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


Photo courtesy of Mary Sullivan's

Davis County, Utah
About Don Tidwell
Don Tidwell's web site


Visit the tributes at Mary Sullivan's Poems Place and read Mary's poem about Don, written on the happy occasion of his 79th birthday, at her site, here.  A book of Don's poetry is available in printed form; contact for more information.


Featured in "The Big Roundup," an anthology of the best of



Poetic Competition
(Cowboy Style)

A colorful contender
for the Cowboy Poet crown,
attracted great attention
when he ambled into town.

He came across as vivid
with a multi-hued onslaught--
His cowboy hat was purple,
and his shirt gold polka-dot.

He wore a pair of yellow cuffs
with inserts done in plaid,
and boasted of a wardrobe
like no other poet had.

There was a red bandanna wrapped
around his scrawny neck,
and his moustache, combed and waxed
was long enough to cause a wreck.

His costly Tony Llamas
were a loud and glaring pink;
His wooly orange sheepskin chaps
would make your eyelids blink!

They called on him to do his thing
and when he took the stage,
his lip began to tremble,
then he flew into a rage !!
He calmed, and said
"I'm sorry folks--
I gotta go back home;
It took so long to git dressed up
I plumb forgot my poem!!"

 Don Tidwell
This poem may not be reprinted or reposted without permission.

The Rodeo Cowboy

He starts as a yearlin down home on the ranch;
His first horse a stick horse from some sturdy branch.
He's raised to the rigors of life in the West,
And his daddy has faith he'll be up to the test.
He outshines all others while goin through school;
His creed is the creed of the staid golden rule.
He works at his trade with all strength he can find,
And knows most in this calling are out of their mind.
His summers are spent on the rodeo road
Where the stress of this life is a big mental load.
He battles the broncs and the bulls and the steers,
And his payment is often how loud the crowd cheers.
The paychecks are spotty, there's no way to fudge..
His fate in the hands of the rodeo judge.
His saddle and chaps are the tools of his trade;
His lean body scarred from mistakes that he's made,
But he won't give it up, it's too doggone much fun...
The Rodeo Cowboy....that son-of-a-gun!

 Don Tidwell
This poem may not be reprinted or reposted without permission.

Uncle Alvin

In the mode of rural lifestyles, I've a story true and warm
That will take you back to yesteryear and life down on the farm.
It's about my Uncle Alvin and the never-ending woe
That seemed to follow him around wherever he would go.

Now, my uncle was a slowpoke, a statement bold and true.
He took longer to accomplish things than normal people do.
He grew up as a farm-boy and he never had a wife-
Before he knew what they were for, he'd lived up half his life.

I was but a little tad, and he was in his prime,
But I could do some things he did in less than half his time.
Like milk the cows or slop the hogs, or harness up the team,
Or shinny up the derrick rope, as hard as that might seem.

One time when he was helpin put some shingles on a house,
He was tellin' 'bout a squeamish aunt's encounter with a mouse,
When he slipped and started fallin to the ground way down below,
(But remember now, I told you, Uncle Alvin was real slow.)
A neighbor saw that tragedy was mighty close at hand.
He had Sears send a mattress out in time for him to land!

Another time he found himself atop a load of hay,
The finish of that acre that was cut the other day;
His team was ploddin  homeward when some wise guy broke the sound,
Yellin "Gosh almighty Alvin, your wheels is goin round!"

But this time uncle held his own, retorting with a frown,
"I knowed some fool would notice that afore I got through town."

He lived to be a ripe old age, but finally had to go.
I loved my Uncle Alvin, but it's true.. He sure was slow!

 Don Tidwell
This poem may not be reprinted or reposted without permission.



Thoughts of an Aging Cowboy

               Will there be horses in heaven?
               Will there be trails we can ride?
               Will I meet there my sidekick and trailhands
               Who, before me, have crossed the Divide?

