BROOKE RYAN TURNER
About Brooke Ryan Turner
Ridin' for the Brand
Well you could find him each day at sun up,
just a workin' and doin' chores,
he preferred to ridin' and ropin',
but he never once complained about mucking floors.
He said "Cleaning stalls, though somewhat unpleasant,
is good for a man's heart and for his hands.
Hard work never killed nobody,
it's part of ridin' for the brand."
Well he was never what you would call a friend of soap and water,
fact is I'm not sure he really even liked the stuff.
He'd take him a bath come a Saturday night,
and he'd say that's just a plenty good enough.
When I'd rib him about his scrubbin',
Ah he'd just laugh and shake his hand,
he said "Dirt's just a part of ranching,
part of ridin' for the brand."
Well he was there for the birth of our children,
nervous as a fox chased hen.
He asked "When's this thing gonna commence?,"
and when it did,
"When's the sufferin' gonna end?"
Well he stood strong right there with us,
he saw the strain in her eyes,
he felt the pain through the grip in her hand.
He said "I God, childbirth,
that 's the true meaning of ridin' for the brand."
Well he helped to raise them young'uns,
Nevada and Kordell and Chance.
He taught 'em when to work and when to play,
and he even taught 'em how to dance.
He said "Kids, like calves, are born plum ignorant,
you've got to teach 'em how and where to stand.
You can either drag 'em through life by the nap of the neck,
or you can lead 'em with an outstretched hand.
I believe raisin' young'uns ,
that's the best part of ridin' for the brand."
And like the night a couple heifers,
thought that they'd found shelter from a storm under an oak,
but lightnin' showed 'em different
and it busted that tree like you bust an egg for it's yolk.
Well I set out Sunday mornin' to bury 'em,
he come a ridin' up with a pick and shovel in his hand,
He said "You know, a nasty task is a little more tolerable
when you share it with a friend.
'Sides, I weren't doin' nothing anyway."
Now I call that ridin' for the brand.
And the time these three poachers
shot a buck strictly for his rack,
we chased 'em down for miles and days,
and we finally caught 'em in their track.
And the fight that occured was bloody,
and he helped me to fight'em man to man,
You know there's one hell of a difference 'tween just bein' loyal,
and ridin' for the brand.
And when the drought came
and held on for the better part of three years,
I said "We can't pay ya, we got to let ya go"
and I said it through a faceful of tears.
He said "Hell, hard times come and hard times go,
me I stay right where I stand."
He said " I'll work for beef and biscuits,
ya see I'm a ridin' for the brand."
And when the cancer took our preacher,
he was there with the family and the sawbones and the nurse.
And ya know he didn't clean up all that bad,
he helped to carry him from the hearse.
Well we thanked him the next morning,
he held back a tear on a face leather tanned,
He said "Dyin's the cost of living,
it's part of ridin' for the brand."
And when a ton plus bull
jumped the fence and knocked our two year old to the ground,
and Sadie, just a pup herself,
she kept that bull from knocking our little bitty boy around.
Well she stood her ground and she fought him,
and then she heeled him when he ran.
I guess even a 15 pound pup knows about
ridin' for the brand.
Well my ole pard he died a workin',
I guess his old heart done had all it could stand,
And I'll bury him, with my family
upon a mountain overlookin' this land.
And ya know there's at least a million things
that I need and I want to say about the man,
I guess the most important,
is he was always ridin' for the brand.
Of his birth, there weren't no record,
so his age was never clear.
But I'll carve it in the marble,
today's date and the month and the year.
Now lord, I've been schooled on your ways since I was just a pup,
how you're fair and you're great and you're grand,
so I know you'll take good care of my ole compadre,
'cause now he's a ridin' for your brand.
© 2000, Brooke Ryan Turner
About Brooke Ryan Turner:
I know it's hard to imagine cowboys and cows east of "the Missouri," but let me introduce you to Brooke Ryan Turner. Brooke is a real life working cowboy who owns and operates a working cow calf outfit along with the help of several dogs, several horses, three kids, Nevada, Kordell and Chance, and a top hand wife Pallin. Brooke spends everyday of his life ridin', ropin', rhymin' and tending to their herd, all the while taking care of their small part of God's vast earth.
Cowboying and ranching came natural for Brooke ..he was born into it. Raised in the Heartland of America, where cattle graze and blizzards hit without warning, Brooke had a love of ranching from his youth up. He had instilled in him the values and work ethic of the old west and has continued to demonstrate both in his ranching operation. He started his first herd before he even left school and continues to raise cattle, crops and kids...although not precisely in that order. Brooke's poetry is guaranteed to make some people laugh, some people cry and everyone think. He draws inspiration for his poetry from all areas of his life, from bull riding, to fishing with his kids, to calving in a blizzard or just riding out across his ranch in the morning light. In the past year though his greatest inspiration has been his sister Jyl, who was paralyzed in a ranching accident. To help her Brooke did the thing he knew best...he cowboyed his way to Nashville by riding over 730 miles on horseback to perform a song he wrote in tribute to her as well as raise awareness and money for Spinal Cord Injury Research. On hearing about the ride to Nashville, Baxter Black commented that "Brooke's ride was done the cowboy way." Brooke continues to be a dedicated supporter of Spinal Cord Research.
For the past 8 years Brooke has taken advantage of every opportunity to perform his poetry--from large national conventions to small county fairs. He loves interacting and performing for all audiences but holds a special place in his heart for young folks. It has truly been a privilege for him to perform the past 4 years for students at both Mountain View Elementary and Nevada Youth Training Center in Elko Nevada. He counts it a huge honor to have shared the stage with fellow cowboy poets Jessie Smith, Sunny Hancock and many others. Brooke's popularity and following have grown steadily and he has been featured in numerous magazines and television shows both in Midwest and across the nation.
Brooke is a proud member of the Cowboy Church Organization and was instrumental in establishing a Cowboy Church Service in Southwest Iowa. He has performed with this organization in different parts of the country.
Through his website at [no longer active], Brooke keeps friends and family up to date on his performances and his ongoing work with Spinal Cord Injury Research and the Barnes Jewish Rehabilitation Institute of St. Louis where groundbreaking research in spinal cord injuries is underway. To date Brooke and his family and friends have raised over $30,000 toward further research.
Brooke continues to divide his time between cowboying, performing and raising his family on their Southwest Iowa working ranch.
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