Featured at the Bar-D Ranch



2009
photo by Jeri L. Dobrowski

About Bob Schild
Poems
Books and Recordings
Contact Information

 

 

About Bob Schild:

It Began

I was born in Rexburg, Idaho in 1931, at the beginning of The Great Depression; any and all financial stability previously enjoyed by the family (I was the second of five) gone. To the day my Dad died, he was never able to recapture the good times. These times had been tough before, now they were catastrophic.

By the time I reached seven years of age, after several relocations, we settled on a farm-livestock operation on the Fort Hall Indian Reservation.  Harry Hart, soon to become World Champion Steer Wrestler (1939) maintained a practice arena on the edge of the property.  In the summer months nearly all the area calf ropers and steer wrestlers met there regularly to hone their skills; my brother Jack and I were usually rapt observers, dragging our own rope fragments and dabbing a loop on anything we could approach.  There, and then, was born in us both the desire to become rodeo hands.  Continued below...


Bob Schild
steer wrestling

Poems

A Trilogy
The Button and the Champ
Ride for Ninety-One
The Long Ride

Two of a Kind
The Cowboy, Passing of a Legend
Light the Board

Roundup on The Blackfoot

Shorty

Poetic Horses
The Rustler

College Cowboy
Lockjaw Virgil
Marauder

Ode to an Old Friend
Miserable Bill

Quick Ride

The Goat Tying

 
Santa Comes Calvin' separate page
Christmas 2003  separate page

 


 

The Button and the Champ

We both were reminiscing on the days that used to be,
Me and a champion rider who's a special friend to me.
We shared the pleasant mem'ries of the good old times we had,
When joys of life abounded; then we laughed about the bad.
He'd been acclaimed the champion of bull-riders back a way
And still a champ at fifty, he can make bull-riding pay.
Those years of bumps and bruises left their scars upon his hide
But that which keeps him winning is what's hid down deep inside.
The part exposed to viewing ain't the measure of a man,
Just see now what he looks like, in your mind's eye, if you can.

His gold emblazoned buckle proclaimed "Champion of the World."
His boots were worn and battered and their toes were scuffed and curled.
Inspired by the time were etchings, now engraved upon his face,
Like strips of it eroded when harsh winds whirled through the space.
His moustache drooped and wobbled like its tips were overweight.
He'd stand four inches taller if his legs had grown out straight.
Devoid of vegetation was the gloss upon his pate.
Most of it had died away or did not germinate.
His frame looked tough and wiry, like a wolf beyond its years,
But words of his achievements could have filled ten thousand ears.

A greenhorn spied the buckle with its golden glow of light
And promptly chose the moment for enrichment of his night.
He said, I'm mighty anxious to meet such a famous hand,
Who's many times been touted as the greatest in the land."
The champ absorbed the tribute with a mirthless measured grin,
And pridefully admitted he's the best there's ever been.
The gods in all their fury could not his pride erase,
And bold determination framed the lines upon his face.
These words that button uttered cut his dollar to a dime:
"Now, Champ, will you please tell me, what was your fastest time?"

The Champ ignored the blunder, we all have made a few.
The moral to this story ain't what the button knew.
Now contemplate: each acorn may yield a mighty tree,
No man can tell, by looking, how hard its wood will be.
Who could expect a button, bare' face changing of the voice,
To question such profession in words that fit our choice?
The champ picked up the fumble in a way that proved him grand,
Would not belittle someone who did not understand.
Instead he seemed to wriggle -- squirm down deeply in his hide,
And thus enhance the impact of the story of his ride.

The button gazed, enraptured, while this tale began to form,
Like a lost unsheltered mortal views a fierce approaching storm.
"One time in Californy, when I marked a ninety-three,
I crotched an ox named Snowman, belongin' to CB.
That three an' ninety markin' fairly scorched the judge's book.
You'd a thought I rode an earthquake, the way the grandstand shook.
I rode that ragin' demon an' we clearly stole the show,
That," said he, with misty eyes, "was thirty years ago,
But none could hold a candle to old Spec in sixty-one.
I rode to fame an' glory on that pitchin' Son-a-gun."

The Champ blinked off a tear drop in the corner of his eye,
Concluding for the button, complex ways of life and why.
His shoulders more erect now, and firmness in his step,
He told then of the basics for to build a button's rep'.
I could feel the bond of friendship reaching out between the two,
A warm and human welding of the old times to the new.
"Son, you'll be a champ perhaps, my time has come and went.
You must earn your niche in life, but you won't by accident.
Them that tries the hardest, son, only they will gain their choice,
For fame is not accomplished by mere raisin' of the voice."

© Bob Schild, from Pure Bull -- Well Organized 
This poem may not be reprinted or reposted without the author's written permission.



Ride for Ninety-One

Free spoken words one yesteryear, before Punch journeyed on,
Left doubt to cloud our heart-to-heart; were bulls or we the pawn?
Through foamy glass time's bubbles passed from ev'ning into dawn.
The hours between exposed to me the hollow spot in Ron. 

"A deed," says he, "impresses me, not windy, boastful words.
The testy Toros I've been through ain't found in dairy herds;
They add up like pulsing feathers in skies blacked out by birds.
I've never aimed to conquer them for seconds, fourths, or thirds.

I beat the best I've ever seen, from Butler, Steiner, Todd.
I'd set my mind to get the bell, then take my wraps and nod.
I topped the greats the business owned, then dodged them -- on the prod.
'Cause I never liked man-eaters a batterin' my bod'.

But there's one last goal remaining--forever tempting me.
I scored a ninety-one on Spec...Snowman earned ninety-three.
Spec always was the tougher ox so he's the goal you see.
My pride lacks one more ninety-one to let my soul fly free."

So Punch faced his great obsession, determined he'd not fail;
Hand-warmed the rope and nod the head, beware the greasy tail.
A hoof, a horn, unplanned abort -- abruptly ends the trail,
A rip instead, a gush of red, a cowboy's face turned pale.

 

God penned his epitaph in full before the day was done.
The final score on Ron's last ride -- a blazing ninety-one.
Punch fulfilled his great ambition.  The life-long race was run --
One balmy autumn afternoon...The year was ninety-one!

© Bob Schild, from Pure Bull -- Well Organized 
This poem may not be reprinted or reposted without the author's written permission.



The Long Ride

I was horseback on the Blackfoot
When a flutter turned my eye
To the curious contortions
Of a form up in the sky.
Then a twirling apparition
Angled upward on the fly.
I was rendered cold and breathless
And my mouth turned powder dry.

First the sunlight bobbed and flickered,
Like its bulb was burning out.
Then it cast an eerie shadow,
Though there were no clouds about.
In that swirling, whirling madness
I could bare restrain a shout.
Though the day looked warm and cheery,
I could feel the goose-bumps sprout.

My old horse's nostrils quivered
Then he whistled blasts of air,
While a frenzy of emotion
Seemed to leap from everywhere;
In an atmosphere so heavy
I could almost chew the air.
Though it ain't this cowboy's custom --
I knelt in silent prayer. 

Then that cyclone of confusion
Seemed to melt into the sun;
While the day turned sudden Pleasant --
As before this all was done.
When my pulse returned to normal
I had lost the urge to run;
But my mind still raced on blindly
As a bullet from a gun!

When I heard the story later
Why I bowed my head and cried;
While weird tangles of emotion
Pricked like brambles 'neath my hide.
It was not a dusty hillside,
Where you made your final ride;
But upwards to the heavens,
For I saw you pass inside.

© Bob Schild, from Pure Bull -- Well Organized 
This poem may not be reprinted or reposted without the author's written permission.

 

 

Two of a Kind

The town-folk were bracing for "Senior-Pro" week
As cowboys rolled in who'd crossed rodeo's peak.
For some it's their "last one" but who'd ever know?
Each shares this opinion: "A good way to go!"

The hands that arrived there were cut from one mold.
Their features were weathered and faces looked old,
But one bore time's ravages worse than the rest;
And hid not a blemish, though he tried his best.

He seemed years apart from those gathered in town, 
That wrinkled old timer with boot-heels run down,
A wax-cultured mustache adorned his thin lips;
One well-tended curl perching high on each tip.

I stood there, transfixed by his look as he passed...
Like a gaunt war prisoner who once had been gassed.
There's some youthful vigor--his eye so appears
His gait would suggest he's worn hobbles for years.

The crusty old cowboys were paying their fees,
Intending to conquer the world, should they please;
The number one thought, not a dollar or dime,
First and foremost meant to live a hot time!

But then to the window, with faltering step
Came that gnarled old twister to polish his rep'.
Recalled is a vision: that look in his eye
Held spellbound those present...he paid for his try.

I felt overwhelmed by a strange sense of doom,
But try as I did, I could not leave that room!
I watched while Old Twister drew from the hat
An ancient aged challenger called Alley Cat!

