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JIM HAWKINS
About Jim Hawkins
Jim Hawkins' web site

 

 

 

Answer The Call

I was readin' this article on change in this quarterly here called "Range"
and it's got my blood to boilin'
I've had years of constant exposure to maintainin' my quiet composure,
but now for a fight, I'm spoilin'

This story goes on to say in a right damn hateful way,
"It's not the cows we hate, but the cowboys who put them there"
I'm trying to draw your attention with a call for intervention
in a little known battle bein' fought everywhere

Our very simple way of livin' from day to day
is under attack by accidentally funded ignorance
With their misguided herd, blindly trusting their word,
they're coming for us all with a vengeance

Saving our country's land from the terrible rancher's hand,
destroying it with his stock running free
This is what they sell, wishing ranching straight to hell,
to people who don't know you and me

They never got to know your grandparents who loved the life so,
and how they cared for their land
How they guided with a force their lives along God's true course,
tireless with a strong and caring hand

Or your folks and their persistence, how they fought for their existence,
just to pass this heritage on to you
So you could raise your family well, and to them, the stories you could tell,
of those caretaker values that still hold true

If anything, a debt should be paid to those hearty souls who stayed
and cared for "our" land all these years
While others were living the good life, shunning struggles, hard times and
strife, getting fat on the ranchers' steers

Many would not have survived.  They'd have packed and run for their lives
from a land that shows no mercy to anyone
The winter storms and snows caused thousands to load up and go,
and the heat and dust of summer made many run

And still yet today, most stay far away,
in the comfort of their city homes and half-acre lots
From there, they rally support for lawyers and for court,
and for us all, they think they'll call the shots

Well, wait just an "out west" minute, we still have a congress and a senate,
and even President Bush runs a ranch
So saddle up your best horse and we'll let this thing ride out it's course,
'cause by God, we've got a fightin' chance

When the times get hard, I stand by my pard,
and together we've always gotten' 'er rode
The friends on whom I rely, are chocked plum full of try,
and always ready to help tote the load

So don't you dare lay down, 'cause for what we believe, we'll stand our ground.
In a cowboy, you just can't find quit!
It don't matter the type of the fight, as long as you know you're right.
To the very end, we'll give 'er every bit!

There's no finer friend than I've found in the women and men,
who live their lives caring for their herd
It's never hard to tell when you're travelin' down their trail,
'cause there, a man's still as good as his word

So, if you're a rancher or a farmer or even a rodeo performer,
I'm sending these words out to you
If you live west or east, fightin' the urban sprawlin' beast,
then it's you I'm calling out to

If you watch western shows or go to ranch rodeos,
for the cause, I hope you'll lend an ear
Help spread the rancher's news and share your own views,
so others out there can hear

If you've made someone a hand or maybe you're a Gene Autry fan,
can you still hear the call?
If you remember your first pony ride, or you're just filled with American pride,
come and join us all

Maybe you board a horse and ride the cross-country course
down at your neighbor's place
Or maybe your best mount just took the fastest count
at your local jackpot barrel race

You might be a saddle maker or the home ranch caretaker,
in Idaho's snow-covered Bitterroots
If your ridin' career's through, maybe you're doin' what you can do,
helping out behind the buckin' chutes

Don Edwards is your first choice for a western singin' voice
or maybe it's Ken Overcast or Chris LeDoux
Maybe you've cowboyed for hire or you'll never lose the desire
to live the life of a Great Basin Buckaroo

Perhaps you've seen the Glacier Park lakes, or camped along the Missouri Breaks, 
and you've never been the same since
'Round the fire, you pick a tune, while your saddle pards commune,
'bout ridin' broncs and mendin' fence

Maybe there's been a time you've heard these words that rhyme
from Waddie Mitchell, Paul Zarzyski or Red Steagall
God bless you the best, for standing strong to this test,
if you're keeping the faith and answering the call

If it's you out there I'm trying to reach, step up and take this chance to teach
others who want to know the truth now
I'm asking you to search and find, see if something comes to mind,
pause a moment and give some thought to how...

