Featured at the Bar-D Ranch

Photo: Donald Kallus
Photo: Donald Kallaus

Back on Home

Search CowboyPoetry.com

The Latest
     What's New
     Newsletter
        Subscribe (free!)

Be a Part of it All 
     About the BAR-D
     Join us!

The BAR-D Roundup

Cowboy Poetry Collection
     Folks' poems
     Honored Guests
     Index of poems

Poetry Submissions  
    Guidelines
    Current Lariat Laureate

Events Calendar

Cowboy Poetry Week

Featured Topics
    Classic Cowboy Poetry
    Newest Features
        Poets and musicians
        Cowboy poetry topics
        Programs of  interest
        Gathering reports
        In memory
   Who Knows?

Cowboy Life and Links
    Western Memories
    Books about Cowboy Poetry  

Link to us!
Give us a holler

Subscribe!

 

line.GIF (1552 bytes)
In an interview at the National Cowboy Poetry Gathering in Elko in 2001, Waddie was asked—in light of
all Waddie has given to Cowboy Poetry—what "gets back" from performing. Waddie answered:

"It has given me a brand new lease on life.  For 26 years, I loved my cowboy'n life. I did it professionally. Now, I have the opportunity to get around the world and I know that there's a lot of good people out there whose lives are enhanced by the spirit and the values of the 'cowboy.'"

We thank Waddie and his agent Scott O'Malley of Scott O'Malley and Associates for lending us "Story
with a Moral," and for the other information on this page. Below you'll find:


"Story With a Moral"
"The Bristlecone Pine"
"The Rawhide Braider"

Waddie's Official Biography
Contact Information
Waddie's Performance Schedule
Some of Waddie's Recordings

 

  Click for Amazon

"I can't ever remember 'finding' cowboy poetry," Waddie Mitchell says of the entertaining and enduring art of storytelling. "It was always there. The cowboys sure never called it poetry. I know I wouldn't have liked it if they would have. Seems like an oxymoron, don't it!?"

From his earliest days on the remote Nevada ranches where his father worked, Waddie was immersed in the cowboy way of entertaining, the art of spinnin' tales in rhyme and meter that came to be called cowboy poetry, a Western tradition that is as rich as the lifestyle that gave birth to it. Within his stories, told in a voice that is timeless and familiar, are the common bonds we all share, moments both grand and commonplace, the humorous and the tragic, the life and death straggles and triumphs that we each recognize. And yet, Waddie presents his material with personal insights and the lessons learned during his life spent as a buckaroo.

"All the time I was growing up we had these old cowboys around," he says. "When you live in close proximity like that with the same folks month after month, one of your duties is to entertain each other, and I suppose that's where the whole tradition of cowboy poetry started. You find that if you have a rhyme and a meter to start that story, people will listen to it over and over again," Waddie states in his down-to-earth description of its beginnings.

continued below . . .


Find links for these recordings and others below.


Story With a Moral

Now I know there's things worse that make cowpunchers curse,
And I reckon it's happened to us all.
Though it's years since, you bet, when I think of it yet,
It still makes my old innards crawl.

I was makin' a ride to bring in one hide
That hadn't showed up in the gather;
I was riding upstream, daydreamin' a dream,
When I caught there was somethin' the matter.

Near some quakin' asp trees, I had caught in the breeze
A stench that was raunchy and mean,
And I reckoned as how it might be the old cow,
So I rode to a bend in the stream.

Shore 'nuff that cow lied in the crick there and died;
Hard tellin' how long she'd been been there.
She was bloated and tight, twas a horrible sight—
She was oozin' and slippin' her hair.

Her eye sockets were alive with maggots that thrive
On dead flesh, putrid yellow and green,
And the hot sun burnin' down, turnin' pink things to brown,
Spewin' oily gunk in the stream.

Well, I spurred upwind fast to get away from the blast
Of the heavy stench the cow made;
And I felt bad seein's how I'd lost the old cow,
And I pulled up near a tree in the shade.

Then I got sick to the core, rememberin' just minutes before
I'd done something that made me feel worse;
Not thirty yards down I'd stepped off to the ground
And drank 'til my belly near burst.