               Can we gather at night round the campfire
               And talk of the days of our youth?
               Can each tale be embellished a little,
               Or will we be held to the truth?

               Will our saddles be heavily padded
               To soften the strain on our bones?
               Will music we hear from the bunkhouse
               Fill night air with clear cowboy tones?

               Will cattle browse softly and safely
               With never a cause to stampede?
               Will the wrangler who tends the remuda
               Have oats and alfalfa to feed?

               Will I find there a heavenly barroom
               Behind finely carved swinging doors,
               Where a man can buy cold sasparilla,
               A whiskey, a Bud or a Coors?

               If these scenes from my mind's view of heaven
               Can truly be found to be so;
               Please send me my summons by angel---
               This cowboy is ready to go.

 Don Tidwell
This poem may not be reprinted or reposted without permission.


(Don notes that in this next poem, "Roland" was Bubba's Pick-up truck.)


I just had a note from an hombre
who lives on the West Texas Plain...
He told a tall tale of great daring
about him and '01 Roland and rain

He claimed that while him and '01 Roland,
was cruisin along feelin proud,
He suffered uneasy discomfort
because of some pesky rain cloud..

And bein from Westernmost Texas,
he wasn't about to sit still,
and put up with the misdeeds of nature,
for goin against his strong will.

He took out the nylon riata
he'd fetched from '01 Roland's garage,
and built him a loop with a flourish,
to use when he launched his barrage.

His plan was to lasso that culprit,
and with '01 Roland's help he allowed,
that he'd tighten the noose on that sucker,
and squeeze all the rain from that cloud.

Well, he throwed that big loop doin thirty,
and he roped that old cloud with a laugh,
But when Roland slammed down on the rubber,
it cut that huge raincloud in half!

Poor Bubba now faced a dilemma...
He didn't know what he should do,
for before where there'd been only one cloud,
He was now gittin rained on by two.

Him and Roland got wetter and wetter,
So they both headed back to the barn....
Meanwhile Bubba's head was devisin a plan
that would let him stand tall with this yarn,

He stopped in at Smoky's
to git him a beer
before goin home and to bed,
and he told all his cronies
"Thet cloud was no challenge."
"I'll ketch me its  rainbow, instead."

 Don Tidwell
This poem may not be reprinted or reposted without permission.


Dilemma in Deadwood 

A wayfarin stranger was farin his way
when he came to the outskirts of Deadwood one day.
He reined in his cayuse and looked all around,
Confused by the markings he saw on the ground.
The signs of a struggle he saw from his saddle
all looked as though somebody had to skidaddle.
The tracks in the road left his mind in some doubt--
There were none headin In, they were all headed out !

He rode into town and tied up at the jail
hopin somebody in there could tell him the tale.
The sheriff explained that the town was uptight---
City Hall was broke into and robbed late last night.
They formed up a posse to capture the crook
and bring back that important loot that he took!
He asked what was stole by this law breaking nerd,
and thus opened the dam for the strangest tale heard.
              The Sheriff said:
This town started small as a western town should,
and was named for the trees where a forest once stood.
A drifter one time was just driftin this way,
and he liked what he saw, so decided to stay.
Some others came by and said they liked it too,
so they all went to work to see what they could do.
They hauled in the dead wood and clapboards and more,
workin on a saloon and a mercantile store.

But an upcomin town such as this needed more
than a Deadwood Saloon and a mercantile store.
They held a town meetin and when it was through,
They'd made up a list of some things they would do:
They'd build a hotel and a church and a school
and a barn where prospectors could stable their mule;
They'd set up a boot hill, a park and a bank,
and to settle the street dust, a big water tank.

So they built up these things, then to govern them all,
erected a brand spankin new city hall.
Now to keep the accounts of a town such as this,
they recruited Miss Amy, a comely young miss;
She'd schooled in the East, and they knew it was true,
that for runnin a town, she knew just what to do.
She kept all the ledgers and paid every bill,
and kept track of each body consigned to boot hill.

