Cowboy Poetry

Slicker Break A Bronco

When you're breakin' out a bronc,
better get him slicker broke

For you'll have to try it sometime
when it isn't any joke

When the wind begins a blowin'
till it snaps his mane and tail

And a big black cloud's a comin'
full o' lightnin', rain and hail

You know if you get off him
he will likely pull away

So you try it in the saddle
and you're hopin' that you stay

But your horse starts a buckin'
When you get it halfway on

While your arms and sleeves are tangled
then he throws you and he's gone

Your slicker's torn and busted
and the wind has took your hat

And you see your horse and saddle
go a-driftin' down the flat

Bout that time you get an idea
and you don't forget it, pal:

Better slicker-break a bronco
in a mighty good corral

-Bruce Kiskaddon-


I remember a tough little cowboy,
came riding thru here one day.
He looked like a real good hand to me
he was riding a little bay.

His little horse was pretty lame,
he'd picked up a stone.
The cowboy said, "I'd like to trade
for one to get me home."

He said, "I'm fifty miles,
from where I need to be."
"If you've got one you'd like to trade,
you'd sure be helpin' me."

Well I was almost out of horses,
'cept for one ol' ap'.
And I just kind'a hated
to set this kid a trap.

So I just up and told him,
"This horse is rank and tough".
"It'll take a lot to ride him,
and you might not have enough."

"Cause this ol' horse can jump
as high as you can throw yer hat."
"And he'll turn you so many ways
you'll not know where yer at."

Now he don't give any warnin,
and he don't give any slack."
"All he know is he don't like,
nobody on his back!"

"Too many hands have tried him,
that's how I came to know."
"I think you aughta pass him up,
he sure can rodeo!"

"But if feelin' salty,
or just want to try yer luck."
"You can take a shot at him,
but this ol' horse can buck!

"Well I sure do need to get
on home," the cowboy then replied.
"And this ol horse could get me there,
If I could steal a ride."

Well we made the trade and I was fair
I booted with a ten.
I knew he couldn't ride that horse,
not even in the pen.

Well he roped that horse around the neck,
and snubbed him to the post.
I could see this cowboy had some guts,
a whole lot more than most.

He used his jacket for a blind,
then went to get his saddle,
This ol' horse was roman'ed nosed,
you sure could hear him rattle.

Soon he had him saddled up,
and set his hackamore.
I could see by every move he made,
that he'd been there before.

He untied that horse real easy,
stepped on and jerked the blind.
While he caught the off side stirrup,
and he did that just in time.

'Cause that ol' horse exploded,
went way up in the air!
And an ordinary cowboy,
would'a been left a sittin' there!

You talk about a bronc ride,
now I was seeing one.
You talk about a cowboy,
this kid was being one.

I've seen some rough ol' buckin stock,
and many a salty hand.
But that pair there topped them all,
Since cowboy life began.

When the kid told me to throw the gate,
I thought I heard him wrong.
I was maybe going crazy,
or I'd been in the sun too long.

But I threw it back just like he said,
I threw it open wide.
And never in my cowboy life,
had I witnessed such a ride.

Out across that sagebrush flat
that crazy pair did go.
They was headin' for the badlands,
to where I'll never know.

But just before he topped that ridge,
he hollered back to say.
If you think this ol' horse is tough,
don't ever try that bay!

-Mick Dundom-
Collinsville, Oklahoma

This poem was found on Rudy Gonzales' page at-

The Bogus Brown

The Cookie hammers on the pan and you snap wide awake,
the horse thats in your string today is sure to be a snake.
The wrangos got the cavy commin' you can hear the clanging bell,
and in that bunch of horses there's 1200 pounds of hell.

You swear if you live through this roundup, that you'll get a job in town.
The horse that you ride today, they call the bogus brown.
The beef steak's good at breakfast and the biscuits golden brown,
but thinking what you have to ride, you can hardly choke them down.

Shorty across the table says he wishes for daylight,
cause he sure likes to see it when that brown is on the fight.
Before you can answer Shorty's little jeer,
the boss says by daylight we'll be fifteen miles from here.

In the light of the coal lantern you walk to the corral,
and backed up in the corner is a brown horse you know too well.
You build a hole in your reata and snare the Bogus Brown,
hobble his legs together and cinch your saddle down.

There's rollers in his nose and he's really talking war,
you know that he's not lying cause you've been there before.
The other boys are mounted and kind-of-cicle 'round,
they'er there to get your saddle back if "Old Bogus" beds you down.