You can make a difference and support the rancher's perseverance
in a fight against greed disguised as conservation
For this is not the problem of a few, as the opposition will tell you.
But, it's a fight to save the heritage of our nation!

© 2002, Jim Hawkins
This poem may not be reprinted or reposted without the author's written permission.

This poem has appeared in Cowboy Magazine and in the ranch horse production sale catalog for Lonesome Country Quarter Horses in Big Sandy, Montana

Jim writes: This is my first attempt to share my work with anyone other than friends and family really.  I wrote this after reading an article in a ranching magazine about an environmental extremist group who had targeted ranchers specifically.  They were on a self-described mission to end ranching in this country for good.

I wrote this out of pure passion and a true love of the life.  I can't express how strongly I feel about this issue and about the survival of ranching in our country. When I began sharing it with friends, folks encouraged me to try and get it seen by a larger audience.  Special thanks to those who helped make that possible.



The Jag


'Twas in the cold that the YT got sold and times got pretty lean.
I'd been hired here fer near two year, but now I was in between.

I was workin' a fork on a slab o' pork at the café in Buffalo on Main
Set on strollin' when the black smoke come rollin' in with the evenin' train

When this feller steps up from his pickup truck sportin' his ranch's brand
Said he was in town, to run himself down for the winter, a top notch ranahan

Well, I made a jump from there on my stump and said, "Mister, I'm your man"
"Whatever the bronc that you need stomped, I'm the twister who can!"

He told he hadn't saw fer 10 years his ole' Maw n' fer the holidays was headin' east
She'd begged him home and from here he'd roam to Ol' Virginey and a family feast

He needed a good hand fer to ride fer his brand and just to keep an eye on stuff
I said not to worry and he should sure hurry 'cause 10 years was long enough

I had this feller's shack to lay around on my back when all my chores were done
Every evenin' I sat with his dog and his cat, reading the paper by the setting sun

This chronicle that he got didn't offer a Cowboy a lot & was called the New York Times
It didn't list Angus rates or even deals on stock gates and not a trace of cowboy rhymes

But, I'll tell you without a care 'bout something that I did see there in that daily news
'Twas a little way that I could earn myself some pay, 30,000 bucks that I could use

Now, I have to admit, plum crazy 'twas a bit, but appeared there in black and white
"A four year old Jaguar, a rare find near or far, looking for a home just right"

Well, just the thought of some fool who bought for 30,000, an overgrown cat
Got me to thinkin' & schemin', plannin' & dreamin' right there where I sat

Now I know you can't find no jaguars of that kind livin' here in these Big Horn hills
But, surely a bobcat or mountain lion or somethin' like that would do for 30,000 bills

So, I set out to hunt, forsakin' the deal I made up front, for that varmint I could sell right
Fer with just one catch, 30,000 could I fetch & my problems would be plum out o' sight

Now, I'd only seen that critter in a dream, but I'd sure heard 'em out in the dark
But my mind was a churnin' & my flame was a burnin', lit with 30,000 little green sparks

I built traps at night and I'd slip in 'fore daylight and set 'em out to end his day
Then I'd sit atop a hill, firin' my tranquilizer gun at will, prepared to lay him away

But, my dad-burned prey that kept me up night and day, he never even showed
On this chase, my wages had gone to waste & my savings had all been blowed

'Fore I know, Spring had melted the snow and the boss was back from the East
The days and nights had flown by me right while I was chasin' that sorry beast

The boss didn't mind 'bout the lack of work to find that I just never did get done
He was feelin' pretty spry, he'd made himself quite a buy, while on his back east run

Says he, "Come on 'round and sit right down,  Let me tell you what I have to show"
"She's a sleek European beauty and a real back-east cutie and cost me a pile of dough"

Well, we ate a big ole' steak and then he says, "Let's take a walk on out to the barn"
"I found me something to get and I'll lay you a bet, you ain't never seen one on a farm"

Well, he opens the barn door n' I can't see no more, 'cuz she's a shinin' from near to far
'Tweren't no cow nor horse nor truck of course, why it was just some ole' car

Now, she had the bells and whistles to tell and was pretty dolled up, I'd say
But where in the land would the saddle stand and how would you ever haul hay?