His fame was no fable, we'd all heard of that,
The vicious old outlaw, by name -- Alley Cat!
He matched the old cowboy for wrinkles and groans.
I still had that feeling of doom in my bones!

The rest of the cowboys were spiraled in fun,
The Old Twist' and Alley Cat poised as if one.
The each faced the other, sparks bounced from the fence,
While billowy clouds turned the air dark and dense.

Climactic the moment anxiety breaks,
Lightning was flashing, the earth was a lake.
The rumble of thunder rolled over the sky;
The mud grew so deep it may never bake dry!

Age molded a curve into Alley Cat's back,
A natural fit for such time tested tack...
Slip into the saddle but don't rock the boat,
Beyond the chute-gate stands the likes of a moat!

When Alley Cat broke with a bone-crushing dive,
The wrinkled Old Twister came sudden alive.
The Alley Cat showed us the best of his youth...
Old Twister was smiling, affirming the truth.

With no sign of age now observed in their fight,
'Twas plain that the ride set a goal for the night.
One cowboy's wild spurring from mane-line to board,
Plus Alley Cat's mark, made the highest ride scored!

When buckets of rain turn the mud into slime,
A horse bred to buck knows he's seen better times;
The Alley Cat's age had long taken its toll,
He fell with a crash in a sticky mud hole.

Then when we observed the results of the wreck,
We found Alley Cat dead, he'd fractured his neck.
The boys rolled him over-- they knew what they'd find...
A horror so gripped them it whip-lashed the mind.

The Old Timer quivered down there in the muck--
One horrible moment--some called it bad luck;
Whipped down in the madness of withering rain,
The force of the impact had hemorrhaged his brain.

We buried the two, just the way they had gone--
Old cowboy aboard and his saddle cinched on,
The Alley Cat making a twenty-four kick,
The Old Timer, still smiling, showing his lick!

When crossing the rim-rocks on weather's worst nights
The cries of the dead fuel immortal weird sights:
Mad visions of trail herds, wild horses and such,
Rise vapor-like into the heavens they touch.

It's then I'm deluged by the strange sense of doom
I felt long ago, as I stood in that room;
Wrought by a sensation...enveloping fear,
Unseen and stone-soundless, a presence lurks near!

Appearing near midnight, a vague, phantom scene,
Commands the heavens, stars dimming between;
Two translucent figures--one violent wreck--
In ghostly fleet seconds, stands hair on my neck!

Up there, the Old Timer slips into his saddle,
Two specters in combat, ageless the battle;
The rain and the mud that precluded their plight
Comes urging them back to their tomb in the night!

© Bob Schild, revised from Spur Tracks & Buffalo Chips, November, 2006
This poem may not be reprinted or reposted without the author's written permission.

_____
Notes:

board  cantle board, rear of the saddle

twenty-four kick  horse is judged on the basis of 25 points being a perfect 8 or 10 second performance.  He'd have to buck in this manner throughout the entire ride.

lick  riding style

Author's Note:

In my personal, honed-on-the-harsh-gravel-of-ages, opinion:  No one, except the most gifted professionals, should pen poetry under a time limit (self-imposed or otherwise) if they expect their works to withstand scrutiny of an caliber--A hard earned philosophy!

I wrote the original draft of "Two of a Kind" in the days preceding Elko's first Cowboy Poetry Gathering.  I had been selected, strictly by chance, as one of four cowboy poets representing Idaho in that presentation. At the time, I was operating a fledgling business (saddle shop) in Blackfoot, Idaho (B-B Leather) and still rodeoing on the side. Quoting the poker player's vernacular, I opened on guts:  No money, no inventory, no measurable experience in leathercraft or the operation of a business and was virtually no chance of survival by most observers.  I had my rodeo connections (friends) and only one marketable asset--labor. In possession of nothing else saleable, labor is what I sold--in excess of eighty hours per week for the first eight years and well over 60 (if not the full 80) hours per week after that...no time to wax poetic!

Between March, 1961 and the fall of 1984 I had written a single poem: "The Old Dunn Mare."

Considering myself more of a doodler than a poet, I felt greatly honored but insufficiently armed to enter the ranks of the poetic in Elko.  Feeling a need for a more powerful piece than anything I had written those many years previous and drawing on a haunting incident I'd observed in "Madison Square Gardens" in 1958, and mindful of the impending production of Blackfoot's first "Senior-Pro Rodeo," which included tottery, white haired performers like my old friend, Sterling Green (who, due to human aging, performed much on the hurricane deck  than he did on foot) and others like him, I wrote "Two of a Kind."  Proper words would not come.  I found myself cornered by a time limit I could not meet. In a rushed attempt at fulfillment I failed to connect the facts involved, poetically, and wouldn't drop the memory of Billy Boag's tragic death. To this date, that grievous memory remains. I feel compelled toward this rewrite.

Bill died Sept. 30, 1958 in a New York City hospital, the victim of a collision between Bill's contest bareback horse and the team of pickup riders.  Over two hundred performers from the Madison Square Garden rodeo attended his funeral, tears in every eye of the toughest cowboys in the business.  Roy Rogers, Dale Evans, and The Sons of the The Pioneers sang "Gold Mine in the Sky."  Bill's final resting place is near his previous home in Weiser, Idaho. This rewrite is the only equitable option.

 

 

The Cowboy, Passing of a Legend

His legs warp in the middle;
Sorta rounded at the knees.
How he walks?  Now that's a riddle --
On human parentheses.
He's ordained to "Cow" a little;
Can't deny, on stems like these.
Ain't a jack-knife meant to whittle?
Don't a bird nest fit in trees?

He's gnarled as scattered driftwood
Washed upon a sandy shore;
Indicating hardship withstood
In a life of range-rapport.
His scars he flaunts like knighthood.
He won't ever ask for more.
He's cultured them since boyhood;
'Cause he's cowboy to the core!

Some love the stilted fable;
Try, in vain, to be a part.
They saddle poor "Old Mable"
With more gear than she can cart
And dress, near as they're able,
In duds called fashion-smart.
But -- damn the glowing label!
They ain't cowboy in their heart!

The cowboy legend's fading
And but a few folks understand --
Not while Hollywood's degrading
His romance with cows and land --
An' city folks parading --
As they tell -- "to call his hand!"
That's sinful promenading'
For they just can't read his brand!

© Bob Schild, from Pure Bull -- Well Organized 
This poem may not be reprinted or reposted without the author's written permission.

 

 

Light the Board

We can best assess a horse race when the photo is in hand.
The greying at our temples helps us each to understand
That those who may search backward through the hazy mist of years
Must base their final judgment on the picture that appears.
We leave the track a winner, if we live by this accord:
Being first is less important if we can but light the board.

If the track is poorly bladed, being such that going's rough,
The fact is, though it hinders, it won't ever stop the tough.
With thunder a crescendo, rain is gushing down the track
While lightning flashes brightly as a spotlight on the back.
The stretch turns wet and slippery; what's the best we can afford?
Just rise up in those irons, beat the odds and light the board.

I bought a fragile yearling 'cause I got her for a song.
I figured that I'd feed her 'til a buyer came along
I felt I'd bought a loser so to keep her wasn't hard.
The day she won her maiden she was there to fill the card.
She had not speed, but courage, for she would not be ignored.
She gutted up and won it; I'd just hoped she'd light the board.

From then on little "Hard Luck" was the darlin' of the crowd;
Of sheer determination, how much is a horse allowed?
When cash-flow turned so dismal I could barely stay abreast,
Why, Hard Luck seemed to sense it, and she ran her mortal best.
You give an inch she'd take it, while the crowd rose up and roared.
She'd light, while tears flowed freely, the top line on the board.

I brought my new fiancé out to meet the flat track crowd,
All puffed up like a rooster when he's crowing shrill an' loud.
Expecting to be greeted by a chiding from the boys,
We eased up to the paddock with no fanfare and no noise.
Old Sam, the racing steward, looked her over like he's bored,
Then met my eye just beaming.  He said, "Son, you've lit the board."

I don't recall a question...Said, "I'd like it if you'd stay."
We paired up from that moment, double harness all the way.
Then came to bless us, children, just a fam'ly, not a crowd;
They proved life's greatest pleasure, reinforced our feelings proud.
No shade of doubt may cloud it, it's a win however scored,
And team-work is the reason, love will always light the board.

Each story has an ending. There's a close to ev'ry day.
However sweet the fiddle, there will come a time to pay.
I haven't built my lifetime on the Scriptures as implored,
But neither have I faltered when I gave a man my word.
When God rings down the window, and he pops that final gate,
I don't expect an angel choir to pluck their harps in wait.
I ask no satin cooler from the household of The Lord,
I'll feel I'm well received there if I rise to light the board. 