For months after it, just the thought made me spit,
And I'd live it over like a bad dream.
And the moral, I think, is if you must take a drink,
Never, ever remount and ride upstream.

© Waddie Mitchell, reprinted with permission
This poem may not be reprinted or reposted without the author's written permission.


The Bristlecone Pine

Staunch in conviction, hard twisted and ancient
Surveying the world from its perch in the cold
The bristlecone pine through millennia watches
As new chapters open on stories too old

It watched as the young ones were schooled in tradition
And watched generations each march off to war
Then watched as their soldiers returned broken hearted
Just longing to sleep as they had before war

Cuz war's never over for mem'ry or dreams
And, innocence lost ain't important, it seems
Oft woke being soaked through in sweat, fear and screams
Which make both your head and heart pound
You still drop with the pop of a sound
Cuz you're stuck on some old battleground

The bristlecone whispers to wind in the valley
The wisdom of ages that live on the shelf
How humans are warlike by nature, and oddly
The only real threat to their kind is their self

They war over thought, and they war for religion
They war for a prize just the size of a throne
How many more young will they send off to battle
Before they start helping the heart to get home

Cuz, war's never over for mem'ry or dreams
And, life ain't as precious as claimed, so it seems
Oft woke being soaked through in sweat, fear and screams
In a pain worse than most can conceive
Tryin' hard to hold on and believe
But feeling forgot and deceived
Oh, and dying... of PTSD

Staunch in conviction, hard twisted and ancient
Surveying the world from its perch in the cold
The bristlecone pine disappointedly watches
A new generation preparing for war

© 2013, Waddie Mitchell, Waddie's Word Publishing
This poem may not be reprinted or reposted without the author's written permission.

 

The Rawhide Braider

“Under two, over two, lay, pull, again
This will be a new quirt when I get to the end
And will dress up the saddle of some lucky friend
Under two, over two, lay, pull, again”

He sat in the shade of the barn every Sunday
As he had for more years than I’d been
Scrapin’ hair off a hide he had skinned, stretched and dried
To cut braiding strings narrow and thin

With his practiced eye and the skill of a craftsman
For usable art he would strive
His advice to the world always moving so fast was
“Slow down, no one gets out alive
Slow down, no one gets out alive”

“Under four, over two, lay, pull, again
This’ll turn out so nice it’ll hang in the den
When I give it to some ol’ time buckaroo friend
Under four, over two, lay, pull, again”

I spent most my Sundays in his school of life
While he’d share of things that he knew
And I found lots of guys I had long idolized
Learned their rawhiding under him too

Prepare the hide well, keep your blade razor sharp
Temper the strings almost dry
Take time to lay each rawhide plait tight and straight
And, build something that’s worthy of pride
Make something that’s worthy of pride

“Under two, over one, lay, pull, again
This’ll be a reata when I reach the end
But, only as good as what I have put in
Under two, over one, lay, pull, again
Under two, over one, lay, pull, again”

© 2014, Waddie Mitchell, Waddie's Word Publishing
This poem may not be reprinted or reposted without the author's written permission.


See Waddie Mitchell's Recipe for a Cowboy Poet about our honored guest Chris Isaacs, here at the BAR-D.


Waddie's Official Biography continued


"When my imagination first got let out of the gate, it was from an old-time cowboy, with a story set to rhyme," he says in his second recording from Warner Western, "Lone Driftin' Rider." By the age of 10, he was reciting poetry himself; at 16, he quit school to follow his heart and went to making his living as a cowboy.

"I'd never done anything else, never made money without horses or cows until I started telling cowboy poetry." The father of five children, ("They're all girls, except four of them!") his goal is to one day buy his own ranch. "I'm hoping," Waddie says, "for the opportunity to go broke on a ranch by myself instead of helping somebody else do it!" 

There came a time though, which he relates in his poem "Where To Go," when he had to choose between being a full-time cowboy (he managed a 36,000 acre ranch in Lee-Jiggs, Nevada) and the art form that he loved so much. In 1984, he helped organize the now internationally recognized Elko Cowboy Poetry Gathering and gave his first public performance.

