Red Steagall is the past Poet Laureate of Texas, the first "cowboy" poet to hold that honor in decades (Carlos Ashley held the position 1949-1951). In 1991, he was named the Official Cowboy Poet of Texas by the Texas state legislature.
The Fence That Me and Shorty Built
We'd picked up all the fencing tools
And staples off the road.
An extra roll of "bob" wire
Was the last thing left to load.
I drew a sleeve across my face
To wipe away the dirt.
The young man who was helping me
Was tuckin' in his shirt.
I turned around to him and said,
"This fence is finally done,
With five new strands of 'bob' wire
Shinin' proudly in the sun.
The wire is runnin' straight and tight
With every post in line.
The kinda job you're proud of,
One that stands the test of time."
The kid was not impressed at all,
He stared off into space.
Reminded me of years ago,
Another time and place.
I called myself a cowboy,
I was full of buck and bawl
I didn't think my hands would fit
Post augers and a maul.
They sent me out with Shorty
And the ranch fence building crew.
Well, I was quite insulted
And before the day was through,
I let him know that I'm a cowboy,
This ain't what I do.
I ain't no dadgummed nester,
I hired out to buckaroo.
He said, "We'll talk about that son,
When we get in tonight.
Right now you pick them augers up.
It's either that or fight."
Boy, I was diggin' post holes
Faster than a Georgia mole.
But if a rock got in my way
I simply moved the hole.
So when the cowboys set the posts,
The line went in and out.
Old Shorty's face got fiery red
And I can hear him shout.
"Nobody but a fool would build
A fence that isn't straight.
I got no use for someone who ain't
Pullin' his own weight."
I thought for sure he'd hit me
Glad he didn't have a gun.
I looked around to find a place
Where I could duck and run.
But Shorty walked up to me
Just as calm as he could be.
Said, "Son, I need to talk to you,
Let's find ourselves a tree."
He rolled a Bull Durham cigarette
As we sat on the ground.
He took himself a puff or two
Then slowly looked around.
"Son, I ain't much on schoolin',
Didn't get too far with that.
But there's alot of learnin'
Hidden underneath this hat.
I got it all the hard way,
Every bump and bruise and fall.
Now some of it was easy,
But then most weren't fun a'tall
But one thing that I always got
From every job I've done,
Is do the best I can each day
And try to make it fun.
I know that bustin' through them rocks
Ain't what you like to do.
By gettin' mad you've made it tough
On me and all the crew.
Now you hired on to cowboy
And you think you've got the stuff.
You told him you're a good hand
And the boss has called your bluff.
So how's that gonna make you look
When he comes ridin' through,
And he asks me who dug the holes
And I say it was you.
Now we could let it go like this
And take the easy route.
But doin' things the easy way
Ain't what it's all about.
The boss expects a job well done,
From every man he's hired.
He'll let you slide by once or twice,
Then one day you'll get fired.
If you're not proud of what you do,
You won't amount to much.
You'll bounce around from job to job
Just slightly out of touch.
Come mornin' let's re-dig those holes
And get that fence in line.
And you and I will save two jobs,
Those bein' yours and mine.
And someday you'll come ridin' through
And look across this land,
And see a fence that's laid out straight
And know you had a hand,
In something that's withstood the years.
Then proud and free from guilt,
You'll smile and say, 'Boys that's the fence
That me and Shorty built."
© 1993, Red Steagall, reprinted with permission
This poem may not be reprinted or reposted without the author's written permission.
Born to This Land
I've kicked up the hidden mesquite roots and rocks
From the place where I spread out my bed.
I'm layin' here under a sky full of stars
With my hands folded up 'neath my head.
Tonight there's a terrible pain in my heart
Like a knife, it cuts jagged and deep.
This evening the windmiller brought me the word
That my granddaddy died in his sleep.
I saddled my gray horse and rode to a hill
Where when I was a youngster of nine,
My granddaddy said to me, "Son this is ours,
All of it, yours, your daddy's and mine.
Son, my daddy settled here after the war
That new tank's where his house used to be.
He wanted to cowboy and live in the west
Came to Texas from east Tennessee.
The longhorns were wild as the deer in them breaks.
With a long rope he caught him a few.