© Bob Schild, from Pure Bull -- Well Organized 
This poem may not be reprinted or reposted without the author's written permission.

 

 

Roundup on the Blackfoot

Folks who earn their living horseback fancy simple things in life
Mother Nature's arms around them, so deflecting worldly strife;
They smell the fragrant grasses all awash with autumn dew,
Watch leaves float softly downward that bare branches may renew.
When those hills are grazed by cattle...glossy hair a healthy sheen—
If he calls himself a cowboy, that's perfection clear and clean!

It's time to cinch a saddle on a horse's frosty back,
Pounce on his upper-middle, inner rein devoid of slack.
Old Roany snorts and trembles as he prances up the trail,
With his back a trifle humpy and a clamping of the tail.
The rising earth before them tends to ease the pulsing throb,
As a cowboy and a cow horse both warm into the job.

By the time the kinks have melted from the muscles of the beast,
The sum comes warmly peeking over mountains in the east.
It's then the primal purpose of this roundup comes in force:
For cattle thrive in thickets too dense for man or horse.
The whipping flaying branches are a threat to mortal eyes,
As Roany heeds his cow-horse calling until not a hair is dry.

The grumbling clouds colliding bang like cannons in the west,
To signal horse and cattle, each has seen the season's best.
Mortal man describes its passing for his archives with a quill,
But cattle, as they gather, better fathom nature's will;
Each lays tongue to browning grasses, wolfing groceries on the go,
Knowing sun-baked hay and water top the winter fare below.

Cattle split by brand or ear-tag, as each owner has decreed...
Enter fence-protected pastures, belly-deep in wholesome feed.
Hungry cowboys storm the cook-shack—greeting toiling cooks there-in'
They graze on beef and biscuits, so to stretch their middle-skin.
And all this time Old Roany is rounding out the slack
In a pouch known as his belly, for to gain ill-temper back.

Winter heaps relentless fury on the range before the dawn...
All vestiges of summer cloaked beneath a silver lawn.
Both cattle and cow-horses seek protection from the chill...
Humped up like pain-wracked camels to the leeward of the hills.
Balky cowboys—none too eager to frost their feet and legs,
Stay afoot until the cook-shack has seen tipped its final eggs.

Roany signals his displeasure, no mistake, he shares the dread...
His vote favors adjournment, cast by the bogging of his head.
It's not rest that overwhelmed him and he isn't over-fed...
He's over-dosed on working cow-horse and is ready for the shed.
There is one point in his favor, for the cattle on the hill
Are prone to quit the mountain and the wind swept Arctic chill.

Rising to another dawning, never need one peek outside;
He can feel the punch of winter formed in goose-bumps on his hide.
Old Roany sings a welcome to his partner...sweet refrain.
The light's on in the cook-shack, so it's time for morning grain.
He's fair licked out the bucket—first desert and then the hay'
While still wrinkled in the belly, he's geared up and on his way.

It's a morning to remember—icy platelets on the creek;
Fog blots out all sighting of the cattle cowboys seek.
There's a draw' if we can find it, with cattle bill of fare,
So toss the reins to Roany, use his instinct...human prayer.
And hope for cow-horse savvy, 'cause that's how Roany's bred.
Then snowy lumps start moving and, by gum, the ears are red!

It wasn't cowboy knowledge...brought those cattle into camp;
Roany's due the credit and he's proved himself a champ.
It's time cowboys hit the cook-shack to refortify on beef;
Roany plugs into a nosebag and he makes out like a thief.
It feels great to hit the bed-roll on frigid nights like these'
They're dangerous 'cause Roany might contract Wild Horse Disease.

The final morning on the mountain finds weather's slipped a gear...
The wished-for storm abatement...Draw a breath for winter's here.
Roany's grown more even-tempered, with an eagerness to please;
He's had his fill of mountains, feels he's worn off at the knees.
One final circle westward...where the weather was so mean,
Finds no head of cattle anywhere, not here not in between.

And there, my friends, you have it—the cowboy's life unfurled...
Not as romance writers log it—there's no guitar and no girl...
There's no colorful flamboyance on the evenings in between,
There's no dancing silver stallion with flowing mane to preen.
The moral to this story on the pages here-in seen...
Due respect to dreamer's visions—It is cowboy, clear and clean!

© 2006, Bob Schild
This poem may not be reprinted or reposted without the author's written permission.

 

Bob told us about the inspiration for the poem, "I didn't go on the roundup this year. I own no cattle and the horse I would have taken (he usually needs the miles) was fatter and softer than usual (sorta like me). He wouldn't have stood the trip well. He's sorta like 'Old Roany' in the poem, but he's getting better (both in manner and pitching ability--whichever best suits his mood), hasn't even tried to buck since last Saturday. I'm getting a bit smooth in the tooth too, so I might not improve as fast as he does (Sunny Hancock expressed that point well). In the past, I have taken him alone in an effort to keep his vertebrae curved downward instead of upward. I'll work on that later, or hang a flank on him to see how serious he really is... I was on the roundup anyhow, in spirit, so I wrote the poem."

 

 

Shorty

I watched an old man's wrinkles fade into a toothy grin;
            It melted the eroded look on features, face and skin
            All tanned by sun and hardship, ancient body frail and thin.
His cheeks were gaunt and hollow, tobacco stained his lips.
            He whittled on a bough of pine with artful finger tips;
            His hardened hands belied a skill exposed by falling chips.
Emotions rolled like lapping waves across the old man's face.
            His eyes seemed focused on a dream now lost to time and space
            That faded in, and faded out, like soft winds teasing lace.
And then the old man spied me, he no longer whittled now:
            What ghosts engross the human mind that small talk might endow?
            "I'd like to sit and jaw a bit," I said, "If you'll allow."

"Yes, my son, I will allow, perhaps you're wondering
            Why a wretched cuss like me will sit here whittling.
            There's not much else that I can do, old fancies will not wing."
Then, once more, a sightless stare returned to haunt his face—
            Conversely peering through his mind where flitting memories chased
            Through all the fun and pain and love his wistful thoughts embraced.
"It's Shorty, Son, we had our fun; he lived behind a grin,
            But he took his social dallies on the saddle horn of sin.
            Battle was his middle name...said all he lost was skin.
No mortal man trod bolder in the armor of a knight;
            More brutal grew the combat, the greater his delight—"
"It's nature's way to purge the soul," said Short, "And earn respite."

"He'd snort up every bar-room, like a bull elk in the rut,
            Then, eye-ball to belly-button, punch some giant in the gut—
            If he deemed this hostile action-look out poor Shorty's butt.
When flaying fists and bloody forms had dimmed the urge to brawl,
            My pal and his opponent would Call for alcohol."
            Past worlds exhumed, the sculptor's art showed brightly through it all.
"Any time the gauntlet fell, Short indeed did try,
            A loss was un-considered-adversity must die.
            One last untested goal in life...give Killer Blue the try!
So, in time it came to pass that history review—
            Shorty reached into the hat-the time was now, he knew—
            To consummate a challenge from the outlaw, Killer Blue."

Saddled for the action, The Killer reared and fussed;
            Shorty eased into the saddle, gave his rein a forward thrust,
            Then drove irons above the shoulders with a fierceness still discussed.
The action was explosive, a ride to fuel one's dreams,
            The crowd roared its approval, grandstand bulging at its seams—
            As the horse-hair Shorty curried floated well above its beams.
 Yes, Shorty won the ride-off, now The Blue's a money draw;
            He's still an equine challenge, but Short dulled the lion's claw—
            His own fame killed by alcohol-sure death, is as I saw.
Exalting bar-room re-rides on a once un-ridden grey.
            His win became his greatest loss-for each and every day
            His bright light of achievement drowned out in barley-whey.
"Yes Shorty meant to conquer life's stages each as pass,
            With goals he's set behind him, he's content to raise his glass—
            Exit worlds of dust and drama for a box beneath the grass."

All this time those sculpted chips kept dropping to the dust,
            Then a symbol of warm friendship into my hands was thrust—
            A treasure-trove of memory to one, he felt, could trust.
"The world continues moving in speeds shot like a blast—
            Accustomed to much slower times, I'm living in a past
            I've carved into this likeness, which to you I've passed."
Now, when winter snows are drifting deep and hearth-fires warm me through
            I gaze above the crackling flames, a wooden gem to view.
            My thoughts led back to Shorty, a man I never knew,
            By a hand-carved wooden image of his ride on "Killer Blue."


© 2006, Bob Schild
This poem may not be reprinted or reposted without the author's written permission.

 

Poetic Horses

I'll guess Charley's age near seventy...what hit me like a rock—
            He lugged a battered saddle styled of early twenties stock.
I had doubts, more than a fraction... with his worn and weathered kack—
            He aimed to cinch his rigging on a wild-eyed gelding's back.