Although Waddle didn't think anyone would be interested (he thought it would be a pretty good party for the weekend), the first Cowboy Poetry Gathering was set for a cold, snowy weekend in January. This was one of the only times Waddle and his fellow cowboys had free from ranch duties. More than 2,000 people showed up, and Waddle was off and running.

Since then he has performed internationally for audiences from Los Angeles to New York, Zurich to Melbourne, and all points in between, with television appearances ranging from The Tonight Show (his neighbor took the first phoned invitation, drove 40 miles to deliver the message to the remotely based Waddie and returned with a "No Thanks" because it was calving time and he'd never heard of Johnny Carson), Larry King Live, Good Morning America, TNN, The History Channel, PBS, plus CMT. Waddie has also been featured in People, Life, USA Today, Fortune and National Geographic, along with numerous other appearances, performances, articles and books.

Waddie Mitchell's widely successful writing endeavors includes his book "Waddie's Whole Load," a wonderful compilation of his rhyming stories, artfully complemented with his charming drawings. Waddie is winning deeper appreciation of his art as well as international recognition. His series of recordings for Warner Bros. Records' subsidiary label Warner Western and more recently for the Western Jubilee Recording Company have received critical acclaim.

His 1998 release, "Waddie Mitchell Live" for Western Jubilee Recording Company features Don Edwards as well as world class multi-instrumentalists Rich O'Brien and Norman Blake. A glowing review of "Waddie Mitchell Live" appeared in People Magazine, which concludes with "Bottom Line: Horse sense and humor from America's Best Known Cowboy Poet." His busy 1999 touring schedule included the Fort Worth Symphony Orchestra. The excitement created by these concerts resulted in a Western Jubilee recording of Waddie, Don Edwards and the Fort Worth Symphony Orchestra titled A Prairie Portrait. This recording has spawned additional performances with Don Edwards and the orchestras of Colorado Springs, Denver and Phoenix. At the end of 1999, the Reno Gazette-Journal published a list from a panel of writers, historians and other notables, who selected the Top 20 Artists, Authors and Entertainers To Influence Nevada in the 20th Century. Sure enough pards, there was Waddie!

"We didn't have electricity and that meant we didn't have T.V. We had darn poor radio too. So that meant we did the strangest things at night ... we talked to each other!"

Contact Information

 

For Booking & Information contact:

     Scott O'Malley & Associates, llc
     P.O. Box 9188
     Colorado Springs, CO  80932
     Phone: 719-635-7776; Fax:  719-635-9789; E-Mail:  somagency@aol.com;
     http://www.somagency.com

and for Recordings contact:

     Western Jubilee Recording Company
     P.O. Box 9187
     Colorado Springs, CO  80932
     Phone:  800-707-2353; Fax:  719-635-9789;  E-Mail: wjrecordco@aol.com
     http://www.westernjubilee.com


Waddie's Performance Schedule

 

If you get a chance to see Waddie perform, take it!  Here's his schedule.

 

Some of Waddie's Recordings

 

From Western Jubilee:
 

  Sweat Equity
 


That No Quit Attitude

Waddie Mitchell Live

Elko! A Cowboy's Gathering  (See our review here.)

Click for Amazon   A Prairie Portrait; the Fort Worth Symphony Orchestra performing with Don Edwards and Waddie Mitchell.  

Waddie Mitchell's Christmas Poems

  Waddie's Whole Load

 


 

Click for Amazon  Buckaroo Poet 

Click for Amazon  The Bard and the Balladeer, with Don Edwards

Click for Amazon  Lone Driftin' Rider

Cowboy's Night Before Christmas

 


 

 

www.cowboypoetry.com

 

HOME

 What's New | Poems | Search

 Features | Events  

The BAR-D Roundup | Cowboy Poetry Week

Poetry Submissions 

Subscribe | Newsletter | Contact Us

  Join Us!

 

Authors retain copyright to their work; obtain an author's
permission before using a poem in any form.

 

CowboyPoetry.com is a project of the Center for Western and Cowboy Poetry, Inc., a Federal and California tax-exempt non-profit 501 (c) (3) organization.  

 

Site copyright information