Cowboy Poetry and Music and More at the BAR-D Ranch


Rod Nichols

Lariat Laureate
First Lariat Laureate Winner

of Missouri City, Texas
recognized for his poem Rooster

Featured in "The Big Roundup," an anthology of the best of

With deep sadness, we learned that Rod Nichols died December 22, 2007.

Rod was a prolific writer, and in recent years he performed at many events and gatherings, including the recent National Cowboy Poetry Rodeo. A friend to all, he hosted a poetry board (no longer available) where he was unfailingly welcoming and encouraging to all who participated. He was the "official poet" of the Live with Jim Thompson show, and had appeared twice at the Heritage of the American West show.

He published three books of his poetry, the recent Old Trees 'n Tumbleweeds, Drover Diaries, and A Little Bit of Texas (recipient of the Will Rogers Medallion Award, and produced several CDs, In God's Hands, Yep, A Little Bit More of Texas, and Cowboy Christmas.

Rod was a part of from its earliest days, and was the first Lariat Laureate. His work is included on the first two editions of The BAR-D Roundup and in The Big Roundup anthology.

Rod's son, Michael, posted a message on Rod's poetry board: "Rod passed away suddenly late Saturday evening. Rod gained a great deal of enjoyment in reading your posts, and this page was very important to him. He was a devoted father, a loving husband, an outstanding teacher, an immensely talented artist and poet, and an extraordinary man. We will all greatly miss him."

A memorial service took place Saturday, December 29, 2007. Scott Hill Bumgardner's account of the service is here.

There is an obituary and guestbook here at the funeral home site.

You can write to his wife Judith at P.O. Box 215, 6140 Hwy. 6, Missouri City, TX 77459.

A December 30, 2007 article by Mike Tolson in the Houston Chronicle, "Admiration for the West Heard in His Words," tells about Rod Nichols' life and quotes several poets and others.

See a page of tributes to Rod Nichols here.  Your remembrances are welcome. Email us.

Rod Nichols resided in Missouri City, Texas, until his death December 22, 2007.  Rod was a native Texan, born in Nacogdoches, Texas in 1942.  He told us "I've been encouraged to write in order to preserve our cowboy traditions."

Rod maintained a
  web site (no longer available), full of his poems, all illustrated and accompanied by music. His Lariat Laureate award winning poem, Rooster, was displayed with full illustration.  

Read about his books and recordings below.

We're proud to have three pages of Rod Nichols' poetry. 

This is Page one. 



Little Bit of Texas
To the Boys at Cutter Bill's Bar
New Year's Eve
Headin' In
Moses Rose
A Dads' Prayer

Simply the Best
Bill Pickett
Deep October
Buffalo Soldier

Rodeo, Ranchin' And Rhymes

Page two:

Faded Love
Odie's Bath
Poker Night
The Last Cattle Car
Salt Grass Trail
Cowboy Poetry
Cowboy Heaven
Grandpa's Trail
The Cowboy's Sailor
A Cowboy's Letter
Romancin' the Stone
A Fine Romance
A Visit to the Camp
The Thing Upon the Trail
Three Godfathers
Rivers of Texas
A Sea of Grass
A Cowboy's Poem
The Line Camp Cat
Trail Cook
Texas Saddle
Bull Rider

Page three:

In God's Hands
Cowboy Service
The Space on the Bunkhouse Wall
Dad's Way
Angels Round the Campfire
Old Hand
Cheyenne Buckle
Autumn Cowboy
Texas from a Saddle
Cowboy 4th of July
The Book that Coosie Left
A Pinpoint of Light
Home from South Dakota
Full Circle
A Penny's Worth
A Little Bit of Shade
Easter Sunday Mornin'

On other pages:

Art Spur poems:
Ridin' Out  
A Christmas Journey

End of Day

tribute to
T. R. Stephenson, 1935-2002
  tribute Louis A. Carle, 1924-2000
Christmas at the Bunkhouse honors his friends Louis A. Carle and Bob E. Lewis
Simply the Best
honors Jim Shoulders and other Rodeo greats

Christmas poems:
A Badger Clark Christmas (2005)
The Christmas Corral
A Christmas Journey (2004)
A Christmas Mem'ry
A Cowboy Christmas Carol
special Christmas poem (2002)
Christmas at the Bunkhouse
Christmas Comes to Line Camp
Little Britches
  Christmas Round the Campfire (2000)
New Year's Eve

From other competitions:
Saddle Knowledge (Only A Cowboy Knows), by Scott Bumgardner and Rod Nichols
Crimson Prairie Rose, by Rod Nichols and Misslette, the Singing Cowgirl

Cutter Bill's 4th of July

and more below

Alphabetical title index



We called him "Rooster"
for his two bandy legs
and a carrot-top head
and the crow'in he made,
cause like him or fight him
whatever the rules,
that sawed-off runt cowboy
could really shoot pool.

