Stills From Ridin' & Rhymin'
About Georgie Sicking
A real cowboy, Georgie Sicking earned the title and the respect with hard work and unflagging determination. She says she had two of the best cowboys as her teachers: her father and step father.
She was invited to the first Cowboy Poetry Gathering at Elko and has returned many times, is a frequent featured guest at the Arizona Cowboy Poets Gathering, and is a Cowgirl Hall of Fame Honoree. Georgie is renowned for her colorful stories of her full life, and she tells about her earliest days in this excerpt from her most recent book of poetry, Just More Thinking:
At the time of my birth, my dad and mom owned a ranch at a place called Knight Creek, 40 miles from the nearest town, Kingman, Arizona. I was born May 20, 1921 to Oscar and Mayme Connell in the town of Selligman, Arizona. My mother had been cooking on dutch ovens for a roundup crew and decided to get a month's rest in town before my birth. After a ride in a Model T over rough roads, I was born the next day, after she got to town. I had a sister, Ada, four years old. My parents had their hearts set on a boy, with the name picked out. I shocked them so much bein a girl they didn't have the heart to find a new name, so I have carried the name Georgie for all my life.
When I was two my brother Clyde was born, and my mom had her hands full. There were wild hogs along the creek and my dad had been gathering big steers and putting them in a pasture by the house. After having to run me down many times and being in fear of my life, my mom halter-broke me. She made a small harness from leather straps and tied me to a tamarack tree by the house where she could watch me. She also taught me to ride when i was tow, on a horse she had broke. This was necessary, as our main and only way of travel was horseback.
For my fifth birthday, my dad bought an eight-year-old gelding, Morgan and Thoroughbred breeding. He had been raised a pet and was fond of biscuits. I would take a biscuit to where he was, drop it on the ground, and when he put his head down to get it, I would climb on his head, crawl up his neck, and be on his back. I could turn him by slapping his neck, and stop him by pretending to fall off. I owned him for 20 years, until he died. I named him Buster.
When I was five my dad bought a house in Kingman. Mom moved into town to send us kids to school. It was a different life and I didn't like it. Buster was at the ranch, nothing to ride, and I had to wear dresses! There were some burros around town prospectors had turned loose, and sometimes kids would let us ride on them. Everyone was dissatisfied with town life, so my dad bought a farm on the Big Sandy, 25 miles from Knight Creek, and mom moved there. We rode three miles horseback to the Trout Creek school. I had Buster with me again and was happy. There was an Indian camp between the farm and the school. The Indians sure wanted to outrun Buster but never did, although we had many races in the sand wash.
A bad drought and depression hit in 1929 and 1930. My dad lost most of the Hooked H Ranch to the Cudahey Meat Packing Company. He sold the cattle to pay lawyers to save the land and lost both. He had one small place that he was able to keep, plus the farm. He and Mom were divorced. He kept the small mountain place, and she got the farm. This was when I was nine. I also broke my first horse that year. He was about 10 months old. My dad had roped him out of a wild bunch. I rode him bareback for two months before my dad brought my saddle from his place. I wanted to be a cowgirl in the worst way and figured breaking a colt was sure a step in the right direction.
After about a year my mother remarried, a cowboy by the name of Sam Fancher. Sam should have been a teacher, for he sure had a way of explaining things so I could understand them. I was riding another colt, and he would show me how to pull to keep its head low, how to get on without getting kicked, and many other things. Sam would take colts to break to earn money as times were hard. he would start them all, then put me on the gentler ones.
We stayed with our mom and stepdad in the winter and went to school. Summers were spent at Knight Creek. My dad was building another bunch of cattle, using us kids for help. I was roping calves in the branding corral by the age of ten. My dad was a dally man. He wouldn't let us tie our rope. Buster had been broke for a tied rope and would brace himself immediately when a calf was caught. Consequently, I suffered many rope burns and loss of temper. My dad would just laugh and say, "That old horse will never learn to dally."
Excerpted from Just More Thinking....
When I was young and foolish,
The women said to me,
"Take off those spurs and comb your hair
If a lady you will be.
"Forget about those cowboy ways
come and sit a while,
We will try to clue you in
On women's ways and whiles.
"Take off that Levi jumper
Put up that those bat wing chaps.
Put on a little makeup and
We can get a date for you, 'perhaps.'
"Forget about that roping.
That will make calluses on your hands.
And you know it takes soft fingers
If you want to catch a man!
"Do away with that Stetson hat
For is will crush your curls.
And even a homely cowboy wouldn't
Date a straight-haired girl."
Now being young and foolish,
I went my merry way.
I guess I never wore a dress
Until my wedding day.
Now I tell my children,
No matter what you do,
stand up straight and tall,
Be you, and only you.
For if the Lord had meant us, all to be alike,
And the same rules to keep,
He would have bonded us all together,
Just like a band of sheep.
© Georgie Sicking
This poem may not be reprinted or reposted without the author's written permission.
Georgie Sicking's poetry is included in many anthologies and she has two books in print and a CD, released in 2007:
The To Be a Top Hand CD includes her recitation of fifteen of her original poems, and Gail I. Gardner's "Moonshine Steer" (see the complete track list here).
A quote from Georgie appears on the back of the CD, "To be a cowgirl is more than just fluff and stuff. You have to do your share of the work, kill your own snakes, never complain, mount up even when you know you may get bucked off, and all the while being more of a lady at work than when you are at home."
Just More Thinking is a compilation of Georgie Sicking's two earlier books, Just Thinking and More Thinking. It includes her autobiography and numerous poems (see the contents list here).
A Mare Among the Geldings is biography of Georgie Sicking by Glorianne Weigand, with poetry, stories, and photos (see the contents list here).
Just More Thinking and A Mare Among the Geldings
are available for $18 postpaid each, from:
PO Box 11
Kaycee, Wyoming 82639
Read more of Georgie Sicking's poetry in our feature here.
DVD/VHS Order Information
Ridin' & Rhymin'
Directed by Greg Snider and Dawn Smallman
© 2005 Far Away Films, LLC
To order Ridin' & Rhymin':
Please send check or money order for $20.00, plus $3.95 for shipping and handling, to:
Far Away Films, LLC
1148 SE 50th Ave.
Portland, OR 97215
*specify DVD or VHS format when ordering.
Festivals where Ridin' & Rhymin' has been screened include:
20th National Cowboy Poetry Gathering / Elko, Nevada
Northwest Folklife Festival / Seattle, Washington
Big Sky Documentary Film Festival / Missoula, Montana
Hot Spring Documentary Film Festival / Hot Springs, Arkansas
Northwest Film & Video Festival / Portland, Oregon
New Zealand International Film Festival / Auckland, New Zealand
American Folklore Society / Salt Lake City, Utah
Cowboy Jubilee / Jackson Hole, Wyoming
Santa Fe Film Festival / Santa Fe, New Mexico
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