2009 photo by
Jeri L. Dobrowski

About Rodney Nelson
Books and Recording

Rodney Nelson's Up Sims Creek column at Farm and Ranch Guide.

Contacting Rodney Nelson

About Rodney Nelson 

Raised on a ranch on the Mouse River near Towner, North Dakota, Rodney Nelson, the missus and their two children have lived on the Sims Creek ranch near Almont, North Dakota, since 1984.  In addition to ranching, Rod works as a part-time brand inspector, horse trainer and aging rodeo performer.  Audiences throughout America know Rod as a popular rural humorist, entertainer, banquet speaker, and columnist.

Rodney Nelson's regular Up Sims Creek column appears bi-weekly in the "Country Living" section of Farm and Ranch Guide.

2005 photo, Medora, North Dakota, by Annika Nelson


The Proposal

Dakota Fresh Air

Good Clean Fun

ND Forecasts

Cowboy Laundry

Christmas on the Prairie  separate page

Up Sims Creek  separate page

Old Bronc Rider's Prayer

Open Winter Worries



The Proposal

Now Frank was fair at batchin
And he had a lot of friends
But his heart was aching badly for a mate.
The girls all seemed to like him
Despite his bumpkin looks
But he rarely ever asked one for a date.

For you see young Frank was smitten
By the comely Rose Marie
Why, he'd loved her since he was just a pup.
Though he knew she kinda liked him
Cause she always was so nice
He feared that he would never measure up.

For the graceful, slender, Rosie
Caught the eyes of all the boys.
More than one had asked young Rosie for her hand.
Proposals from the banker's son
Were declined, so Frank was sure
Rosie never would agree to wear his brand.

Rosie's folks were Frank's close neighbors
And they fed him lots of meals
Though Frank truly hated to impose.
Inga's cooking was delectable
And Frank couldn't help but note
She always set his plate right next to Rose.

Now Frank was educated
And better read than most
Quick and bright and witty as a rule,
But Drat! -in Rosie's presence
He seemed to self-destruct
And often seemed to act much like a fool.

For despite his best intentions
To make himself look sharp
He seemed to always suffer some mishap
Like the time to Frank's great horror
He seemed to lose his grip
And spilled a plate of beans on Rosie's lap!

One Sunday after dinner
Inga said it was too bad
Rosie's friend was sick-at home in bed
The girls had planned to see the movie
That was playing then in town
But now Rose would have to stay at home instead.

By golly-stammered Frankie
That truly is a shame
As Rosie stacked the dishes on the shelf.
I'd be honored to escort you Rose
If you'd really like to go.
For I'd kinda like to see that show myself.

Oh my! That sounds delightful
Said Rosie with a smile
And though they went, to Frank's dismay
Words he'd rehearsed for countless years
Got tangled up and stuck
And there wasn't much that Frank could say.

Except-sometime, Rose, this winter
Well, shucks, most anytime,
In fact, it would be nice most any day
You might like to see my homestead
Would you like to ride along
When I go to feed my cattle with the sleigh?

Well, she came one Monday morning
When the mercury sunk low
And for once, Frank acted plumb at ease
Rose, I'm glad it isn't snowing
And I'm thankful it ain't blowin
Cause today it would be dreadful with a breeze.

Well, he hitched up Babe and Birdie
And he helped her climb aboard
The horses trotted quickly to the stack.
Frank did all the talking
Now Rosie you keep walking
So you won't freeze while I load the rack

The trip back to the cattle
With the bobsled full of feed
Was pleasant as they snuggled in the hay
Frank had one hand on the lines
But the other held her close
As the horses pulled the load and made their way.

He talked about his favorite cows
And a couple that were mean
He pointed out a ringy, wild-eyed thing
He claimed he wasn't joking
But his eyes betrayed his glee
When he promised, Rose could ride her, come next spring.

She noticed how he handled
His team with lots of skill
His cattle nicely cared for and well fed
And he kept right on a talking
How he loved the rancher's life
While she nearly froze to death there on the sled.