He'd put in a full day
and not miss a lick,
then dude up and brush up
and pick up his stick,
then head into town
to the local pool hall,
drink up and cue up
and challenge us all.

Then one night it happened
a stranger walked in,
with a custom made pool stick
and a yeller-toothed grin,
I've heard bout some rooster
that's known to shoot pool,
and I've come to challenge
that bird to a duel.

Now we called him "Rooster"
but us he all knew,
so he didn't take kindly
to a no-name yahoo,
what is you pleasure
old man with no name,
eight ball said the stranger
get on with the game.

The stranger broke quickly
and three stripes went in,
and two more in order
'fore Rooster began,
that's a fair piece of shootin
I'll have to say,
then he flat ran the table
'fore old Rooster could play.

Then Rooster went for him
with blood in his eyes,
but hugged him instead
much to all our surprise,
boys I've been funnin
and I hope you ain't mad,
cause this orn'ry old cuss
is my pool-shootin dad.

1999, Rod Nichols
This poem may not be reprinted or reposted without written permission.

This poem is included in our collection of 
poems about Cowboy Dads and Granddads

Little Bit of Texas

There's a little bit of Texas in each cowboy
it don't matter where that cowpoke might be found,
cause you see in history that's where cowboys came to be
and that legacy has spread near all around.

There's a little bit of Texas in each cowboy
if you scratch the outer surface you will see,
that beneath that orn'ry hide there's a bit of manly pride
and the best of western hospitality.

There's a little bit of Texas in each cowboy
in the way he walks and sets himself apart,
just a little bit I'm told but that's all it takes you know
to give a man a great big cowboy heart.

There's a little bit of Texas in each cowboy
in his style and talk and manner of his ways,
if you're havin' any doubt what a cowboy's all about
he's descended from the Lone Star Texas state.

There's a little bit of Texas in each cowboy
ev'ry time he rides and ropes and brands a steer,
from the type of rope he throws to the style of iron he chose
each has its roots in good old Texas gear.

There's a little bit of Texas in each cowboy
from his stetson to his cowboy boots and spurs,
and you got to tip your hat to a man as good as that
and give him all the credit he deserves.

There's a little bit of Texas in each cowboy
and I'm mighty proud to share that fact you see,
cause like the armadillo I grew up in Amarillo
and I've got a lot of Texas deep in me.

Rod Nichols
This poem may not be reprinted or reposted without written permission.


To the Boys at Cutter Bill's Bar

Me and the boys were cuttin' the dust
at a place known as Cutter Bill's Bar
when the barkeep named Slim
had a note handed him
and he called for us all to retire.

I've got this here message that I need to read
and it's signed by an hombre named Lew
he's written this letter
to all of you fellers
addressed to the Cutter Bill crew.

Well most of the talkin' and music went low
as Slim started readin' aloud
'cause the words that were writ
cast a spell over it
and a hush fairly fell on the crowd.

Dear fellers the message went on to explain
I've had me some bad luck I fear
my cayuse got spooked
and throwed me to boot
neath the hooves of some mean-tempered steers.

So I'm writin' this letter to you boys
'cause I ain't got a fam'ly or kin
and I don't want to go
without someone should know
and I think on you boys as my friends.

There wasn't no more he had written
a drifter it seemed wrote the end
just before dawn
the old man passed on
then I brung this here note to you men.

The talkin' and music came back then
but none of us boys was the same
a cowboy no doubt
from some whereabouts
had died all alone with his name.

There's a time in a man's life I reckon
when he faces the fact he's alone
and he don't want to go
without someone should know
and a place has to do for a home.

So it was as I stepped from that barroom
that a sense of great loss slowly grew
at the first light of dawn
with the day comin' on
I whispered, "Adios," to old Lew.
2000, Rod Nichols
This poem may not be reprinted or reposted without written permission.


New Year's Eve

I'll saddle the roan then ride out alone
neath a clear moon with frost on the ground,
to a high ridge I know
through the dark pines and snow
far away from the dim lights of town.

In a short space of time a hillside I'll climb
to the top with my face to the wind,
and there I'll just wait
as the hour grows late
and a new year once more will begin.

