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

Avon, Utah
About Dale Major



Roping Excuse

I've friends that have a passion, to toss a rope at horn and heel
and they like to invite me, 'cause they all seem to feel
like this would be good for me, help me  bond with my old horse,
I tell them that we get along fine, but they don't believe me of course

and say to be a real cowboy, you need to build a loop
then chase  after the fastest steer they have there in their group.
Well, I've given it a try, but can never make my rope
settle over horn or heel, and I've about given up hope

on ever becoming a roper, and maybe a cowboy too
I've been to clinics and seminars, but I don't know what to do
Most make it look so easy, while for me it is so tough
it's not like telling a cowboy poem, where you can hide behind a  bluff.

Then I came across a story, that helped me understand why
I may never become a roper, no matter how hard I  try.
The story's of my grandpa's dad, a real pioneer
who went to settle the San Juan area, 1879 was the year.

There was no road to follow, they had to build their own,
sometimes down a "Hole" in a solid face of stone.
With three companions to scout with him, they came to a  plateau
that now they call Grey Mesa, there was  no place else to go

with the Colorado on one side, and the San Juan on the other
they couldn't find a way around, and it was beginning to bother
them that may have to all turn back, unless a way was found,
they searched and searched but in the end they were all just turned around

Then a strange thing happened, Gramps was alone and stopped to rest
a mountain goat came to check him out, and then there came the test
of my great grandpa's roping skills, because he didn't have a gun
so he built a loop and took a throw, before that goat could run

Well, he threw and missed, the goat ran off, but didn't go too far
and gramps set up to try again, and thus began a repertoire
of throw and miss and move on down, the goat leading the way
down the massive slick rock surrounding the mesa they now called "Gray"

When it finally dawned on him, this was a trail  down that face of stone
the goat tired of their little game and  ran off, leaving  him  alone.
he returned to find his companeros in the throes of a dispute,
sure they'd have to all turn back 'cause  there was no way off that butte

He was out of breath when he got to camp, and they asked him where he'd been
he told them he'd found a way down towards a canyon they now call Glen.
and how the goat had led the way, an answer to their prayer
he hadn't caught them supper, but for now they didn't care

because they knew they could continue on with what they'd been called to do
'cause they had what one old pioneer called, some good old "stickity do"
It still took several weeks to blast a wagon track down that grade
it was just as another segment of  the roughest pioneer wagon road ever made.

So when my roping friends all taunt and tease me about my poor roping ability
I tell them the story of my great grandpa, George B. Hobbs, and say, my roping skills come genetically.

© 2010, Dale Major
This poem may not be reprinted or reposted without the author's written permission.


Dale comments: The inspiration for this poem came while hiking down the segment of the "Hole in the Rock" (San Juan County, Utah) trail called "Slick Rocks," where this pioneer story occurred. Having ridden over Gray Mesa horseback, I can understand my great grandfather's and the other scouts' dilemma in finding a way for their pioneer wagon train to go. Great grandpa Hobbs' roping skills were limited to that necessary for farm living, hence it probably would have taken several throws just to get warmed up. I have friends with roping cattle who do invite me to come and rope with them, but my "rodeo" roping skills leave a lot to be desired, and so these two stories collided and meshed together for this poem offering. And it does make a good excuse, valid for me anyway!

Reptile Dysfunction

You see it on the television, there always is a new
disease thatís been discovered and youíd have to say itís true
that a lot of them are named after critters Ďthough I donít know why
but they say theyíre real dangerous, and a lot of folks could die
from illnesses like mad cow disease, to swine or avian flu
Iíve been told to sell my chickens, thatís the safest thing to do.

I discovered a new disease myself, quite by accident to be sure,
but the authorities should get right on it, in hopes to find a cure
I was riding my pony in the mountains just the other day
and came across a rattlesnake, who held my dog at bay,
except he didnít coil and strike like a rattler should at all
instead he just lay there and rattled, all limp, like an old rag doll

I got off my horse, poked him with a stick, tried to get him to rise
I could tell heíd like to stiffen and strike, I could see the anger in his eyes.
I was guessing that this snake was old, by all the rattles in his tail
and I knew that he was trying, but each time he tried, heíd fail.
Iím sure he was disappointed, unable to perform
like a rattler ought to, and scare us off or do us harm.

I guess Iím getting older too, cause I can relate to his malady
theyíve found a human cure, now theyíll need a reptile remedy.
although he couldnít coil and strike, it wasnít for lack of gumption,
Iím sure now what that old rattler had, was a case of reptile dysfunction

© 2010, Dale Major
This poem may not be reprinted or reposted without the author's written permission.


Dale comments: I'd have to say that just getting old, turning 50, and becoming a Grandpa kind of makes you pay more attention to certain ads you may see on television or in print media. I actually did have a buddy tell me during the Avian Flu epidemic that I had better get rid of all my chickens, cause my children may catch the flu from them. I guess this poem is a product of a long winter feeding cows, without much else to do.