Well Frank finally up and noticed
That he'd kept her out too long
Cause he saw her lips were turning kinda blue
He took her frozen hand in his
And he spoke these simple words
Rose, I'd like to share my cowboy life with you.

Now I hate to see you freezing
But I'd like your answer now
A yes, would surely do the trick.
And If you will agree
To spend your life with me
I'll get you to the cabin really quick!

How he loved to tell that story
About the day that he proposed
Though he feared her answer just might come too slow
Oh—He laughed with pure delight
How he got his timing right
On a bobsled when its forty two below!

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



Dakota Fresh Air

The folks down at the tourism department
     sure go through some pains,
To brag up and glorify
     my state up on the plains.

I saw an ad not long ago
     that really did impress me,
Who would have guessed—my state is best
     for things one wants to see.

Yes, the pretty photos stunned me,
     I would have never thought,
I was living in the middle
     of one grand vacation spot.

It stressed our scenic beauty,
     talked up our industry,
Pointed out historic sites
     with good ac-cu-ra-cy.

They may have praised our weather
     a little to excess
but when they spoke of clean fresh air 
     well, folks, that's no "B. S."!

Yes, fresh air is abundant,
     it's never stale or sour—
We import the stuff from Canada
     at 90 miles an hour!

Air that we are breathing
     when it's pretty close to noon,
Was probably at breakfast time
     somewhere near Saskatoon!

It's truly quite a blessing,
     that sometimes it's a sin,
When it's traveling by so doggone fast
     that one can't breathe it in!

It comes from all directions,
     but the North winds are the best—
the air gets sort of thick sometimes
     when the wind is from the West.

I hate these blasted droughty years,
      like the ones we've had of late.
A hard, West wind is often filled
     with Montana real estate!

But it sometimes works out dandy,
     we all thought it was fine
how we got the Kildeer Mountains
     when they blew across the line!

When North Dakota parents
     Send their children out to play,
They fill their pockets up with rocks
     So they won't blow away!

But, by gosh, I'm not complaining,
     thought the wind is sometimes mean,
the air that we are breathing
     is truly fresh and clean!

And our weather—oh, it's grand sometimes,
     be it warm or winter chill.
But a good day in North Dakota
     is when that fresh air—is standing still!

© 1995, Rodney Nelson, from Cowboy Laundry
This poem may not be reprinted or reposted without the author's written permission.


Good Clean Fun

I remember making hay with Dad,
     We'd put it up in stacks—
Dad used to use a stackframe,
     and filled it to the max.

Then sometimes, but not often,
     he'd say "Rodney, you've the knack.
Grab a fork—I'll lift you up,
     and you top off the stack."

Reluctantly, I'd take the fork.
     He'd lift me up on top—
I'd stack that hay to 30 feet,
     before he'd finally stop.

Then he'd drive up really close,
     I could see him down beneath
As I stepped out on the pushoff
    on the end of the stacker teeth.

He'd back up a little ways,
     I hoped he'd try no tricks
But giving me rides on that farmhand,
     was how he got his kicks!

Wasn't long and I'd get mad.
     I'd had these rides before—
He'd slide the pushoff almost in,
     Then he'd run it out once more!

"Come on, Dad, let me down,
     this really isn't fair"
Then he'd point the teeth toward the ground
     and leave me dangling in the air!

I could hear him laughing down below,
     in hopeless choking mirth.
and I'd wonder if I'd ever again
     put my feet upon the earth!

It was no use to argue,
     Dad wouldn't quite 'till he was done,
But I always, always wondered,
     How could this be so fun?!

Well, our yard light burned out last year,
     and since I'd run that farmhand all my life,
I knew we could fix it in a minute
     if I could convince the wife!

Wasn't easy to convince her,
     she said a housewife was her role,
Though mad she was, she climbed aboard,
     Took a ride to the top of the pole.

I said, "Sweetheart, I'm so proud of you"
     when she fixed the light—
"And you're especially lovely when you're angry,
     You really are a sight."

