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2009 photograph by Lori Faith, www.photographybyfaith.com

About Georgie Sicking
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About Georgie Sicking

A real cowboy, Georgie Sicking earned the title and the respect with hard work and unflagging determination. She says she had two of the best cowboys as her teachers: her father and step father.  

She was invited to the first Cowboy Poetry Gathering at Elko and has returned many times, is a frequent featured guest at the Arizona Cowboy Poets Gathering, and is a Cowgirl Hall of Fame Honoree. Georgie is renowned for her colorful stories of her full life, and she tells about her earliest days in this excerpt from her most recent book of poetry, Just More Thinking:

At the time of my birth, my dad and mom owned a ranch at a place called Knight Creek, 40 miles from the nearest town, Kingman, Arizona.  I was born May 20, 1921 to Oscar and Mayme Connell in the town of Selligman, Arizona.  My mother had been cooking on dutch ovens for a roundup crew and decided to get a month's rest in town before my birth.  After a ride in a Model T over rough roads, I was born the next day, after she got to town.  I had a sister, Ada, four years old.  My parents had their hearts set on a boy, with the name picked out.  I shocked them so much bein a girl they didn't have the heart to find a new name, so I have carried the name Georgie for all my life.

When I was two my brother Clyde was born, and my mom had her hands full.  There were wild hogs along the creek and my dad had been gathering big steers and putting them in a pasture by the house.  After having to run me down many times and being in fear of my life, my mom halter-broke me.  She made a small harness from leather straps and tied me to a tamarack tree by the house where she could watch me.  She also taught me to ride when I was tow, on a horse she had broke.  This was necessary, as our main and only way of travel was horseback.

For my fifth birthday, my dad bought an eight-year-old gelding, Morgan and Thoroughbred breeding.  He had been raised a pet and was fond of biscuits.  I would take a biscuit to where he was, drop it on the ground, and when he put his head down to get it, I would climb on his head, crawl up his neck, and be on his back.  I could turn him by slapping his neck, and stop him by pretending to fall off. I owned him for 20 years, until he died.  I called him Buster.

                                                                                                                                                   continued below...

 


Georgie Sicking, in a photo taken
 at a carnival on her first date with the man who became her husband

The image is the cover of The BAR-D Roundup: Volume Five:

and of a film about Georgie Sicking, Ridin' & Rhymin'

 

Poems

To Be a Top Hand

Old Bay

A Time for Remembering

Be Yourself

Housewife

 

To Be a Top Hand

When I was a kid and doing my best to
     Learn the ways of our land,
I thought mistakes were never made by
     A real top hand.

He never got into a storm with a horse
     He always knew
How a horse would react in any case and
     Just what to do.

He never let a cow outfigure him,
     And never missed a loop.
He always kept cattle under control
     Like in a chicken coop.

He was never in the right place at the wrong time,
     Or in anybody's way.
For working cattle he just naturally knew,
     When to move and when to stay.

I just about broke my neck tryin',
     To be and to do,
All those things a good cowboy,
     Just naturally knew.

One day while riding with a cowboy,
     I knew was one of the best,
For he had worked in that country for a long time,
     Had taken and passed the test.

I was telling of my troubles,
     Some bad mistakes I made.
That my dreams of being a top cowboy,
     Were startin' to fade.

This cowboy looked at me and said,
     With a sort of a smile,
A sorry hand is in the way all the time,
     A good one just once in a while.

Since that day I've handled lots of cattle,
     And ridden many a mile.
And I figure I'm doin' my share if I get in the way,
     Just every once in a while.

Georgie Sicking 
  This poem may not be reprinted or reposted without the author's written permission.


 

Old Bay

Today I found a picture,
     that I had put away,
Of a quarterhorse with a strip in his face,
     that I called Old Bay.

Some people thought him homely,
     but then they couldn't see,
The common sense in that big head,
     or the love he had for me.

They could not see that stout flat bone,
     Or the muscles how they lay,
To make a sculptor wish,
     he could copy them in clay.

The first I ever saw him,
     two hundred yards away,
I knew I had to have him,
     cost what 'ere it may.

I finally got to buy him,
     early in the spring.
In a year he developed confidence,
     'til he acted like a king.

I trained him to run barrels,
     at the rodeo,
With the speed and action that he had,
     it wasn't hard to do.

He would stand around the rodeo,
     cool and calm and steady,
Until the announcer hollered out,
     "Barrel racers, get ready!"

I'll swear he seemed to understand,
     what the announcer said.
It showed in the way he walked,
     the proud carriage of his head.

He didn't get high or crazy,
     or jump around and rise hob,
But proud and confident,
     like an old pro sure of his job.

He seemed to gallop between the barrels,
     but usually took them neat
Made his time from the last barrel home,
     and he was hard to beat.

After the race some horses were nervous,
     but not my big Old Bay.
He would just relax and heave a big sigh as if to say,

"Look at those silly horses,
     think they have won all the clover,
I think we will get part of the winners' pay,
     but I'm glad that race is over."