With the money he made from trailin' em north,
Son, he proved up this homestead for you.
The railroad got closer, they built the first fence
Where the river runs through the east side.
When I was a button we built these corrals
Then that winter my granddaddy died.
My father took over and bought up more range
With good purebreds he improved our stock.
It seemed that the windmills grew out of the ground
Then the land got as hard as a rock.
Then during the dust bowl we barely hung on,
The north wind tried to blow us away.
It seemed that the Lord took a likin' to us
He kept turnin' up ways we could stay.
My daddy grew older and gave me more rein,
We'd paid for most all of the land.
By the time he went on I was running more cows
And your daddy was my right hand man."
His eyes got real cloudy, took off in a trot,
And I watched as he rode out of sight.
Tho I was a child, I knew I was special
And I'm feelin' that same way tonight
Not many years later my daddy was killed
On a ship in the South China Sea.
For twenty odd years now we've made this ranch work
Just two cowboys, my granddad and me.
And now that he's gone, things are certain to change
And I reckon that's how it should be.
But five generations have called this ranch home
And I promise it won't end with me.
'Cause I've got a little one home in a crib
When he's old enough he'll understand,
From the top of that hill I'll show him his ranch
Cause like me, he was Born To This Land.
© 1989, Red Steagall, reprinted with permission
This poem may not be reprinted or reposted without the author's written permission.
This poem is included on The BAR-D Roundup (2006)
The Memories in Grandmother's Trunk
They came in a wagon from St. Jo, Missouri
Grandmother was seven years old
I remember she said she walked most of the way
Through the rain, and the mud and the cold.
She saw the Comanche, they came into camp
Not the savage she'd seen in her dreams
They were ragged and pitiful, hungry and cold
Begging for salt pork and beans.
They staked out a claim at the cross timbers breaks
Where the big herds went north to the rail.
One day a cowpuncher gave her a calf
Too young to survive on the trail.
Their Jersey cow gave more milk than they needed
The calf grew up healthy and strong.
She staked him that fall in the grass by the creek
And pampered him all winter long.
In April her daddy rode into Fort Worth
With her calf on the end of his rope.
He traded her prize for a red cedar trunk
That she filled full of memories and hope.
I found grandmother's trunk hidden under a bed
In a back room where she used to sleep.
I've spent the whole morning reliving her youth
Through the trinkets that she fought to keep.
There's the old family Bible, yellowed and worn
On the first page was her family tree.
She'd traced it clear back to the New England coast
And the last entry she made was me.
I unfolded a beautiful star pattern quilt
In the corner she cross stitched her name.
I wonder how many children it kept safe and warm
From the cold of the West Texas plain.
There's a tattered old picture that says "Mom, I Love You"
Tho' faded, there's a young soldier's face.
And a medal of honor the government sent
When he died in a faraway place.
A cradleboard covered with porcupine quills
Traded for salt pork and beans,
Was laying on top of a ribbon that read
Foard County Rodeo Queen.
Dried flowers pressed in a book full of poems
A card with this message engraved,
To my darlin' wife on our 25th year
And some old stamps my grandfather saved.
Of course there are pictures of her daddy's folks
They sure did look proper and prim.
I reckon if they were to come back to life
We'd look just as funny to them.
Grandmother's life seemed so simple and slow
But the world started changin' too soon.
She heard the first radio, saw the first car
And lived to see men on the moon.
Life on this planet is still marching on
And I hope that my grandchildren see,
My side of life through the trinkets I've saved
The way grandmother's trunk does for me.
© Red Steagall, reprinted with permission
This poem may not be reprinted or reposted without the author's written permission.
This poem is included on The BAR-D Roundup: Volume Three
Red Steagall's Books, Music, and Video
You can order Red Steagall's books and music from his web site, www.RedSteagall.com.