"Let me down, you worthless cur,"
     She was having a full-fledged fit—
I couldn't pass up a chance like this,
     So I drove around a bit!

GOOD, CLEAN FUN—I said to myself
     as she called me a hopeless sap,
My grin got even wider
     as I made another lap!

"Honey, just enjoy yourself
     and isn't it a fright—
It's the first time that I've carried you,
     since our wedding night!"

I finally shut the tractor off
     Let her sit up there a while,
Promised her I'd let her down,
     if she would only smile!

Oh it was fun—but there's a problem,
     I can see it now, I can ...
It's gonna' take some might sweet talkin'
     when that light burns out again!

© 1989, Rodney Nelson, from Good Clean Fun
This poem may not be reprinted or reposted without the author's written permission.

ND Forecasts

They’re the Darlings of the media

The prophets with the power

To make legions of the rural

Tune in most any hour.


What they say could make the difference

Between failure or success

Can cause grief beyond perception

Or unmeasured happiness.


Yes, the forecasts from the weatherman

Can make the future bright

But he suffers tons of ridicule

Cause he seldom gets it right.


We often get discouraged

From predictions that they make

Like when they promise us a snowstorm

And we never see a flake.


When we’re desperate for moisture

That we need to make a crop

They’ll promise us two inches

And we’ll scarcely see a drop.


Precipitation’s not their bag

But if I may be so bold

They’re often on the money

Predicting hot or cold.


We gotta hand it to them

(When I thought of this I grinned)

Up here in North Dakota

They’re deadly accurate with wind.


It’s one prediction we can count on

And they’re either fairly close,

Like we get just what they’ve promised

Or receive a double dose.


Gentle breezes heard predicted

In the weather monologue,

Could without exaggeration

Peel the hide right off a hog.


My advice to all you weathermen

Is so simple and so plain.

Please ease up on the wind a bit

And send us plenty rain!!

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

Cowboy Laundry

Brides-to-be have much to learn,
   there's more to marriage than joy—
especially if the mate she's found
   is a sure-nuff country boy.

She's no doubt optimistic
   oblivious to her fate...
The dangers that will come to pass
   she can't anticipate.

She dreams of newborn colts and calves,
   anticipation makes her grin

But ranch life quickly dims these myths
  and reality sets in.

There's calves to work, cows to feed,
   meals are often late.
Unpaid bills, and drought and dirt
   are things she learns to hate.

It starts when "hubby" saunters in,
   a guy she's never seen unclean

He's reeking and he's filthy,
   and she thinks it's kinda mean...

When he piles his duds upon the floor
   and gives her a big squeeze,
says "I need clean clothes in the morning,
   so wash these up, if you please."

She's gotta pick them off the floor,
   though the thought makes her kinda sick,
She thinks she sees them crawling,
   so she jabs 'em with a stick!

She's gotta get them to the washer,
   though it fills her heart with dread

She shuts her eyes and throws 'em in...
   lightness fills her head!

But like a dose of smelling salts,
   the odor jolts this lass,
It's made up of sweat, of grease, or crud

   and stuff that once was grass!

There's pine-tar too, and branding smoke,
   horse sweat and a drained abscess,
Diesel fuel and scouring calves,
   and a shot of KRS.

But the task is still unfinished,
   as she is well aware,
there's one more chore, for on the floor,
   lies her hubby's underwear!

She's seen some Hitchcock movies,
   storms have caused her awful fright,
But nothing she has seen before
   has prepared her for this sight!

An older, wiser ranchwife
   would read them like a book

she'd know he'd oiled the windmill,
   and with another look...

She could see old Brownie had thrown him
   by the telltale gumbo mud

And he'd repaired another prolapse
   'cause the front was stained with blood.

There are countless other stories
   that a cowboy's briefs could share
Like if he had been eating chili
   or had a
real bad scare!

But the new bride lacks the knowledge,
   and in her frenzied state,
She grabs them with a plier
   and shows them to her mate.

