writers, musicians, and artists; to help preserve Western and Cowboy Poetry and its associated arts; to offer a central resource for poets, libraries, schools, and the public; and to educate the public about the history and value of Western and Cowboy Poetry and its associated arts.

Supporters make a difference. With individual support, the Center can continue its programs, expand some of those efforts, and take on new projects. Individual support helps show institutional funders the community interest in our Western arts.

We thank our supporters, who are listed below. They make an important difference to the community of Western writers, musicians, and artists as we work together to preserve Western heritage and support Western and Cowboy Poetry and its associated arts. Please join us.

2018

The BAR-D supporters make all of the programs of the Center for Western and Cowboy Poetry possible: Cowboy Poetry Week, the Rural Library Program, and CowboyPoetry.com.

John Waters
Paul R. Brown III
Rod Miller
Almeda Bradshaw (sponsor)
Jim and Stella Cathey in memory of Louise M. Fritts
Marci Broyhill (sponsor)
Buzz Helfert
Al “Doc” Mehl and Doris Daley
Susan Matley in memory of Liz Masterson
Charmaine Ganson
Susan Parker
Marvin and Elaine Del Chiaro
Thomas F. Hawk
Terry Nash
Rodney Nelson
Patrick Sullivan
Jerry A. Brooks
Cindy Quigley
Lawrence Smith
Diana Rice
Susan Shuma
Susie Knight
David Carlton
Russ Westwood
Scott and Diana Overcash in memory of Debi Koppang
M. Todd Hess
David Sudbury
Janet Prezia
Georganna Kresl
L.L. “Lucky Lindy” Segall in memory of Carlos Ashley
Linda Kirkpatrick
Hugh Cooke
Linda Nadon in memory of Georgie Sicking
Don Hilmer
Yvonne Hollenbeck (sponsor)
Yvonne and Glen Hollenbeck
in memory of Liz Masterson, Kenny Krogman, Elizabeth Ebert
Jeff Thomas
Martha Singer
Ken Howry—Sunshine Prairie Farm
Daniel Wilson
Robert Dennis
Chuck and Cindy Learn (sponsor)
Jeri Dobrowski
Ron Secoy

Cowboy Poetry Week support:  Margaret T. Morris Foundation
Significant program support:  Laura and Edmund Wattis Littlefield Jr.

2017

Claud Roundtree
Janice Gilbertson
Andria Kidd
Laverna B. Johnson
Betty and Ken Rodgers in memory of Trisha Pedroia
Christopher Chambers
Joanne Grinage
Susan Matley
Keith Ward
Thomas F. Hawk
Howard Moon
DW Groethe
Rodney Nelson
Susan Parker
Steve and Marge Conroy in memory of Allen “Hook” Hill
Paul R. Brown III
Susie Knight
Barbara Richhart (Western Belle)-Cowtrails
Colleen Kohler
Bryce Angell
Ken Cook (sponsor)
Jeff Campbell
Yvonne Hollenbeck (sponsor)
Chuck Learn (sponsor)
Marjorie Satterfield
Sandi and Jay Snider (sponsor)
Paul Quinton
Shelly Pagiliai-Prairie Moon Quilts
Almeda Bradshaw (sponsor)
Jim and Stella Cathey in memory of Joan Taylor and Garland Haak
National Cowboy Poetry Rodeo (sponsor)
Jean Prescott (sponsor)
RANGE (sponsor)
Lynn Kopelke
Deanna Dickinson McCall
Judy James
Mike Moutoux
Robert Kinsey
Dale Page
Andy Nelson
Jarle Kvale
Kay Kelley Nowell
Heber Valley Cowboy Music & Poetry Gathering
Totsie Slover
Ron Secoy
Patricia Frolander
Norma Battenfield
Eldon Housley
Linda Kirkpatrick
David Stanley
George Rhoades
Jean Mathisen Haugen
Western Folklife Center (sponsor)
P’let and Mike Tcherkassky
Chester Roundtree
Sandy Seaton Sallee
Hugh Cooke
Jim White
Maryanne Patterson
Sally Baldus
Del Gustafson
Marleen Bussma
Nika Nordbrock
Wendy Brown-Barry
Gary McMahan-HorseApple Entertainment
Spalding Labs’ Flying SL Radio Ranch Show (sponsor)
Dee Strickland Johnson (“Buckshot Dot”)
Jane and Dick Morton
Arizona Cowboy Poets Gathering (sponsor)
Stephen Barnard
Jo Lynne Kirkwood
Marilyn and Kip Sorlie
Denise Arvidson in memory of Ross Christian Arvidson
Jim Thompson (California)
Eileen Dirksen in memory of “California” Steve Dirksen
Sandi and Jay Snider (sponsor)
Tom Swearingen
Roberta Rothman
Sally Smith-Joelle Smith Western Art
Sunshine Prairie Farm
Georganna Kresl
Teddie Daley
Ron Cagle
Mary Seago
Maurice Carter
Bert and Carol Braun-The Cowpoke Foundation in memory of Pat Richardson
Floyd and Valerie Beard
Betty and Ken Rodgers
Laverna B. Johnson
Linda and Bill Patterson
Daniel Bybee
Armovaz
Greg Camp
Dave Stamey
Smoke Wade
Rocky Sullivan
Sarah Hendricks
Shane Queener
Michael Babiarz-KVMR

Significant 2017 program support: Laura and Edmund Wattis Littlefield Jr.