Analog Cowboy (in a digital world)

He's an ANALOG COWBOY in a digital world.     

You see him every morning in his pickup after nine,

you can tell heís fed his cows Ďcause from the mirrors hangs the twine.

he listens to old country on his AM radio

sometimes he puts an eight track in  that old truckís stereo.

he doesnít like the Dixie Chicks, heíd rather hear old Merle

heís an Analog Cowboy in a digital world


The only phone heís got is one thatís still  tied to a wire

He ropes his cattle horseback, drags them to the branding fire

He doesnít like four wheelers or the internet of course

He says it ainít worth doing if it canít be from a horse  

he wears his hair cut short, wouldnít look like heís a girl.

Heís an Analog Cowboy in a digital world




With a piece of baling wire he can fix most anything

Just donít ever  feed him any chicken, or ask to hear him sing. 


fiddle solo


Donít need no GPS when heís out riding on his land

Ďcause he knows each draw and coulee like the back of his own hand

he can tell a horseís age by the way his teeth have worn,

but he forgets his anniversary and the day his wife was born

He proudly  shucks his Stetson when old Glory is unfurled,

Heís an Analog Cowboy in a digital world

heís an Analog Cowboy in a digital world

We need more Analog Cowboys in this digital world

(spoken) he was born 100 years too late

© 2010, Dale Major
This poem may not be reprinted or reposted without the author's written permission.

Dale comments
: I have a techno-phobe amateur photographer friend who came to visit me after Christmas one year and told me that his daughter had given him a digital camera. He wasn't sure how he was going to get along with it, but was resigned to the fact that it was getting harder to get his 35mm film processed. I casually told him that he must not be a digital kind of guy, more of an analog guy but in a digital world, and thus was born the hook to this song.

The first verse is about him feeding his cows with his old Ford pickup and hanging the hay twine on his rear view mirrors, and you'd see him driving down the rode with the twine waving. The second verse talks about my father-in-law, a rancher and cowboy who doesn't particularly like 4 wheelers or new technology, and the third verse is about some other cowboy friends of mine. One spent time in England during the '60s, and when asked what he did back in the States, would respond that he was a cowboy, to which the Englishmen would reply, "lets hear you sing," because to them, all cowboys sang. Well, my friend didn't sing, and he soon became so tired of having to explain why that he quit telling any of the English that he was a cowboy!

This song is really about some of the best people that I am privileged to know. We really need more Analog Cowboys!

This song has been recorded by my friend Chris Mortensen, and we have even made it into a music video available on YouTube. Here's the link:

The YouTube video, which stars locals and cowboys, includes the disclaimer, "No animals OR cowboys were harmed in the making of this film..."



Ain't Nothing Quite Like

Ainít nothing quite like a rainbow or the smell of new mown  hay 

ainít nothing quite like  riding home  at the end of the long hard day.

ainít nothing quite like baling hay when the dewís come on just right

ainít nothing  like taking a morning nap after baling  hay all night 



Ainít nothing quite like  a brand new car

a hand made  saddle or a Martin Guitar

there  ainít nothing quite like the things you do

there ainít nothing quite like you.


fiddle solo


Ainít nothing quite like a baby  colt trotting by his mamaís  side

ainít nothing quite like a  two year old  getting on  for your first ride.

ainít nothing quite like a newborn  calf nuzzled to  itís motherís flank

ainít nothing  like taking the cattle buyerís check into the bank. 



bass solo


ainít nothing quite like a baby girl  that the nurse puts in your arms

ainít nothing quite like  it when she learns to melt  you with her   charms.

ainít nothing quite like her gentle smile when youíre feeling blue.

ain't nothing quite like it when she says, (Erin sings)  ďhey daddy,  I love you.Ē



(ending add)

(there) ainít nothing quite like the things you do,

there ainít nothing quite like you.

© 2010, Dale Major
This poem may not be reprinted or reposted without the author's written permission.


Dale says, "My 13 year old son Jacob plays upright bass, and my 16 year old daughter Erin plays fiddle. I play guitar."

He told us about the inspiration for this song, "I got the idea for this song one beautiful spring morning out checking on the newest batch of baby calves. I felt a tremendous sense of gratitude for the country lifestyle that I enjoy and those activities that I get to be a part of, like watching a newborn foal or calf, the sweet smell of hay and horse sweat, etc. etc. Most of you probably know what I mean, especially if you have children and experienced tender moments with them as I have. This song could probably have a verse or two added to it every day, if we would just take the time to notice a little more closely the world around us."

Making Hay

If you've been to the country, you've seen us making hay
most times we bale in the cool of night, sometimes in the heat of day
every baler has a cadence or a rhythm, and on a night that's clear.
if you listen closely, this is what you'll hear:

Thirteen hits and the knotter trips and I make another bale
I've got 49 bales on the counter, and all this hay's for sale
I'm just starting out, got the tractor dieseled up and the dew's come on just right
but there's a big clump of tough looking hay up ahead, if I don 't slow down I might.

