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Bandera, Texas
About Bill McKay

Recognized as one of

Lariat Laureate Runner Up
for his poem, The Waddie



The Waddie

Never gets the best of horses,
Yet welcome, just the same.
Hired for just a few days or weeks,
Always easy to blame.

Puts his shoulder to the grindstone.
A top hand, on foot or horseback.
A wanderin' man, I guess you'd say,
But he's ready to take up the slack.
He's just known as the waddie,
A title some look on with shame.
Although, to him, it doesn't much matter;
To some, he's a bum, just the same.
Proud of his cowboy profession,
But cursed with a wandering foot.
He loves those horses and cattle,
Just seems he can't never stay put.
A teepee or camper for roof top,
Or sometimes his roll on the ground.
He's footloose, not nailed down to nothin',
But it don't keep him from sleepin' right sound.
First class at ropin' and ridin',
The best at workin' a steer.
Yet gentle a colt with the touch of a hand,
This cowboy can sure pack the gear.
But just when you think you've got im' pegged,
Wired and all tied down.
He'll walk up and quietly ask for his time,
Roll his bed without makin' a sound.
Back out on to the highway,
Not runnin' to or from.
Just chasin' a dyin' cowboy dream,
Into the settin' sun.

2004, Bill McKay
This poem may not be reprinted or reposted without the author's written permission.

We asked Bill about his inspiration for this poem and he replied:

"The real cowpuncher's life is still out there. I'll be chasin it 'till the day they spread my ashes up in the high country."

We asked Bill about why he writes Cowboy Poetry and why he thinks it is important, and he commented: 

Cowboy poetry IS my life. I  live the poems  that I write.....I never perform other fellas work, just my own.  It's just a personal feeling of mine that the true POETRY of the cowboy has been glazed and jumbled by the mix and the money. Not to even say for one moment that the other poems that folks write aren't relevant or just downright great, BUT, if you've never husbanded cattle for wages ( and poor wages at that) then no matter, it takes away the purity of the art. I used to attend lots of gatherings but they kind of got turned into entertainment venues, the camaraderie got lost in the quest fer the dinero, see what I mean.  In a way it'd be like me writin' a poem about bein' an astronaut. Doesn't mean I couldn't write a good rhyme or two but the feel wouldn't be there, ESPECIALLY in the LIVE performance. See where I'm goin' here. I'm not tryin' to take ANYTHING away from the huge number of talented folks out there, but it's either real life or fiction.

It's important because it is truly an art form practiced by a culture of people slowly dying out. As I've always said, I'm not too keen on the ego's or the commercial types that I've met since I've been writing, but I do love to share what I write with others, (especially in the live performance.)


Last Dance

The morning crisp and winter clear
Brought my old heart that Cowboy cheer

To know that I'd get one more chance
To saddle up, to dance the dance

To rim about and comb the land
To do the work meant for a man

To stretch my mind and  ease my fears
Of the end of  those long Cowboy years

To feel him move beneath my seat
To feel those stirrups on my feet

To feel him bunch, to feel him tense
With muted joy, not recompense

To know the feeling, man and horse
Of nature in its' perfect course

And renew the rhythm  of a life near done
One last morning had begun

2004, Bill McKay
This poem may not be reprinted or reposted without the author's written permission.


About Bill McKay:

Bill tells us: Been a working cowboy for a "LARGE" part of my life. I've worked in California, Nevada, Montana, Wyoming, Idaho, Texas, and Arizona. When I wasn't cowboying I was training horses, shoeing for pay or repairing saddles. When you "waddie" as I have most of my life, you learn to do whatever it takes to "git the 'coon."  I have also owned a ranch in Colorado (Double tuff proposition at 8000' feet +), wrangled dudes, packed hunters and campers, even tried my hand at peddlin' horse trailers. Anyway, if it can't be done horseback or it  ain't horse related it would probably take the better part of a"20 mule team" to drag me into it. Hobbies, hmmmmm....I am part of a ranch rodeo team ( when we ever git the time), rope when I can, Luuuuv to ride them cuttin' horses (most fun you can have in 2.5 minutes with yer clothes on), fly fishin' anywhere in Montana.

I tend cattle for the Azar Nut Co. on one of their lease ranches. Still riding a few colts, (only the good kind) and wrangle a few dudes for extra money. 

You can email Bill McKay. 



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