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Never Forgotten

The Cardiac Cowboys are the only Cowboy Poetry "group."  And once you've seen them, well, who could top them? Their show nearly defies description.  They must be experienced.

Hardtwist Ike reported on the group in The Flat Top Review (reprinted with permission):

They're old, they're cranky, and they are dang sure funny.  We are talking about the Cardiac Cowboys, Jesse Smith, Sunny Hancock, and Chris Isaacs.  Interviewed after a riotous performance at the National Cowboy Poetry Gathering in Elko Nevada recently, Chris Isaacs said "We don't seem to be able to do anything about getting older so we decided to have some fun with it."  

And FUN it has been.  In the last year they have performed their "geriatric humor" in California, Arizona, Oregon, Wyoming, and several other stops along the way.  Lately they have appeared on the syndicated radio program The Horseman's Radio Weekly with Jim Campbell.

Each of these guys is a respected poet and entertainer in his own right, and are well known wherever Cowboy Poets gather.  Sunny Hancock, the Patriarch of the group says, "We have worked around each other for years, and a couple of years ago we did a show in California where it just worked out that we were all three on the stage at the same time.  The show just kind of took on a life of its own.  We started making fun of each other and growing old, and before we knew it the Cardiac Cowboys Comedy Hour was born." 

Jesse Smith added, "It's a good mix. We each have our own style and know each other well enough that we have as much fun with it as the audience does.  We always script the show beforehand, but usually lose our place, and then we're are just off to the races."
Decked out in shirts with their "Logos" embroidered on them (AARP, Metamucil, Viagra, etc.) they try to pick on everything during the show, from old age to politics to the changing world we live in.  

"At our age we don't give a damn about being politically correct," said Chris, the junior member of the group at age 58,  "What's the use of getting old if you can't say what you want?  So we try hard to be "equal opportunity annoyers."

Their credentials are as poets are genuine.  Sunny Hancock was voted Cowboy Poet of the Year for 2001 by his peers in the Academy of Western Artists (AWA). Chris Isaacs is a two-time winner of the "Willie" awarded by the AWA (Rising Star in 1996 and Best Poetry Album in 1997).  Jesse Smith is an award-winning songwriter; his song "Dollar" won the 1995 CWMA Traditional Western Song of the Year.

You'll want to have their brand new CD, Barely Live from Elko and their In Camp with the Cardiac Cowboys video.  Read about both and their books below.


Cardiac Cowboys' Theme Song

Books and Recordings






Cardiac Cowboys' Theme Song

We're known as the "Cardiac Cowboys"
We've come to entertain you folks.
We hope that you enjoy the show
And laugh at all our jokes.

We've traded in our chaps and ropes;
Our spurs hang on the wall.
Replaced our boots with house shoes,
But our "tales" are still real tall.

We used to be tough cowboys,
Members of the RCA.
We carried cards to prove it,
And we still carry cards today.

But the new cards in our wallets
Don't say RCA you see.
The ones we carry now days
Say Double A R P

A Doctor just won't treat us
Says we're bull headed and contrary
So any ailment we come down with
We just go see the Veterinary

He says we've got "Acute Angina",
(Though the rest don't look too hot.)
We've still got lots of nasty habits.
We do Crank, and Crack, and Pot.

It takes a Crank to get us started.
When we bend, the Crack's what shows.
And they say our Pot's are awesome
(That's why we don't wear tight clothes).

Preparation H and Geritol
Have become our dearest friends;
We crave the taste of Metamucil,
And buy cases of Depends

We've done our brand of humor
From LA to Niagara.
We're looking for some sponsors,
Maybe Advil or Viagra.

So be kind to us old cowboys.
We still try our very best.
And if you don't applaud and buy our tapes,
We may go into Cardiac Arrest!

2001, Cardiac Cowboys (would anyone else even think of claming this?)
This poem may not be reprinted or reposted without the author's written permission.





If you don't find yourself laughing through the Cardiac Cowboys' new CD "Barely Live at Elko," you'd better get yourself in for a checkup.

With their extensive cowboying experience and reputations as top poets, Chris Isaacs, Sunny Hancock, and Jesse Smith offer incomparable entertainment.  Their unique group concept just couldn't be pulled off by just any three Cowboy entertainers: it is immediately obvious that you are in the special rare company of three Cowboys who are real "pardners" both on and off the stage.

Dangerously hilarious, the Cardiac Cowboys also pride themselves on being "ornery, cantankerous, and politically UNcorrect."  The CD was recorded live at Elko in 2002, and it preserves all the freshness of that stage performance.  They even turn the few stumbles and forgotten lines into fun -- after all, being "geezers" is at the heart of their humor -- and they clearly are having a great time themselves. They say that in Elko "[We] managed to aggravate or offend ALMOST everyone in town. ('If we missed anyone, we apologize!)."  There are more jokes than poems in this show, and for those looking for more of their acclaimed Cowboy Poetry, their recent video offers a completely satisfying poetry experience.

"In Camp with the Cardiac Cowboys" gives viewers a feel for what Cowboy Poetry must have been like in its earliest days.  What the video may lack in technical perfection, it makes up for in the pure pleasure of seeing these sure enough Cowboys perform so naturally in the great outdoors.  They seamlessly weave together their poetry, tales and jokes while leaning on a fence, sitting in the saddle, or stretched out in front of a campfire. They make it look effortless as they pass off the lead to one another in what amounts to a sort of poetry in motion, with each performing his best work. As the video ends and the group rides off to R. W. Hampton's "Born to be a Cowboy," you know you've been in the company of three outstanding talents, each one the real deal, and each one definitely born to be a Cowboy and a poet.

Review by Margo Metegrano, Managing Editor, CowboyPoetry.com

Books, Video, and Recordings



The Cardiac Cowboys all have books:


Click for Cowboy Miner Rhymes, Reasons and Pack Saddle Proverbs
Chris Isaac's latest book, with a foreword by Larry McWhorter, is a favorite here at the BAR-D. You can get an autographed copy directly from Chris Isaacs or order from the publisher, Cowboy Miner.
Hardcover, 216 pages, $20.00 + $4.00 S&H, autographed, from Chris Isaacs 502 N Harless, Eagar AZ 85925 or directly from the publisher, Cowboy Miner

  Chris Isaacs is an Honored Guest here at CowboyPoetry.com. There's more about Chris and a selection of his poems here.


Sunny Hancock and Jesse Smith's book, Horse Tracks Through the Sage, contains over 50 of their poems, a foreword by Baxter Black, an introduction by Larry McWhorter, and a second foreword by Chris Isaacs. The book is published by Cowboy Miner
Paperback, 216 pages, $25.00 postpaid, from the Hancock family: 93509 Leehmann Lane, Lakeview, OR 97630. The hardcover is available from Cowboy Miner.


Never Forgotten

There's more about Sunny and a selection of his poems here.







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