Featured at the Bar-D Ranch

A Cowboy for the Cure Tour


photo by Jeri Dobrowski

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Popular cowboy poet, storyteller, and former working cowboy Dennis Gaines has faced serious cancer battles in recent years. True to his wise and positive spirit, he's combining educational and entertaining efforts in A Cowboy for the Cure Tour

Though Dennis has kept his challenges mostly to himself in the past, he writes that after his third diagnosis, "... one day it occurred to me that this whole issue is bigger than I am, and perhaps I should heed the message...I made the conscious decision to pursue this goal, and I believe it to be a worthy one...I am looking at this as a grand adventure and a chance to do something truly worthwhile with my life. I hope that I will be able to raise a significant amount of money and at the same time help people to understand that cancer does not have to be a death sentence. My mantra, as it were—and I have made it my motto to take on the road with me—is simple: "Find it, treat it. Fight it, beat it."

Dennis hopes to bring his message to every county in Texas (all 254). If you can help with A Cowboy for the Cure Tour, particularly in promotion and arranging venues, contact Dennis at (830) 896-5598 or by email.

An August, 2008 article by Carlina Villalpando in the Kerrville Daily Times tells Dennis Gaines' story:

Laughing in Spite of Cancer

Published August 2, 2008

No one likes to hear the C-word, especially not from your own doctor, but cowboy entertainer Dennis Gaines said hearing the word cancer ... three separate times, in fact ... has changed his perspective on life and given him new vision for the future.

As a longtime comedic entertainer and storyteller, Gaines has taken his personal experiences with cancer and woven them into his comic routine, creating an inspirational message that he said not only is entertaining, but should promote awareness of the necessity of frequent doctor’s visits and early detection.

Still recovering from prostate cancer, Gaines said he is waiting for his doctor’s official release before he gets the show on the road, traveling to every Texas county to perform. In the meantime, he is busy booking shows and making contacts across the state, arranging to perform anywhere folks will have him.

“I’m going to take it everywhere, south to north, east to west,” Gaines said. “That is my plan. This will be my entire professional focus.”

Gaines said he always has enjoyed performing, but now, he’ll do it with renewed purpose, after battling skin cancer, head and neck cancer, and most recently, prostate cancer. The first diagnosis, he said, wasn’t a complete surprise, but the second and third, he said where shocking and woke him up to the need for prevention and early detection.

“I consider myself fortunate, even blessed,” Gaines said. “Having cancer has opened my eyes. I came up with (this) idea to give something back, and I have decided to focus my efforts on this new goal.”

He hopes his Texas-wide tour will take him through rural areas, giving him the opportunity to speak to people who might not be apt to get frequent checkups or are reluctant to see doctors — especially men.

Gaines is tall, strong and looks as if he’s just stepped out of the old West, wearing a cowboy hat, boots and suspenders. His easygoing personality also puts people at ease, making him an effective spokesman in rural communities.

“There are 254 counties in the state of Texas, and I intend to present a performance of cowboy storytelling and a message of hope and inspiration in every one of them,” Gaines said. “Early detection and awareness has literally saved my life, and I want as many people as I can reach to understand the importance of these, and the resources available to them.”

Gaines said he has been in contact with the American Cancer Society and intends to donate a portion of his proceeds from the speaking events to them for research.

He currently is in the process of booking engagements across Texas and is eager to talk to people who would like to have him come speak. For information on the tour, call 830-896-5598 or e-mail cowboydg@ktc.com. "I may not ever raise the kind of money that Lance Armstrong can, but I’ll give it the old cowboy try. I can’t do it all, but I can do my part.”

© 2008, Kerrville Daily Times; reprinted with permission

Dennis Gaines, photo courtesy Jim Fish of The Texas Cowboy Gazette

Read more about Dennis Gaines and some of his poetry in our feature here.

Thanks to Linda Kirkpatrick for help with this feature.






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