If my little boy wanted a ride,
     or there was cow work to do,
I knew Old bay would fill the bill,
    dependable and true.

He pulled an artery loose from his heart,
     that is how his life came to end,
Makes me think of the saying,
     "No greater honor, than giving life for a friend.

You see it happened running barrels,
     when he turned the last one and headed home,
He ran across the finish line and fell,
     in two minutes he was gone.

When my rodeo friends found I had lost him,
     even the cowboys' eyes were wet,
For he was a horse they had to love,
     and couldn't soon forget.

Years have gone since I lost him,
     and the cowboys still all say,
One of the greatest horses they ever saw,
     was the one I called Old Bay.

I don't think that on this earth,
     or ever in my day
Will I ever find a horse equal,
     the one I called Old Bay.

Now, when I leave this earth forever,
     and cross that great divide,
I hope they will figure I'm a good enough hand,
     that I'll get Old Bay to ride.

Georgie Sicking 
  This poem may not be reprinted or reposted without the author's written permission.


Georgie on Old Bay


 

A Time for Remembering

The wind howls round my cabin tonight,
     gosh, but it's gettin' cold,
A storm comin' in on the wings of the wind,
     joints say I'm gettin' old.

Sittin' here dreamin' of places I've been,
     and many people I've known,
Good horses I've rod, good dogs I've had,
     and a family once my own.

The years have gone by,
     like snowflakes in the wind,
Leaving no will to change,
     no chance to heal or mend.

As snowflakes fall they melt away,
     and seem to disappear,
but they make moisture in the ground,
     and grass the coming year.

If some of the things I have done,
     are like the snow and rain,
And will help some person or thing,
     I have not lived in vain.

Georgie Sicking 
  This poem may not be reprinted or reposted without the author's written permission.

 

 

Be Yourself

When I was young and foolish,
The women said to me,
"Take off those spurs and comb your hair
If a lady you will be.

"Forget about those cowboy ways
come and sit a while,
We will try to clue you in
On women's ways and whiles.

"Take off that Levi jumper
Put up those bat wing chaps.
Put on a little makeup and
We can get a date for you, 'perhaps.'

"Forget about that roping.
That will make calluses on your hands.
And you know it takes soft fingers
If you want to catch a man!

"Do away with that Stetson hat
For is will crush your curls.
And even a homely cowboy wouldn't 
Date a straight-haired girl."

Now being young and foolish,
I went my merry way.
I guess I never wore a dress
Until my wedding day.

Now I tell my children,
No matter what you do,
stand up straight and tall,
Be you, and only you.

For if the Lord had meant us, all to be alike,
And the same rules to keep,
He would have bonded us all together,
Just like a band of sheep.

Georgie Sicking 
  This poem may not be reprinted or reposted without the author's written permission.

 

Housewife 

We went to the bank to get a loan to keep the ranch afloat
little banker had whiskers on his chin just like a billy goat.

He wrote "profession: rancher" on my husband's pedigree,
asked a few more questions and then he looked at me

 

He looked me up and down with kinda squinty eyes

and opened up his mouth and uttered a word that I despise: housewife

 

Now when I'm calvin' heifers and haulin' hay and doin' other chores

to call me "just a housewife" is enough to start a war.

 

I've got cows to move and fence to fix, gotta doctor that ol' bull,

and that balky tractor it won't start without a pull.

 

Now the ranch work is important so the house will have to wait.

I'll cook supper for my husband because he's workin' late.

 

I've been a rancher's daughter, I've been a rancher's spouse,

But never was I ever married to a house. 

Georgie Sicking 
  This poem may not be reprinted or reposted without the author's written permission.

 

  

See our feature about Ridin' & Rhymin', the award-winning documentary by Greg Snider and Dawn Smallman of Far Away Films about Georgie Sicking. 

Hal Cannon, Founding Director of the Western Folklife Center, comments, "Georgie Sicking is why 'to cowboy' is best used as a verb to explain a work, a life, and a big open land. This film captures her level gazed life in such a powerful way that it defines the American West." 

 

Read Georgie Sicking's The Spirit of Christmas, posted in our Christmas 2004 collection.

 

Books and CD

 

To Be a Top Hand CD


2007

"To be a cowgirl is more than just fluff and stuff. You have to do your share of the work, kill your own snakes, never complain, mount up even when you know you may get bucked off, and all the while being more of a lady at work than when you are at home"

Georgie Sicking, National Cowgirl Hall of Fame Inductee

Includes:

To Be a Top hand
Old Tuff
Rooster
The Greatest Sport
Modern Buckaroo
One More Rain
Jake
Going Back
Snow Storm
Be Yourself
Nevada
Free Verse
Blaze
Housewife
Laura
Moonshine Steer (by Gail I. Gardner)

produced by Andy Nelson

 

Available for $18 postpaid from:

Georgie Sicking
PO Box 11
Kaycee, Wyoming 82639

 


