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About George Rhoades



Ole Red and the Lawman

She was wild eyed and mean,
And we called her ole Red,
Rangy, raw-boned and lean,
Wicked horns on her head.

Every rancher has one or more—
Cows that run and shy away,
Handlin' them's a nasty chore
When it comes to loadin' day.

She spooked the other cattle,
And drivin' 'em to the pen
Turned into a major battle
Before we got 'em shut in.

Tossin' her head, bawlin' loud,
Hookin', pushin' all the others,
So one fine day Herb vowed
To sell, if he had his druthers.

Neighbors came from all around
With ropin' horses in the mix
To get Ole Red run to ground
Usin' all their cowboy tricks.

We finally got her in the chute
With curses, punches, cattle prod,
Lariat, lash, whip and boot;
Herb shut the gate, gave a nod.

Ole Red put up quite a show
Bangin' hard against the truck,
Almost a one-cow rodeo,
But now if we had any luck,

We'd get her safely to the sale
Scheduled that very afternoon,
Then let her kick and flail,
It couldn't be too soon.

On the road we heard a sound
And stopped, got out to find
Ole Red tryin' to get around
Sideboards that had her confined.

Ole Red was hangin' near half-out,
We pushed, shoved her back in,
And to see what we're about
A patrolman stopped, flashed a grin.

This trooper sharp as he could look
In hat, jacket, shirt all pressed,
Walked up with his traffic book
Ready to write what we guessed

Would be a ticket designed to keep
Roads and highways all secure
From ragged, dirty, smelly, cheap
Cowpokes half-covered in manure.

Since we're speakin' of manure,
That's when Ole Red let fly
With fecal matter most impure.
Splotches hit the uniform and tie—

He brushed them with his hand,
Left sayin', "Have a nice day,"
As if he'd simply planned
To chat and be on his way.

Ole Red brought a dandy price
Despite all the consternation,
It was really kinda nice—
She did stop police aggravation.

© 2012, George Rhoades
This poem may not be reprinted or reposted without the author's written permission.


George told us:  The poem was based on an actual incident several years ago. My dad had an unruly cow, and we had a difficult time loading and taking her to the sale barn in Comanche, Oklahoma. The events with the highway patrolman are all true.


Year of the Great Longhorn Cheer

The Great Longhorn Cheer
Is still talked about today
In the little country town,
Or so the oldtimers say.

Bands, floats and pretty girls,
Parade to honor the pioneers,
Thrilled the crowd on Main Street;
Star attraction: 40 longhorn steers.

Massive horns, plodding along,
Ignoring the crowd and noise,
Herded by eight mounted drovers,
Full regalia, like real cowboys.

Hats, chaps, boots and spurs,
Weary longhorns moving slow,
Fancy horses and fancier saddles,
Colorful old Western show.

Early cowboys said you never
Knew what made 'em run,
Lightning, thunder, or even a bird,
Anything under the sun.

This day there was no doubt,
'Twas the little first grade class
Seated along the street curb,
Who decided to leap en masse,

Arms upraised, cheering loud;
Tiny voices, ringing all in fun:
“Yeah, yeah for the longhorns,”
Triggered the old instinct to run.

The herd bolted straight ahead,
Down the street, then they scattered,
Startled drovers left behind,
Yards trampled, fences shattered.

An old-fashioned stampede
Through alleys, around the town,
Cowboys, people in hot pursuit
Trying to calm the longhorns down.

They cornered the big beasts
One at a time that afternoon,
Finally got 'em rounded up;
Some by light of the moon.

The kids said they didn't know
Why they gave the cheer;
It seemed like a good idea
Since the longhorns were near.

Nobody injured, and the herd
Went back to the ranch nearby,
So all was well that ended well,
Despite all the hue and cry.

And townspeople later said
The year of the Longhorn Cheer
Turned out to be the best
Parade in many a year.

© 2013, George Rhoades
This poem may not be reprinted or reposted without the author's written permission.

told us:  This poem was based on an actual incident that occurred several years ago in Comanche, Oklahoma.


Horny Toads, Workin' Cowboys

Two vanishin’ species
I saw today,
Both rarely seen
Relics from yesterday.

There’s still a few
Left hangin’ on,
Managin’ to survive
But almost gone.

One a workin’ cowboy,
Other a horny toad,
Goin’s rough for both
Down today’s road.

Spiky horny toad,
First in many a moon,
Runnin’ in my yard
In the grass at noon.

Huntin’, I suppose,
A tasty ant delight,
Horned, rough, scaly,
Fearsome little sight.

An old cowboy,
Boots, battered hat,
Scruffy shirt, jeans,
Spurs and all that.

Runs a small spread
By Tin-Top Bridge,
Raises horses, cattle
Along Beaver Ridge.

Ridin’ and ropin’,
All he’s ever known,
Bein’ a buckaroo,
Cowboy to the bone.

Habitat goin’ away,
Smaller shrinkin’ range;
Nothin’ stands still
And times change.

The horny toad
And the cowpoke,
Things of the past
Fadin' like smoke.

© 2014, George Rhoades
This poem may not be reprinted or reposted without the author's written permission.

told us:  I saw a horny toad (a rare sight nowadays) and an old cowboy at the hardware store. That's what inspired this poem.





About George Rhoades
provided 2013

He was born on a farm in Cotton County, Oklahoma, and has been a soldier, rancher, reporter/editor and college professor. He is retired and until recently the owner of a hay farm in Stephens County, Oklahoma.

He grew up working cattle in southern Oklahoma.


George Rhoades' book, Along the Chisholm Trail and Other Poems, is the recipient of a 2013 Will Rogers Medallion Award ( and other honors. The book "contains poems about the Chisholm Trail, cowboys, tall tales, farm life, and other reflections and observations."

Along the Chisholm Trail and Other Poems is available for $9.95 plus postage. Find ordering information, including an instant e-book download ($5.00) at the publisher's site, Outskirts Press. The book is available from Amazon  and Barnes & Noble.


George Rhoades' After the Chisholm Trail "contains poems, some humorous, some more though-provoking, about cattle and farm country after the Chisholm Trail ended, about cowboys, cowgirls and farmers and other reflections and observations."

After the Chisholm Trail  is available for $9.95 plus postage and can be ordered from the publisher, Outskirts Press, Amazon, and Barnes & Noble.



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