Winner of the Western Heritage Wrangler Award
from the National Cowboy and Western Heritage Museum
Red Steagall comments on his first commercial seasonal album, A Cow Camp Christmas: "It includes songs from some of America's great musical and lyrical minds and it is held together by the musical talents of some of the finest musicians..." It includes three poems and seven songs:
I'm On My Way, by Rebb Firman and Laura Powers
Long Canyon Christmas, by RW Hampton
Jake the Rancher (poem), anonymous
A Cowboy's Special Christmas, by Dan Roberts, Roy Robinson, and Bobby Wood
When the Parson Went to Church (poem), by Ray Owens
Tumbleweed Christmas Tree, by Andy Wilkinson
Church at the Wagon, by Fletcher Jowers
Cowboy's Christmas Prayer, by S. Omar Barker
I'll Meet You at the Throne, by Larry McWhorter
Now That I Have Accepted Your Love, by Red Steagall and Richard O'Brien
Produced by Richard E. "Badger" O'Brien, musicians include Red Steagall, Richard O'Brien, Danny Steagall, Kevin Taylor, Ron Ellis, Mark Abbott, Steve Solomon, Steve Story, and Valerie O'Brien.
Academy of Western Artists' (AWA)
Best Western Music Recording
Red's latest release, dreamin' of...When the Grass Was Still Deep, features 8 songs and 2 poems. These tracks are some of Red's personal favorites showcased on his popular radio show, "Cowboy Corner," and his TV show, "In the Bunkhouse with Red Steagall."
All songs were written by fellow artists whose work Red respects and values. "When the Grass Was Still Deep," "Long and Lonesome Ride to Dalhart," "That Silver Haired Daddy of Mine," "Where the Ponies Come to Drink," "Leave Him in the Horse Trap," "Draggin' Calves to the Fire," "Charlie Siringo," Best Seat in the House," "When the Cottonwoods Are Yellow," and Palo Duro Farewell."
Red Steagall brings back his greatest hits from the 70s and 80s, in Here We Go Again, with 13 tracks that include guest artists artists Toby Keith, Reba McEntire, Charley Pride, Ray Benson, Neal McCoy, Larry Gatlin, and Charlie Daniels. The official description states, "With a career spanning over 50 years, Red Steagall has had his share of great hits and memorable releases. This new CD takes us on a journey through some of the best music now re-recorded as duets with industry friends, plus a few new songs to sweeten the mix."
Songs include "Lonestar Beer and Bob Wills Music," "I Left The Best Part of Texas in Tennessee," "Here We Go Again," "Somewhere My Love," "Party Dolls and Wine," "Freckles Brown," "Early Morning Kind of Love," "Three Cord Country Song," "The Fiddle Man," "Dawson LeGate," "Bob's Got A Swing Band in Heaven," "No Way, No How," and "Truck Drivin' Man."
The Wind, The Wire and the Rail CD includes 8 songs and 2 poems. From the official description: "The West we know today is possible because of the windmill, the railroad and the barbed wire. Sit back and listen as Red spins his magic with stories and songs that paint images of the struggles and survival of the men and women of the glorious West."
Red Steagall's book, Born to This Land, is "A beautiful clothbound book featuring the acclaimed poetry of Red Steagall, The Official Cowboy Poet of Texas and the Pulitzer Prize winning photos of Skeeter Hagler. 128 pages including 75 black and white photographs, plus 10 poems, examine the traditions passed from generation to generation, while exploring the impact of cowboying on those who choose it as a way of life." Order on line here at Red Steagall's site. Born to This Land received the 2004 Will Rogers Medallion Award and the Buck Ramsey Best Cowboy Poetry Book Award from the Academy of Western Artists.
Red's CD, Wagon Tracks, is described as "a multi-generational journey from the shores of Ireland across frontier America, as told in story and song by master cowboy storyteller, Red Steagall. Ten original selections weave a compelling saga of the dangers, heartaches, laughter and rewards of the early settlers of our great country. Steagall's rich baritone and moving acoustic presentation of historic imagery reconfirm why he is indeed the 'Official Cowboy Poet of Texas.'" Cuts include "If I Never See Ireland Again," "Western Wagons," "Through The Cumberland Gap," "Gone To Texas," "Out On The Texas Plains," "The Last Buffalo," "Texas Bein' Texas," "The Yellowstone Valley," "We'll Stand Up and Fight," "My Nebraska Homestead," "We Danced On The Oregon Trail," and "My America." Order this CD direct from Red Steagall's Ranch Headquarters. Wagon Tracks Was Named Academy of Western Artists' (AWA) Best Western Music CD/Album 2003
The Fence That Me and Shorty Built
With an introduction by President George W. Bush. Will Rogers Medallion Award Winner.