Cowboy Poetry Week 2017 Foundation support: Margaret T. Morris Foundation

VISIT OUR SPONSORS

See all of the generous supporters to the Center for Western and Cowboy Poetry below and find how to  be a part of it all here.

 

VISIT OUR SPONSORS

See all of the generous supporters to the Center for Western and Cowboy Poetry below and find how to  be a part of it all here.

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):

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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.

Contributions to the Center are fully deductible for federal income tax purposes.

Donors at the $40 level and higher receive the year’s CD and Cowboy Poetry Week poster. (The CD fair market value is $15 and that amount is not deductible as a charitable contribution.)

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

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“PURT NEAR!” by S. Omar Barker (1895-1985)

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“PURT NEAR!”
by S. Omar Barker (1895-1985)

They called him “Purt Near Perkins,”
for unless the booger lied,
He’d purt near done most everything
that he had ever tried.
He’d purt near been a preacher
and he’d purt near roped a bear;
He’d met up with Comanches once
and purt near lost his hair.
He’d purt near wed an heiress
who had money by the keg,
He’d purt near had the measles,
and he’d purt near broke his leg.

He’d purt near been a trail boss,
and accordin’ to his claim,
He’d purt near shot Bill Hickock—
which had purt near won him fame!
He’d purt near rode some broncs
upon which no one else had stuck
In fact he was the feller
Who had purt near drowned the duck!

Now mostly all the cowboys
On the Lazy S B spread,
They took his talkin’ with a grin
And let him fight his head.
But one named Tom Maginnis
Sorter told it to him rough:
“You’re ridin’ with an outfit now
Where ‘purt near’ ain’t enough!
We tie our lasso ropes to the horn,
An’ what we ketch we hold,
And ‘purt near’ is one alibi
We never do unfold!
In fact, right now
I’ll tell you that no word I ever hear
Sounds quite so plain damn useless
As that little pair: ‘purt near’!”

That’s how ol’ Tom Maginnis
Laid it out upon the line,
And like a heap of preachin’ talk,
It sounded mighty fine.
But one day Tom Maginnis,
While a-ridin’ off alone,
He lamed his horse
And had to ketch some neighbor nester’s roan
To ride back to the ranch on.
But somewhere along the way
A bunch of nesters held him up,
And there was hell to pay!

Tom claimed he hadn’t stole the horse—
Just borrowed it to ride.
Them nesters hated cowboys,
And they told him that he lied.
The cussed him for a horsethief
And they’d caught him with the goods.
They set right out to hang him
In a nearby patch of woods.
They had pore Tom surrounded,
With their guns all fixed to shoot.
It looked like this pore cowboy
Sure had heard his last owl hoot!

They tied a rope around his neck
And throwed it o’er a limb
And Tom Maginnis purt near knowed
This was the last of him.
Then suddenly a shot rang out
From somewhere up the hill!
Them nesters dropped the rope an’ ran,
Like nesters sometimes will
When bullets start to whizzin’.
Tom’s heart lept up with hope
To see ol’ Purt Near Perkins
Ridin’ towards him at a lope.

“Looks like I purt near
Got here just in time,” ol’ Perkins said,
“To see them nesters hang you!”
Tom’s face got kinder red.
“You purt near did!” he purt near grinned.
“They purt near had me strung!
You’re lookin’ at a cowboy
That has pert near just been hung!
And also one that’s changed his mind—
For no word ever said,
Can sound as sweet as ‘purt near’,
When a man’s been purt near dead!”

© S. Omar Barker, from his 1954 book, “Songs of the Saddlemen” and reprinted with the permission of the estate of S. Omar Barker

It’s here! We’re pleased to release MASTERS: VOLUME TWO, the poems of S. Omar Barker.

With over 60 tracks on a double CD, many of today’s top reciters and poets—including individuals, siblings, couples, parents and their offspring—bring forth Barker’s humor and humanity.