I'll take a look then on where I have been
and the changes the old year has brought,
the good times and bad
some happy some sad
as the faces of time fill my thoughts.

In the silence of night from that small patch of white
I'll say "Adios" to lost friends,
with a small prayer at last
for the present and past
then I'll ride down that hill once again.

2000 Rod Nichols
This poem may not be reprinted or reposted without written permission.



When a cowboy has been ridin'and the day is gettin' long
his mind sometimes goes wanderin' off the trail he's travelin' on,
he ponders some on yesterdays and the things he might have done
choices made and the prices paid, mistakes of bein' young.

He knows there ain't no goin' back nor words that he could say
to ease the pain of broken things somewhere along the way,
he's just a cowboy movin' on near time for headin' in
but the mem'ries there are always there, regrets that never end.

He's lived a life of solitude and knowed it from the start
a full-growed man he understands but that don't ease his heart,
the lives he's touched are gathered 'round as the daylight finally dies
and he asks himself about himself, questions filled with why.

It's a long trail he's been travelin' and the years have taken toll
he thinks of those he used to know then frets 'bout growin' old,
a campfire glows just up ahead by a bedroll he calls home
a cowboy true but a tad bit blue, downside of life alone.

He thinks about tomorrow and the things he has to do
and for awhile he has to smile 'cause there ain't nothin' new,
he's pretty deep in old routine like a road in wagon ruts
and to reminisce each night like this, daydreams to keep in touch.

Rod Nichols
This poem may not be reprinted or reposted without written permission.

Headin' In

Some fellers favor sunup
just before their day begins,
while others favor eve'nin
when their day is at an end.

But this old cowboy's dif'rent
it's the way I've always been,
cause the time that gets me smilin'
is the time for headin' in.

With a day of work behind me
and before the sunset ends,
it's a quiet and peaceful feelin'
on the trail while headin' in.

There's a breeze that often comes up
as a warm, southwestern wind,
and a glow across the prairie
as I'm slowly headin' in.

Above a hawk is wheelin'
swoopin' down then up again,
as if he wants one final look
'fore he too is headin' in. 

My saddle pal don't say much
but he tells me with a grin,
he feels about the same as me
with our ponies headin' in.

Someday this'll all be over
just the prairie, grass and wind,
I hope He'll let me pass this way
when it's time for headin' in.

Rod Nichols
This poem may not be reprinted or reposted without written permission.

This poem was used by former Supreme Court Justice, the Honorable Sandra Day O'Connor in her memoir,  Lazy B: Growing Up on a Cattle Ranch in the American Southwest.


Moses Rose

The cantina glowed as a candle
to the lone, Texas cowboy that night.
Three days on the trail seeing no one
had moved him to head for the light.

The room, as he entered, seemed empty
with the barkeep asleep by the bar.
A Mexican singer was strumming
the strings of a Spanish guitar.

He stepped 'round the sleeping bartender
then he picked out a bottle and glass.
He placed a few coins on the counter
and smiled at the singer he passed.

The cowboy walked up to an old man.
"Mind if I join you?" he said.
The old gringo nodded and gestured,
"That bottle comes too, go ahead."

Then soon they were drinkin' and talkin'
when the subject of Texas came up.
The cowboy was feelin' his oats now,
but the old man seemed down in his cups.

"What ails you?" the young cowboy asked him.
"Ain't Ol'Texas the place you came from?"
The old man with tears in his eyes spoke,
"A long time ago now, ol' son."

"I'll tell you a story young feller.
For it's one that I'll never forget:
a choice that wuz made by a young man,
a choice that he'll always regret."

"A battle wuz ragin' about him,
and he knew it wuz to the last man.
The colonel then took out his saber
and drew him a line in the sand."

"He challenged the men to step over,
and every man did except one.
Just one man who fled from that battle
and now has to live with it, son."

The old man was now softly sobbing,
"It was fifteen long years to the day.
Travis, Crockett and Bowie all dead,
and I wuz the one ran away."

The old man now nodded in stupor,
with his own set of demons to face.
A deep melancholy now lingered
and filled up the room in that place.

The young cowboy left the cantina.
He remounted and just rode away.
The Mexican singer now questioned,
"Senor, do you wish me to play?"

The cantina lights slowly faded
on the old man they called Moses Rose
whose life would be linked now forever
to the dead of the lost Alamo.

2002, Rod Nichols
This poem may not be reprinted or reposted without written permission.

