Wednesday, December 23, 2015

CowboyAmerica, Poetry and Photography, #WesternArtWednesday

Today I get to feature my favorite Cowboy Poet and Photographer, CowboyAmerica!
(No one's allowed to get jealous that I say that cuz I'm married to the man!)

Without further blather from me, CowboyAmerica!

Connect with Cowboy on Twitter
Check out the photos on his Instagram Account . 
He no longer checks Iinstagram but there's some cool photos there. 
Life Story
Ranch Raised by a family of Texas Cowboys, we raised mostly what were known as “whiteface” or HORNED Hereford cattle, back when the Hereford was king. I grew up raising and training American Quarter Horses. I became a horse trainer for the public at 8 years old. I went on to work for a TQHA trainer of the year; we won 3 divisions of the All American Quarter Horse Congress in one year. Later I went on to work exclusively on a private ranch, training cutting horses and at one point I had 10 head of horses in the top 10 standings of the NCHA Area 24.
Along the way I did things such as gaming, rodeo, roping, and team penning. I guess you could say my life story has been about doing things on horseback. I’m actually more comfortable sitting on horseback than walking on my own two feet.

I’ve done many things as most modern cowboys have, everything from construction to welding, to briefly working for a Fortune 500 Company, finally with a few years in The Mission Field.

How did you get introduced to your art.
When I was a kid my dad had a subscription to Western Horseman magazine, so much like my collection of World Book Encyclopaedias I consumed every word and photo. The cartoons and poetry were some of my favorites and that’s what inspired me. I penned my first poem in the late 60s.

Subject Matter
My subject matter up until just a few years ago had been only true things, things that I’ve lived. As a kid I was inspired by people like Ben K. Green and John Ford, so my poems had always been about things I had done, like my poem "Twine Tosser". In 2009, after my poem "The Palomino Border Collie" was published, I decided to try my hand at fiction. That’s when "The Christmas Cowboy" came along and a few others.

Palomino Border Collie
There he was, as I pulled into the drive,
Standin there all shaggy lookin barely alive.
I stepped out of the pickup truck and mosied over his way,
Whataya say lil’feller, have you lost your way?”
As I dropped down on my knee and stretched out my arm, 
 I began talking softly, “It’s ok buddy, I don’t mean you no harm”
Slowly I reached to give a pat and reassuring hand,
But I could tell by the way he flinched it’uz something he didn’t understand.
Just at my fingertips, I could barely scratch his brow,
let me slip this leash on you and we’ll get you some chow.”
I’ve bought horses with cockle burrs and cows with mud on their back,
But the shape this dog was in nearly gave me a heart attack.
I got out the clippers and really went to work,
I’m a Christian Gentleman so I won’t repeat what I said about some jerk.
A couple hours later he was finally ready for the tub,
The way this pup was stinkin he really needed a scrub.
40 minutes later wrapped in a towel in the living room floor,
I saw a gleam in his eye that all owners adore.
He’d just been mistreated, maybe misunderstood,
But in the next few months he learned what it was like to be treated good.
He learned to fetch a ball and come and sit when he was told,
He even gained some confidence and learned to be bold.
He became my buddy and followed my every step,
Every time I went to the barn he was there to help.
Sleepin right beside me, following me around every day,
He became a ranch dog that’s all I got to say.
We went to the feed store, the ladies oo’d and aah’d,
Pardon me” a lady said, “for a ranch dog, his breed seems kinda odd.”
Ol’Ted was my buddy; I couldn’t shame him in front of this clod,
I said, “but he’s a special breed, sacred in his land,
Known for bein special; why he’s a heck of a hand.”
Lookin at his features, she wanted to know the name of this special breed,
Aw Ma’am” I said, “It’s not that special” It’uz like most I know’d she’d see’d,
He’s a palameaner border collie, you can tell it from the golden coat”
Rollin her eyes above her specks, she looked at me like I’uz an ol’ goat.
Studying him again she said, “OH I never knew,
But looks like this one’s makin a hand for a cowboy like you.”
Then she knew I was funnin, cause the ladies at the counter laughed,
At the breed I chose, to protect my other half.
So now you know Ted’s story, just an old mistreated mutt,
But that don’t change the fact of things, I’d still like to kick that ol’boys butt!!!