Andy Hedges introduces the CD and it includes the voices of J.B. Allen, Amy Hale Auker, Floyd Beard, Valerie Beard, Baxter Black, Almeda Bradshaw, Jerry A. Brooks, Marleen Bussma, Jim Cathey, Ken Cook, Geff Dawson, Sam DeLeeuw, DW Groethe, Andy Hedges, Jessica Hedges, Maggie Rose Hedges, Yvonne Hollenbeck, Chris Isaacs, Linda Kirkpatrick, Susie Knight, Ross Knox, Jarle Kvale, Deanna Dickinson McCall, Rusty McCall, Gary McMahan, Rod Miller, Waddie Mitchell, Dick Morton, Terry Nash, Andy Nelson, Jim Nelson, Joel Nelson, Rodney Nelson, Kay Kelley Nowell, Kent Reeves, Rex Rideout, Randy Rieman, Kent Rollins, Sandy Seaton Sallee, Jay Snider, Red Steagall, Gail Steiger, Tom Swearingen, Smoke Wade, Keith Ward, and Paul Zarzyski.

The CD is offered to libraries in Cowboy Poetry Week’s Rural Library Program; sent to Center/CowboyPoetry.com supporters (at the $40 and higher level), and available for $25 (order with a credit card or Paypal, or by mail from CowboyPoetry.com, PO Box 1107, Lexington, VA 24450).

New Mexico’s S. Omar Barker gave many humorous poems to the world of cowboy poetry. A good number of them, including this one, remain widely recited today. He inserted a bit of himself in this poem in referring to the “Lazy S B spread.”

It’s told that Barker enjoyed signing his name with his brand, created from his initials and laid sideways for “Lazy SOB,” but, that it was his brand is not accurate. In an article written by Barker for Hoofs and Horns magazine, Barker introduces himself, “This S.O.B. (my initials, not my ancestry) has never claimed to qualify as a sure ‘nough cowboy.” Later in the article, he comments, “Incidentally, when I applied for (Lazy S O B) for our cattle brand, they wrote back that some other S O B already had it. So we had to be satisfied with (Lazy S B).” Andy Hedges tells the story on MASTERS: VOLUME TWO.

Barker was one of the founders of the Western Writers of America, Inc. and many of his poems were published by Western Horseman. Find more about S. Omar Barker at CowboyPoetry.com.

Watch top reciter and respected horseman Randy Rieman recite “Purt Near!” on the Western Folklife Center’s YouTube channel.

(Please respect copyright. You can share this poem with this post, but any other use requires permission of the S. Omar Barker estate.)

 

WAITIN’ ON THE DRIVE by Larry McWhorter (1957-2003)

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WAITIN’ ON THE DRIVE
by Larry McWhorter (1957-2003)

It’s four o’clock when the cook’s bell calls,
Raisin’ cowboys up from their dreams.
I pull on my boots and watch the red dust
Come puffin’ up through the worn seams.

Spring works are on and we’re leavin’ ‘fore dawn
And we won’t strip our kacks ’til night.
As I jingle the horses I wonder
How the bunkhouse looks in daylight.

We’re met with growls from a grouchy old cook
As his “sacred shrine” we invade,
But the table’s stacked high with good steak and spuds
And fresh biscuits he has just made.

We’re no better thought of at the corral
Where the snorts guide our way through the dark.
“Ol’ J.J. today,” I hear David say,
Ol’ Dave’s ride will be no gay lark.

The strawboss aims true as we call our mounts,
Ropin’ horses his privilege for years
‘Cause he knows each horse in the stars’ murky light
By “skyin'” the tips of their ears.

Finally we’re mounted and ready to go
As the cowboss leads out the way.
We ride by the “wagon,” long since retired,
Just a relic of yesterday.

How many good meals were served from its box?
How many good hands called it home?
Though it’s been idle for ten years or more
The sight of it stirs young men to roam.

Ol’ cowboss, he come here just as a kid
Of sixteen short summers or so.
Raised choppin’ rows for his sharecroppin’ pa
‘Til he worked up the nerve to say no.

“I almost went home many times,” he’d say.
“Things was tough on buttons back then.
But I’d think of that hoe and that ten yard sack,
Them rough horses didn’t look so bad then.”

I’ve heard that old story a hundred times
From men showin’ frost in their hair.
Them cotton fields sure made lots of good hands
But I’m happy I wasn’t there.

These thoughts and more kinda flow through my mind
As I sit on this caprock so high.
I run my fingers through Black Draught’s dark mane
And watch the last star wave good-bye.

Shadows stretch out as Ol’ Sol makes his call
Climbing slowly up toward his domain,
And does away with the morn’s early fog,
Remnant of last night’s gentle rain.

Movement catches my eye from the west.
The herd filters out of the brush.
That outside circle’s sure comin’ ’round fast.
I’ll bet due to J.J.’s mad rush.

Cows callin’ calves and hoots from the boys
Are the only sounds that I hear.
Bob Wills’ old fiddle playin’ “Faded Love”
Ain’t as sweet to this cowboy’s ear.

Little white faces made bright by the sun
Bounce high with their tails in the air.
That little red calf’s chargin’ Jake and Ol’ Eight
Bawlin’, “Come on big boy, if you dare.”

And I think as I gaze on the South Pease below,
“I really get paid to do this.”
My wage is low next to that paid in town
But look what those poor townfolk miss.

