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Lariat Laureate Runner Up

First Lariat Laureate Runner Up

Recognized for his poem, The Legion of Marshall Bill


Mike Diehl lives in Irving, Texas.  He says "I'm originally from southwest Texas. I grew up out in the country on a farm and ranch and I toted a cap pistol until I was a teenager. My heroes have always been cowboys and still are, it seems. I grew up with Gene and Tex and Roy and Rex but my favorite was Rocky Lane. When working alone, I'd make up songs without a tune."


Now this first poem, Hip-Shot Dan, is by Mike Diehl's pard John Ed Brothers, and is reprinted with his permission.  Mike Diehl wrote his Legion of Marshall Bill as a followup to Hip-Shot Dan


Hip-Shot Dan

The tall dark stranger rode into town upon a large black steed.
He had a reputation of great renown, to hide, there was no need.
He pulled up rein before the bar and agilely slipped to the ground.
He heard the strum of a lazy guitar, as he slowly gazed around.
He strode up to the swingin' door, met the stare of every man,
Then walked across the barroom floor; no one doubted, he was "Hip Shot" Dan.
The guitar ceased its lazy tune, the room was quiet and still.
The stranger seemed to be immune, to the entrance of Marshall Bill.
The stranger slowly finished his beer, then turned to face the law.
In his mind, there was no fear, he knew he had to draw.
Twenty-six notches on butt of his gun, was the proof of his kind of work.
To kill this marshall, he thought would be fun. His expression became a smirk.
Swift as lightnin' he drew to kill, two shots fired with a roar.
Then the room was quiet and still, "Hip Shot" sank to the floor.
The stranger lost his fight for life, the marshall was the better man.
So was ended the murderous strife, of the stranger, "Hip Shot" Dan.

John Ed Brothers

The Legion of Marshall Bill

There’s a tale I’m told of an outlaw bold
     And the lightnin’ speed of his hand,
But he met his doom in a drinkin’ room
     And they buried ol’ "Hip-shot" Dan.

Now it seems without fail, there’s more to this tale,
     But few are livin’ still,
Who knew the man called "Hip-Shot" Dan
     Or the Marshal known as Bill.

If my memory’s right, it happened one night
     In a cow trail town named Dallas.
Already gettin’ old and wantin’ out of the cold,
     Bill drew in rein at the Palace.

The wind blew dust and I heard Bill cuss
     As he lowered his feet to the ground.
I was standin’ there takin’ in some air
     And the marshal never turned around.

Now he ain’t as fast as he was in the past,
     But not carin’ to test his skill.
With the dark of night and out of the light;
     I stood there quiet and still.

With his mind on gin, Bill walked on in,
     His boot heels loud on the floor.
Through the window I saw Dan ready to draw
     So I eased up to the door.

I can’t say outright who started the fight,
     And I ain’t sure who’s to blame.
But me at my best, needed the door for a rest
     As I carefully took my aim.

My only plan was to shoot ol’ Dan
     Before I lost a friend.
And some to this day ain’t sure of the way
     That "Hip-Shot" met his end.

Dan was fast you know, but as gunfighters go,
     We’ll never know who was best.
My gun was first to roar, then Bill’s fourty-four
     Put two bullets in ol’ Dan’s chest.

With a long last breath, Dan sank to his death,
     His expression was a puzzled one.
Was Marshal Bill so fast that you could hear the blast
     Before you saw him go for his gun?

Mike Diehl



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