His bowed and skinny legs matched rusty buggy-harness hames...
            To cross a creek on mossy rocks his stride would stay the same.
He was rounded in the withers as a brahma through the hump;
            His breeches failed to camouflage a dried-up, shriveled rump.

"Rein up and ear this knot-head down," My old friend Charlie pled,
            "Approach him slow and softly speak when reaching for his head.
Now, he may rear and strike at you, he's always in the mood—
            But I have trouble mounting while he's gaining altitude!"

"Yes, I'll get you straddle of that snorting, trembling brute,
            But Charlie, don't you do it without a parachute;
I'd hate to see the two of you that far up in the sky—
            If you descend too rapidly, why Charlie you could die!

"Tell me, man to man, old pard, Why tolerate that steed?
            You can buy one for a whisper who won't burn near the feed:
First count the saddle-marks, my friend, look for a single brand...
            Buy one quiet as a dude-horse but too good for being canned."

Said Charlie, "Son, I dabble at creating cowboy verse.
            Sure it won't stop the cravings of my always hungry purse.
No gentle, smooth-mouthed horses fit the underside of me.
            It takes a hair-brained renegade to cede my poetry"

© 2006, Bob Schild
This poem may not be reprinted or reposted without the author's written permission.

 

The poem has been added to our Poems About Cowboy Poetry section.

 

The Rustler

 There are wistful tales from yesteryear,
           When a cowboy’s life was filled with cheer,
But, often did full-wages fail
            To meet the cost of his Lager Pale…
Then the lustful nights of dance and song—
He’d compensate with a rope that’s long. 

If a cowboy pirates a neighbor’s cow—
            He’s earned the worst that the laws allow.
He’s squandered life in a search for bliss,
            His departure marked by a sweetheart’s kiss.
A jury trial is his last hope…
            His dance won’t end on a hang-mans rope.

Now, the very depth of a poet’s soul
            Are his words in rhyme and lines that roll,
And the one who steals these lines, by heck,
            Should die in a fall, of a broken neck!
He’d never rustle his neighbor’s cow,
            But he’ll steal his words, for he knows not how….

© 2006, Bob Schild
This poem may not be reprinted or reposted without the author's written permission.

 

Bob tells us he wrote this poem "...as a way to voice my opinion on those who intentionally use the lines and/or ideas of others to write their own 'look-alike' poetry, thinking it will go un-recognized. When we use all or any part of the works of others, giving credit is the very least we should do. I don't think it is ever proper to use the poems of others without their permission (including the use of punch lines).  This has been done many, many times." 

 


The poem has been added to our Poems About Cowboy Poetry section.

 

 

College Cowboy

"Damn son, get up," My pappy roared, you'll go through life a fool.
Heads should do more than sport a hat. They function as a tool—
When plans to glean the fruits of life are rooted in the school.
Don't waste your future snorting girls and chalking up for pool."
 
Pop flanked me down and hosed me off. He roached my tousled mane;
Sent two blue dogs to load me in the belly of a train.
It whisked me from the rural life to one much more urbane—
Then spilled me at an institute that fertilizes brains.
 
The best profs in the business sought to cultivate my mind.
'Til therein flourished intellect and manners well refined.
Perhaps they thought I'd graduate more artfully inclined,
But educating cowboys is a craft yet undefined. 
 
Did I crack the books? I crushed them! Why this was apple pie.
All my instincts at the moment said, "Pump this college dry!"
When I'd milked it maxi-limit—and this you can't deny—
I'd wrest' each opportunity with good old "College Try"!
 
Then I heard a distant calling--a destiny with fate:
To ride rank bulls and horses from behind a numbered gate.
Those guilded books and Ivied Halls seemed somehow second rate.
The gifted words of Shakespeare could no longer penetrate.
 
When Dad-Time closed winter quarter spring's fragrance cast its spell.
I'd rub rossin on my bull-rope to listen to its bell.
And the field of academics I farmed no longer well.
But shifted my attention in directions I shall tell.
 
From this point forward into life the Anthem's fading strains
Gave way to," Cinch your riggin's boys. The money's in their manes!"
Then came that rush--Adrenalin-- coursing Athletic Veins.
How sweet the smell of victory that brings financial gains!
 
No, Fame did not deny me upon that dusty trail—
When outlaw horses pitched their best—though some did "pack the mail".
Still "Brahmeritis" could set in if buck turned to impale.
It's strange how fleet a horses feet with horns prodding his tail.
 
Yes, I've heard the grandstands rumble like distant thunder claps.
I've driven multitudes of miles; worn out a thousand maps.
Now I'm facing life "Age-Foundered," much wiser too perhaps.
But the beans that blunt my hunger I earn by building chaps. 
 

© Bob Schild, from Pure Bull -- Well Organized 
This poem may not be reprinted or reposted without the author's written permission.

 


 

Lockjaw Virgil

We called him "Lockjaw Virgil throughout his rough stock years,
A descriptive designation earned by gnawing wild horse ears.
"Some demonize my ways", laughed Virg, "A thought I'll not condone.
You can't fang up an outlaw stud like he chews up his own."
 
His molar-geared connection served to dominate a steed;
He used his teeth to subjugate and educate the breed.
He readily described it as: "The timid horsemen's ways,"
As he compared the tactics used in "Man's more cultured days."
 
"No cowhand ever broke a horse, then faced a class to brag
About his wild horse training—waving sticks hooked to a rag.
A rough-stock rider's habits I ain't ever gonna shake;
I'll use my tactful grinners when I have a horse to break."
 
A tale oft' told relating to this old bronc-peeler's skill:
How he roped a wall-eyed mustang once, "To give the boys a thrill."
Locked on, he dragged a mile or more, relaxing not the clamp,
Appearing after sundown, when he rode the horse to camp!
 
Defiled by time and plagued by fate, those flitting fleeing years
Saw horses slip from Virgil's grip with furrows in their ears;
These plowed by teeth with numbers brief—the upper jaw held four,
The lower jaw—just bridle teeth, one pair and nothing more!
 
Ah, fickle is as fickle does, nor winds of fate shall blame,
And so it came another horse Old Lockjaw sought to tame.
With sticks and flags and other gags, he brought the horse to terms,
Defying wild traditions, and humbly he confirms:
 
"Age did bequeath new store-bought teeth to finish out my days—
Then I'd be set, I'd even bet I'd never change my ways.
Last time I tried to salve the pride I'd nurtured through the years:
That outlaw spawn was sudden gone—my teeth locked on his ears!

© 2004, Bob Schild
This poem may not be reprinted or reposted without the author's written permission.

 

Marauder

Timbered slopes enhance the darkness before rising of the sun
         For beasts who roam the forest the hunt is nearly done.
                   One can feel the vibrant woodlands when disaster hovers near…
                            That indulges bulging rocks to resonate a fear.

Bob woke to fervent terror: mystic encroached the night.
          Each tense, relentless moment increased a growing fright.
                    Then Al rose madly spurring at the nightmare in his bed—
                               Unaware his fitful dreaming fostered demons in his head.

The horses, testing pickets, tossed their heads, they reared and pawed;
          Hooves beat an equine symphony while excavating sod.
                    Every facet of the picture served to propagate a seed,
                              Dispensing doubt and wonder on man and thrashing steed.

The grey was called “Old Goofus”, which fit to some degree.
          He displayed signs of madness, attempting to jerk free.
                    With bowing neck, he arched his back, whipped head from side-to-side.
                              He’s a thousand pound explosive…contained in horses hide. 

Hark! What flitted through the woodlands—too quick for eyes to see?
          Had loose horses, bear or Sasquatch destroyed tranquility?
                    Would the early light of dawn reveal a bruin in a tree,
                              Restoring credibility and calm this wild Melee?

We’d slung supplies and camp-gear beyond a ridge of rocks,
          And to further void temptation: we’d buried Alan’s socks.
                    Untouched since we had stashed it, we found our horse’s gear,
                              But scattered bags of horse-feed told us, “Bruin had been near.”

We’d, by seconds missed colliding with a roving, hungry bear.
          A flutter in the darkness showed he’d gone, but who knows where;
                    He left scattered heaps of berries to prove he’d tarried here…
                              Had a loose, free-bowel reaction to his overwhelming fear.

Old Goofus shook and trembled like he’s frozen near to death…
          Even shied in horror at his steamy exhaled breath,
                    But he showed some-less emotion than the still stampeding bear:
                              He’d dropped no heaps of berries symbolic of his fear.

© 2008, Bob Schild
This poem may not be reprinted or reposted without the author's written permission.

 

Ode to an Old Friend

This life's been a grand undertaking
On a long and a tortuous trail;
Emotions and dreams kept us floating
Like ships breaking waves at full sail.

We've partaken of visual wonders...
Watched the trout rise to harvest a fly

While mountains
shaken by thunder
Flashed neon 'neath lightning-framed sky...

