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

photo by Lori Faith,

Tucson, Arizona
About Buck Helton
Buck Helton's  


The Trail to Yesterday

As I look at events in our Country today,
it seems my values have passed from the scene.
So, I think back to my youth, and the things that
I learned, from Roy, Hoppy,& Gene.

You said "Yes sir," & "Ma'am," 'til you were grown,
or got swatted on where you sat.
And when the National Anthem was played,
every Cowboy would take off his hat.

The biggest question we had do deal with,
was could Trigger outrace Champ?
We had heroes we could be proud of back then
who showed us the way like a lamp.

We all had our sixguns by the time we turned 9
that our Granddaddies taught us to use,
We hunted and fished, and sang campfire songs
and none of us used drugs or booze.

Today's kids have no heroes, no one to learn from
but there's a few left to show them the way,
so pard, let's round-up & herd these here young
Buckaroos, down the trail to yesterday.

© 2002, Buck "The Big Man" Helton of Cowboy Church
This poem may not be reprinted or reposted without the author's written permission.


A Cowboy's Memories...

I remember my youth,..and the days spent a-horseback
on the Plains and the Prairie when I was young.
The creak of the leather,..the wind in your face
Campfires, Coffee, and songs that were sung.

That told of the dangers of life on the trail
stampedes, and outlaws, and sixguns ablaze.
Longhorns, and rustlers, riding on night guard
& Sourdough biscuits for breakfast each day.

The old Chisolm Trail is covered in concrete,
but the open range lives on in story and song
& an old Cowboy's memories of youth spent a-horseback
on the Plains and the Prairie where a Cowboy belongs.

© 2002, Buck "The Big Man" Helton of Cowboy Church
This poem may not be reprinted or reposted without the author's written permission.


Cookie's Black Iron Skillet

There are memories I treasure from my trail days
The Round-up in Spring and the Fall
I remember old camp Cookie's Black Iron Skillet
The tastiest memory of all...

They came in all sizes to hold everything
From two scrambled eggs to a Moose
And if you so much as touched one
You were liable to find yourself at the end of a noose!

They came in right handy when a rustler came round
And we didn't feel like wasting no lead
I can still hear the nice holler sound that it made
When Cookie whopped him up-side of the head

He could do the 3 B's (that's beef beans and bacon
'fer them what ain't et on the trail)
And coffee so strong it'd float a horseshoe
It would sure put some bounce in your tail

He'd make sirloin just right, all tender and juicy
With fried Taters served on the side
And then for desert, a Dutch Oven cobbler
To give you the strength for the ride

He'd make sourdough biscuits and sucamagrowl
(That's a kind of sweet dumpling you see)
And the best apple pie that you've ever had
But that's just a fond memory...

Nowadays when my gullet is empty
I can usually find something to fill it
But I've yet to find chuck like old Cookie served up
Out of that Black Iron Skillet

© 2004, Buck "The Big Man" Helton 
This poem may not be reprinted or reposted without the author's written permission.

Keeper of the Fire

Cowboy songs were born around a fire, on the trails of long ago
They told about a way of life cowboys had come to know
Some were funny, some were sad, but in laughter and in tears
The stories that they told would be around a hundred years

And be picked up and carried off, like a burning brand
To spread the light of cowboy ways to others cross the land
As the voice of far flung embers, becomes a mighty choir
I sometimes stop and wonder, who’ll stay and tend the fire?

For every branch that’s taken out, to light some minstrel’s way
Another must replace it, lest the music go astray
Yes, the songs have got to blaze new trails, and walk in others boots
But remember that the tallest trees are those with deepest roots

Let the young ones gather round the fire, for songs of long ago
The melodies that touched our souls, and set our hearts aglow
For a pinto pal a yearning, and a cowboy’s life desire
I see that gleam rekindled every time I tend the fire

As you build on these foundations, wherever you may go
Don’t forget the "Zebra Dun," or little wrangler Joe
Remember too Laredo town, and all that went on prior
Come back home from time to time, and help to tend the fire

These new songs can light up a heart, like those we knew back then,
Can make you laugh, or cry, or dance, or even shout Amen!
But if you growed up like I did, then you might not find it strange
That I still get misty eyed, when I sing "Home on the Range"

To know where you’re a-goin, you must know where you’ve been
That old campfire, burning bright will lead you home again
And fuel your dreams, and songs anew, it always will inspire
Me? I’ll stay and stir the flames, I’m the keeper of the fire.

© 2010, Buck "The Big Man" Helton 
This poem may not be reprinted or reposted without the author's written permission.

You can hear Buck recite "Keeper of the Fire" at here at his MySpace page, which also includes some of his music.

Buck told us, "A radio dj made the remark that 'we need to move beyond the classics.' Now, I know him, and I know how much he respects tradition, so I knew what he meant: that we needed to encourage new artists in Western music, and to encourage the writing of new material in the traditional style. Sometimes singers, especially new singers, get so comfortable with the old standards that they never get around to creating their own contributions to the Songbook of the West. But the way he said it—I believe this was one of those 'boot in mouth' moments we all have now and then irritated me. This poem was the response."