Rod Nichols notes: The first time the "Line in the sand" description appeared was in The Texas Almanac of 1871...35 years after the fall of the Alamo...when the author, a Mr. Zuber, was asked how he knew this happened, revealed that he had been told by Moses Rose, the only man who had fled the Alamo.

A Dad's Prayer

An old man's sittin' here tonight
by news-talk radio
so maybe he will hear some word
on how the war might go.

He's list'nin' hard and prayin' too
his son now in Iraq,
Dear Lord if You might see Your way
to bring him safely back.

He wasn't told he had to go,
he upped and volunteered.
His reasons made his dad feel proud
but that don't ease the fear.

I love him Lord and miss him so,
his smile and youthful ways.
Don't let the cruelty of this war
now harden him these days.

He's never faced an enemy
who values life so cheap.
He's always seen the good in man
his word a thing to keep.

He sees it as his duty Lord
to be the first to fight
and proudly stand to face the foe
of all we hold as right.

But somewhere over there tonight
he might have thoughts of home.
Would you just let him know for me
he's not out there alone.

I thank you Lord and I'll be here
by news-talk radio,
to listen and receive some word
on how the war might go.

2006, Rod Nichols
This poem may not be reprinted or reposted without written permission.

Rod Nichols wrote this poem in October 2006 for his son, Dennis, serving the United States in Iraq.  Rod told us it was written, also "for those who have loved ones overseas." Rod adds, "God bless all our  men and women in uniform where ever they may be around the world. They are the best our nation can offer in the defense of freedom."


Simply the Best

The heroes of sport whom men honor,
are placed in the great Halls of Fame.
Their prowess in each of our pastimes
is such that we know them by name.
The Babe or the mighty Brown Bomber,
the Stilt or the Galloping Ghost,
we know in a moment their stories,
and often in tribute we'll toast.
And so let it be in our lifetime,
a crown of due honor bestow
on three  who have risen to stardom
three legends of true rodeo.
While many great riders have ridden,
there's three come to mind if you please.
Three who command our attention
the best all around  there could be.
Just ask any rider you meet son,
the three most deservin' of trib's.
He'll answer right quick without pausin'
" It's Mahan and Shoulders and Tibbs.."
Much bigger than life, they were heroes,
the best that the world's ever seen,
far greater because they were real  men,
not celluloid cowboys on screen.
While rodeo riders were starrin'
in local events ever' day,
twas three who stood out from the crowd boys,
who really made rodeo pay.
In saddle bronc ridin' or bareback,
or bullridin' they were the best.
In the eyes of the world in their time son,
each stood a full head o'er the rest.
Flamboyant and stylish and awesome,
and worshipped by rodeo fans,
World Champion, All-Around  Cowboy,
won many times over per man
Despite all the injuries suffered,
from collar-bone, leg, arm or ribs,
they rode and they won our respect boys
that's Mahan and Shoulders and Tibbs.
While the heroes of sport whom men honor
are placed in the Great Halls of Fame,
in the hearts of the rodeo cowboy,
there's three who will always remain.
Just ask any rider you meet son,
the three most deservin' of trib's.
He'll answer right quick without pausin'
" It's Mahan and Shoulders and Tibbs."

2007, Rod Nichols
This poem may not be reprinted or reposted without written permission.

Rod comments, "The passing of Jim Shoulders gave us all pause to stop and remember a lot of the greats in rodeo. While there have been many stars, in my mind I'll always think of three who were the best: Larry Mahan, Casey Tibbs and Jim Shoulders."



Bill Pickett

Set up in a western museum
a tableau of saddle and tack,
points out to the passing observer
these words on a simple brown plaque.

"The saddle is one from the old days.
Its worn side weren't weathered by sun.
The reason for why it appears so
explains how, "Bulldoggin'" was done.

The cowboy who owned it, a legend,
enshrined in the great Hall of Fame.
A star of the rodeo circuit,
"Bill Pickett," the marker proclaims.

But that doesn't tell the whole story,
although what it says is a fact.
The life of young Bill is a tribute,
to ever' true cowhand who's black.

Bill Pickett was born down in Texas,
near Taylor, just one of fifteen.
He grew into ranching and cattle
bronc bustin' when he was sixteen.

The offspring of newly freed slaves then,
a new family business began,
and what Bill observed workin' cattle
would turn him into a top hand.

In scrub brush you can't throw a lasso,
you count on a cowdog instead.
One is a heeler who nips at the steer,
and one brings them down by the head.

Bill reasoned that this was the answer
a cowboy could do the same thing:
leap from his pony, grab onto horns,
bite lip, give a twist and then fling.