The news of her expertise spread through the land,
and she soon had a string of men after her hand.
She listened politely but turned them all down
sayin "I'm needed here to look after this town."
The doc and the blacksmith and even the judge
all asked her to wed but she just wouldn't budge.
Her job was her passion was all she would say,
and she fully intended to keep it that way.

Then last night after hours she was checkin her books
When this bold outlaw stranger, enthralled with her looks,
broke down the front door in a Paul Bunyan way,
and kidnapped Miss Amy and hauled her away.
He gagged up her mouth and blindfolded one eye,
hauled her onto his horse and took off on the fly
headin North to the the badlands of New Mexico,
Where no fast ridin posse would think he would go.

Those tracks on the outskirts of town that you found
were caused by the posse just millin around;
They stopped to palaver on how to proceed
to catch up with the dude who would pull such a deed.
They studied those tracks to see what they could learn,
and determine which way that bold outlaw would turn.
Soon deputy Dan spat the chaw from his mouth and said:
"Boys it's quite clear, that kidnapper went south !"

So they all headed South in a single-file lope,
taking with them the last of Miss Amy's faint hope.
The outlaw escaped and somehow on that ride,
He converted Miss Amy from hostage to bride.
He turned a new leaf and they soon settled down
and enjoyed the good life in a new Western town.

Meanwhile back in Deadwood, the town went berserk,
with no one to do the late Miss Amy's work.
The bills were not paid. Some guy robbed the bank.
A drunk shot a hole in the big water tank;
The church stood there empty and so did the school,
and each prospector bypassed the town with his mule.
The gravesites at boot hill became the town dump---
The whole cockeyed town found itself in a slump.

A tale such as this takes a long time to spin
and should end on a note which might foster a grin,
but this intriguing story plain ran out of steam....
When the wayfarin stranger awoke from his dream.
It all seemed so real in the back of his mind--
He had never before had a dream of this kind.
Chagrined, feeling sheepish, with nothing to say,
He climbed up on his horse and rode slowly away.

 Don Tidwell
This poem may not be reprinted or reposted without permission.


About Don Tidwell

I am a retired army major, with an interest in rhymed and metered poetry, especially of the “Cowboy” ilk. A native Utahn, I have lived in Davis County, Utah since retiring from the Army in 1964. I claim a dear wife of nearly 53 years, 4 kids, 7 grandkids and 4 great-grandkids as family. I grew up in a farm environment if you can call 65 acres of alkali and salaratus a farm. Our acreage was not much good for crops, so my Dad opted for Milch cows. (much to my chagrin as I grew older) There was ample water and pasture land....three separate ponds and nine separate springs, and enough grassland that we could harvest a hay crop to help get through the winters. I remember my Senior High School days mostly from hand milking up to 15 head of Jersey cows night and morning, and commuting the three miles from the farm to town on my saddle horse to go to school. I have "trailed" cattle (mostly from one pasture to another) and have my share of horse related scars, but that is about a close as I can come to cowboyin. Do love the poetry, though.

Photo courtesy of Mary Sullivan's


Don Tidwell's Skinny Rowland Remembered web site is devoted to the poet and writer (1926-1997) and filled with his poetry, recollections by his friends and family, some of columns that appeared in Rope Burns, Don's own poetic tribute, and more.  

Don told us a bit about how he got to know Skinny "I feel very privileged to have known Skinny. The poem I wrote telling of his visit is just as it happened. We had exchanged poems and email ...we continued to correspond o'er the cyberwaves, until that August day when, unannounced and unexpected, he pulled into my driveway in his motor home. I had no idea who it was until he stepped out of the home, and in his black hat and skinny profile, I knew it had to be him. He was on his way to Corvallis, Oregon for a gatherin, and had driven 700 miles out of his way to see me. This was the first of three times I was honored to have him as a guest in my home. ... Mary Sullivan is responsible for designing, establishing and maintaining the site."



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