There weren't but 'bout two seats and no place a'tall for size 12 feet in that floor to go
I couldn't figure how he'd gotten much now for handin' over his pile o' dough

'Bout then, he sets me straight on his purchase so great and rocked me back on my heels
When he went & told 'bout how he'd stole this 4 year old Jaguar for 30,000 bills!

© 2004, Jim Hawkins
This poem may not be reprinted or reposted without the author's written permission.


Jim told us "This poem was a product of my over active imagination and some help from some of these Wyoming characters that I've come to know over the years.

I was actually sitting in a little cafe outside Buffalo, Wyoming a few years ago having some grub, when I picked up a copy of the local paper there. There were some folks from back New York way that had bought some property in the Buffalo area and had run an ad in the paper for this car they had for sale.  Well, the car was still back in New York and they had run ads there and here In Wyoming looking for a sucker, I mean a buyer.

During this same time period, my pard, Dan Marion, was working for this greenhorn dude rancher out near Dubois.  It seemed this fella had moved out here from back east and decided to go into the dude ranchin' business.  I don't believe he'd ever even sat on a horse.  Well Dan and I had talked on numerous occasions about this fella and some of the crazy things he did. Well, with my twisted little Cowboy sense of humor, I decided this dude would make a perfect buyer for that car them folks were tryin' to sell.  The story was born right there.  I hope it lives a good long life. 


Jim Hawkins, R. W. Hampton, and Dan Marion

 

Buck, Banjo & Baldy

Me n' Banjo rode circle on Square Butte
Crossin' over the Meissner Place
Chasin' after a little Baldy stray
That must've slipped through in the chase

My ol' heart was laid heavy with worry
N' my spirits were all shot down
You see, my pard got busted up real bad
At the rodeo back in town

Well, I saddled up early that mornin',
Said when I got back, I'd look in
But, now I was ridin' and wonderin'
If I'd see my friend, Buck, again

The sun lay low as I pulled up to rest
At the foot of a rocky draw
When I thought I caught a glimpse o' somethin',
Sure 'nuf 'twas my stray that I saw

She'd slipped off the trail n' gashed 'er ol' hock,
The blood had then started to flow
I stepped to my pack to fetch a bandage,
To wrap it and get it to slow

I doctored 'er up, saddle packed 'er out
And we headed back fer the camp
I took a likin' to this little stray,
She'd took to that wrap like a champ

So, I offered up a Cowboy's prayer
To the Range Boss of all that's free
I asked him to look out for this li'l calf,
N' then fer Banjo..and fer me

Then I asked him to ride along with Buck
Over his rough and rocky trail
To help him mend and git back on his feet,
N' to see that my pard got well

Well, me and ol' Banjo carried Baldy
Into camp that night about eight
I eased 'er down careful off Banjo's back,
And I hoped that we weren't too late

So, I called out the vet to stitch 'er up
And to tell me just what he thought
I told Doc the ol' girl weren't no quitter,
Cuz all the way home, she'd sure fought

As I sat there 'n held that little stray,
I thought about my ol' pard, Buck
I wondered if he was doin' ok
And if the Lord had sent him luck

Well, the vet looked 'er over, grinned and said,
"I believe she's gonna pull through"
When in through the door, Doc Wilkins dropped by
To say Buck would sure make it too

Well, I tipped my hat to the Lord above
As I wiped from my face, a tear
And I thanked him fer lookin' out fer me
And fer all o' my pards down here

Fer I knew that I was a lucky soul
To have so much here that I love
Cuz the Lord blessed me with this Cowboy life
That come to fit me like a glove!

