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

La Grande, Oregon
About Lonnie Shurtleff




Growing Up Wild in the Old Owyhee

I still remember the year fifty one
Chasing those mustangs in the hot July sun
Out in the desert when I was a child
When there weren’t any fences and the horses ran wild
Out through the rimrock and Juniper tree
Growing up wild in the old Owyhee

Some folks just can’t see the beauty around
They crave the buildings and bright lights of town
They call rimrock and sagebrush just ugly and waste
Never seeing the beauty God put in that place
They never saw the things I got to see
Growing up wild in the old Owyhee

Like blue skies at daybreak so crisp and so clear
You can see from right here to way over there
And sunsets so vivid in crimson and gold
Splashed ‘cross the lava rock ancient and old
A picture of solitude painted for me
Growing up wild in the old Owyhee

Fathomless skies black, silent and bright
Brittle, cold, pierced with star’s steady light
Millions of stars you could practically touch
And no hint of city lights, neon and such
Just moonlight and stars, my pony and me
Growing up wild in the old Owyhee

There’s something raw wild in that lone desert space
That helps a boy grow in his innermost place
I could feel it with daddy, squinting into the sun
With his boy and the mustangs in fifty one
He left me his saddle and his legacy
Growing up wild in the old Owyhee

Growing up into the man I would be
Growing up wild in the old Owyhee

© 2011, Lonnie Shurtleff
This poem may not be reprinted or reposted without the author's written permission.


Lonnie comments, "When I was knee-high to a grasshopper, my daddy ran wild horses in the Owyhee. In those days there were thousands of mustangs in that high desert rimrock and sagebrush country. He gave me a mustang mare and put me on her back when I was six.Those early memories of a time now gone forever are poignant to me.The first cowboy poem I wrote and performed back in 2003 was entitled simply, 'Owyhee.' In 2011, it occurred to me that the poem might be more powerful as a song. 'Growing Up Wild in the Old Owyhee' is the result. I still perform the original poem occasionally at gatherings, particularly in southern Idaho."


About Lonnie Shurtleff:
provided 2012

The Eclectic Cowboy

Lonnie grew up in the Owyhee Desert running wild horses and in Eastern Oregon’s Blue Mountains cattle ranching. It was “Wild horses and saddles and rawhide riatas…,” then he discovered guitars! His material is largely autobiographical and reflects his experiences growing up in the saddle and playing and singing in cowboy hang-outs and honky-tonks around the Northwest.

For unique cowboy-flavored entertainment, music, poetry, and unlikely stories, please consider engaging Lonnie the Eclectic Cowboy for your next dinner party, campfire gathering, calf branding or necktie party. It will be a memorable occasion! CDs are available.



Find an April 8, 2013 article about Lonnie Shurtleff, "Art of Cowboy Poetry," by Dick Mason in The Observer



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