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

Southeastern Utah 
About J. D. Kunze




The Historical Hat

Well along about last county fair
when things do liven up aroun'.
Twas a dance held at the old red barn
and me and Slim had just hit town.

See we'd come in fer the social
but we'd made it kinda late.
The merc was closed and we was broke.
Slim needs a derb fer his date.

Boy she was a sprite sashayin type.
One he was bent on to impress.
And Slim figured he should sport a derb
to rival her spankin new dress.

We kicked the subject round a bit
and thats when it come to him.
He says I got her figured Jay,
I'll just up and trim my brim.

So he takes his John B Stetson
from off atop his crown
and then with his old timer knife
commenced to carve her down.

He whittled here and notched her there
with some artistic flair.
And purty soon he had a derb
to cover up his hair.

So we headed fer the social.
Now to heat up this here yarn,
we was quite the happy cowboys
as we boogied in the barn.

Yeah we two stepped round that sawdust floor
and was havin a real good time.
When the gals said let's go fer a drive.
Me and Slim didn't have a dime.

Well that's when Slim he spy'd this dude
starin' hard our direction
and he thought him up a windy
that defies all reflection.

So Slim saunters up, shakes that dudes hand,
then with a smile as thick as sin.
He says, Pardner I've got to tell ya
about one of my famous kin.

Now I'm sure that you don't know it.
It's a story kept well hid.
Butch Cassidy was the owner
or this most peculiar lid.

Now see'ns how I lack fer cash.
Ain't real sentimental,
this hat just might come up fer sale,
perhaps make a rental.

That dude, well he was quite surprised
and so was I at that.
He jawed Slim into sellin him
that historical hat.

Yeah Slim sold her fer a twenty
which I thought was kinda rude.
See'ns how good ol Butchs' hat
was now settin on a dude.

But I reckon we have that dude to thank
and Butch and Slim's smart sale.
Fer one helluva night, two purty gals
and one tall tale to tell.

2002, J. D. Kunze 
This poem may not be reprinted or reposted without permission.


The Sky Ain't The Limit

Comes a time in each cowboy's existence
when he feels like the sky is the limit
Well that time came for me and from what I could see
there just wasn't a cloud that could dim it

My plan it was foolishly simple
first the jackpots then the big Rodeos
Hell I'd move up them ranks like a blitzkrieg'n tank
It's for certain I'd win all the shows

So I practiced on steers in the round pen
rigged a barrel up out in the yard
And I knew this here gent, had a bull, said he'd rent
so I topped him, It wasn't that hard

When the rodeo came up in Emery
just a small town local affair
Well I paid my fee cuz' it were plain to me
I could ride anything that wore hair

Most the bronc' riders tried to ignore me
as I showed off in my new spurs and hat
I made it quite clear to anyone with an ear
that the Bull Ridin' was where it was at

When they finally got done with the kids stuff
and the stock boss he showed me my draw
Well I climbed in the chute and said ain't he a beaut
then I laughed and I spit out my chaw

I nodded on down to the gate man
who was standin' there glarin' at me
and I said with a shout OK girls turn him out
It's a 90 point ride you'll soon see

That bull he blew right past the gate man
then he leaped in the air way up high
I lasted one jump then my butt hit his rump
and he launched me straight up in the sky

I waved down at the kids in the grandstands
did a flip then a Louganis twist
the air was so thin, the jet stream I was in
twas the earth at that time that I missed


For my upward projectile had ended
as old Newton's Law I did test
At the end of my rope I'll admit I lost hope
for there weren't no rip cord on my vest

My landing was comin' up quickly
I could tell it was going to hurt
So I said a quick prayer to the Old Man upstairs
Lord help me find a soft place in the dirt

I touched down like a screamin' torpedo
the dust settled half way cross town
I know it's been said that bull figured me dead
cuz he run off to mangle a clown

As I lay there inside the arena
with my lungs a still gaspin' for breath
I knew the end of my story wasn't bull ridin' glory
I had no call to be flirtin' with death

So I discarded that foolish quotation
For the sky ain't the limit I'd found
I realized then by the shape I was in
that for cowboys the limit's the ground

2002, J. D. Kunze 
This poem may not be reprinted or reposted without permission.


Mutton Bustin'

It was just a small time rodeo
In a one horse town I know
But that never stopped the local folks'
From gatherin' for the show

The crowds' gaze was on the buckin' chutes
And all that that implied
Where cowboys come to make there play
On one eight second ride

Now amidst those down behind the chutes
Where the cowboys stow there gear
Stood a little half pint buckaroo
And his eyes was wide with fear

For this was his first rodeo
And he was there to take a peep
At them outlaw broncs' and brahmer bulls
And them dirty, rotten sheep

The time had come for his event
And the chute boss called his draw
He warmed and stretched his shakin' limbs
And spit out his bubble gum chaw

A cowboy helped him at the chute
They run his draw in thru' the gate
He swallowed back the lump in his throat
And prepared to meet his fate

He climbed aboard that outlaw sheep
Tryin' hard to remain steady
One cowboy said "son make a ride"
Another said "just nod when your ready"

With his hands he grabbed two hunks of wool
Wrapped his legs round that sheeps' hide
Then he nodded toward the gate man
And squeaked "O.K. boys Outside!"

He could hear a roar come from the crowd
As the announcer called his name
The gate came flyin' open
And that sheep bout' done the same

That outlaw sheep bout come unwound
First duckin' left then right
Then it made a beeline for the fence
But the cowboy held on tight

A silence fell upon the crowd
As that sheep it mashed the fence
They'd never seen a ride like this
It defied common sense

For the little half pint kept his seat
Thru' all the belly rolls' and humps'
He took the worst that sheep could dish
And matched him jump for jump

The crowd roared its' approval
As the timers' whistle blew
Some tears welled in his mamas' eyes
Tho' the cowboy never knew

The pick up clown ran up long' side
And yanked him off the brute
He tipped his hat at the screamin' crowd
And walked back toward the chutes'

The judges tallied up the score
Where he came out top man
Both in the mutton bustin'
And in the eyes of all the fans

Now a year has passed since we last saw
Our half pint buckaroo
He's grown a bit in size I guess
But still uses gum fer' chew

He thinks about that wooly ride
And how he overcame his fears
Now his mutton bustin' days are gone
And this year he'll ride steers . . .

2002, J. D. Kunze 
This poem may not be reprinted or reposted without permission.


J. D. told us this poem " came into existence one afternoon while I was helping out behind the chutes at a junior rodeo.  My nephews were riding steers and junior bulls that day, but those events paled in comparison to the mutton button." 


About J. D. Kunze:

J.D. Kunze was born and raised in Central and Southeastern Utah.  He spent his formative years endurance racing, rodeoing, and working on neighboring ranches in the rugged canyons and high alpine meadows of his home state. J.D. earned a Bachelor Degree in Political Science in 1995 from Southern Utah University.  He then spent the next several years in Oklahoma where he worked for an Oil Company and ran his own small business.

J.D. is now back in Southeastern Utah, where he plans to stay.  Doing what it takes to make a living and spending as much time as possible in the
saddle.  He still writes cowboy poetry and short stories in his spare time.



 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