Soon Bill became famous 'mong cowboys,
the first true bulldogger in fact.
His prowess in ol' "Hoolihaning"
respected by all, white and black.

They called him the ol' "Dusky Demon."
Tweren't nothing like him ever seen,
a star in the finest tradition,
and honored by countries and kings.

Bill Pickett grew tired of his traveling.
He'd been 'round the world in his day.
Hiring at last with the 101 Ranch
in Ol' Oklahoma he'd stay.

The years now have flown since he left us,
but still to his mem'ry we'll hold.
There aren't many men like Bill Pickett,
audacious, endearing and bold.

2007, Rod Nichols
This poem may not be reprinted or reposted without written permission.

Rod comments, "There is a rodeo held almost every month less than a mile from my house. It is a working cowboy rodeo from around the area. The riders are black as is most of the crowd. I was asked about cowboy poetry by one of the cowboys who breaks and gentles horses. After I had recited a couple of poems, he asked if I had any poems about black cowboys. I really didn't, and it weighed on my mind and heart. This poem is an attempt to remedy that oversight, and hopefully lead to more."

You can read more about Bill Pickett at and, and about the Bill Pickett Rodeo at The National Cowboys of Color Museum and Hall of Fame is located in Fort Worth, Texas.



Deep October

There's somethin' 'bout the time of year
when fall is almost over,
September's just a memory,
now lost in deep October.

The nights have changed from cool to cold
the trees from leafed to bare,
a breeze is now a cuttin' wind
that hones the evenin' air.

And overhead a muted light
casts shadows o'er the gloom,
like tricks upon All Hallow's Eve
an orange October moon.

A melancholy, haunted place
this lonely trail tonight,
a grove of twisted, barren shapes
against that autumn light.

The sounds of evenin' aren't the same
no crickets, birds or frog,
instead a moan among the trees
or distant, mournful dog.

While overhead that muted light
casts shadows o'er the gloom,
like tricks upon All Hallow's Eve
an orange October moon.

There's somethin' 'bout the time of year
when fall is almost over,
September's just a memory,
now lost in deep October.

2007, Rod Nichols
This poem may not be reprinted or reposted without written permission.

Rod told us: "Deep October" was written after a ride one evening when the moon was almost orange in color. I was on a black Morgan that belonged to a friend of mine and I had to write this one when I got in.


Buffalo Soldier

Old Oddskins stood upon a ridge
that overlooked the plains.
His pony stamped beside the brave
and tugged to loose the reins.

The Cheyenne hunter heard it now,
the thundering of hooves,
the cloud of dust that rises up
behind a herd that moves.

His eyes could barely see them now
but from that distant range,
the manner of these buffalo
was terrible and strange.

For these were creatures never seen,
though on a mount each rode
they bore a curly mantle black
as any buffalo.

The startled hunter held his breath.
Why these were dusky men,
blood brother to the buffalo,
and riding like the wind.

The Cheyenne mounted quickly up,
then turned to ride and flee,
for these were soldiers to a man,
a buff'lo cavalry.

The news of what the hunter saw
soon spread across the plain,
the coming of a mighty foe,
and how they earned their name.

For the valor in their coming,
their loyalty, their code,
became a thing of legend when
the buff'lo soldiers rode.

From minor scrapes to major fights,
two hundred times or more,
their prowess and their bravery
could never be ignored.

They won the ol' Red River War,
then Texas lay ahead.
They helped to keep the rule of law
wherever trouble led.

Then off to Oklahoma rode
the 9th to keep the peace,
protect the very Indians
once led by warring chiefs.

Now off to old Montana skies
a-roundin' up the Cree,
and making right a host of wrongs
whatever they might be.

They earned a nation's gratitude
and fourteen times all told,
they won the highest tribute yet,
the Medal Of Honor gold.

In every war our nation's faced,
where men have fought and died,
you'll find the Buff'lo Soldier, Sir,
a-serving Her with pride.

What the Cheyenne hunter witnessed
from atop that ridge of plain,
was a warrior's natal hour
when the Buff'lo Soldiers came.

For the valor in their coming,
their loyalty, their code,
became a thing of legend when
the buff'lo soldiers rode.

2007, Rod Nichols
This poem may not be reprinted or reposted without written permission.

Rod told us, "I had the opportunity to visit the Buffalo Soldiers National Museum here in Houston, Texas, recently. I came away from the visit with a greater respect for the role of the Buffalo Soldiers and their part in the winning of the West. This poem is historically accurate and a tribute to the role of the black cowboy."