(spoken "BANG") break a sheer bolt. Jake would you fix that sheer bolt??  bass solo

We make hay for the dairies, and for the horse people too.
when you bale alfalfa hay, it's best with a little dew
sometimes we start baling early, if we think there's the threat of rain,
but no matter what kind of hay we make, it all goes through the same, and that's

thirteen hits and the knotter trips and I make another bale
I've got 700 bales on the counter, and all this hay's for sale
it's 1:00 in the morning, I've got the radio on, and I'm still going strong.
but there's a bunch of broken bales in my rear view mirror, and I think I know what's wrong

(spoken "WHAT??") I ran out of twine. Erin would you go get some twine??  fiddle solo

so if you've got a horse, or cow, a goat or a sheep
you can come buy your hay from me, I let rained-on hay go cheap.
and if you're packing in the forest, I've got weed-free certified too
but no matter what kind of hay you buy, there's one thing they've all gone through, and that's

thirteen hits and the knotter trips and I make another bale
I've got 900 bales on the counter, and all this hay's for sale.
it's 2:30 in the morning, just saw a critter run past, but I can't really tell
but it may have got caught in the baler, and then in drifts the smell ("pew")

(spoken "baled up a skunk" we'll I've had enough, let's shut this thing down and go home.)

© 2010, Dale Major
This poem may not be reprinted or reposted without the author's written permission.

Dale told us, "The inspiration for this song was born from many hours (usually at night) baling hay, sometimes without the aid of a radio for company. This leaves time for the mind to be prompted and sometimes inspired. The pounding rhythm of the baler as it forms the bales, coupled with the occasional sound the knotter makes as it ties a knot made for the basis of this song. While there are many different types and classifications of hay, it all passes through the same process of baling, Anyone who's ever baled hay or even listened to a baler working a field, can certainly identify with this song. I have to admit though, I have never baled up a skunk (yet), but
I have gone through a lot of sheer bolts, and I have run out of twine."

Get Along, Old Cow

Get along Hereford cow, youíre looking rough
finding feed in the desert, can get pretty tough
give it all to your calf, till youíre gaunt and youíre thin,
but the cowboy will love you, for the calf you bring in.

Get along bally cow, with the upturned horn,
if you turn back now Iíll cuss the day youíre born
you kicked hard the cowboy when he branded your hide,
but the cowboy still loves you, for the calf at your side


Get along little doggies, get along ya old range cow,
and calve unassisted, youíd better know how
and bring back a calf, protect it with your life,
and the cowboy will love you, and so will his wife.


Get along ya old roan cow, youíve been here a while,
and calves that youíve raised has made the cowboy smile,
but if you come back open, your time here is done,
but the cowboyíll still love you, in a hamburger bun,
ya the cowboy will love you, between a hamburger bun.

© 2011, Dale Major
This poem may not be reprinted or reposted without the author's written permission.

Dale told us: This song illustrates the real life relationship between the cowboy and a cow. In the real ranching world, a cow is expected to wean a live calf each year and also be with calf (as opposed to "open") each year in order to remain profitable to the rancher. Dead calves don't bring much!!

I got the idea for this song while helping a friend of mine gather cattle in Southern Utah. We had come across a very thin Hereford cow who'd eaten some kind of poisonous plant, and I was given the task of directing her to the assembling herd. She wasn't very cooperative, hence, "Get along, old cow," along with a few other choice words (not required for the song).

The last verse pays homage to a great old red roan cow that we had to put down this spring as she could no longer stand due to old age (she was at least 20 years old, and had been in our herd through 16 calves). She produced some great daughters for us who in turn gave us a couple of Grand Champion steers that our kids took to our local county fair. We were able to "harvest" a live calf from her that we grafted on to one of her granddaughters.

We probably shouldn't have kept her so long, but it's hard to ship a good pregnant cow, or even a rank pregnant cow. (Baxter Black does a great poem about "running her one more year.")Unfortunately, ol 'Roany' was so thin (due to age and dental problems i.e., she needed dentures) that the abattoir didn't think she was worth the cost of making hamburger, so we buried her!


About Dale Major:

I live on a small farm in Avon, Utah, (if you don't know where Avon is, get a Utah map, find Paradise and Eden, Utah. Avon is south of Paradise, and north of Eden!) We raise club calves, horses and children, not necessarily in that order. We enjoy moving our cattle horseback and winter feeding with horses. We do an annual horse ride from our home in Avon, Utah to the children's grandparents' ranch in Lyman, Wyoming, a 3-day ride of 106 miles. A child must be at least 3 years old to go on this ride. We enjoy performing cowboy music and poetry.




 What's New | Poems | Search

 Features | Events  

The BAR-D Roundup | Cowboy Poetry Week

Poetry Submissions 

Subscribe | Newsletter | Contact Us

  Join Us!


Authors retain copyright to their work; obtain an author's
permission before using a poem in any form. is a project of the Center for Western and Cowboy Poetry, Inc., a Federal and California tax-exempt non-profit 501 (c) (3) organization.  

Site copyright information