Baxter Black: Feedlot Heroes
Now and then I get to thinkin’ I should quit this feedlot job.
Go and ride with Buster, what’s-his-name, his Texas wagon mob.
Maybe move to old Montana, wear them bat wings for a while
Or do California day work in the old vaquero style.
I get my western magazines, shoot, I keep’em by my chair
And I read’em after lunchin’, sometimes wishin’ I was there.
See, it all looks so romantic. All they do is brand and ride
Maybe gather up some wild ones, push’em down the other side
While the cameras keep on snappin’, set against a scenic view
Lookin’ picturesque and western, quintessential buckaroo.
It’s not often that reporters come by here and spend a day
And the stories that they usually write are mostly exposé
And I really can’t remember any artist incidents.
All the painters that I’ve ever seen were workin’ on the fence.
‘Cause nobody wants to see us cowboys dressed in overshoes
In our insulated covies on a feedlot winter cruise,
Sortin’ fats in some bleak alley with the mud up to our knees,
Shovelin’ bunks or treatin’ sick ones, fightin’ flies or allergies.
I take a little nap sometimes, in my chair there after lunch
And I dream that I am workin’ for some rope and ride’em bunch
Where a roaming photo graffer lookin’ for the real thing
Is dazzled by my cowboyness, the essence of my being.
And he poses me majestic by the River Babylon
Mounted on my paint caballo, conchos glistening in the sun.
But at five till one I waken with the image in my mind
Of the picture he has taken for the cover, but I find
I’m portrayed in all my glory standin’ in the chronic pen
Lookin’ at a scruffy lump jaw that needs lancin’ once again.
I get up and grab my jacket that’s the color of manure
And I head back to the feedlot, catch some horses for the shoer,
But I worry if my heroes in that cowboy magazine
Ever get a lick of work done, ’cause they always look so clean.
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Outtagrass Cattle Co. cartoon by Jan Swan Wood for the Oct. 23, 2021, edition of Tri-State Livestock News