Well, the herd’s gettin’ near the draw I must guard,
Like many before me have done.
If I don’t get there to head ’em off soon
They’ll sure have a long ways to run.

But ‘fore I drop off I draw a breath of crisp air,
The kind that brought Adam to life,
And I thank God that He made this feller that’s me
As I sit, waitin’ on the drive.

© Larry McWhorter, reprinted with permission

It’s Cowboy Poetry Week, and we’re sharing the best of the best.

The great, late poet and cowboy Larry McWhorter wrote that this poem was “…born from a nostalgia of the deep respect a cowboy has for his heritage. So many little ‘tricks of the trade’ which have been unnoticed or forgotten have played an important part in the development of the American cowboy as an individual.”

He added,”Riding and roping can be accomplished by almost anyone with little regard for anything except the enjoyment of the moment. I’d be willing to bet, however, there is not a ‘cowboy’ anywhere, who, upon performing the most obscure of tasks, doesn’t take a moment to remember the man, horse or situation which taught him those little ‘tricks,’ or feel those mentors looking over his shoulder.”

The MASTERS (2017) CD from CowboyPoetry.com features recitations by Larry McWhorter, Sunny Hancock, J.B. Allen, and Ray Owens.

Several years ago Jean Prescott produced an important CD, The Poetry of Larry McWhorter. The CDs include Larry McWhorter’s recorded recitations of his poetry, and eleven of his poems that were never recorded, recited by some of today’s top performers, including Red Steagall, Waddie Mitchell, Chris Isaacs, Andy Hedges, Gary McMahan, Dennis Flynn, Oscar Auker and Jesse Smith. The CD is available from Jean Prescott at http://www.jeanprescott.com.

Read more poetry by Larry McWhorter and more about him at CowboyPoetry.com.

Thanks to Jean Prescott for this photo and to Andrea McWhorter Waitley for her kind permission for use of this poem.

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

 

THE WEST by Baxter Black

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THE WEST
by Baxter Black

They don’t call it Death Valley for nuthin’
And coyotes don’t make a good pet
But livin’ out here with the griz and the deer
you pretty much take what you get

And the Rockies have shoulders like granite
They’re big and they make their own rules
So take what you need but you better pay heed
‘Cause the mountain don’t tolerate fools

And the wind is the moan of the prairie
That haunts and bedevils the plains
The soul stealin’ kind that can fray a man’s mind
Till only his whimper remains

You can stand in the canyon’s cathedral
Where water and sky never rest
And you know in your bones that the meek, on their own
Will never inherit the West

It’s wild and it’s wide and it’s lonesome
Where the dream of first blood still survives
And it beckons to those who can bid adios
To the comfort of 8 to 5 lives

So come all you brave caballeros
Cinch up and reach down inside
Till you feel the heat, then take a deep seat
‘Cause the West, boys, she ain’t broke to ride

© Baxter Black, used with permission

Who better to launch the 17th annual Cowboy Poetry Week with than Baxter Black, who put cowboy poetry on the map.

In his official bio, where he is described as “a cowboy poet, former large animal veterinarian and entertainer of the agricultural masses,” he comments, “My audience is my inspiration. Every cowboy, rancher, vet, farmer, feed salesman, ag teacher, cowman and rodeo hand has a story to tell, and they tell it to me. I Baxterize it and tell it back to ‘em! It doesn’t seem fair, does it?”

He recites S. Omar Barker’s “Cowboy Saying” on the new MASTERS: VOLUME TWO CD from CowboyPoetry.com.

A few months ago, Baxter asked us to relay this message, a policy announcement: “Since Baxter Black is no longer doing live performances, there are inquiries about others using his material in their performances. His policy is that anyone is welcome use his material in appropriate occasions, including non-profit or paid-for performances. He requests that the poems or stories be performed the way they are written, allowing for editing of length if needed. Please give the author credit.”

His office adds that no one, for any reason, has permission to include his work “on cds, books, or dvds…or to try to sell it in any manner, including online.”

This version of “The West” comes from Poems Worth Saving, Baxter Black’s 2013 collection of 164 poems and stories.

Find more about Baxter Black at CowboyPoetry.com and find much more, including a weekly column, at BaxterBlack.com.

This photograph is courtesy of Baxter Black.

(Please respect copyright. You can share this poem with this post, but request permission for any other use—except recitation.)

Be a Part of it All!

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CowboyPoetry.com celebrates our Western heritage and today’s working West, dedicated to preserving our important history and to promoting the Western arts that carry on those traditions.  It’s a part of the non-profit Center for Western and Cowboy Poetry.

Supporters make possible all of the work of the non-profit Center for Western and Cowboy Poetry, including Cowboy Poetry Week, the outreach Rural Library Program, and CowboyPoetry.com.

Please join us, and make a donation of whatever you can afford. Supporters have sent donations from $10 to $1000, and we are grateful for them all.