It's off with the hobbles, you know the time has come,
your heart is pounding in your ears like Yankee Doodle's drum.
Old Brownies' all humpted up until the skirts don't touch his back,
throw the McCarty over his neck and gather in the slack.

When you step up on him,...he doesn't move around,
just humps up and shivers like he's frozen to the ground.
But, when you untrack him a squeal rips the air,
he jerks the McCarty through your hands till you smell the burning hair.

You don't have to see to know that he's headed for the moon,
you hunt the cinch with both your spurs and find it none to soon.
The boys can't see your cheatin' if they choose to call it that,
but you know that you can't spur him or fan him with your hat.

The Bogus Brown is bawling and tearing up the dirt,
each jumps a little higher and you really start to hurt.
You would like to bail off and give the Brown the fight,
but you can't see a place to land by the morning starsd faint light.

The dogs all get into a fight they sure do have a row.
but you don't even hear them cause you're mighty busy now.
By now you've lost both stirrups and you're plumb out of air,
but you're still up above him, though you can't tell just where.

At last he brings his head up and starts to settle down,
when he looses he'll admit it, that dirty bogus brown.
When the morning star has faded and you can see that brown and sweaty hide,
no one has to tell you that you really earned this ride.

That evening, when you're crowding cattle to the ground,
you know for sure that cowboy life beats any life in town.
Then a thought comes in your head that brings you to a frown.
You remember when his turn comes up you gotta ride the Bogus Brown.

-Jim Davis-
Riggins, Idaho

This poem was found on Rudy Gonzales' page too-

I got a post in my guestbook from Jim Davis's daughter
saying "Thanks for including my Dad's poem."
I approved the note, don't know why it did not post.
But I wanted to say:
Thanks so much!
Great Poem!

"The Strawberry Roan"

I was laying round town just spending my time,
Out of a job and not makin' a dime,
When up steps a feller and he says, "I suppose
That you're a bronc rider by the looks of your clothes?"

He guesses me right. "And a good one I'll claim.
Do you happen to have any bad ones to tame?"
He says he's got one that's a good one to buck,
And at throwing good riders he's had lots of luck.

He says this old pony has never been rode.
And the man that gets on him is bound to be throwed.
I gets all excited and I ask what he pays
To ride this old pony a couple of days.

He says, "Ten dollars." I says, "I'm your man;
The bronc never lived that I cannot fan;
The bronc never tried nor drew breath
That I cannot ride till he starves plumb to death."

He says, "Get your saddle. I'll give you a chance."
We got in the buggy and went to the ranch.
We waited till morning, right after chuck.
I went out to see if that outlaw could buck.

Down in the corral, a-standin' alone,
Was this little old caballo, a strawberry roan.
He had little pin ears that touched at the tip
And a big forty-four brand was on his left hip.

He was spavined all round and he had pidgeon toes,
Little pig eyes and a big Roman nose.
He was U-necked and old with a long lower jaw -
You could tell at a glance he was a regular outlaw.

I buckled on my spurs, I was feeling plumb fine,
I pulled down my hat and curls up my twine,
I threw the loop at him, right well I knew then,
Before I had rode him I'd sure earn my ten.

I got the blind on him with a terrible fight,
Cinched on the saddle and girdled it tight;
Then I steps up on him and pulled down the blind
And sat there in the saddle to see him unwind.

He bowed his old neck and I'll say he unwound,
He seems to quit living down there on the ground;
He went up to the east and came down to the west
With me in the saddle, a-doing my best.

He sure was frog-walkin', I heaved a big sigh,
He only lacked wings for to be on the fly;
He turned his old belly right up to the sun,
For he was a sun-fishin' sun of a gun.

He was the worst bronco I've seen on the range,
He could turn on a nickle and leave you some change.
While he was buckin' he squalled like a shoat,
I tell you that outlaw, he sure got my goat.

I tell all the people that pony could step
And I was still on him a-buildin' a rep;
He came down on all fourse and turned up on his side,
I don't see how he kept from losing his hide.

I lost my stirrups, I lost my hat,
I was pullin' at leather as blind as a bat;
With a phenomenal jump he made a high dive
And set me a-winding up there through the sky

I turned forty flips and came down to the earth
And sit there a-cussing the day of his birth.
I know ther's some ponies that I cannot ride,
Some of them living, they haven't all died.

But I bet all money there's no man alive
That can ride Old Strawberry when he makes that high dive.

-Written by Curley Fletcher in 1915-

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