Ride for the Brand : The Poetry and Songs of Red Steagall
(cassette) (paperback) (hardcover)
The poetry and music of Red Steagall, including original artwork by members of the Cowboy Artists of America plus hand written lead sheets of Steagall's music.
"These 10 original cowboy poems are bound together by a sense of pride in the western land and the people who work it. . ." Amazon Review
Lone Star Beer / For All My Cowboy Friends (CD)
Released in 2000, "This CD pairs two prime Red Steagall records from the mid-1970s and reveals just why the Texan has become a pillar of Western music. The 1976 collection Lone Star Beer and Bob Wills Music marks the pinnacle of his recording career, offering a wonderful assortment of Western swing and Texas tonk. The title creed remains his biggest hit, but there are a number of other original songs--barroom ballads like "Neons and Nylons" and "Whatever Made Me Think" and two-steppers like "My First Night Without You" and "The Walls of This Old Honky Tonk"--that display his ample gifts as a direct, down-to-earth songwriter (he was a successful songwriter before he was a performer). Steagall enlisted a superlative cast of musicians including guitarist Leon Rhodes, fiddler Johnny Gimble, and steel man Sonny Garrish to help him carry out his vision. For All Our Cowboy Friends, from the following year, is a quaint and heartfelt tribute to the cowboy and rodeo lifestyle (he was a rodeo rider and horse breeder before he was a songwriter) that oozes personality and authenticity. Together, these two albums form a definitive Western music manifesto." Amazon Review
Faith and Values (CD)
This best-selling 1995 CD includes Red performing "The Fence That Me and Shorty Built."
Dear Mama I'm a Cowboy (CD)
Ten of Red's popular tunes from a 1997 release.
Cowboy Code (2-CD set)
A 1996 compilation of the top songs from Cowboy Favorites, Nothin' But A Cowboy, Ride For The Brand, and For All Our Cowboy Friends.
Born to This Land (CD)
Many of Red's most-requested songs and poems are found on this CD.
Love of the West (CD)
On this 1999 release, Red and his Bunkhouse Boys entertain with new and old songs, including "Belle of the Ball."
Red Steagall Presents Cowboy, The Legend, The Legacy (Video)
Singer, songwriter and the Official Cowboy Poet of Texas, western entertainer Red Steagall is the host of this inspiring one-man show. The special is taped in front of an intimate live audience in the living room of Red's own rustic ranch outside Fort Worth, Texas. Red is joined during this dynamic musical hour by country superstar Reba McEntire, and Red's own band, The Boys in the Bunkhouse as they speak to the history and legacy of the American Cowboy. Gather 'round the large stone fireplace and settle into the comfortable leather couches to experience Red's inspirational songs and poetry about the age-old Code of the West, and the values of integrity, honesty, loyalty, and hard work.
Included in this motivational hour are such popular Red Steagall poems as The Fence That Me and Shorty Built, Ride For The Brand, Paw Paw, Memories in Grandmother's Trunk, and Born To This Land. Also included are some of Red's most popular songs, such as "When the Cimarron Was Red and on the Rise," "The Quarter Circle Y," "Red River Rose," "he Day the Songbird Died," and "The Wagon Tongue." . . . Amazon Review
Find more at www.RedSteagall.com
Red Steagall's Official Biography
The entertainment career of Red Steagall has covered a period of over 40 years and has spanned the globe from Australia to the Middle East, to South America and to the Far East. He has performed for heads of state including a special party for President Reagan at the White House in 1983, plus three overseas tours to the Middle East, the Far East, Europe, Australia, and South America.
As a native Texan, Red Steagall enjoyed a career in Agricultural Chemistry after graduating from West Texas A&M University with a degree in Animal Science and Agronomy. He then spent eight years as a music industry executive in Hollywood, California and has spent the last thirty-seven years as a recording artist, songwriter, and television and motion picture personality. He currently ranches outside of Fort Worth, Texas where in addition to his entertainment activities; he is involved in numerous horse related activities.