We've thrilled at the elk's lusty whistle
Marveled at spots on a fawn;
Then, quick as a shot from a pistol:
These symbols of freedom were gone.

We've rigged a team in dray trappings,
Sowed joy from a buckboard behind,
Motivated by multitudes clapping,
In response to old ballads aligned.

We've sought for the fruits of the forest

These ravaged and gutted by man,
Whose intentions
not always the purest,
Embrace his municipal plan.

We've seen sections of lush vegetation

Which loss we may never atone,
Yield to a civilization...
Its asphalt, skyscrapers and stone.

Ox wagons, once truly symbolic...
A vestige of migrations west,
Wore wheels that preceded the frolic
of autos man soon would possess.

Songs Written in Delicate sonnets,
Harmonized in a warm hearted swoon,
Emphasized a pure life on the planet

While rockets raced up to the moon.

We've seen the invincible humbled,
Our century three quarters gone,
From the full bloom of youth we have stumbled
And still times march presses on.

Now fanatics die by the legion;
They call this, "Allegiance to God,"
Others leap to defend each his region;
It's the righteous who bloody the rod!

It's peculiar, the road we have traveled,
And, no doubt, we'd transverse it again.
Do not bolt as the world comes unraveled,
But, drive on, for great goodness remains.

© 2006, Bob Schild
This poem may not be reprinted or reposted without the author's permission.


 

Miserable Bill

Bill was shifting, more like drifting from the sea of normalcy,
Both a loner and a groaner to a frightening degree:
Bad to talk to, he could shock you, cause a horrible melee,
Looking for that youthful fountain, he escaped into the mountains
To pour fuel upon his fire of misery,
But he only floated faster, toward complete disaster and pure demented lunacy.
One could hear him loudly talking to himself each day while walking--
Self-inflicting manic wedges through a mental refugee. 
 
Life alone with horse and cattle kept his mind in constant battle
And he never seemed to vary from the course.
Just to watch himself while shaving would set "Mad Bill" to raving;
He might spook whole herds of cattle and his horse.
He approached his mirror glaring at the Dude inside it staring,
Building hatred which grew daily worse and worse.
Volatile his mind corrosion, it forewarned schizoid explosion
With sudden and electrifying force.
 
Such the state of his delusion, maniacal his confusion—
He was surely on a self-destructive bent.
He found the problem solver in a shiny black revolver,
And now there was no doubting his intent.
His hand was badly shaking; there was certain no mistaking
As he laid the deadly pistol to his head.
Before when Bill was stable he chuckled at the fable:
He would exit on a round of smoking lead.
 
His finger slowly tightened; he felt somewhat enlightened,
Full-intending he would put himself away.
It might be a moment longer, for his will was growing stronger,
Facing final trip—returning to the clay.
He'd spend fifty years in prison if he took a life like hisn,
But he didn't feel that crazy in the head.
With each moment looming bigger, he just couldn't pull the trigger
And join those ghostly figures from the dead.
 
Bill was treading slippery ice well prepared to pay the price
And write the final chapter to his ride.
He had, it did appear, sought to save his skinny rear,
As death in final moments he denied.
Flocks of buzzards floating over forebode the calling clover,
But gourmet luncheon? Bill those birds defied.
Though hunger each had shown, Bill could satisfy his own
And still retain possession of his hide.
 
Then one day we found Bill dead with a bullet in his head.
His passing marked the finish to my rhymes.
The boys broke down and cried when they found how Bill had died;
He'd missed that shot a dozen other times.
Let never it be said when the gates of heaven spread,
Yielding to the peal of golden chimes,
Bill might weaken just a bit, but was never known to quit,
Just because that trail to heaven's tough to climb.

© 2008, Bob Schild
This poem may not be reprinted or reposted without the author's permission.  
         

Bob comments:  In retrospect: Sammy Flynn, an old rodeo buddy, and I were reminiscing a while back and the questionable whereabouts of such a fellow we once knew—back when—came up. This poem, we decided, could well be true!



Quick Ride

We've called him Quick Ride Robbins since he popped onto the earth;
That's what his Pappy named him, he was premature at birth.
He fell out of his bassinette, rolled down a million stairs;
His Mom decided early: He'd best learn to say his prayers.
 
To fall off in the arena one must clear the bucking chutes,
That was difficult for Quick Ride, he would fall out of his boots.
He'd tumble off a sidewalk and he'd fall out of his car;
He fell off every bar stool hoisting butts at Curley's bar.
 
If he heard a whistle blowing—from the tanbark usually—
He'd pop the pupils from his eye balls looking for a referee.
Expressed in bar room lingo—as often cowboys did—
Were loudly voiced opinions: why he'd never sired a kid.
 
He'd fall off of the chute gate—often earlier than late.
He couldn't ride a mattress for the total count of eight.
He'd fall off of his foretops if you turned him up side down;
It seemed to fit his calling: spilling quickly to the ground.
 
But he'd send the horse hair flying if "three fingers" passed his breast—
Enshrined in satin shirt sleeves with no witness to attest.
While propped against a wet bar with a glass in either hand
He would rowel the rankest critters to have grazed the western land.
 

© 2009, Bob Schild
This poem may not be reprinted or reposted without the author's permission.  
 

Bob comments: This story is actually a very true to life rendition brought to mind by two people it most closely exemplifies.

 

The Goat Tying

An unusual attachment connected brothers three:
They practiced vocal surges some called "ventriloquy."
John, who was the eldest and the merry-makers choice,
Could mock the calls of creatures in a duplicating voice.

These lads were mischief-makers full of boyish deviltry,
Hell-bent, they sported roguish smiles not borne of gallantry.
Quick were the boys to heed the call, their talents to devote,
When next weeks college rodeo fell short one contest goat.

Goat-tier's choice is here defined, just so you'll understand.
The voiced demands of Jills and Jans came straight from Disneyland:
"A dainty, wistful, redolent, sweet virgin Nanette Goat,
With brown eyes soft and tender gazing through a silky coat".

Forgive the guys, their sparkling eyes, the smirk upon each face,
Who seemed acutely eager to lead the merry chase.
They canvassed stock-commission yards-Spokane to Lewiston;
Here and there they skipped a pen, all in the name of fun.

The cold Clearwater River hid a diamond in the rough,
Where scores of goats thrived on an isle, perhaps one had the stuff
To make the girls all happy-their choice had been defined:
They sought to have a "Lady Goat" with manners well refined.

"You, Jake and Joe, go find a boat to commandeer and row;
We'll heist a lovely specimen for next week's rodeo.
A rubber raft should fill the bill, but we must plan it right;
It's blacker than the ace out there, we'll figure on tonight!"

"Now ain't that nice of you," groaned Joe, "Who gave them all a vote?
Just let them paddle their canoe and steal their own damned goat.
Did you agree to paint its lips? What's happened to your mind?
Why don't you manicure its nails and powder its behind?

"Do you prefer a candidate to win a beauty show,
Or do you seek a tying goat for this here rodeo?
If you need help to see this through go find yourself a fool.
On second thought, lets get it on, I'm growing bored with school."

"Bingo," grinned John, "You're in the game, let's have some cowboy fun.
This well may be, in history, the first time it's been done.
It ain't like we were stealing goats we'll take the Nanny back;
For most, it's their first rodeo, let's cut the girls some slack!"

Those college boys deserve a cheer they planned the aqua-stunt,
Without, I fear one brain in gear-to put it rather blunt!
Come night two booted buccaneers procured a two-man raft
To consummate the mission, for the want of larger craft.

When at the pinnacle of night they eased her to the drink,
In spite of all the air inside the raft began to sink.
The grand success they plotted and the search just set upon.
Two men alone must man the boat or weight would sink the pawn.

Necessity may fail to bear the fruit of man's intent.
Lead him to shot gun tactics which clear thinking could prevent.
When cargo threatened overload, the facts were there to note:
One of these three to stage the coup must push or tow the boat!

Jake's furrowed brow looked puzzled-how? The answer...There, big John,
Who swims just like a dolphin when the mackerel rise to spawn.
Use rope and pad (John's flannel shirt) for harness, that should make.
He'll tug the craft with Joe and Jake atop its boiling wake.

John balked then more defiant than a booted alley cat;
So Jake tried subtle coaxing used by slick-tongue bureaucrats.
Sense of reason did not tell John he might provide the thrust
And the more Jake pled and reasoned why the louder Johnny cussed.

John seemed at last to weaken, then responded with a nod,
And By God you shoulda seen him when that water hit his bod.
Roaring like a cougar why he set a record pace.
Splashing trout from out the water with a grimace on his face!

Ah sweet success, to tell it straight, the boys were feeling grand
When John full-filled his mission and they trod upon dry land,
Abandoning the anger, which in John might surface yet,
Those three with trusty lariats fanned out to form a net.