This Poem can be found in the book “A Bone On My Pillow” ISBN # 978-0-615-32797-6 on pages 28&29 and Ted is on page 30.
This Poem was written in the summer of 2004 after rescuing a part Field Spaniel and Cocker Spaniel that was soon named Ted (AKA Teddy Ruxpin). This dog was severely abused and was in horrible condition. Ted was one of those miracle dogs who made a complete turnaround after 3 long years of intense therapy. Ted is now happy to meet almost anyone and will often offer a handshake or a favorite toy as his greeting to a new acquaintance. Ted’s personality is now very close to that of the Championship Border Collies that I’ve been privileged to own. I still get to see Ted though he now lives with his new owner, a Portland Oregon celebrity make-up artist. I have rehabbed many dogs over the last 30+ years and believe that all any dog needs is a chance to prove his GOD given talents!!!

Christmas Cowboy
Years ago on the Flyin S when I was but a young man,
I had the privilege to work with Nick, he was the top hand,

He rode a spotted horse that never stopped to open a gate,
You’d see’m flyin over 8 foot cattle guards, A fact I can honestly state.

There weren’t none others I knew, that’uz quite like Nick,
He’uz always whittling, or makin something, even out'of'a stick.

Well it’uz in December and dern it sure was cold,
Heifers was out of the top section” is what we’uz told.

We saddled up our ponies, him on Spot and me on Ol’Cap,
And Nick he’d ride ahead and open every gap.

Ain’t no way I was about to jump that sorrel over a cattle guard when I could just as easily open that gate,
But dern if Spot wasn’t walking at a good West Texas rate.

Well we made it to the supply station and bedded down for the night,
After some of my good beans and coffee, Nick said we’d leave at first light!

Just before I doused the lantern, a feed store calendar is what I could see,
Friday the 23rd was the date of this piece of HIStory.

Nick fell asleep cutting on one of his sticks,
If’n it’d been me fallin asleep with my knife out I’d woke with more than a splinter prick!

Hard tack biscuits and dried apricots with our coffee and we saddled in the dark,
It’uz gittin light and Spot knew the trail, “We better git” is what Ol’Nick barked.

Well we found’m in the neighbor’s meadow, 144 head in all,
Nick rode to where the fence was down and he just gave’m his call.

I’ve seldom seen anything like it, heifers on the backside of 40 sections just comin at the sound of a Cowboy’s drawl,
It’uz down right powerful, akin to the Lord callin the Apostle Paul !!!

Well we spliced 4 wires and restretched the 7 all the way to the rock stack,
By the time Nick was through you could play a tune when he slipped off the fencing jack.

He seemed to be in a hurry, workin awful fast,
By the time it was all tied off we were feelin a Northern blast.

We headed back to the station to leave those fencing tools and I thought I’d fix some lunch,
But Nick was now cold to the bone and set in the saddle with more than his usual hunch.

We rode hard all afternoon, hopin to get back just after dark,
But on this 24th of December, Ol’Nick was shiverin in the cold and seemed to lose his spark.

We had made it more than three quarters the way back to the barn,
When I heard Ol’Nick say “well darn.”

What’sa matter Nick, have ya got some place to be?”
He said he had to get to town, there was someone he needed to see !!!

Well, knowin Nick a quiet man, that was something unusual to see,
I never known him to leave the ranch in all our HIStory.

Then he said, “me and Spot are gonna ride on ahead, you don’t have to keep up with us”
The last of them I saw was the big spot on that red nosed App slowly fadin away in the dusk!

He’d always worn a red wool coat handmade by a tribal mother,
Lined with white sheep skin like no other!