Rodeo, Ranchin' And Rhymes

The days of the Old West are over,
not likely to see them again.
The trail drives and legends that grew up
now lost to the ages my friend.

The cowboy lives on a bit diff'rent,
a workin' cowhand you will find,
exists in a trifoldin' manner,
in rodeo, ranchin' and rhymes.

The rodeo riders though younger,
still vie for an eight second ride.
The rancher, a modern practitioner,
still values his livin' with pride.

The past and the present combine now,
in verses a reader may find,
set down by the poet who pens them
in rodeo, ranchin' and rhymes.

At gath'rin's or fests you will see them
both ranchers and riders alike,
preserving their heritage proudly
recitin' the poems that they write.

A tip of the hat is deservin'
for sharin' in each of their lines,
a look at the cowboy who lives on
in rodeo, ranchin' and rhymes.

2007, Rod Nichols
This poem may not be reprinted or reposted without written permission.

Rod told us, "The modern cowboy way of life might be summed up in three words, rodeo, ranching and rhymes. This is the basis for present day gatherings and cowboy poetry. This poem speaks to that conclusion."

This is the last poem Rod Nichols shared with us, before his untimely death, December 23, 2007.

Your remembrances are welcome. Email us.

Rod Nichols
Rod Nichols




Book and Recordings

Released in November, 2007, Old Trees 'n Tumbleweeds includes previously unpublished poems and a foreword by South Dakota broadcaster and friend to cowboy poetry, Jim Thompson.

Introduction by Rod Nichols

From "A Fateful Game Of Pitch," to the ballad of "Evelita," to the lyrical, "Little Bit Of Shade," you'll find the varied forms of cowboy poetry in this collection of Old Trees And Tumbleweeds.

It is the hope of this writer that the reader may find something of value in the stories and verses he or she encounters, and, if nothing more, a moment of pleasure from the poems in this book.

Storytelling was and is a favorite past time of the cowboy. Sitting around an evening campfire, tales would be told to entertain the crew. Some of the tales would leave lasting impressions on the listeners; some might bring a smile or a laugh and forgotten over time.

Old Trees And Tumbleweeds was created with those ideas in mind. There are stories that are deeply rooted in cowboy lore and experiences and others that provoke thought and reflection. These are the "Old Trees" of this collection.

Some poems and stories are intended to bring a smile, a grin or maybe a laugh. These are the "Tumbleweeds" in this anthology.

Whatever you find here is intended to bring the reader closer to the life and ways of that most uniquely American figure, the cowboy.


Foreword by Jim Thompson

I have sincerely been blessed through the past few years by the presence of Rod Nichols in my life. Not just his poetry, but also his calm and serenity.

God has truly created in Rod, a wordsmith. He is a poet who uses his God-given talent to edify others, and he paints words on paper as surely and creatively as a painter using a brush and color when creating a picture on canvas.

You're about to embark on a wonderful journey. A journey of poetry and purpose. Enjoy.



A Fateful Game Of Pitch
A Little Bit Of Shade
An Irish Cowboy
A Saddlebag Of Memories
A Thanksgiving Memory
At His Own Pace
A Tin Cup Of Coffee
A Town Called Faith
A Visit To The Camp
Ben Rogers
Big Bend
Butterfield Stage
Christmas Mornin
Christmas Story
Circuit Rider
Cowboy Christmas Carol
Cowboy Church
Cutter Bills 4th Of July
Dusty's Routine
El Paso Stage
End Of Day
Forty-four Below
Found Wanting
General Store
Ghost Town
Good Fences
Great Day For A Cowboy
Headin Home
Henry Skillman
Hobo Cowboy
Hobo Cowboy II
In Mem'ry Of
J.C.s Lament
Kiowa Maiden
Little Bucks Bride
Mobeetie Creek
Moses Rose
New Boots
New Caney Creek
Old Trees 'n Tumbleweeds
One Bag Of Gold
On The Road To Santa Fe
Pecos Creek
Ridin In
Russell Barlow
Texas Fiddle
That Dont Make It Right
The Best There Ever Was
The Bunkhouse Fire
The Chuck Wagon Race
The Cowboy And The Lady
The Cowboy Way
The Face In The Barroom Glass
The Life We Once Lived
The Night Two Armies Sang
The Redheaded Barber
The Way Of The Kid
The Windmill Riders
Three Wishes
Tim Rileys Bar
Well Meet At The Gate
Where The Pasque Flower Grows
Where The Trinity Flows
Winds Of The Wasteland



Released in December, 2006, Drover Diaries, includes 76 new, previously unpublished poems. Following is the book's introduction:

The mountain man, the river boat gambler, the sourdough and the cowboy are all  figures unique to American history. While each has his own colorful part in his time, only the cowboy endures to the present day. Why?  After all, as one historian described him, he was only a "Hired hand on horseback."