Consider making a donation as a gift to an individual, to commemorate a special occasion, or to honor the memory of someone who treasured our Western heritage.

Donors at the $40 level and higher receive the year’s CD and Cowboy Poetry Week poster.

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):

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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.

Contributions to the Center are deductible for federal income tax purposes (except for the value of any CD received, $15).  As in all professional journalistic endeavors, no editorial preference is given to financial sponsors or supporters.

 

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Your generous support will ensure that we can continue to bring you all the news, poetry, and features that you depend on at CowboyPoetry.com and that we can continue programs including Cowboy Poetry Week, the Rural Library Program, and Cowboy Poetry Week.

Contributions of any amount are welcome. Your individual support helps us show institutional funders the community interest in our Western arts. We also welcome support at these defined levels:

Sponsor (individuals, gatherings, and non-profit organizations) $500 (commercial $1000; accepted at the discretion of the Center)

your custom 468×60 banner and its links on top-visited pages for a year, in front of our large and interested audience, all day, every day
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Your sponsorship may be paid in quarterly installments. Read more about banners here.


Leader
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 your name with a link on our Wall of Support
 supporters’ “Back at the Ranch” newsletter with previews
 the 2018 MASTERS CD available in April, 2018
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 the 2014 BAR-D Roundup CD
 the 2013 BAR-D Roundup CD (special Christmas double volume)
 the 2012 BAR-D Roundup CD
 the 2011 BAR-D Roundup CD
 the 2010 BAR-D Roundup CD
 the 2009 BAR-D Roundup CD
 the 2008 BAR-D Roundup CD
 the 2007 BAR-D Roundup CD (no longer available)
 the 2006 BAR-D Roundup CD (no longer available)
 the 2018 Cowboy Poetry Week poster by Clara Smith
 the 2017 Cowboy Poetry Week poster by Tyler Crow
 the 2016 Cowboy Poetry Week poster by Gary Morton
 the 2015 Cowboy Poetry Week posted by Don Dane
 the 2014 Cowboy Poetry Week posted by Jason Rich
 the 2013 Cowboy Poetry Week poster by Shawn Cameron
 the 2012 Cowboy Poetry Week poster by R.S. Riddick
 the 2011 Cowboy Poetry Week poster by Duward Campbell
 the 2010 Cowboy Poetry Week poster by Bill Owen
 the 2009 Cowboy Poetry Week poster by Bob Coronato
 the 2008 Cowboy Poetry Week poster by William Matthews
 the 2007 Cowboy Poetry Week poster by Tim Cox
 the 2006 Cowboy Poetry Week poster by Joelle Smith (no longer available)


Partner
$100

 your name on our Wall of Support
 supporters’ “Back at the Ranch” newsletter with previews
 the 2018 MASTERS CD available April 2018
 an additional CD of your choice
 the 2017 Cowboy Poetry Week poster by Clara Smith

Donor $40 US

 your name on our Wall of Support
 supporters’ “Back at the Ranch” e-newsletter with previews
 the 2018 MASTERS CD available April 2018
– the 2018 Cowboy Poetry Week poster by Clara Smith

* $60 for Canada and other countries. We regret that 2013 international postal rate hikes make the mailing of a poster or CD outside of the U.S. about $10.

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The Center was formed to serve a mostly rural and under-served community of Western writers, musicians, and artists; to help preserve Western and Cowboy Poetry and its associated arts; to offer a central resource for poets, libraries, schools, and the public; and to educate the public about the history and value of Western and Cowboy Poetry and its associated arts.

Supporters make a difference. With individual support, the Center can continue its programs, expand some of those efforts, and take on new projects. Individual support helps show institutional funders the community interest in our Western arts.

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Cowboy Poetry Week News

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image “Out to Pasture” © 2017, Clara Smith, clarasmithart.com

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Find more about Cowboy Poetry Week here.

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NEWS AND EVENTS

Find Cowboy Poetry Week events on the April calendar.

 

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Poet Sam DeLeeuw has  has organized a number of events for Cowboy Poetry Week at Utah‘s Weber County libraries. Joining her will be poets and musicians Robin Arnold, Thatch Elmer, Saddle Strings, Gordon Champneys, and David Anderson. Find the events on the April calendar.

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For years, the late Stan Tixier organized these events. He is greatly missed and the foundation he created for the programs is appreciated throughout the community.

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Oregon poet Tom Swearingen always takes an active part in Cowboy Poetry Week and this year he’ll be making appearances at the Oregon City Public Library, the East Portland Rotary Club, and the Canby Public Library.

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Find the events on the April calendar.

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Each year, David L. Carlton, seventh-generation Floridian raised in the cattle industry, works with Florida officials for a Cabinet resolution from the Governor and Cabinet of the State of Florida for Cowboy Poetry Week. Here’s this year’s proclamation:

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Outtoorig  CP_Smith_Poster_15X20_R3
It’s been said that a picture is worth a thousand words. We know many that are worthy of a poem or a song. In Art Spur, we invite poets and songwriters to let selections of Western art inspire their poetry and songs.

