STARTIN’ OUT by Bruce Kiskaddon (1878-1950)



by Bruce Kiskaddon (1878-1950)

When you have to start out on a cold winter day
The wind blowin’ cold and the sky is dull gray.
You blow on the bit till you take out the frost,
Then you put on the bridle and saddle yore hoss.

He squats and he shivers. He blows through his nose.
The blanket is stiff for the sweat is shore froze.
Then you pick up yore saddle and swing it up high,
Till the stirrups and cinches and latigoes fly.

The pony he flinches and draws down his rump.
There’s a chance he might kick, and he’s likely to jump.
He rolls his eye at you and shivers like jelly
When you pull that old frozen cinch up on his belly.

It is cold on his back and yore freezin’ yore feet,
And you’ll likely find out when you light on yore seat,
That you ain’t got no tropical place fer to set.
It is likey the saddle aint none overhet.

But a cow boy don’t pay no attention to weather.
He gits out of his bed and gits into the leather.
In the winter it’s mighty onpleasant to ride,
But that’s just the time when he’s needed outside.

…by Bruce Kisaddon

This image is an original Los Angeles Union Stockyards calendar page from March, 1942.

As mentioned in a previously-published calendar poem: From 1936 through 1942, poet Bruce Kiskaddon and artist Katherine Field (1908-1951) collaborated on works for the Los Angeles Union Stockyards calendar and the Western Livestock Journal.

In 1939, Frank M. King, editor of the Western Livestock Journal, wrote, “…Sometimes Bruce’s poems are mailed up there to Katherine in her mountain home, and pretty soon it comes back with a drawing that just fits the poem. Then for a change she sends her drawings over here to Los Angeles and Bruce squints them eyes over ’em that he used to use for spying out long eared calves up there on them Colorado and Arizona mountain ranges, and in a right short time he comes out with one of them poems that exactly matches the picture, so they make a good team for matching up pictures and poems.”

The two never met in person.

Much of what is known about Kiskaddon and his work comes from Open Range, Bill Siems’ monumental collection of Kiskaddon’s poetry. Find more in the Kiskaddon features at


THANKSGIVING, by Charles Badger Clark (1883-1957)

“Let us remember that, as much has been given us, much will be expected from us, and that true homage comes from the heart as well as from the lips, and shows itself in deeds.”
…from President Theodore Roosevelt’s Thanksgiving Proclamation, 1901.


This 1903 photo is captioned, “Cowboys following the train and cheering President Roosevelt, Hugo, Colorado.” It’s from The Library of Congress Prints and Photographs Division. Find more about it here.

South Dakota native Charles Badger Clark (1883-1957), who spent some time in Arizona working on an Arizona ranch, became South Dakota’s first Poet Laureate. His best known poem, “A Cowboy’s Prayer,” is filled with gratitude. This one is, too:


Accept my thanks today, O Lord?
But not so much for bed and board?
Those stodgy items of good cheer
I share with chipmunks and with deer?
But rather gifts more fine and fair
That come upon me unaware.

Those priceless incidental things?
Flower fragrance and bird flutterings,
The sudden laughter often caught
From some fantastic kink of tught
A pine’s black fretwork lifted high
Against the tranquil sunset sky,
Kindness from strangers all unnamed
That makes me wholesomely ashamed,
A friend’s warm, understanding eyes,
A book’s communion with the wise,
The dreamful magic of a tune
And slim white birches in the moon?

I thank you, Lord, for daily bread
But I am so much more than fed,
For you, with nought deserved or won,
Indulge me like a favored son,
Flinging profuse along my ways
These jeweled things that deck the day
And make my living far more sweet
Than just to breathe or just to eat.

…by Charles Badger Clark, from Skylines and Wood Smoke (1935), used with the permission of the Badger Clark Memorial Society,

Find more about Badger Clark and more of his poety at

And find more Thanksgiving poems in a feature at

Happy Thanksgiving, all!

THANKSGIVING ARGUMENT by S. Omar Barker (1895-1985)


by S. Omar Barker (1895-1985)

About this here Thanksgiving there are two opposin’ views,
One helt by ol’ Pop McIntyre, one helt by Smoky Hughes;
And how them two ol’ cowpokes will debate the pros-and-cons
Produces in the bunkhouse many verbal marathons.
“I’ve always worked,” says Smoky, “For whatever I have had,
Since first I wrangled horses as a rusty-knuckled lad.
I’ve rode my share of broncos, and I’ve punched a heap of cow,
And earned my own danged ‘blessings’ by the sweat of my own brow!
Why should I be a-givin’ thanks for what I’ve duly earned
Is a lot of bosh and bunkum that I just ain’t never learned!”

Pop McIntyre, he sucks his pipe a thoughtful draw or two,
Then says: “Well, Smoky, I’ll admit that you’re a buckaroo
Who sets a steady saddle and ain’t stingy with his sweat,
But maybe there’s a thing or two you stubbornly forget.
You’re noted as a peeler that is seldom ever throwed—
To what good luck or blessin’ is your skill at ridin’ owed?”
“There ain’t no good luck to it, Pop,” says Smoky. “I’m a man
Who ain’t obliged for nothin’ when I do the best I can.
For when I earn my wages bustin’ out a bunch of colts,
It’s me, myself in person, that is takin’ all the jolts.
That’s why I claim Thanksgivin’ Day is mostly just a fake
To give some folks a good excuse for turkey stummick-ache!”

