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About Dennis Adkins




Behind the Chutes

      I was back of the chutes the other day
      talking to an old timer,
      he was chewing on some Meadow hay

      I told him I'd like to try my hand at the riggin
      He laughed, shook his head
      Said he hoped for my sake I was only kidding

      He was polishing a buckle
      watching it glisten
      Said I'll tell you about rodeo
      If you've a mind to listen

      He said son there's nothing better
      nothing more thrillin
      but the way your but slaps that leather
      Ain't nothin more killin

      Say you "enter up" in Denver or Cheyenne
      You figure it'll be easy money
      Cause nobody rides like you can

      You draw your horse'
      we'll call him "Midnight" for luck
      Cowboys say he's an honest horse
      But he knows how to buck.

      You get your riggin all set
      your down in the chutes
      Old Midnight cranks his head around
      And starts chewing on your boots

      You look up at the lord,
      Get your prayers all said
      Screw your hat way down
      And you nod your head

      That gate latch clicks,
      They swing her wide
      This is it Pard
      You got a whole bunch of bronc to ride.

      From that first jump out
      He'll be hell to handle
      Start throwing your butt
      From dashboard to cantle

      But you charge up front
      And hit your lick
      Your settin him real pretty
      You got him whipped.

      That buzzer goes off and as if by chance
      That's when ol Midnight will bog his head
      And thump you down hard on the seat of your pants.

      Well, you get up a smilin, so proud you could shout
      The annoucer says "no score for the cowboy
      He missed him out"

      The whole crowd a watchin, no chance for hidin
      Just go on back and hope
      You do better in the bull ridin.

      Well, I listened to his story
      And thought hard about it all
      I figure the best place for my bronc saddle
      Is just hangin on the wall.

       2003, Dennis Adkins
       This poem may not be reprinted or reposted without the author's written permission.



About Dennis Adkins:

I grew up in Oregon (my wife claims I haven't grown up yet!) during the sixties and seventies. As you know things have changed a bunch since then. I worked ranches from fall gather to spring turn out and avoided the summer hay fields like any self respecting buckaroo would. Summer was made for Rodeo not scratching and pulling at the hay stuck to the sweat in your shirt! I made a beans and cracker living riding rough stock in the Pacific Northwest for about 6 years. You won't see my name in any record books though. At least not unless they enact a "Donator of the Year" award.

All them boys used to love to see my name on the entry board cause they knew their pot just got sweeter. Funny thing though, I've noticed that the older I get, the better I used to be. Ain't life funny?

I started wring poems in 1974. I remember because my first was about my best friend. You see he was killed by a saddle bronc horse at the Oregon High School Finals that year. Rick (my friend was Rick Retherford) was a guitar player and lead singer in a band with his brother and friends. I couldn't carry a tune myself if I used a dump truck. So when Rick died I wanted to give him something that was personal to take with him. I don't think that little poem will ever win an award either but it was in keeping with my "donator" style.

"Behind the Chutes" is pretty descriptive of my entry into bronc riding. I was never very good at it but no one could ever convince me of that then and it was by far my favorite event. I never rode in Denver or Cheyenne, but I'm still convinced that if I had I would've won it all!! (Remember, "The older I get the better I used to be.")

I enjoy writing poems and such about rodeo and the western way of things because it takes me back to a time and way of life that built strong backs, high morals and strong friendships



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