Tales from the Literate Cowboy


I’ll be the first to admit. I love telling stories of life in the cattle business. This is the second part of our discussion over breakfast last Thursday at the feedyard.

This group of cowboys has seen some hard times; specifically the winter of 1991. Seems every cowboy around that table had a story to tell about that winter. There were snow storms where they did nothing more than shovel snow out of feed bunks for days on end. Others where they scraped pens days on end just to keep the pens mud free. There was the story about walking pens on foot because it was too sloppy for the horses to ride and the guy who walked with holes in his boots and never complained. After hearing of snow drifts taller than semi trucks and icebergs wiping out fences in the yard, I am reminded of why I am not so disappointed to return to Arkansas before winter sets in. The cowboys in the feedyards are a tough crew. They suffer through some rough winter weather with one goal in mind – take care of the cattle. I’ve heard during the worst winters the entire crew stayed on to make sure the cattle were taken care of, but once spring set in, they all left saying “I’ll never do that again”.

Before I finish, I’ll pass on a few books that were mentioned. I am always looking for books written by literate cowboys who write from experiences, not those western writers who dream up their scenarios (but I still love those too). The cowboys recommended Last Buckaroo by Mackey Hedges and another book titled “Swapping Cattle” but I cannot seem to find the author. If these books come highly recommended by everyday cowboys, I am sure you’ll love them too.

Do you have any recommended reads by literate cowboys that share the tales of their days on the range? Share them with me, I would love to add them to my collection.

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6 Comments

  1. Well I can think of a couple Ryan. Cowboy Romance (of horsesweat & hornflies) and A million to One Odds (times five) While they are true stories of things which have happened to me on ranches around the west, they are also told from a humorous perspective. Samples stories & links to the books on Amazon can be found on my good humor cowboy blog at http://bobkinford.wordpress.com/

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  2. I love all the books by Buck Brannaman- but Specifically “The Faraway Horses”. While it’s not so much about him being a cowboy- it is about a lot of different ranching experiences that got him where he is today, cowboy on different outfits, etc. Plus it’s super inspirational.

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  3. Although it’s fiction and he’s not a cowboy, the best western I have ever read is All The Pretty Horses by Cormac McCarthy. It is actually the first in a series of three.

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