Although Red Steagall is best known for his wonderful Texas Swing dance music and such songs as "Here We Go Again", "Party Dolls and Wine", "Freckles Brown", and "Lone Star Beer and Bob Wills Music", he also is beloved by Texas cowboys for the quiet times they have spent with him around chuck wagon campfires. In their opinion, the public has never heard Red Steagall’s best music. And, if you ask Red where his favorite place to play music is, he might say The White House, some famous stage in Nashville, California, Spain, or Germany - or he might say at some lonesome cow camp in West Texas.
Songwriter – Steagall has had over 200 of his compositions recorded both by him and other artists.
Recording Artist - He has recorded 26 consecutive records that tracked on the national charts and released a total of twenty two albums. Red’s 22nd album, HERE WE GO AGAIN was released in December of 2006.. This new album features duets with Reba McEntire, Toby Keith, Larry Gatlin, Charlie Daniels, Neal McCoy, Charley Pride, and Ray Benson of Asleep at the Wheel.
Personal Appearances – Red Steagall performs in varied venues all across the United States. He performs either by himself, with an acoustic band, or with an eight piece western swing band.
Television Personality – Steagall was a regular on the NBC series, Music Country USA; host of two television pilots, (which he produced); numerous appearances on syndicated television shows such as Hee Haw and Nashville on the Road; four years as host of the national televised National Finals Rodeo; host of the Winston Pro Tour on ESPN for the l985 season; numerous television and radio commercials; co-host of the College National Finals Rodeo for the Freedom Sports Network, l988 through l99l. He is currently the host of Western Theater on America One Television.
Motion Pictures - Steagall had a major role in the Disney motion picture, BENJI THE HUNTED that was released in the summer of l987. He also had a role in the motion pictures, DARK BEFORE DAWN and ABILENE. Red Steagall produced the motion picture, BIG BAD JOHN, starring Jimmy Dean, Jack Elam, Ned Beatty, Bo Hopkins, and directed by Burt Kennedy.
Organization Affiliations – Original member of the Board of Trustees of the Pro Rodeo Hall of Champions; Honorary Member of the Cowboy Artists of America; Former Chairman of the Board of The Academy of Country Music.
In May 2005 the Texas Commission on the Arts named Red the Poet Laureate for the state of Texas for the year 2006. He was honored in Austin before both the House and the Senate.
In April of 2003, Red was officially inducted into the Hall of Great Westerners at the National Cowboy and Western Heritage Museum in Oklahoma City. The men and women honored within the Hall of Great Westerners, the national museum's highest honor, represent the heart and spirit of western heritage and include such notables as Will Rogers, Teddy Roosevelt, Charles Goodnight and Charlie Russell. Explorers, Native American leaders, writers, poets, statesmen and others who have revered the land, cherished freedom of individuality, inspired their fellow man and found the strength of character to overcome tremendous adversity, find a home within this unique and enduring national memorial.
In January of 2003, Red was inducted into the Texas Cowboy Hall of Fame. He was the recipient of the prestigious Spirit of Texas award.
The Texas State Legislature named Red Steagall The Official Cowboy Poet of Texas in April of 1991.
In December, 2006 Red was presented with the Charles Goodnight Award. This award is presented each year to an individual, group or institution that personifies the ideals of the Old West and has made noteworthy contributions to the preservation of the Western heritage that has meant so much to the economy and culture of Fort Worth and all of Texas.
In 2005, Red was inducted into the Texas Rodeo Cowboy Hall of Fame.
In 2006, Red was inducted into the Western Music Hall of Fame
In recognition of Red Steagall’s significant contribution to the western way of life, he was inducted into the Texas Trail of Fame in October 1999. Bronze inlaid markers have been placed throughout the walkway of the Fort Worth Stockyards National Historic District, where Red’s marker proudly joins other inductees like Gene Autry, Charles Goodnight, Quanah Parker, and Roy Rogers just to name a few.
He is also the official Cowboy Poet Laureate of the City of San Juan Capistrano, California.
In August of 2007, Red was inducted into the National Cowboys of Color Museum and Hall of Fame in Fort Worth, Texas.
In August of 2007, Red was inducted into the Texas Country Music Hall of Fame and Tex Ritter Museum in Carthage, Texas.