They combed that bushy island in a nearly fruitless bid,
To find but granny nannies suckled by their bleating kids
The dawn was fast approaching, there remained one glaring fact:
The goal was: fill the order, not surrender in the act!

They formed a council circle, like Apaches planning war,
When, "Damn", growled John, "We've carried this a bit too blasted far!
The girls earned straight up treatment-so responding to their rights—
We'd better find a Billy Goat that snorts and hooks and fights!

"I don't recall one 'dainty, Harley Tucker bucking ox;
They asked for equal options boys, that fact may save our socks.
Look, ripping up that willow root...a stinking Billy Buck;
If that bear-breath monster nails you, you'll think his throttle stuck."

The council's vote: unanimous, that Billy goes to town.
But thrice before they tripped him he'd bowled Johnny to the ground.
By luck and perseverance, with a willow travois,
They skidded Billy to the raft, by then their odor's gross!

"Boys," crowed John, "We've caught a brute, he's nearly record size.
Looks like a Texas Longhorn, he's a foot between the eyes.
I'm guessing, as he lies there, he'll stand nearly thirteen hands.
Don't look for me to tow him back, for I have other plans."

Again the council gathered, harnessed Bill like John before,
Then turned Bill Goat to face the North, toward the farthest shore.
John cut loose Billy's bindings, and, also facing north;
He cast his voice to resonate for all that he was worth.

There echoed 'cross the valley a lonesome nanny's bleat,
To inspire in Bill a passion expectant of a treat.
As he gazed across the river, a shudder wracked his form,
Then leaping into water he defied the standing norm.

When Billy bowed his neck against the tension of the rope
He ripped the tub from dry-dock with a speed exceeding hope.
Goat-wranglers three performing like a relay's final heat
Just barely caught the raft in time to gain a frothy seat.

They skimmed across the waters so to reach the northern shore
With Billy still increasing stride in hope that he could score.
Respective of his effort rose the ground held once before,
There Billy found dry footing and the fight was on once more.

Billy's quest for distant ridges and a lover there to view
Was derailed by rocky outcrops not spaced to let him through.
As swains before in loss of love had floundered thus distraught,
Billy wilted in submission like he'd been belly-shot.

His weakness temporary left in play the battleground,
For Billy was responding with a vigor quite profound.
He'd turned the lust for romance to a fight for liberty;
He fought a gallant battle for the right to remain free.

Before "Sweet Billy" once again lay tethered on the ground
The fumes that rose above him wilted flowers yards around.
No mild restraint subdued him-education claimed the tab—
They laid him low with chloroform hooked from a college lab.

Ungrateful were the ladies for the "Star" the boys possessed.
Before the contest ended, it's a fact: they were impressed.
Wranglers, bra's and panties found a clothes-line on his horn,
A bright festoon of lingerie his rapier to adorn.

The girls rode bravely forward-as six hundred to the death—
Bill upended all their horses and he took away their breath.
He quivered with excitement, but he held the battle ground,
Sent the judge to greener pastures-his flag was never found!

Billy bounced along the stairway, storming the announcer's stand,
As if he'd scaled a rocky ridge and topped the Tetons Grand!
He silenced the announcer, when he ripped apart the sound,
Then he flipped him from his bulwark and he flung him to the ground.

When, charging to the rescue both the pickup riders flew,
Why Billie upped the anti-he'd a score to settle too—
He ducked their singing lariats, set horses in a skid.
He'd learned to handle ropers when he was just a kid.

He plowed into the beer stand, foaming cans and bottles flew,
Then he stood his ground among them, while lapping up the brew.
Thirst led there to his downfall, trussed inside the Rambler's trunk,
He'd have never lost the battle if he hadn't gotten drunk!

They shuttled Bill to Lewiston, his home range, once again.
How sad it was to leave him, still hung over and in pain.
Again resisting water, 'til the vibe's came from the south,
He heard the call to romance-from Johnny's artful mouth.

It's true, but unacknowledged: In the goat tie Bill placed first,
The three who had purloined him weren't expelled, just soundly cursed.
Crown the bulls! Their rider's glory was split upon the ground.
Goat tiers tied for second, 'cause that has a better sound!

© 2009, Bob Schild
This poem may not be reprinted or reposted without the author's permission.  


Bob told us, "This is based on reality. Howard Harris, John Holt and I did make a trip by rubber raft, we did apprehend a goat and we did return it."


He adds, "The goat was returned to the island after the rodeo. Its owners probably
never dreamed they owned a rodeo star. This occurred in the 1950s. Some
parts of the story may be incorrectly stated as per detail-Lets attribute it
to the light spots in my memory. Don't stories often get better with each
telling?"

 

Read Bob Schild's Ode to an Old Friend, posted with 2007 New Year poems

and

Santa Comes Calvin' and Christmas 2003 posted with Holiday 2003 poems

 

Books and Recordings
 

Pure Bull -- Well Organized

Cowboy Poetry, Folklore & Western History
by Bob Schild

With an Introduction by Hal Cannon
& Illustrations by Mike Stanger

Contains:

The Presumptuous Rookie
College Cowboy
The Cowboy, Passing of a Legend
Doctor Bill (Larsen)
The Root of All Evil
A Nose is a Nose is a Nose
The Poverty Wagon
Happy Birthday Bob (Peterson)
Owen Barton, Cowboy Poet
Cowboy Poetry, Creation & Content
Whoa Up, Santa
The Idaho Spud
Instinked
Top of the World
The Tie
Friends Need Friends
Training Old Blue
Reride
The Grey Wolf
The Five Seasons of the Year
Love is a Bloomer
Polly-tics
Cariboo Mountain Murders
Ambushed
Christmas at Grandma's
The Good Life
Harry
Hootie
The Button and the Champ
Ride for Ninety-One
The Long Ride
Tom, Do You Remember?
The Jam O'R Jerry's Rock
Loss Breeds Lonesome
The Maverick Bull
Luck
Light the Board
Uncle Paul
Sock it to Her Al
Rodeo Judge
Gracias Amigos

and illustrations and photos


Introduction, Getting it Right
    by Hal Cannon

When we started the Cowboy Poetry Gathering in 1985, Bob Schild was one of a handful of poets who came to recite poems about rodeo.  I've always admired anyone who attempts to capture in language something that defies language. Rodeo is not easily put into words.  Rodeo is full of emotion -- fear and courage.  Rodeo is visual -- full of kinetic action.  Rodeo is historical -- anyone involved in rodeo is full of stories about the past, about the characters and calamities that chronicle the sport.

Besides the power of his poems, two things stick out about that first encounter with Bob Schild.  I asked him why he learned cowboy poetry. Remember, this was long before cowboy poetry became popular.  Few cowboy poets had published books and this was before there were scores of cowboy poetry events to perform at.  Bob told me he and his buddies learned poems to keep each other awake on those long all-night drives between rodeos.  I loved that foundation of poetry appreciation.  The old poems were not learned to impress anyone.  Their function was just part of life, staying awake.

The other thing Bob told me, which always struck with me, is how when he writes a poem his main attention is to "getting it right."  I often ask myself what does Bob mean by this?  What does it take to get a poem right? I know that if you could catalog the ingredients of what Bob does to get a poem right you would have captured the qualities of his poetry. 

A partial list might include:  Bob is true to the memory of his friends and to the experiences they shared.  His poems reflect the past as accurately as possible.  Bob has lived the life, "first hand." He knows the fear and courage of the eight second ride.  Though it takes digging deep in the soul, Bob finds words to express the emotions of a life lived on the line.  Bob chooses a full range of experiences to express in poetry.  His poems go from a heart wrench to a belly laugh.  Bob is a craftsman.  He gives the same attention to the traditional craft of rhyme and meter that he would give to the working of leather into a fine saddle.

It is said that only about 5% of the garden variety fruits and vegetables that were commonly grown a hundred years ago are being grown today.  What happened to those ninety-five percent of varieties that are lost?  Did we decide that five types of apples sold in the supermarket represent the best in taste and texture?  Did we not need the other types of apples?  We believe because there are a hundred channels to choose from on TV that our choice is vast.  We have gained many things in the past century, but what have we lost?

Bob Schild is one of those rare varieties that they just don't raise anymore.  His poems represent a community of rodeo and ranch life which is passing out of existence.

The community of memory I am writing about is not the fact that Bob can recite fifty poems from memory.  It is that memory which Bob holds and expresses in his poetry that tells what rodeo was about when Bob won the Saddle Bronc at the N. I. R. A. finals in Portland, 1952.  It is the memory of traveling the professional rodeo circuit during the fifties and sixties. It is the memory of all the stories told over a saddle-making bench in his shop, B Bar B Leather in Blackfoot, Idaho.  It is the heritage of southern Idaho.  This memory is a treasure and what makes it a treasure that Bob is not stingy with that memory.  He puts all his energy and talent into words, verses, and poems.  He gets it right for us.

