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Steamboat Springs, Colorado
About Byrum Lee




Ain't Givin' Up Hope

The entry fee at Tulsa took his last dime,
But if he ends in the money at all,
He can still make Cheyenne on time --
That is if the tires on the trailer hold out.
He can live one more week on cold pork 'n beans.
But he'll have to ration the Ben-Gay
And stitch up the holes in his jeans.

Last Wednesday he'd drunk the last beer he had;
Just tipped it right up and emptied the can
After a dally in Dallas went bad
And took the tip of a finger off his right hand.
He'd just sat there cryin' in the blood and the dust.
Reckoned how the stump would just have to heal --
'Cause he had to reach Tulsa by Friday or bust.

When he'd headed south outta Prescott down Eighty Nine,
She'd said she might take him back, but just one more time.
Yeah, he knew he'd been skatin' right close to the line.
Life on the road -- ropin' and ridin' just had to stop;
Settle down like their friends had and find steady work.
Double D Feed & Saddle was hirin' good help.
But he couldn't see being some common store clerk.

If the big show in Cheyenne don't have a payday,
He's not rightly sure what he might try to do.
Could be he'd head over toward Lander way.
Might have to work for a week, maybe two.
Try to save a few bucks and git back on his feet.
Maybe sleep in a motel instead of his truck --
A bed and clean sheets; now that'd be a treat.

Then it's keep headin' west in his old pickup truck.
Jackson Hole has good stock and low entry fees.
Could get as far as Corvallis, if he has any luck --
Now there's a pretty li'l town with a great rodeo.
Ought'a hook up with a heeler and learn to team-rope.
His hand should be pret' near all healed up by then.
But one thing he knows -- he ain't givin' up hope!

2005, B. C. Lee
This poem may not be reprinted or reposted without the author's written permission.

Byrum told us: The inspiration for "Ain't Givin' Up Hope" comes from rubbing shoulders with the hundreds of riders out there just trying to make it one more time.  In particular, it is personal to a college friend (who shall remain unnamed) who, despite a successful college rodeo career, never quite made it on the pro circuit.


About Byrum Lee:

I was born in Odessa, Texas and despite episodes of life on the East Coast and Europe, I always felt most at home with "things country," from music to life style and cowboy boots to values.  After completing college at Texas Tech in Lubbock, Texas I wound up with a job in Denver, Colorado. While at Texas Tech, I had been fortunate enough to participate in a bit of amateur rodeo and to become friends with several members of the Rodeo Team. Since I was living in Denver, it was only natural that these same friends would show up at my doorstep on their way to the "Grand Daddy of 'Em All" up in Cheyenne or hope to grab a spot on my floor during the National Western Stock Show and Rodeo in Denver.

Despite employment in Denver, it wasn't long before a more agrarian way of life beckoned and I managed to move my family to Steamboat Springs where cowboy ethics still prevail and summertime weekend rodeo is going strong.



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