A Cowboy Christmas Eve

Christmas Eve out on the prairie, in a shack there on the line
I was holed up there ‘til springtime, tending half-frozen bovines.
You’d blow ‘yer nose and get snot-sicles, that’s how cold it was that night
Thought my eyes had done froze over, when I be-held this here sight.

An old-time high-backed buckboard, drawn there by an 8-mule team
With an extry one a-perched up front, his bright nose all a-gleam
It was piled high with bundles, shiny silver-mounted tack
The driver then jumped from his seat, and grabbed a gunny sack

He was wearing dusty britches, and a drover’s blouse of red
A bright holly-green kerchief and a Stetson on his head
Covered by an old red duster, silver spurs on mule-eared boots
A weathered face and twinkling eye, a right cheerful old galoot!

He brushed the snow from off his coat, and stood there with a grin
“How about a cup a’ coffee?” I asked, and he came in
Said his name was Sandy, and he was out this Christmas Eve
To give out gifts, and remind us of the greatest one received

Two thousand years ago or more, in a manger did He lie
God’s gift to man, announced that night, by a new star in the sky
Seen first by humble shepherds, their flocks left on the hill
Others followed, and journeyed on, and Wise Men seek Him still

Sandy handed me a concho belt, and a pound of coffee too
Arbuckle’s best, with a peppermint stick, a mighty tasty brew
I was mighty glad to get ‘em, and I thanked him like I ought
Not only ‘fer the presents, but the Good News that he brought

So many focus on the trimmin’s, the message is sometimes lost
For God so loved this world He made, that upon a rugged cross
His only Son would bleed and die, to pay the price for sin
And someday He’ll be coming back, to gather us on in

Kinda like them ornery critters, what has got the urge to stray
We get stuck in snow banks, or a ditch, ‘til a Cowboy saves the day
And brings us back into the herd, where we’re safe inside the fence
He does it ‘cuz He loves us, even when we’ve got no sense!

Sandy’s smile grew wide, and pearly teeth showed where’d he’d split his beard
“I’m glad to know you wear His brand, now you need not be a-feared
I’ve got to go and spread the news, across these open plains”
He leapt then to his buckboard, and gathered up the reins

And soon he was plumb out of sight, though his jingle bob’s still rung
There in my ears as I recalled the Good News that he brung
He done left me some fine gifts, worthy of loud Yee-Haws
But the best one was to hear the Gospel, preached by Sandy Claws.

© 2010, Buck "The Big Man" Helton 
This poem may not be reprinted or reposted without the author's written permission.

This poem is a part of Christmas at the BAR-D, 2011


photo by Lori Faith,

Saddle up with Buck "The Big Man"!
"I'm a rootin, tootin, sixgun shootin, yodeling cowhand!"
(courtesy of Wylie Gustafson)

These Lyrics describe Buck" The Big Man" to a T! Singer, Songwriter, Yodeler extraordinaire, Award winning Cowboy Poet, Emcee, and Western Actor, The Big Man brings the Music, History and Romance of the West to life before your very eyes! Whether you're after historically accurate costumes, and songs of the trail (and the stories behind them) or the Golden age of the B-Westerns, with the great tunes from Roy, and Gene, Tex and Rex, Cowboy Poetry for your next gathering, yodels that'll blow the roof right off 'yer bunkhouse, or a great villain or sidekick for your next production, The Big Man is the one to call!  

Here's what those in the know have to say about The Big Man.

Whenever I'm booking a show in TX or OK Buck is one of the first ones I call.  
Debra Coppinger Hill, AWA Poet of the Year, Executive Producer "Love of the West"

Buck makes the fanciest yodels sound effortless; such fun to work with.
Devon Dawson, Grammy Award Winning Western Recording Artist

You can record anything of mine, anytime you like! Wylie Gustafson
Wylie & the Wild West

I'm glad we've got folks like you to help keep this music alive. J
ohnny Western, Legendary Songwriter & Singing Cowboy

Born into a musical family (his mother Judy Beaver was a regular on the Big "D" Jamboree, and Country Picnic TV and radio shows) Buck has been performing since the age of 5. He is featured regularly on Love of the West, and can often be seen on the Texas Country Gospel Hour seen worldwide on Gospel Music Television, He tours widely throughout Texas and Oklahoma, and has been invited to tour Europe with the USO. His music can be heard on radio stations throughout North America, and Europe. The Big Man has 10 albums. In addition to his other activities, Buck is in wide demand as a voiceover artist, having recorded over 1500 Radio and TV Commercials.

Be sure and stop by Buck's Cowboy Music club on Yahoo! Buck comments in 2010: "I run the oldest and largest Western Music group on the net, titled simply Cowboy Music (poets are more than welcome too). Just go to the groups page on Yahoo! and type in Cowboy Music. It's another great place to publicize anything going on in the Western Entertainment world, and it's 100% free, and always has been since I created it 11 years ago."

View a November, 2009 video here, in an appearance on the Leslie Taylor Hare Show in Dallas. Buck comments, "I sing 'Home on the Range,' and 'King of Kings Ranch,' as well as giving a brief yodel lesson.

Buck Helton on MySpace



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