The reason for his continuing endearment to the American people may well be found in the character of the cowboy. More than a hired hand, the cowboy seems to represent the very essence of the American creed. He was independent, yet loyal to the brand for which he rode. He was honest; his word was his bond. He  was hard-working, received little pay and yet loved the life he led. The cowboy had an innate sense of humor, a dry wit if you please. He was close to the land and had a great respect for what he saw as the handiwork of God. The standard a cowboy used to measure his right to be called a cowboy was simply put:

                                         A cowboy ain't a race my friend
                                         It's a chosen way of  life.
                                         It don't depend upon your skin
                                         Just can you cowboy right.

                                         It ain't about your politics
                                         Or the music you might like.
                                         It's what is shown by which you're known
                                         And do you cowboy right.

This collection of poems has as its goal to present all of those facets in the life of the cowboy through verse. The reader is invited along to see life through the eyes of the cowboy. and share what this writer calls "Drover Diaries."

In the following pages you will find tales of humor, drama and faith as you ride along the trail.

Howdy, pard and welcome. Here's wishing you a happy trail.


In God's Hands, released in December, 2005, includes Rod Nichols' original cowboy poetry recited by him, by Hal Swift and by John Pickul; along with music and the singing of best-loved hymns by Mislette, The Singing Cowgirl and John Pickul; with additional fiddle accompaniments by Billy Curtiss.

Tracks include:

Old Rugged Cross
Softly and Tenderly
Cowboy Church
All My Trails
A Pinpoint of Light
I Come To The Garden
A Moment's Peace
Sagebrush in Heaven
Sweet Spirit
Unbroken Circle
Bunkhouse Fire
My Lord is Near
Bible in the Wind
Where Do I Go
Space in the Wall
Amazing Grace
In God's Hands



Read about the Award here.

Rod Nichols' first book, A Little Bit of Texas was released in Summer, 2002.  Below is the foreword by Managing Editor Margo Metegrano, and a review by poet Gene O'Quinn that appeared in the Sep/Oct 2002 issue of Rope Burns, a publication of the Academy of Western Artists.   For more information about the book, $19.45 from P.O. Box 215, 6140 Hwy. 6, Missouri City, TX 77459.


Once in a great while, one has the startling luck to come upon a poet who is as gifted as he is humble, whose verse captures both the heart and humor of Cowboy and Western life.  Rod Nichols is one such rare poet, with a clear style and a talent as big as his beloved Texas.

His words paint unforgettable scenes, whether it's humorous verse such as "Windy," with its tall tales:

Like the time he swapp'd a plug fer this here pony
an Appaloosa stallion of renown,
but when he crossed the Conchos
that river washed his haunch off
and left him on a sorrel painted brown.

or touching inspirational lines from his more serious work such as "Headin' In," one of his best-loved and most widely quoted poems, which was included by The Honorable Supreme Court Justice Sandra Day O'Connor in her recent memoir and has been recited at many solemn occasions:

Someday this'll all be over
just the prairie, grass and wind,
I hope He'll let me pass this way
when it's time for headin' in.

While his humility would prevent him from saying so, words describing Cowboy poets from his poem "Cowboy Poetry," serve as a fine description of this very poet:

He knows his place without a doubt
in the circle we call life,
it's no surprise to reason why
a cowboy starts to write.

Rod Nichols' poetry is a tribute to the Cowboy way, a valuable legacy that will be appreciated well into that bleak time when "Someday this'll all be over."  His own words from the last stanza of "Cowboy Poetry" again best express the essence of Cowboy Poetry in general and of his own work in particular:

And will it last I'd have to say
til the cowboy life is gone,
and even then in the hearts of men
it'll always find a home.

Lucky are those who hold this treasury of Rod Nichols' fine poetry and have the opportunity to be inspired and entertained by his work.

Margo Metegrano
June, 2002


Review by Gene O'Quinn

        Experienced native Texan Cowboy Poet Rod Nichols, the first Lariat Laureate of the popular internet gathering, has produced a finely crafted book of 96 original poems.  The poetry of this excellent writer with a cowboy heart features a variety of rhyme schemes and has themes that include the ranching life, the humorous side of cowboy life, faith and inspiration, nature, and Texas.