This is Bob's second collection of poetry, his first being Spur Tracks and Buffalo Chips. His poems have appeared in numerous anthologies including a best selling anthology I compiled in 1986, Cowboy Poetry, a Gathering.

For this collection he is joined by an old musician friend of mine who is a top hand artists and illustrator, as well.  Mike Stanger grew up in southern Idaho on the Double Arrow Ranch near Idaho Falls.  He has illustrated three other books, has made custom western paintings for Gibson Guitar Company, and his works can be found in galleries in Idaho and Montana.

Hal Cannon
Founding Director
Western Folklife Center  Elko, Nevada


Preface
by Bob Schild

The old west is gone but not deceased.  It lives forever in the hearts, minds, novels and poetry of those who savor its culture and its memory.

Being myself creatively, socially, and emotionally involved, as a contributing Cowboy Poet, has afforded me the opportunity to overhear and partake of the usually friendly debates on the basic whys and wherefores of Cowboy Poetry -- What constitutes a cowboy and who has a license to authoritatively represent the breed?

There are, in my opinion, no justifying requirements, no limits, no rules. Cowboy poetry of today seldom bears the scent of chuck wagon grub or the dust of a trail herd plodding from Brownsville, Texas to Browning, Montana, nor does it describe the weary thud, thud of horses' hooves on prairie sod at the close of a day's or week's long journey -- guided only by stars, mountain ranges, or river drainages.  We, for the most part, are observers whose deepest roots may scarce touch upon a now faded past.

Growing up on a farm livestock operation on the edge of the Fort Hall Indian Reservation, I, from my earliest recollections, have considered myself a cowboy, who has at every stage of life been affiliated with livestock people. Educated a stockman (B. S., Animal Science, Colorado A & M College) I performed as a rough string rider (or modern day equivalent thereof) continuously for over eighteen years, riding saddle broncs, bareback broncs and bulls -- from the Cow Palace, in San Francisco to Madison Square Garden in New York City (competing full time eight of the eighteen).  


Bob Schild bull riding at Nephi, Utah

I won the "National Intercollegiate Rodeo Association" titles in Saddle Bronc and Bareback Riding (in 1954) and currently hold a Gold Card (lifetime) membership in the PRCA (card #4830).  Thirty three years of my life were spent running my own successful saddle shop (B Bar B Leather) in Blackfoot, Idaho.  I know no other life than that of the rancher, horseman, and rodeo cowboy.  The language, the mannerisms, the warmth, the humility and appreciation for humor are the wonderful traits that abound in these, my truest friends!  This facet of life my verse reflects. 

Cowboy Poetry has many definitions.  My own:  It is generally easy to understand and its scope is endless.  Cowboy Poetry, as I see it, consists of thoughts or opinions expressed freely, in verse, that portray an unbridled western life of today and yesteryear from numerous, varied points of view.  No one has the right to qualify or censure it.

Bob Schild
1996

  Pure Bull -- Well Organized

11.95 plus 1.50 postage ($ 13.45 total)
from:

Bob Schild
486 W. Hwy. 39
Blackfoot, ID 83221

`


Wild Rides and Jails

"True Poems and Tales"

(2010)

Includes 18 original poems:

Quick Ride Robbins
Passion of the Draw
The Hat Dance
The Marauder
College Cowboy
The Button and the Champ
Ride for Ninety-One
The Long Ride
The New Hat
Lady Killer
2002 Xmas Poem
The Wreck
The Horse-Shoe Dot Steer
Cowboy Poetry-Creation and Content
Henley Style
May-Ian
Roundup on the Blackfood
Ode to an Old Friend

 

Wild Rides and Jails is available for $15 postpaid from:

Bob Schild
486 W. Hwy. 39
Blackfoot, Idaho 83221

  B Bar B Leather
P.O. Box 478
Blackfoot, Idaho 83221
www.bbarbleather.com

208 785 1731

 


Lazy SB Poetry


Cover from a painting by Keith Avery

"Poems of humor, heartache and horse sense, based on a life in ranch, rodeo and roughhouse and polished by half a century in cowboy poetry."

 The CD includes 17 original poems and another with an interesting back story:

Includes:

The Rustler
The Tie
Light the Board
Hotcake
Rodeo Judge
The Cowboy, Passing of a Legend
Poetic Horses
The Gene Implant
The Long Ride
Lockjaw Virgil
The Rooster's Revenge
Cabbage Head
Seventy
The Presumptuous Rookie
Sock it to Her Al
Two of a Kind
Shorty
Doc Brown

 

Lazy SB Poetry is available for $15 postpaid from:

Bob Schild
486 W. Hwy. 39
Blackfoot, Idaho 83221

  B Bar B Leather
P.O. Box 478
Blackfoot, Idaho 83221
www.bbarbleather.com

208 785 1731


 

Spur Tracks & Buffalo Chips


Cowboy Verse and Country Chortling
by Bob Schild
with an introduction by Bob Loper

Contains:

The Kid Solos
Bucking Down
Catching the Fever
The Appy Man
The Cowboy and the Minah Bird
The Roun Dass
The Old Dunn Mare
Pleasure in Sharing
Moose Tracks
Loper's Sleigh
Fred Hoopes
Avery's Ode
Bill
The Meadow Muffin Duel
Please Lord
Man's Best Friend
The River's Story
Time's Progress
The Wedding Band
Confidence Powder
The Boogey Man
The Battle of Malad City
The Curse of the Buffalo Meat
Advice to the Lovelorn
Tom's Home Cookin' Diner
The Reservation Point
Tomorrow Becomes Yesterday
The Grass on the Other Side of the Fence
The Riding of the Devil
Santa Comes Calvin'
Two of a Kind
Tarpley's Ranch
Esther
Beans
Dear Molly
Mother's Love
Grand Teton is My Lady
Red Avery
Life's Uncertainty
Bad Hand Bill
Waterhole Will
The Horny Toad
The New Hat
Speaking of Road Apples
Speaking of Coyotes
The Rooster's Revenge
Morning Cup by Campfire
That Old Saddle
Snake Pizen
The Elk Hunter
Friends

 

buffchips.jpg (148064 bytes)

 Spur Tracks & Buffalo Chips

9.95 plus 1.50 postage ($ 11.45 total)
from:

Bob Schild
486 W. Hwy. 39
Blackfoot, ID 83221

 

About Bob Schild (continued from above):

The family made another move, farther out on the reservation, into a two room frame house that would have made Abe Lincoln proud: a hand pump, a two-holer, no other outbuildings, no electricity, more work but more wide open spaces.  Jack and I slept in an 8x8 umbrella tent the first two winters and the summer between.  Zero degrees outside and 2" frost inside the tent top, we learned to dress in seconds and dart quickly to the wood burning cook stove inside the house.

Dad bought some second-hand lumber and built an adequate barn, with corrals -- sturdy, fairly roomy, no frills, a workable unit.

We siblings attended the Tyhee Grade School, one mile off the reservation to the south, doing chores before and after school.  In the winter, when the cattle and horses were in on dry feed, Jack and I pumped their endless gallons of drinking water (the girls, Betty, Shirley, and B. J. weren't excluded) by hand.  In the summer we were all field hands.  We had to struggle in order to survive and everyone, including our mother, shared the burden.  Play or idle chatter were never options.

We were all still pretty small when Dad bought two little mares: Trix (about 700  lbs) and Coaly (850 to 900 lbs).  Trix taught horsemanship to all of us:  She was an excellent reining mare.  On her, we'd race all comers to a point (say 25 to 35 feet distance) and back to the starting point.  I don't remember her ever losing.  She did have three faults:  She'd kick the head off your shoulders, she always bucked if her rider yielded control for an instant (or if someone poked a stick under her tail) and, once loose, she couldn't be caught with a 1000 acre net.  Today I would have solved that third problem, but then I didn't know how.  Everything being considered, Trix alone made hands of us.  After we'd learned to control Trix, breaking Coaly was a snap.

During high school we rode a bus to Pocatello High School, doing chores, milked cows, fed stock and pumped water before and after school.  We had no time for sports, and no way home except by school bus or Shank's Ponies.  We were in better physical condition than most of the school lettermen, but not from competitive play.  Our only recreation was to get astraddle those two mares and escape to the juniper breaks east of the Portneuf and Snake Rivers.  The six Wynn boys, our nearest neighbors half a mile southwest and Jason Palmer, a mile northeast, grouping together, converted us into a junior Wild Bunch, but all of our horses were soon well broke.

Jack and I started breaking a few horses for an extra buck.  It seldom came.