Well I awoke just before dawn and something wasn’t right,
I didn’t smell Nick’s coffee, he musta not got back last night.

I jumped in my boots and went out to the barn, there was Spot, still saddled and nearly froze,
Wy, I wouldn’t’uv even recognized him if it weren’t for that red nose.

I led him in his stall and got that icy saddle off his back,
And a few gift wrapped presents in an ol’gunny sack.

Was that what Nick had to do that rushed him off into the night,
He and old Spot and those cattle guards that were met with bounding flight.

Well, I blanketed ol’Spot and rushed to saddle Cap,
By now I was fearin Nick was a victim of mishap.

Well about the time I headed out the barn, Spot was bout to paw down the stall door,
So I slipped on a long lead, as his hooves were sparkin up the floor.

He was rarin’ to go, and I was sure he’d know the way,
So it was him that led me to Nick on that Christmas day.

That red wool coat, glistening in the snow,
But huddled up inside, Nick still had his glow.Well Doc got him all fixed up, made a splint for his broken leg,
But before Doc could finish, Nick had already begun to beg.

Take my ol’red wool coat, I’ve an errand for you son,
cause without the presents in that sack the ranch kids won’t have their Christmas fun!”

Nick is long gone now, and I whittle every chance I get,
Cause me and that red nose App on Christmas Eve are jumpin Cattle guards yet!

I still wear Nick’s ol’red coat, in memory of what he done,
Sharin the Love of Jesus, deliverin’ toys to little kids so they can have some fun!!!

Copyright 2009 © Flyin W Productions All Rights Reserved

Twine Tosser
Well it all started when I’uz 4 years old,
A 20 footer coiled in hand, learnin ta be bold.
It twern’t a store bought rope, justa length cut from the spool,
A home tied Honda an’a burner, I though it’uz just’ez cool.
I learnt ta shake me out’a loop n'whirl it about my hat,
And if yens heard Daddy’s stories, I even learnt ta rope the cat.
Twern’t real Cowboy gear, but it did the job the same,
Soon me and that nylon had us some fame.
Nothing moved across our yard that wasn’t subject to my aim,
Many a trip and jagged step, was added ta my blame.
Soon the dogs would run and hide, and little brothers too,
Daddy even warned, boy I’ll wear that thang out on you!
Confined to the barn, a bucket’uz what I roped,
Ta be World Champ like Phil Lyne, it’uz what I hoped.
I got ta go see my Peepaw and he drug out his Cowboy gear,
From behind the seat’a his Chevy ’62 he turned and said, hyere!
It’uz a real Manila, 40 foot in length,
And cuz I had been practicin, now I had tha strength.
He drove an ol’wood handle in the ground out in the yard,
And said, now boy take it easy, ya don’t haf’ta rope sa hard!
I thow’d a hunerd loops that day, and gave it all my best,
Peepaw said, son that’ll do, now come and have a rest.
This is where I learnt something, that stuck with me all my days,
Cauz as I grew I learnt to listen ta what ever’n Ol’Cowboy has ta say.
If you’re gonna be a roper son, ya gotta learn ta do it right,
Ya don’t have'ta thow sa'hard or even grip it tight.
It’s about the anglish, the smoothniss and tha grace,
That gets yer old lasso around that doggy’s face,
See son, practice don’t make perfect, but Perfect Practice is what ya need!
So after that I tossed that loop till my fangers wud bleed.
Many a day locked in tha barn, a million loops it seems I thow’d,
And as the years and skills increased, that 20 footer I out growed.
Daddy took me ta town fer my 11th birthday and bought me a fancy new rope.
But when I got to lookin at it, I wondered if somebody hadn’t been smoking dope.
It’uz made’a Purple Poly, with 3 weights at it’s core,
And of course ta the barn I went, till my arm was sore.
Man that rope was really fast, and building a loop’uz a blast,
And soon all 40 foot, this Lil’Cowboy could cast.
Settin on the saddle rack, a 35 gallon grease drum a’course,
But it didn’t matter ta me none cuz it stood the same as’a horse.
Me’n that Purple Poly could catch any thang that moved,
So Daddy decided it’uz time fer me ta catch something hooved.
I got to go help tag calves and even tattoo their ear,
But one thang seemed to stick out, this Lil’Cowboy knew how ta use his gear.
40 head that day before lunch, I didn’t miss a one,
Little did I know, this Lil’Wrangler had taken away all’a Daddy’s fun.
So he challenged me to a ropin, a dollar for ever one I could get,
After 15 head straight, he wutn’t sa sure about his bet.
I dobbed it on’m ever one and never missed a lick.
I could tell by the look on hiz face, my Daddy’uz just gittin sick.
See he’uz a top hand in his day, roped wild goats just fer fun,
But that ‘uz long a’fore the LORD give’m a son.
Well it wutn’t long til I’uz winnin, n’tie’n down I’uz real fast,
But sumthin else’d cum’along that ta'me seemed more of a blast.
I had gotten good at ridin bulls, and’uz winnin money left and right,
And haulin all them expensive horses was keepin me out all night.
I roped with Tommy Walker, Sonny Victor too,
And another feller named Roy Super Looper from just across tha blue.
But the full growed Bovines were more fun, they’er what sent tha money home,
So whithout my hoss and rope, I began ta roam.
Well ya caint ride bulls forever, they wear you out real soon,
So I retired, so nobody would have ta feed me with a spoon.
I went off ta Hollywood, and the director ask me if I could lassoo,
yes I been known ta rope a bit, and do a trick or two!”
Next thang ya know, there’uz seven cameras, pointed in every angle,
But it’uz girls in bikinis that they wanted me to wrangle.
I’uz in tha movies, TV shows, commercials n'tha rest,
But it’uz my trick and fancy ropin that I did tha best.
Out here on the ranch agin, enjoyin my time,
Rememberin bein a Twine Tosser,
N’spinnin you a rhyme.
Copyright 2009 © Flyin W Productions, All Rights Reserved.