“My friend,” says Pop, sarcastic, “you have spoke your little piece,
And proved you’ve got a limber tongue that’s well supplied with grease.
You scoff at all thanksgivin’, but a fact you surely know
Is that some Power beyond your own learned blades of grass to grow.
You spoke of ridin’ broncos—I’ll admit you ride ’em good,
And set up in the saddle like a salty peeler should.
For this you take the credit, and you claim to owe no thanks
For the buckarooster blessin’ of the muscles in your shanks!
Instead you should feel thankful,” says Pop’s concludin’ drawl,
That the good lord made you forkéd—or you couldn’t ride at all!”

© S. Omar Barker, reprinted with the permission of the estate of S. Omar Barker


S. Omar Barker wrote several Thanksgiving poems. This one appears in his 1954 book, Songs of the Saddlemen.

Barker’s prolific writing was described by his friend Fred Gipson, “…It’s as western as sagebrush, authentic as an brush-scuffed old boot, and full of the warm-hearted humor that seems always to be a part of ‘the men who ride where the range is wide’…”

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

This postcard is from our BAR-D collection. The message on the back is dated November 24, 1920.

Find poems and more in a Thanksgiving feature at

FEEDIN’ TIME by Bruce Kiskaddon, 1878-1950



by Bruce Kiskaddon, 1878-1950

You are warm in the cabin, and doin’ yore cookin’.
But you know that yore hosses are there, without lookin’.
It’s ‘long about time they come in to be fed,
And to be put away fer the night in the shed.

Both hosses and mules seem to have their own way
Of tellin’ exactly the time of the day.
And I’ve noticed besides they don’t often get lost,
Like some human bein’s you’ve happened acrosst.

Yore feet is so warm that you don’t like to go
And git yore boots wet, wadin”round in the snow.
But it’s feed makes ’em stout, and it’s feed brings ’em back;
So you pull on your boots, and you start makin’ tracks.

You pull down yore hat and you turn up yore collar.
You start fer the shed and the hosses both foller.
They are glad to see you, and I’ve generally found,
A man don’t git so lonesome with hosses around.

…by Bruce Kiskaddon

Poet Bruce Kiskaddon and artist Katherine Field (1908-1951) collaborated on works for the Los Angeles Union Stockyards calendar and the Western Livestock Journal. The two never met in person.

This image is an original Los Angeles Stockyards calendar page from December, 1953. The poem and drawing first appeared in the Western Livestock Journal in 1941.

Bruce Kiskaddon worked for ten years as a cowboy, starting in 1898 in southeastern Colorado’s Picketwire area. He published short stories and nearly 500 poems. His poems are among the most admired and the most recited in the “classic” cowboy poetry canon.

Much of what is known about Kiskaddon and his work comes from Open Range, Bill Siems’ monumental collection of Kiskaddon’s poetry. Bill Siems also collected Bruce Kiskaddon’s short stories in a book called Shorty’s Yarns. Find more in the Kiskaddon features at


Events: December

Find links to all months here.



•  December 5-14, 2019
National Finals Rodeo (NFR) Cowboy Christmas Las Vegas, Nevada

•  December 6-7, 2019
31st Annual Cowboy Christmas Poetry Gathering  Wickenburg, Arizona

•  December 6-8, 2019
Christmas at Fort Concho  San Angelo, Texas

•  December 6-8, 2019
Old Fashioned Cowboy Christmas Medora, North Dakota

•  December 14,  2019
10th annual Black Hills Cowboy Christmas Lead, South Dakota

•  December 14,  2019
Curly’s Cowboy Christmas Victorville, California

•  December 19-21, 2019
83rd Larry Chittenden Cowboy Celebration Anson, Texas
See our feature on Larry Chittenden and his famous poem here

•  December 22, 2019
Michael Martin Murphey’s 25th Annual Cowboy Christmas Ball at the National Cowboy & Western Heritage Museum Oklahoma City, Oklahoma

•  December 26-31, 2019
The 72nd Annual Arizona National Stock Show Phoenix, Arizona

• • • • •

•  Events not yet received for 2019
New Tradition Christmas Concert with a Cowboy Twist Pierre, South Dakota

Western Music Association Awards 2016



2016 WMA Awards of Excellence

2016 Instrumentalist of the Year
Jeanne Cahill

2016 Male Performer of the Year
Dave Stamey

2016 Female Performer of the Year
Mikki Daniel

2016 Duo or Group of the Year

2016 Entertainer of the Year
Kristyn Harris

2016 Crescendo Award
Jeneve Rose Mitchell

2016 Radio DJ/Radio Program of the Year
Judy James – Cowboy Jubilee & Western Heritage Radio – Weatherford, TX

2016 Male Poet of the Year
Floyd Beard

2016 Female Poet of the Year
Susie Knight

2016 Cowboy Poetry CD of the Year
Fillin’ Tanks – Susie Knight

2016 Cowboy Poetry Book of the Year
Is She Country? – Marlene Bussma

2016 Western Album of the Year
Western Stories – Dave Stamey

2016 Cowboy Swing Album of the Year
Trail Jazz – Cowboy Joe Babcock

2016 Song of the Year
Land Where Cedars Grow – Written by Dave Stamey

2016 Harmony Contest
Youth Division: Olivia Morgayne & Leah Sawyer
Open Division: Miss Devon & The Outlaw
Marilyn Tuttle Best of the West: The Hanson Family

2016 Yodeling Contest
Male Division: Marty Kosel
Female Division: Lori Brooke

2016 Poetry Contest
Duane Nelson
Trey Pearson

2016 Georgie Sicking Award
Jessica Hedges

2016 Curly Musgrave Cowboy Spirit Award
Ray Rutherford

2016 Bill Wiley Award
Doug & Betty Carter

2016 Hall of Fame Inductees
Pat Brady
Dave Stamey