Our 48th piece offered to “spur” the imagination is a special Cowboy Poetry Week Art Spur, a painting by artist Clara Smith, “Out to Pasture.” The painting is selected as the poster art for the 17th annual Cowboy Poetry Week.

Submissions are welcome through April 12, 2018. Find more here.

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Utah poet Marleen Bussma helps the Enterprise Branch Library in Enterprise, Utah celebrate Cowboy Poetry Week on Saturday, April 21, 2018 at 2:00 PM.

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Russ Westwood, organizer of the popular Mesquite Western Roundup in Mesquite, Nevada, has organized three Cowboy Poetry Week events on Thursday, April 19, 2018 at Utah libraries: the Hurricane Branch Library at 5:00 PM; the Washington Branch Library at 7:00 PM; and the St. George Branch Library at 6:00 PM.

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Colorado musician Red Rideout appears at two events celebrating Cowboy Poetry Week:  Wednesday, April 25, 2018 at the Evergreen Library at 6:00 PM and Thursday, April 26, 2018 at the Conifer Library at 6:00 PM.

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Musician and poet Shane Queener received a Cowboy Poetry Week proclamation from Tennessee Governor Bill Haslam:

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Utah poet Sam DeLeeuw received a Cowboy Poetry Week proclamation from Utah Governor Gary R. Herbert.

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Nevada poet Dan Bybee received a Cowboy Poetry Week proclamation from Nevada Governor Brian Sandoval:

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Award-winning DJ Totsie Slover of The Real West from the Old West show received a Cowboy Poetry Week proclamation from New Mexico Governor Susana Martinez:

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Washington’s Dayton Memorial Library holds its Second Annual Cowboy Poetry Night on Thursday, April 19, 2018.

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Washington poet, musician, and artist Lynn Kopelke received a Cowboy Poetry Week proclamation from Washington Governor Jay Inslee:

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Cowboy, packer, poet and humorist Chris Isaacs received a Cowboy Poetry Week proclamation from Governor Douglas Ducey:

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Francie Ganje of Heritage of the American West received a Cowboy Poetry Week proclamation from Governor Dennis Daugaard:

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Poet and rancher Diane Tribitt Scott received a Cowboy Poetry Week proclamation from Minnesota Governor Mark Dayton:

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Poet and regional historian Linda Kirkpatrick received a Cowboy Poetry Week proclamation from Texas Governor Greg Abbott:

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Each year for Cowboy Poetry Week, Andy and Jim Nelson’s Clear Out West (C.O.W.)” Radio Show has a special show that includes top cowboy poetry and songs that were originally poems or collaborations with poets.

This year’s program airs April 16-22, 2018 on its syndicated stations, and the following week it is available for listening on the COW web site, clearoutwest.com. The music and poetry selections are:

“Spin That Pony” by Dave Stamey, from a collaboration with Les Buffham; Paul Hamblin’s rendition of “The Strawberry Roan” from Curly Fletcher’s poem; Jon Chandler’s “Back Story” from a poem by Waddie Mitchell; and Don Edwards’ “Ridin’, based on Badger Clark’s poem. Other selections include poems: Baxter Black’s “All Ranch Rodeo”; Waddie Mitchell’s “Evening Chat”; Yvonne Hollenbeck’s “Money in Horses; and Doris Daley’s “Say Hi to Grandpa.”

Clear Out West is “…a weekly syndicated cowboy radio show dedicated to introducing the cowboy culture to new folks, and bringing back some great memories to some old cowboys. Join your hosts, Andy and Jim Nelson, every week for some great cowboy music, some awesome cowboy poetry and some serious goofing off!”

Find more at http://www.clearoutwest.com.

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Wyoming’s Leslie Keltner, cowboy poet, Western songstress, and keeper of traditions received a Cowboy Poetry Week proclamation from Wyoming Governor Matthew H. Mead:

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Poet and rancher Terry Nash appears on KWGL, “The Range Legendary Country” radio in Grand Junction, Colorado on Monday, April 16 at 10:20 AM and talks about Cowboy Poetry Week . Visit the station’s Facebook page.

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L.L. “LuckyLindy” Segall celebrates Cowboy Poetry Week, appearing Friday, April 20 at 10:00 AM CDT on KNAF 910 texasrebelradio.com on the “Talk of the Texas Hill Country” show with Jerry Sotello, produced by Angela Compton. He’ll be sharing the late Carlos Ashley’s poetry.

He’s also involved with the first annual “Texas Hill Country Cowboy Gathering: A Celebration of Song, Story, Poetry and Art” scheduled for November 8-10, 2018 in Fredericksburg, Texas.