On April 30, 2006, Red was presented a membership into the Southern Legends Entertainment and Performing Arts Hall of Fame
In August of 2007, Red was inducted into America’s Old Time Country Music Hall of Fame in Missouri Valley, Iowa.
In 2003, Red was inducted into the Colorado Country Music Hall of Fame in Colorado Springs, Colorado.
In 1999, Red was inducted into the Texas Music Hall of Fame in Austin, Texas
Red Steagall’s music has been the winner of 5 Wrangler Awards from the National Cowboy and Western Heritage Museum in Oklahoma City. The first time, for Best Original Music honoring his l993 Warner Western album, BORN TO THIS LAND. In l995 he received the Best Original Music Wrangler for his Warner Western album, FAITH AND VALUES. In 1997 for Best Original Music, his Warner Western album, DEAR MAMA, I’M A COWBOY was recognized. His 4th project with Warner Western, LOVE OF THE WEST, won the Wrangler for Best Traditional Music for 1999. In the fall of 2002, Red released his 20th album, a Western Jubilee Recording, entitled WAGON TRACKS. This multi-generational journey from the shores of Ireland across frontier America, as told in story and song, received the Wrangler for Best Traditional Music. In April of 2006, Red was presented with another Wrangler award for best original music for his song, HOW GREEN WAS THE GRAZIN’ BACK THEN from his latest release, THE WIND, THE WIRE AND THE RAIL, from Wildcatter Records,
In March of 1993, Texas Christian University Press published Red's first book, entitled RIDE FOR THE BRAND; a 168-page collection of poetry and songs embracing the western lifestyle that Red loves and lives. The book includes lead sheets and is illustrated by Cowboy Artists of America members, Bill Owen, Fred Fellows, Joe Beeler and Howard Terpning. Red released his second book, THE FENCE THAT ME AND SHORTY BUILT, in April of 2001. This book of poetry and songs is a 142-page collection of poems and songs, including lead sheets, all written since his first book was published. In the fall of 2003, Texas Tech University Press released his third book, BORN TO THIS LAND. This book is a collection of his poetry combined with black and white photographs from Pulitzer Prize winning photographer Skeeter Hagler.
In 2004, Red released his fourth book titled COWBOY CORNER CONVERSATIONS, published by State House Press, McMurry University. This is a collection of interviews from his COWBOY CORNER radio show. These interviews are with folks who everyday, play or who have played, a major part in preserving and perpetuating the history, traditions, heritage, and values of the western way of life.
Each year since 1991, Red has hosted THE RED STEAGALL COWBOY GATHERING in the Stockyards National Historic District of Fort Worth, Texas. This authentic western event, which draws thousands each year, features a ranch rodeo, chuck wagon cookoff, youth poetry contest, youth fiddle contest, youth chuck wagon cookoff, western swing dances, cowboy music and poetry, a trappings show, and horsemanship clinics.
COWBOY CORNER RADIO SHOW
In April of 1994, Red launched his one hour syndicated radio show, COWBOY CORNER, currently broadcast on over 170 stations in 43 states. COWBOY CORNER celebrates the lifestyle of the American West through the poems, songs and stories of the American cowboy. It features guest artists such as Reba McEntire, Charlie Daniels, Don Edwards, Waddie Mitchell, Baxter Black, Barry Corbin, and Buck Taylor, as well as ranching and agricultural notables.
In the spring of 2005, the Grammy awards were handed out for the year 2004. There were several Grammies awarded for Ray Charles’ last album, GENIUS LOVES COMPANY. One of the songs on that album, HERE WE GO AGAIN, co-written by Steagall, won record of the year. Ray Charles and Norah Jones were rewarded for vocal collaboration in the pop category, and the album was recognized as album of the year. The album has currently sold over 3 million copies.
Texas Poet Laureate Announcement (May, 2005)
TEXAS ANNOUNCES ARTISTS TO REPRESENT STATE
Commission announces appointments of State Poet Laureate, Musician and Visual Artists
AUSTIN, Texas -- The Texas Commission on the Arts has announced its appointments to the positions of state poet laureate, state musician, state two-dimensional artist and state three-dimensional artist. These positions, created by SB 1043 of the 77th Legislature, will be filled by one-year appointments. The eight appointees named for 2005 and 2006 were selected for years of excellence and dedicated commitment to the arts in Texas.