Write or do what you know, practice it repeatedly and like my grandfather says in my poem "Twine Tosser", “Practice doesn’t make Perfect, Perfect Practice does” If you need help, find someone who does it in a way that you admire and learn from their experience and expertise. I was fortunate enough to grow up around the last of the Real Old Time Cowboys, men who made a living in the saddle, so I hung on their every word as I grew up and began to live the Cowboy life myself, and eventually expressing it in poetry !!!

Catchin’ Fillies
I had an epiphany as I woke to the mornin sun,
I now know what it is that’s stealin all my fun.
Twernt an ornery Mustang, or rope that quit laying right,
It’s dern chasin fillies, what’s been keepin me up at night.
Oh it aint that I caint find’m or git’m out on the town.
It’s a teachin’m to ground tie that always leaves me with a frown.
Now I knowed some shiny fillies, what trotted with their tail in air,
But caint find one I’d trust with the herd, and that would always treat me fair.
Like catchin good horses, I’d say it’s about the game,
Now that I understand this deal, I only have me to blame.
You caint go runnin at their head, with loop that they can hear and see,
You gotta stand in the middle of the pen, and say easy now, come here to me.
Soon they quit trottin the rail, and lookin out over the fence,
They break’r down in a walk, then stop; and look at you intense.
Standing with lead in plain sight, they’ll mosey over your way,
Cause somewhere in’a twixt them ears they need ya at the end of the day,
If ya go easy, with a slow and gentle hand,
Somehow inside they know’ you’re their man.
They’ll come close enough to smell your breath, and look you I the eye,
And if that first touch is done correct, they’ll be with you till they die.
What’s the moral of the story, what is it I’m really tryin to advance,
Well it aint the loop you throw that get’s’m caught, somehow it’s the stance!!!
Copyright 2009 © Flying W Productions All Rights Reserved  

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