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Washington state writer and musician Susan Matley celebrates Cowboy Poetry Week on her blog at susanmatley.com. She writes, “Two years ago I interviewed four cowboy poet friends. This week’s blog shares what they’ve been up to since then.” The poets are Janice Gilbertson, Lynn Kopelke, Doris Daley, and Clark Crouch.

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California musician and great friend of the BAR-D Chuck Learn celebrates Cowboy Poetry Week on Sunday, April 21 at the Santa Clarita Cowboy Festival when he will recite classic and modern cowboy poetry  on the Outwest Stage.

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Poet and rancher Terry Nash received a proclamation from Colorado Governor John Hickenlooper, proclaiming Sunday, April 15 as Cowboy Poetry Day:

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Nebraska storyteller and poet Marci Broyhill received a Cowboy Poetry Week proclamation from Governor Pete Ricketts:

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Francie Ganje of Heritage of the American West have organized Cowboy Poetry Week activities at South Dakota libraries:

Local libraries celebrate Cowboy Poetry Week

STURGIS, SD – As part of the nation-wide celebration of Cowboy Poetry Week,  libraries in the Black Hills are centering their participation around the Center for Western & Cowboy Poetry’s Rural Library Project.

The program’s mission is to serve as an outreach activity to rural communities where the focus on cowboy poetry and writing  often serves as a history lesson as well as a literary one.

At the Belle Fourche Public Library, Belle Fourche, SD, director Wanda Nelson has created a display that includes Belle Fourche and other area cowboy poet publications.  “Here in Belle Fourche, cowboy poetry continues as  a popular form of literature and entertainment,” says Nelson. “We have a wealth of poets right here close to home.”

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Children’s story hour and a community book walk are part of the activities planned at the Whitewood Public Library.  The community is home to a well-known cowboy poet, Robert V. Carr, who lived there in the late 19th century.  Carr wore many hats during his time in the community – as the editor of the local paper to a student at the South Dakota School of Mines. Memorabilia from the well-known cowboy poet along with other historical memorabilia from Crook City (a community just north of Whitewood that no longer exists) are also on display at the library.

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The Whitewood Cowboy Poetry Walk is set for Wednesday, April 18, 2018 from 9:30-3:00pm and features Carr’s life and works.  According to Weyer, there will be a dozen or more displays located along Laurel Street in Whitewood that tell his story – including his participation in Seth Bullock’s Cowboy Brigade.  School children will dress in period costume and there will be a question and answer session following the walk.  The event is open to the public.

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The Rapid City Public Library will feature its popular Local History Room along with a display of cowboy poetry and western literature it offers to patrons year round.  As does the Sturgis Public Library where director Julie Moore Peterson  points out that along with Cowboy Poetry Week, April 15-21, 2018, it is also National Poetry Month.  “Cowboy poetry relates to so many people who work hard every day on ranches and farms,” she observes, “who often times use humor to get over the tough times.” She adds, “I think cowboy poetry should be preserved as an art form because it is an important historical reference as well.”

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Cowboy Poetry Week in South Dakota is recognized by Governor Dennis Daugaard who has signed an official Proclamation in support of the prominent place cowboy poets and western writers hold in the state.

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Poet and horseman Tom Swearingen received a Cowboy Poetry Week proclamation from Oregon Governor Kate Brown:

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More to come….

 

THANK YOU!

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It will be a great 17th annual Cowboy Poetry Week, and behind it are the people who make it and the Rural Library Program and everything else possible at the Center for Western and Cowboy Poetry: the generous supporters.

Thanks to those whose generosity fuels all of the Center’s programs (February, 2017-February 2018):