 

Georgie Sicking's poetry is included in many anthologies and she has two books in print:

 

Just More Thinking

 

This book is a compilation of Georgie Sicking's two earlier books, Just Thinking and More Thinking. It includes her autobiography and the following poems:

Blaze
The Old Black Cow
Once a Top Horse
After the Summer Rains
In a Mountain Shack Alone
To a Pal
To Be a Top Hand
Snow Storm
Doctoring Worms
Just a Little Feller
Old Tuff
No Life for a Lady
Jim Bennett
Lightnin'
The Old Home Ain't the Same Place
The Kid
R C Q
Home
I Guess It is Religion
A Few Cowboy Rules
Old Bay
Remember
The Barrel Racer
Schurz
Jake
The Lonesome Ones
Loco and Liquor
Gambling
Going Back
A Time for Remembering
Nevada
On That Other Range
Mahone Camp
October 1945
Nevada's Subtle Beauty
Be Yourself
Country Rewards
Blood Sweat and Tears
Believe It
Back roads
The Spirit of Christmas
Qui-Ui
Hold the Cut and Take the Cussin'
Rabbit Track Mind
The Glory Trail
Cowboy Bedrool
That Long Ear'd Bull
Wings and Things
Cowboy's Wife
Why is a Cowboy a Cowboy
The Greatest Sport
The Way It Is
That Little Old Coyote

 

Available for $18 postpaid from:

Georgie Sicking
PO Box 11
Kaycee, Wyoming 82639

 


 

A Mare Among the Geldings

A biography of Georgie Connell Sicking by Glorianne Weigand

Poems included with the many stories and photos are:

The Kid
A Few Cowboy Rules
Jake
Rabbit Track Mind
Just a Little Feller
Country Rewards
Blaze
In a Mountain Shack Alone
Be Yourself
That Old Black Cow
Remember
Snow Storm
The Spirit of Christmas
To Be a Top Hand
The Mahone Camp
The Old Home Ain't the Same Place
That Long Ear'd Bull
Cowboy's Wife
Loco and Liquor
No Life for a Lady
The Lahontan Valley
Old Bay
The Way it Is
After the Summer Rains
On That Other Range
Going Back
The Glory Trail
To a Pal
I Guess It's Religion
Old Tuff

 

Available for $18 postpaid from:

Georgie Sicking
PO Box 11
Kaycee, Wyoming 82639

 

Searching For...


Mayme and Oscar Connell

Georgie Sicking's mother Mayme Belle Tennille (Connell) and her friend Mae Imus (Young) put on an exhibition in Prescott, Arizona about 1916 -- give or take a few years -- at the Prescott Rodeo to show that  "women could do these things." Georgie remembers a photo of the two with a steer stretched out between them.  She'd very much like to find a copy of that photo. If you can help, please email us.

 

About Georgie Sicking continued from above

When I was five my dad bought a house in Kingman.  Mom moved into town to send us kids to school.  It was a different life and I didn't like it.  Buster was at the ranch, nothing to ride, and I had to wear dresses!  There were some burros around town prospectors had turned loose, and sometimes kids would let us ride on them.  Everyone was dissatisfied with town life, so my dad bought a farm on the Big Sandy, 25 miles from Knight Creek, and mom moved there.  We rode three miles horseback to the Trout Creek school.  I had Buster with me again and was happy.  There was an Indian camp between the farm and the school.  The Indians sure wanted to outrun Buster but never did, although we had many races in the sand wash.

A bad drought and depression hit in 1929 and 1930.  My dad lost most of the Hooked H Ranch to the Cudahey Meat Packing Company.  He sold the cattle to pay lawyers to save the land and lost both.  He had one small place that he was able to keep, plus the farm.  He and Mom were divorced.  He kept the small mountain place, and she got the farm.  This was when I was nine.  I also broke my first horse that year.  He was about 10 months old.  My dad had roped him out of a wild bunch.  I rode him bareback for two months before my dad brought my saddle from his place.  I wanted to be a cowgirl in the worst way and figured breaking a colt was sure a step in the right direction.

After about a year my mother remarried, a cowboy by the name of Sam Fancher.  Sam should have been a teacher, for he sure had a way of explaining things so I could understand them.  I was riding another colt, and he would show me how to pull to keep its head low, how to get on without getting kicked, and many other things.  Sam would take colts to break to earn money as times were hard.  he would start them all, then put me on the gentler ones.

We stayed with our mom and stepdad in the winter and went to school.  Summers were spent at Knight Creek.  My dad was building another bunch of cattle, using us kids for help. I was roping calves in the branding corral by the age of ten.  My dad was a dally man.  He wouldn't let us tie our rope.  Buster had been broke for a tied rope and would brace himself immediately when a calf was caught.  Consequently, I suffered many rope burns and loss of temper.  My dad would just laugh and say, "That old horse will never learn to dally."

Excerpted from Just More Thinking....

 

 

 

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