© 2007, Jim Hawkins
This poem may not be reprinted or reposted without the author's written permission.



Jim told us:

I wrote this story after spending the fall with my good friends, the Benzing family, on the Meissner Ranch in Square Butte, Montana. It was an eventful  time with lots of riding, gathering cattle to bring in to ship out. As with all cowboy life, there were good things and not-so-good things that happened
in the process, but in the end we all made it through and got the job done.

I think there's another story brewing about the day we chased the high-selling weanling (who just happened to push his way out of the corral while the new owner was on the way from Washington to pick him up!) from the ranch's Quarter Horse production sale for five miles out across the prairie using a gray mare, a Chevy Suburban and a Cessna 170 tail-dragger!

Stay tuned!
 

 

The Ranchin' Man & His Wife


It seems with all his chores n’ such
He always needs assistance
And ever' time, right there she is
With never no resistance

When he gits in so dog-gone deep
That just his hat's above
It's never long before he hears
Those words he's come to love

"What do you need this time, honey?"
That verse so sweetly stated
As she throws in her help again
For a job, last time she hated

But with no balk, she steps right up
Once again to save the day
And digs him from another hole
He's dug in his own way

It seems that ever' Ranchin' man
Each day, is on the go
But for his pro-duc-tiv-ity,
There's seldom much to show

He puts in lots o' thinkin' time
Ol' plans are resurrected
He figgers with these jobs all done
The place is near' perfected

Then dark finds him back on the porch
From battles fought n' won
To tell with pride, his loving bride
The things that he's now done

So there she sits right next to him
To cheer on his good deeds
The ones he never quite gets done
N’ her help, he always needs

And bless her heart, she'll be that help
He'll count on all his life
For he's the poor ol' Ranchin' man
N’ she's the Rancher's wife
 

© 2007, Jim Hawkins
This poem may not be reprinted or reposted without the author's written permission.

 

 

The Ranchin' Man & His Wife


It seems with all his chores n’ such
He always needs assistance
And ever' time, right there she is
With never no resistance

When he gits in so dog-gone deep
That just his hat's above
It's never long before he hears
Those words he's come to love

"What do you need this time, honey?"
That verse so sweetly stated
As she throws in her help again
For a job, last time she hated

But with no balk, she steps right up
Once again to save the day
And digs him from another hole
He's dug in his own way

It seems that ever' Ranchin' man
Each day, is on the go
But for his pro-duc-tiv-ity,
There's seldom much to show

He puts in lots o' thinkin' time
Ol' plans are resurrected
He figgers with these jobs all done
The place is near' perfected

Then dark finds him back on the porch
From battles fought n' won
To tell with pride, his loving bride
The things that he's now done

So there she sits right next to him
To cheer on his good deeds
The ones he never quite gets done
N’ her help, he always needs

And bless her heart, she'll be that help
He'll count on all his life
For he's the poor ol' Ranchin' man
N’ she's the Rancher's wife
 

© 2007, Jim Hawkins
This poem may not be reprinted or reposted without the author's written permission.

 

 

How Roanie Broke My Farrier
 
 I never really knew just what it was to shoe
Til I went and bought ol’ Roanie, the mule
I’d always had horses, dodgin’ mule trader sources
Saw no need to fight the long-eared dual
 
I had this snorty colt, he’d buck n’ rear n’ bolt
There weren’t a twister ‘round that’d mount him
So, I finds me a trader, says he’ll fork a tornader
Lord, the broken bones, we couldn’t count ‘em
 
But this ol’ hand was tough n’ he couldn’t get enough
So he swaps me ol’ Roanie fer my steed
I thinks I struck ‘er rich n’ made me quite a switch 
So I got ‘er out o’ there at high speed
 
Well, she didn’t ride bad, n’ she’d do most jobs I had
But she’d get a might tender in the rocks
So, I rings my horseshoer to sees if he’ll come do ‘er
I thinks then she’ll ride like she’s got shocks
 
He says, “You bought a what!?, I knew you was a nut!
“What the devil did you do that for?”
I said I couldn’t pass, so I bought a little…….Mule
Now get on down here, her feets is sore!
 