Bryce Angell, ARIZONA COWBOY POETS GATHERING (sponsor), Armovaz, Denise Arvidson in memory of Ross Christian Arvidson, Sally Baldus, Michael Babiarz-KVMR, Stephen Barnard, Norma Battenfield, Valerie and Floyd Beard, ALMEDA BRADSHAW (sponsor), Bert and Carol Braun-THE COWPOKE FOUNDATION in memory of Pat Richardson (sponsor), Paul R. Brown III, Wendy Brown-Barry, Jerry Brooks, Marci BROYHILL (sponsor), Marleen Bussma, Daniel Bybee, Ron Cagle, Greg Camp, Jeff Campbell, Maurice Carter, Jim and Stella Cathey in memory of Joan Taylor and Garland Haak and Louise M. Fritts,  Steve and Marge Conroy in memory of Allen “Hook” Hill, KEN COOK (sponsor), Hugh Cooke, Doris Daley, Teddie Daley, Marvin and Elaine Del Chiaro, Eileen Dirksen in memory of “California” Steve Dirksen, Patricia Frolander, Charmaine Ganson,  Del Gustafson, Jean Mathisen Haugen, Thomas F. Hawk, HEBER VALLEY WESTERN MUSIC & COWBOY POETRY GATHERING (sponsor), Buzz Helfert, Sarah Hendricks, YVONNE AND GLEN HOLLENBECK (sponsor), Eldon Housley, Judy James, Dee Strickland Johnson (“Buckshot Dot”), Laverna B. Johnson, Robert Kinsey, Linda Kirkpatrick, Jo Lynne Kirkwood, Susie Knight, Colleen Kohler, Lynn Kopelke, Georganna Kresl, Jarle Kvale, CHUCK AND CINDY LEARN (sponsor), Deanna Dickinson McCall, Gary McMahan-HorseApple Entertainment, Susan Matley in memory of Liz Masterson, Al “Doc” Mehl, Rod Miller, Howard Moon, Dick Morton, Mike Moutoux, Terry Nash, NATIONAL COWBOY POETRY RODEO (sponsor), ANDY NELSON-CLEAR OUT WEST (sponsor), Rodney Nelson, Nika Nordbrock, Kay Kelley Nowell, Dale Page, Shelly Pagiliai-Prairie Moon Quilts, Susan Parker, Maryanne Patterson, Linda and Bill Patterson, JEAN AND GARY PRESCOTT (sponsor), Shane Queener,  Cindy Quigley, Paul Quinton, RANGE (sponsor), George Rhoades, Diana Rice, Barbara Richhart (Western Belle)-Cowtrails, Betty and Ken Rodgers in memory of Trisha Pedroia, Roberta Rothman, Chester Roundtree, Sandy Seaton Sallee, Marjorie Satterfield, Mary Seago, Ron Secoy, Susan Shuma, Totsie Slover, Lawrence Smith, Sally Smith-Joelle Smith Western Art, SANDI AND JAY SNIDER (sponsor), Marilyn and Kip Sorlie, SPALDING LABS’ FLYING SL RADIO RANCH SHOW (sponsor), Dave Stamey, David Stanley, Patrick Sullivan, Rocky Sullivan, Sunshine Prairie Farm, Tom Swearingen, P’let and Mike Tcherkassky, Jim Thompson (California), Smoke Wade,  John Waters, WESTERN FOLKLIFE CENTER (sponsor), WESTERN MUSIC ASSOCIATION (sponsor), and Jim White.

Thanks also to the Margaret T. Morris Foundation for foundation support and to Laura and Edmund Wattis Littlefield, Jr. for substantial program support.

Be a part of it all! Join this great community of people helping to preserve and promote the arts and life of the real working West: https://blog.cowboypoetry.com/joinus.

 

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GOVERNORS’ PROCLAMATIONS

For Cowboy Poetry Week’s second year, in April 2003, the United States Senate passed a resolution, with unanimous approval, recognizing our Cowboy Week celebration. In past years, twenty three states’ governors have officially proclaimed Cowboy Poetry Week and there are a growing number of activities across the West and beyond.

Last year (2017) poets and others who worked on Cowboy Poetry Week recognition from state officials, included: Chris Isaacs (Arizona), Terry Nash (Colorado), David L. Carlton (Florida), Bobbie Hunter (Idaho), Geff Dawson (Kansas), Diane Tribitt (Minnesota), DW Groethe (Montana), Marci Broyhill (Nebraska), Dan Bybee (Nevada), Totsie Slover (New Mexico), Keith Ward (North Carolina), Jarle Kvale (North Dakota), Jay Snider (Oklahoma),  Shane Queener (Tennessee), Linda Kirkpatrick (Texas), Jerry Brooks (Utah), Lynn Kopelke (Washington), and Leslie Keltner (Wyoming).

We’re interested in pursuing recognition in all states with ranching cultures and cowboy poetry activities. If you’d like to be involved, this year or in the future, please email us.

For 2018, the following states’ governors are being contacted, alphabetically by state. This list is updated frequently. Please let us know if you are contacting your governor, so that we can avoid duplicate efforts.

azlfag  Arizona – Chris Isaacs (received)

coloflgaj Colorado- Terry Nash (received)

florida77  Florida-David Carlton  (received)

idahoflj Idaho – J.B. Barber, Cowboy Poets of Idaho

minnflag  Minnesota – Diane Tribitt Scott (received)

montanaflg Montana – DW Groethe

nebraskaflag Nebraska – Marci Broyhill (received)

nevadaflagj Nevada – Daniel Bybee (received)

nmflag New Mexico-Totsie Slover (received)

ndflagj North Dakota – Jarle Kvale

okflag Oklahoma – Jay Snider

orflagj Oregon-Tom Swearingen (received)

sdglag South Dakota – Francie Ganje, Heritage of the American West (received)

tnflagy Tennessee – Shane Queener (received)

texasflag Texas-Linda Kirkpatrick (received)

utstflagj Utah – Sam DeLeeuw (received)

washstflg Washington – Lynn Kopelke (received)

wyostflgj Wyoming – Leslie Keltner (received)

Find more about Cowboy Poetry Week here.