"Don't jump to conclusions, Hon,
   you know what that stain means...
I wasn't careful where I sat
   and it soaked on through my jeans."

She just can't quite believe it,
   and she's plum filled up with doubt

She says "If what you say is true, my dear,
   you wore this pair inside out!"

Oh, it won't be long 'til scenes like this
   will be common to the bride

and countless other problems
   she'll learn to take in stride.

Yes, she'll see her share of troubles
   that the coming years will bring

But if she can handle COWBOY LAUNDRY,
  she can handle

© 1995, Rodney Nelson, from Cowboy Laundry
This poem may not be reprinted or reposted without the author's written permission.


Old Bronc Rider's Prayer

I’d like to ask a favor Lord
Though I haven’t been in touch
I’ve been somewhat neglectful
And I haven’t thanked you much

For all the times you’ve been with me
When I sure could use a hand
And I haven’t always acted like
I’d like to wear your brand.

Lord I’m truly thankful
For the good rides that I’ve had
And for all the times you’ve been with me
When I might have been hurt bad.

Like when old Blue Dog jerked me down
And threw me hard beneath.
It could have been my neck that time
But I merely lost those teeth.

Or that time in Watford City
When that good one threw me slick
I left there looking nasty
But that hide grew back real quick.

And when my prime had passed Lord
And my control began to slip
You made good sense when you hinted’
That now was a good time to quit.

But when they run the broncs in
My hide starts to tingle and twitch
I yearn for the thrill of the action
And I get the most terrible itch

To dig out that old weathered saddle
Enter my name on the slate
Screw it down tight on a good one
And once more nod for the gate.

Would it be asking too much Lord?
'Twould thrill me clear to the core
With your help I know I could do it—
Get tapped on a good one once more

How I’d love to draw up on a dandy—
A rank one with heart and much try
Like, once more to get that great feeling
That you get when they’re jumping real high!

Like to feel my spurs a licking
To the cantle hard and when
He finally starts descending
Snap them back up front again.

Want to turn my toes out sharply
Want to spur him in the mane
And never once forget Lord
To lift hard on that rein.

Want to hear that rosin crackin
Want to put on one good show
Want to match him jump for jump
Till I hear that whistle blow.

Of course I’ll be needing protection
There’s no place I’d rather be
Than sitting up high in the saddle
And you up there riding with me.

And should it really come easy
And goes off with scarcely a hitch—
And I conquer a genuine rank one
That flat out, really can pitch—

Then maybe, just maybe, I wonder
If you wouldn’t get terribly sore
I’m thinking it sure would be nice lord
To crawl on just one or two more.

I’m not asking for buckles or trophies
Although that sure would be nice
But while we are still on that subject
A check now and then would suffice

To get me a high enough standing
To just one more time get the call
To come out and enter the finals
And go there a riding next fall.

Oh, how it would really delight me
To once more sit up there astride
Of a rank one, and show all those young punks
That old cowboys truly can ride.

I won’t let it go to my head Lord
And now I will solemnly state
That I promise to share all my winnings
When the usher comes passing the plate.

I know that you always are right Lord
And I know that you’ll do what is best
If you can’t give me all that I ask for
Could you grant me just my first request

To once more draw up on a dandy
One that’s a bucker for shore
Once more, get tapped on a good one
And be a bronc rider once more.

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

This poem is on The BAR-D Roundup: Volume Seven

Open Winter Worries

If the winter's been too easy
And you never suffered much
From the harsher things the season brings
Like blizzards, storms, and such.

If you hardly had a trace of snow
And you know you've had good luck
For you've really saved a lot of fuel
And you never once got stuck.

The temps have stayed so pleasant
That the cows ate way less feed
And every day the weather holds
You wonder if you'll need

To pay for all that comfort
That we don't think we deserve
And we wonder if the winter
Has held something in reserve.

Like perhaps some April snowstorms
Combined with sleet and ice
Or perhaps some nasty thunderstorms
That make blizzards seem real nice.