        A Little Bit of Texas is Texas-sized poetry: with deep roots and wide horizons.  His title poem was read at the 2000 Republican National Convention prior to President George W. Bush's nomination.  As Rod says, there is "A little bit of Texas in every cowboy."

        A Little Bit of Texas is a book you will want to add to your poetry library and then to read it time and again.  The reader will enjoy Robert W. Service-like poems such as "Pearly Gates Saloon" or "Ace in the Hole."   A personal favorite "In God's Hands" and tales like "Windy" and "One More Day" which end with a wisdom that grabs your attention. Sample "Little Britches" as Rod writes;

        For height ain't all that matters, son,
        in the measure of a man,
        it's what's inside that counts the most
        in the Great Almighty's plan.

        Nichols' disciplined structure is apparent in each of his poems, written with the rhythm of hoof beats.  Rod Nichols is a credit to the Cowboy Poetry genre and A Little Bit of Texas is a real treat, a must read.

Reviewed by fellow Texan and poet, Gene O'Quinn, reprinted from Rope Burns, Sep/Oct 2002 with permission

Rod Nichols CD, Yep, A Little Bit More of Texas was released in December, 2003.

Poems included are:

Cowboy Poetry
Cowboy Church
Ol' Texas
Headin' In
Big Night at Pearl's
Moment's Peace
Old Hand
A Little More Rope
Little Bill's Bar
The Saddlebag Man
Rodeo Cowboy
Smiley's Funeral
Space in the Wall
Cheyenne Buckle
Bible in the Wind
Last Memory

See a review here


Rod Nichols and Gene O'Quinn have collaborated on a wonderful CD, Cowboy Christmas Mem'ries. The recording "invites the listener to travel back to a simpler time and observe Christmas with the Cowboy as written by Rod Nichols and read by Gene O'Quinn."  

Poems included are:

Christmas Mornin' Coffee
Christmas Round the Campfire
A Cowboy Christmas Carol
Christmas at the Bunkhouse
The Storekeep's Christmas
Christmas at Miz Mary's
Christmastime in Texas
A Christmas Mem'ry
The Christmas Story
Cutter Bill's Bar
Ol' Ebb
Christmas Without Snow
Christmas at Line Camp
Rockin' Horse Cowboy

with Billy Curtis on guitar and John Pickul on harmonica

  See a review here.



Read Rod Nichols'

A Cowboy's Christmas Eve in our 2007 Christmas Art Spur project


Neath a Christmas Eve Sky with other 2007 Christmas poems


Great Day for a Cowboy in our Art Spur project

Cutter Bill's 4th of July with our Independence Day poems

At His Own Pace in our 2007 Cowboy Poetry Week Art Spur Project

An Irish Cowboy posted with St. Patrick's Day poems

The Christmas Corral posted with 2006 Christmas poems

Bringing Home Christmas in our Christmas Art Spur project

A Rancher's Pride, in our Art Spur project

The Trail that Leads to Home, in our Art Spur project,


An Irish Cowboy's Song posted with St. Patrick's Day poems


New Year's at Cutter Bills posted with New Year poems


  A Thanksgiving Mem'ry, posted with other Thanksgiving poems


A Christmas Tale in our 2005 Christmas Art Spur project


A Badger Clark Christmas with other 2005 Christmas poems


Saddle Knowledge (Only A Cowboy Knows), by Scott Bumgardner and Rod Nichols
Crimson Prairie Rose, by Rod Nichols and Misslette, the Singing Cowgirl

from the Academy of Western Artists 1st Annual Cowboy Poetry/Songwriting Team Roping Challenge

and Rod Nichols'

At the Jollification in our Art Spur project

Ridin' Out in our Art Spur project

A Christmas Journey in our Art Spur project

Dust, in our Art Spur project

End of Day
, in our Art Spur project

tribute to T. R. Stephenson, 1935-2002

  tribute to his friend Louis A. Carle, 1924-2000


A Christmas Journey posted with other Holiday 2004 poems


A Christmas Mem'ry posted with other Holiday 2003 poems


A Cowboy Christmas Carol and a special Christmas poem posted with other Holiday 2002 poems


Christmas at the Bunkhouse posted with other Holiday 2001 poems, which honors his friends Louis A. Carle and Bob E. Lewis


Christmas Comes to Line Camp, Little Britches, Christmas Round the Campfire, and New Year's Eve posted with the other Holiday 2000 poems


We're proud to have three pages of Rod Nichols' poetry. This is page one. Page two is here. Page three is here.

You can read more of Rod's poetry at The Wyoming Companion:




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