First he tries the nippers, but she flogs ‘im with ‘er flippers
N’ kicks over nails, a whole can-full
It got a little worse n’ he sets right in to curse
When she drove ‘er point home with the anvil
 
He says I’ll buy yer tools, n’ send ya’ off to schools
Where you can learn to git this mule shod
Fer if it’s left to me, shoes she’ll never see
I promise this, I say, so help me God!

© 2007, Jim Hawkins
This poem may not be reprinted or reposted without the author's written permission.

 

Jim told us, "I wrote this poem this year about a true story involving me, my new mule, Roanie and my farrier and friend, Damon Knight.  It was just there for me and I simply had to put the pen to paper.  Roanie has proven herself to be quite the character and sure showed some personality on shoeing day."

 

 

 

The Water Truck Blues

The water truck bucked n' I near lost my chuck
As I hit ever' hole in the road
I was headed out back trailin' bovine track
To drop my 500 gallon load

The ol' seat springs creaked n' 'er windshield leaked
When the Lord brought us two rains a year
N' I'd stand in the saddle n' scatter broke cattle
Givin' thanks with a rain dance cheer

But like most, today, I hauled water fer pay
Just waitin' on the coulees to run
N' the grass to rise t'wards the rain-filled skies
With no sign o' that hot blazin' sun

The metal stock tank clanked as the ol' cows drank
N' the hooves beat n' banged on the sides
A gurgle from the hose as water fell n' rose
N' the sun baked down on those hides

Well, the truck tank ran dry as the dust rose high
N' the cattle drifted off to shade
So, I fired up the motor, climbed in n' rode 'er
Back to camp to git my supper made

I sat to the table n' prayed 'til unable
That I'd wake to a ground-poundin' rain
N' I'd park that ol' Ford 'longside the buckboard
'Fore I was plum stove up with back pain!

© 2007, Jim Hawkins
This poem may not be reprinted or reposted without the author's written permission.

 

Jim told us, "I wrote this story while my good pard, Brian Benzing and I were haulin' water to cattle during the drought. It was October in north central Montana, near Big Sandy. We took the ol' 2 ton ranch truck to the community well, filled the big tank on the flatbed and hauled it out to the tanks. This was an everyday chore and after a while, it would sure make a feller pray hard for rain! It's a true story and a tribute to all the ranch hands out there haulin' water to the stock and prayin' for the rain!"

 

Read Jim Hawkin's

Elder's Pace, posted with 2007 Cowboy Poetry Week poems

 

 

About Jim Hawkins:

My pards all say I was born one hundred years too late and hit the ground about 1800 miles east of where I was supposed to be.  I grew up on about a thousand acres in rural North Carolina.  My mother's family and my father's family, both farmed and cared for livestock.

I've loved everything about the Cowboy western way since first I discovered it as a child.

I've never had the good fortune to make my living hired out to ride, but I'm truly blessed to count some of the best among my friends.  I have the highest respect for the men and women who did and still do make their living ridin' for the brand.  From those who trailed cows from Texas north in the 1800's, to those who ride the ranches and ranges of the west today, you are my friends.

Today, I split my time between the farm that my Great Grandfather started over 100 years ago in North Carolina and parts of Wyoming and Montana.

I raise and train Foundation bred working cow horses and Blue Heelers.  I started writing some of this stuff down about twelve years ago.  I love to write, but I think cowboy poetry comes alive when presented well to a listening audience.  I truly enjoy performing around camp or whenever an opportunity comes along.

Many thanks to each and every one of you who took your time to read something I wrote.

You could give no better gift than that to a Cowboy Poet!

 

 

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