The 2005 appointees include Texas Poet Laureate Alan Brikelbach of Plano, Texas State Musician Johnny Gimble of Tyler, Texas State Two-Dimensional Artist Kathy Vargas of San Antonio, and Texas State Three-Dimensional Artist Sharon Kopriva of Houston. The 2006 appointees include Texas Poet Laureate Red Steagall of Fort Worth, Texas State Musician Billy Joe Shaver of Waco, Texas State Two-Dimensional Artist George Boutwell of Bosque, and Texas State Three-Dimensional Artist James Surls of Athens.
"These men and women bring art and culture to Texans everyday," Rep. Harvey Hilderbran, chair of the House of Representative's Committee on Culture, Recreation and Tourism said. "I am honored to have them live in our great state, and am pleased that we could salute them with these designations."
Nominees must be native Texans or five-year residents of the state. They must have received recognition for high levels of excellence and success in their respective disciplines. They also must have received critical reviews in state, regional or national publications.
In addition, poet laureate nominees must have a substantial body of work, including at least one publication that is not self-published or vanity press.
State musician nominees must have a substantial body of work, including at least two nationally available records, or at least 20 years experience teaching music in a formal classroom, or must receive the majority of their income from musical endeavors. Visual artist nominees must work in two- or three-dimensional art mediums, must have participated in at least one one-person show, and must have an extensive history of exhibiting in recognized museums and galleries.
Any Texas citizen could submit up to three nominations per artist category; however, self-nominations were not accepted. TCA reviewed all nominations and developed a list of finalists for submission to the Texas Poet Laureate, State Musician and State Artist Committee. The committee, composed of members appointed by the governor, lieutenant governor and speaker of the Texas House of Representatives, made the final selections.
"This diverse group of artists is among Texas' best and brightest," said Texas Commission on the Arts Executive Director Rick Hernandez. "The title of state artist, poet and musician honors these Texan's dedication to their passion."
The Texas Legislature organized TCA in 1965 to develop a receptive climate for the arts in Texas. The commission provides funding and other supportive measures, such as arts education and cultural tourism programs, for a variety of arts-related activities, including visual and literary arts, film and multi-media, performing arts, music and theater. TCA assistance contributes to both the enhanced quality of life and the healthy economic climate of Texas through support of artists and arts organizations. TCA also stimulates arts education at the local level and fosters cooperation among arts and cultural organizations and academic institutions. For more information on TCA and its programs, please visit http://www/arts.state.tx.us.
Hall of Great Westerners Induction
Following is a press release from the National Cowboy & Western Heritage Museum about the induction of Red Steagall into the Hall of Great Westerners:
February 25, 2003
National Cowboy Museum to Induct Poet, Singer, Rancher,
Red Steagall Into Hall of Great Westerners
The National Cowboy & Western Heritage Museum will induct Russell Don "Red" Steagall into its prestigious Hall of Great Westerners, April 12, 2003. Selected by the Museum's board of directors, Steagall will be honored during the 42nd Western Heritage Awards ceremonies, held in the Museum's magnificent Sam Noble Special Events Center.
The men and women honored within the Hall of Great Westerners, the Museum's highest honor, represent the heart and spirit of America's Western heritage. Explorers, Native American leaders, writers, poets, statesmen and others who have revered the land, cherished freedom of individuality, inspired their fellow man and found the strength of character to overcome tremendous adversity, find a home within this unique and enduring national memorial.
Steagall is a sterling example of a life spent preserving and interpreting the cowboy traditions. He grew up in Texas, and while learning the skill and cow savvy of the men who worked the range, as well as their songs, he began to carve out a career in entertainment that has spanned the globe from the Middle East to South America, the Far East, Germany, Spain and Australia.
As a high school junior, his dreams to play football while studying to become a veterinarian were shattered when he was suddenly struck with polio. To aid in strengthening his left arm, his parents gave him a mandolin and later a guitar. The rest is history.
While at West Texas State, Steagall formed a band. Upon college graduation, he took a job with Western Grain and Supply in Amarillo and then worked briefly for the Shamrock Corporation before packing his bags in 1965 and heading for the West Coast to seek fame in the world of entertainment.