You may think an open winter
Means the summer will be dry
And every day the weather holds
We keep looking at the sky

Just pondering and thinking
These days are way too strange
And knowing that for certain
Some day it's bound to change.

But no matter what the weather's like
If you listen close you'll hear
Someone stating it's a fact
That it's one unusual year.

Don't let your worries trouble you
Don't live your life in dread.
Pleasant weather left behind
Won't determine what's ahead.

So be it hot or cold or dry
Here's this advice from me.
You're safer saying how it was—
Than how it's gonna be.

© 2012, Rodney Nelson
This poem may not be reprinted or reposted without the author's written permission.

This poem appeared in April, 2012 in Rodney Nelson's Up Sims Creek column at Farm and Ranch Guide.



Just thinking some this morning
About the present and the past
And wondering-what's the record
For something going fast?

There's lots of speedy things out there
Like wind or cars or trains
There's cannon balls and bullets
There are rockets, there are planes.

To list something really speedy
Well, I guess that's no great feat
But a North Dakota summer
Has most of those things beat.

We start looking for it early
Though it's really kinda dumb
To be standing in a snow bank
And a hoping it will come

Why do we dream of summer
Warm days or anything
When a long and dreary winter
Has robbed us out of spring?

Just when it's looking hopeless
It takes us by surprise
We move right on from frost bite
To mosquitos and to flies.

We've hoped for lazy, hazy days
Of picnics and for fun
But the warm and pleasant weather
Keeps us moving on a run.

Summer's just for getting ready
For a long, hard winter fight
And we've barely downed a hot dog
And summer's out of sight.

I hate to sound so negative
Summer days might be a blast
But winter time should be our favorite
That's a season that will last!

© 2012, Rodney Nelson
This poem may not be reprinted or reposted without the author's written permission.

Rodney Nelson writes many popular pieces, but he says he isn't good with titles. If you have one to suggest for this poem about North Dakota seasons, email us.


Read Rodney Nelson's Christmas at Sims, posted with other 2007 Christmas poems



Books and  Recordings

  Good Clean Fun & Other Tales from Sims
2012 CD


Good Clean Fun
Gift Rift
The Baler
Rain Gauge Revenge
Getting Started
Rudy the Cow Dog
Getting a Bargain
Dakota Fresh Air
Old Timer Radios
Fashion Fixin' Fencers
The Colt Sale
Not Enough Snuff
Electric Blanket
Wistful Puncher
The Elevator Scale

Available for $18 postpaid from Rodney Nelson, 4905 44th St., Almont, ND 58520  701/843-8081

A Rancher's Thoughts on Dogs, Cows & Politicians
2012 CD


Where Champions Come to Boost
Buzzy the Cow Dog
ND Forecasts
Ticked Off Beef
The Cattle Burger
Bogus Buckle
Don't Blame the Cow
Mom's 90th
Politicians Unemployed
A Good, Wet Spring
Income Tax Time
Heroes in Hard Hats
You Get What you Pay For
The Proposal
Audience Exposed
Bunkin' with Pat

Available for $18 postpaid from Rodney Nelson, 4905 44th St., Almont, ND 58520  701/843-8081

Cowboy Laundry Other Tales from Sims
2012 CD


Healer Heaven
Windchill Overkill
Truly Tough Cowboy
Cowboy Laundry
Chicken vs Beef
TV Talk Shows
1 AM Call
KC Pancake
Shop Needs a Map
Prairie Political Potential
Trygve and the School Marm
Old Bronc Rider's Prayer
The Keeper
American Out West

Available for $18 postpaid from Rodney Nelson, 4905 44th St., Almont, ND 58520  701/843-8081

  Good Clean Fun
1989, with sketches by Jay Larson

25 of Rod's original poems, including the crowd-pleaser and perennial favorite, "Good Clean Fun"