My high school Ag teacher, Herb Glindeman, set me up with the beginning of a registered cow herd.  I showed one heifer, one bull calf, my current saddle horse Jiggs, and a draft colt in the county 4H/FFA Fair, winning first and fitting and showing with each of the four.  Later, a second Ag teacher, Ralph Matthews, adjusted my ambitions toward the U. of I. at Moscow, Idaho.  I had no idea how I'd ever make it through.  I didn't have a dime, but Ralph obtained for me a Sears Roebuck Scholarship ($100.00) and a 65 cents per hour job cleaning box stalls at the university dairy.  So armed and with $150.00 I'd earned in summer employment, plus a train ticket, I set sail into the ocean of higher learning.

At school, my roommate, Alden Fitch, and I raced through our daily chores at the dairy barn, beginning at 4:00 A. M. and nearly always made our eight o'clock class on time.  Alden did better, but I often went to sleep in my eight o'clock class.  I spent the first Christmas vacation, all of the hours I could stand, still at school, on the end of a pitchfork, bettering my education.  I did come away smarter (at least in an economic sense).

When the school year ended I was operating in the black, but there had been absolutely no play, which I was used to.

I needed a summer job but had no idea how to go about finding one. Two cowboy friends, Ardmore, Oklahoma native John Holt and native of no place in particular, Carl Yocom, had both obtained employment wrangling dudes at Sun Valley.  John had a wreck with a bareback horse, fracturing his forearm.  I took his job.  Carl and I set out for the Wood River Valley in his old Model A, Beulah, his saddle strapped to the hood and a world of dreams in our heads.  In the meantime, Dad, faced now with a labor shortage, had sold out the farm and livestock business, my own livestock included.  I was now completely adrift.  I'd been weaned.

At Sun Valley, when the boss found out I could handle bad horses, I became the rough string rider.  I inherited and retuned all of the spoiled dude horses, plus one very sour gelding belonging to a Ketchum bar owner.  This I liked.  At the time, true to my training, I had little or no ability to relate to anyone I wasn't familiar with, but horses I understood.  I was, to the clientele, probably a pretty boring guide.

Back at school that fall, I was a bit better off financially; the dairy herdsman promoted me to assistant milker -- I carried the milk and dumped it into the cooler -- except for the extra dime, not much of an advancement.

The Ag school held a livestock show (Little International).  Students drew cattle by lot, from the University herd, which in case of a shortage (horses) was supplemented by local breeders.  Students competed for fitting and showing points only.  In two years at the University I won fitting and showing of light horses, shorthorn cattle and dairy cattle.  I also won the pie eating contest which was, I believe, judged on the basis of gluttony, not skill.  The Arabian horse I showed belonged to Carlton Cummings.  After the show he asked if I'd ride some of his horses, which I did.  He never paid me less than $5.00 per ride and, school being my primary objective, I seldom rode one over about an hour each when saddled.  I think, probably, he was trying to help me out and having a horse ridden was the one way he could do so and keep me from feeling obligated to him (which I deeply appreciated).  It surely helped supplement my dairy wage (which I could not have survived without) and I've always appreciated him for it.

One fall day, when I first arrived at school, Carl, saddle strapped to his automobile hood, as usual, offered to take John Holt, Pat Leuder and myself to Riverside, north of Moscow, where the rodeo team intended to practice their bronc riding.  I was ecstatic, expecting to see some top hands in action, real athletes -- what a letdown!  The rodeo club was in its first full year and the boys didn't have much more experience than I did, perhaps less (none).  They had a few wild horses in the chutes, chute rattlers, banging up the chutes.  No one wanted to get on that kind of horse.  "Well," I said, "If all you need is someone to get on them, loan me a rigging or a saddle and I'll get on them."  The bareback horse bucked me off in about 7 seconds but the owner rested him and put him back in.  With a saddle, I had no trouble riding him.  From that day on I was as capable as any of the team members.  An unanticipated reward -- manure pitching helps keep one fit, athletic, and strong!  I'm sure I wasn't the best rider there; I was in the best physical condition.

I tried a few broncs after this initial encounter, knowing it was a sport I could not afford on my part time wage...dismissed the thought and concentrated on more serious aspects of survival.

Howard Harris, attempting to get a winning rodeo team started, was having minimal success.  I'd been on about eight head of tryout horses (collectively) but he couldn't find anyone else with equal experience or enthusiasm.  He set about trying to gather a few boys to compete in Salem, Oregon's first college production.  At first, I refused, pleading poverty.

"I'll pay your entry fees and expenses," he volunteered.

I refused, aware that repayment might be near impossible on my part time wage.  

"You'll probably live to be 45 or 50, if you're lucky.  You can pay me back sometime!  If you don't go you're C. S."

I went, winning the saddle bronc riding and 5th place points in the bareback riding...$50.00 cash money for the first place, equivalent to two weeks' pay on the pitchfork handle.  Howard refused a share of the windfall.  Come spring, it was easier to convince me to go to Missoula, Montana to compete in M. S. U.'s rodeo.  First in saddle bronc and second in bareback riding paid $67.00.  To me, at the time, a ton of money.  I went back that summer to win the bareback riding at Missoula's R. C. A. (Now called P. R. C. A.) rodeo.

U. S. A. C. at Logan, Utah, sponsored their first college rodeo in the spring of 1952.  At Logan I won the saddle bronc and bull riding (my 1st contest bull).  A saddle was presented as the All Around Award (my 1st trophy saddle).  Carl Yocom paid my entry fees, I couldn't swing it on my own.

Colorado A. & M. was more supportive of their rodeo club than U. of I. I made the decision to transfer.  The first year at Colorado (working in the student union coffee shop, still earning 75 cents per hour and breaking a few colts on the side) with Dave Branger often backing me on entry fees, I placed third and fourth, nationally, in Saddle-Bronc and Bareback Riding, and second in the National Intercollegiate Rodeo Association All Around standings.  In 1954 I was able to win both events, nationally, and again runner up for the All Around spot.  Howard Harris won the All Around title with an 11 point advantage on 1800 plus points each.

Teammate John Gee, Bull-Dogger and Bareback Rider won the Steer Wrestling title and, drawing from a strong reserve of contesting cowboys (capable of fielding three good teams in a single week) Colorado A & M won the National Intercollegiate Rodeo Team Trophy.  I would have never dreamed this possible that day at Riverside.


Bob Schild on A-11
Tucson, Arizona 1958

With a degree in Animal Science from Colorado A. & M. and a gear bag of rodeo equipment I set out to pursue my goal -- purchase of a cow outfit large enough to be self sustaining.  Reaching toward that goal I rodeoed professionally until 1961.  During these years as a pro-rodeo contestant, traveling with two Canadian cowboys, Bud Sharpe and Bud McKague, I first became enamored of cowboy poetry, reading and reciting back at the motel between rodeo performances or reciting to each other to enable us to stay awake during the marathon drives between rodeo towns.


Bob Schild
Riverside, California  1958

By the early sixties I was sure the ranch was "Pie in the Sky."  Still too short of cash to succeed, in the spring of 1961 I started a saddlery business (B Bar B Leather) in Blackfoot, Idaho.  In September, The Western Horseman published an informative article on a portion of my rodeo career.  They "saved my bacon."  Under funded and inexperienced in saddlery or business, I had little chance to succeed.  That one article brought an instant nationwide clientele.  The first article was followed in April of 1962 by a second.  They inadvertently solicited the business; all I had to do was take care of it.


Modified Association saddle built by Bob Schild
 in his shop in Blackfoot for the Idaho Old Timers Rodeo Association

I supplemented my leather business by continuing to rodeo, part time, into the late sixties.  In spite of my limited schedule, I broke a few horses and did some cowboying, though most of my cowboying was working those green horses on cattle when I could fit them in, or an overnight pack trip.


Bob Schild on Bar 6
Red Bluff, California 1959

After I lost my wife, Gay, in 1994, I sold the business to my three sons: Jeff, Shawn, and Kelly.  They now operate it successfully.

I write poetry (or prose for that matter) for my own pleasure.  If someone else enjoys it I receive double benefits.  The laborious years of my youth taught me to keep my mouth shut and get the work done.  These lessons, pounded in over half a lifetime, and survival depending on what I could do with my hands for a living most the rest of it, were lessons well learned.  Correct words don't always come easily to me.  I often find myself seemingly non-communicative.  This by force of habit, not choice.  I love people, I love to socialize, and I love to write.

I was author of the original Rules and By-Laws for the Cowboy Poets of Idaho.

I have been a paid performer at Elko eight times, beginning with the first Gathering in 1985.  I've self-published two books,  Spur Tracks & Buffalo Chips and Pure Bull -- Well Organized. 

Bob Schild
June, 2003; updated November, 2007


2001

Contact Information

Bob Schild
486 W. Hwy. 39
Blackfoot, ID 83221
email

 

 

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