Steagall spent time in California and eventually launched a music publishing business with Don Lanier, former member of Buddy Knox's Rhythm Orchids. Together they penned a song "Here We Go Again," which attracted the attention of the music moguls and it's still in Red's repertoire today.
Steagall's accomplishments include movies and literary projects. In 1988, he produced the motion picture, Big Bad John, directed by Burt Kennedy and starring Jimmy Dean, Jack Elam, Ned Beatty and Bo Hopkins. He had a major acting role in Benji The Hunted (1987) and appeared in Dark Before Dawn and Abilene. He published his first book, Ride for the Brand, a collection of poetry and songs embracing the Western lifestyle, in 1993, and The Fence That Me and Shorty Built in 2001.
As a songwriter, Steagall has had more than 200 of his compositions recorded. He has produced 26 consecutive records on the national charts and released 15 albums. As a television personality, he has appeared often on Music Country USA, Hee Haw and Nashville on the Road. He has performed at Harrah's, Sahara, Sands and Landmark in Las Vegas and El Dorado, Nugget and Harrah's in Reno.
Steagall has hosted the National Finals Rodeo as well as composing the title song for their telecast. And he delights a devoted audience of listeners every Sunday morning on his syndicated radio show, Cowboy Corner, launched in April, 1994.
Steagall, a master cowboy storyteller, has used his music to convey his heartfelt and abiding love for a people and way of life that will continue to exist as long as poets and dreamers, men of character and honor like himself, perpetuate the West in story and song.
"The National Cowboy & Western Heritage Museum is the most prestigious institution of its kind anywhere in the world, and to be included in the Hall of Great Westerners with such folks as Burk Burnett, Anne Burnett Tandy, Les and Linda Davis, Charles Goodnight, Stephen F. Austin, John Justin, Bob Kleberg and Teddy Roosevelt is the most humbling and flattering feeling I could possibly imagine," Steagall said. "I will spend the rest of my life trying to live up to the vote of confidence bestowed upon my cowboy lifestyle by the Board of Directors."
In addition to Steagall's April 12 induction, he will also receive a Wrangler Award as a 2002 category winner for his Traditional Western Album, Wagon Tracks, his first release with Western Jubilee Recording Company, Colorado Springs, Colorado. Accompanied by his Texas swing band, Boys in the Bunkhouse, Steagall has won five Wrangler Awards for original songs and traditional western albums.
Always promoting Western heritage and the cowboy way of life, Steagall produces Cowboy Gatherings each year in San Antonio, Fort Worth and Richmond Texas. In April of 1991, the Texas Legislature named Steagall as the official Cowboy Poet of Texas. He is also the official Cowboy Poet Laureate of the City of San Juan Capistrano, California. He has performed at functions attended by Presidents Ronald Reagan and George Bush Sr.
Steagall is as happy around the chuck wagon with friends at some lonesome cow camp as he is performing on stage or visiting with dignitaries. He still works a heavy schedule, but takes time for several trail rides a year and relaxes in the spring by making visits to the JA Ranch in Palo Duro or the 6666 Ranch near Guthrie, Texas.
A degree in Animal Science from West Texas State University has served him well in his quarter horse operation on his ranch west of Fort Worth. It is this easy mixture of living and sharing the cowboy life with kindred spirits that distinguishes Red Steagall from many others.
The Sam Noble Special Events Center will be full of family, friends, celebrities and fans on the evening of April 12 to celebrate Steagall's induction. He will join the ranks of such notables as Buffalo Bill, Willa Cather, J. Frank Dobie, Bass Reeves, Dwight D. Eisenhower, Sam Houston, Ronald Reagan, Will Rogers and Sacagawea. Other 2003 inductees into the Hall of Great Westerners are Walter Merrick, Oklahoma and the late Captain G.W. Arrington, Texas, both addressed in a separate press release. Hall of Great Western Performers inductees for 2003 are Harry Carey Jr. and the late John Carradine. Thirteen categories of the best in Western movies, television, literature and music will also be honored. The Museum will celebrate the official opening of the Western Performers Gallery during a special honoree reception on April 11.
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