"R. R."
Good Clean Fun
Rain Gauge Revenge
Rudy the Cowdog
A Cowboy Goes Skiing
Ma's Shoe
Mistaken Identity
The Trailer
The Veterinarian
Micky's Mash
The Widows Winter
Modern-Day Superman
Getting Started
"Dragons of the Prairie"
The Baler
The 2 A. M. Call
Answering Machine Rebuff
Gettin' a Bargain
One in the Cattle Business
The Hired Hand and the Milkcow
Income Tax Time
The Bulldogger at Kansas State
The Saga of John Deere
The Rodeo Trip
Rural Schools

Available for $7.50 plus $2.50 postage from Rodney Nelson, 4905 44th St., Almont, ND 58520  701/843-8081


  Cowboy Laundry and other poems of wit and humor
1995, with photographs by David Lundquist

Enjoy 22 more humorous Nelson poems, featuring "Cowboy Laundry" and "Windchill Overkill"


Cowboy Laundry
Gift Rift
Old Timer Rodeos
Dakota Fresh Air
Of Course We're Norse!
Rodeo Logic
Chicken vs. Beef
To Obtain a Line of Credit
Windchill Overkill
Shop Needs a Mop
The Electric Blanket
Porta-Potty Predicament
Spring of '95
The Future of the Common People
Bogus Buckle
Answering Machine Rebuff II
Truly Tough Cowboys
You Get What You Pay For
Prairie Political Potential
Fashion Fixin' Fencers

Available for $7.50 plus $2.50 postage from Rodney Nelson, 4905 44th St., Almont, ND 58520  701/843-8081


  Wilbur's Christmas Gift
2000, illustrated by Scott Nelson  (Hardcover)

Enjoy a heartwarming Christmas story of a cowboy and his gift to the children of a rural country school.

An illustration by Scott Nelson from Wilbur's Christmas Gift is the 2011 Christmas Art Spur.

Available for $10.00 plus $2.50 postage from Rodney Nelson, 4905 44th St., Almont, ND 58520  701/843-8081


  Up Sims Creek, the first 100 trips
2001, illustrated by Scott Nelson

A delightful collection of Rod's first 100 columns as featured in the Farm and Ranch Guide.

Available for $12.95 plus $2.50 postage from Rodney Nelson, 4905 44th St., Almont, ND 58520  701/843-8081


  Where the Buffalo Rhyme (CD)  

What's inside is just as good as the cover. Where the Buffalo Rhyme (named by Baxter Black) was recorded live in October, 2003 at the Boss Cowman Cowboy Opry in Lemmon, South Dakota, and features four top poets, all Honored Guests: Jess Howard, Yvonne Hollenbeck, Rodney Nelson and Elizabeth Ebert.  Jim Thompson, of Live With Jim Thompson! and Heritage of the West is the emcee.  

Included poems are:

Yvonne Hollenbeck
     What Would Martha Do?
     Poor Old Geezer Dames
     Why His Ears are Swollen
     The Waitress
     Rebel Rouser
     Best Gift I've Had in Years

Elizabeth Ebert
     It Takes Real Love
     The Last Great Rabbit Hunt
     An Ordinary Morning
     Ranch Romance
     The Cemetery
     Ode to Tofu
     Cowboy Courtin' Time

Jess Howard
Duckin' the Law
    Big Bad John, Part II
    Matter of Minds
    Old Henry

Rodney Nelson
     Auction Sale
     Getting Started
     Good Clean Fun

     Not Enough Stuff
     Cowboy Laundry

The CD is available from any of the four poets for $15. You can order from Rodney Nelson, 4905 44th St., Almont, ND 58520  701/843-8081.

See a review here.

Jessica Brandi Lifland (www.jessicalifland.com), the official photographer for the National Cowboy Poetry Gathering, is working on a project documenting the lives of cowboy poets.


Her photoblog includes a slide show of Rodney Nelson accompanied by his poem "Good Clean Fun" from The BAR-D Roundup: Volume Four.


Contacting Rodney Nelson 



Rodney Nelson
4905 44th St.
Almont, ND 58520  







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