Cowboy Jam Session: Christmas gift ideas, Part 1 |

Cowboy Jam Session: Christmas gift ideas, Part 1

Christmas can’t be far off. We sampled the season’s first lefsa Sunday. Hot off the griddle. Two ladies were rolling and baking the delectable rounds at a benefit for the local retirement home. They were offering the Norwegian tortillas in take-home packages and on the spot – brushed with melted butter and sprinkled with sugar and cinnamon. The pair worked steadily to fill orders. Other folks have been busy preparing for the holiday season, too:

“Christmas on the Range and other Christmas Poems” is a book by Yvonne Hollenbeck (Pine Hills Press, 2010, 5.25 x 5.75″, 74 pages, 8 b/w photos, hardback, ISBN: 978-1-57579-430-3). This beautiful little book, about the size of a CD case, would make a treasured hostess gift, stocking stuffer, door prize, or addition to your own library. If you cherish the spiritual significance of Christmas, or have fond memories of spending holidays in the country, this pint-sized collection of poems and photos will warm your heart. Hollenbeck draws on her experiences growing up on the Great Plains for this gem. She even included her mother’s recipe for rollout sugar cookies.

“Christmas on the Range and other Christmas Poems” sells for $15 plus $3.50 shipping. Order from Yvonne Hollenbeck, 30549 291st St., Clearfield, SD 57580;; 605-557-3559.

Several of Hollenbeck’s poems are included in “Sleigh Belles,” a CD by The Sweethearts in Carhartts. Comprised of Hollenbeck, Jean Prescott and Liz Masterson, the trio worked diligently to select 24 tracks of seldom-heard material. Indeed, half is original, written by members of the group. Prescott’s cowgirl tunes and Masterson’s swanky vocals alternate nicely with Hollenbeck’s endearing poetry. If you’ve ever heard the glorious chime of brass sleigh bells on a team of horses, you might want this for that sound alone. For a track listing and audio snippets, go to

“Sleigh Belles” sells for $22 postpaid. Order at (PayPal accepted) or from Prescott Music, PO Box 194, Ovalo, TX 79541; (325) 583-2553.

Nevada Slim and Cimarron Sue released “Christmas Shopping at the General Store,” a CD with a cheerful nod to tradition and family. The cover photo was taken at the Waitsburg (Washington) Hardware and Mercantile, where squeaking wooden floors and a pot bellied stove are still in vogue. Included among the 11 tracks are six original songs and two noteworthy recitations. Sue presents S. Omar Barker’s “Three Wise Men,” while Slim gives his rendition of Clement C. Moore’s “The Night Before Christmas.” As I listened, I was reminded of the annual Christmas program at a one-room country school. In true country-school fashion, “Silent Night” brings the album to a close. Listen to snippets at

“Christmas Shopping at the General Store” sells for $12.97. Order from Downloads are available. Contact Nevada Slim and Cimarron Sue at 509-849-2422;

The National Cowboy and Western Heritage Museum, Oklahoma City, OK, released volumes 7 and 8 in their Western Legacy Series this year. “Luis Ortega’s Rawhide Artistry: Braiding in the California Tradition” by Chuck Stormes and Don Reeves, with a foreword by Mehl Lawson, is volume 7 (University of Oklahoma Press, 2010, 9 x 11″, 160 pages, 31 b/w illustrations, 71 color photos, ISBN-13: 978-0806140919). The most comprehensive overview of Ortega’s life, art and career, the book chronicles the acclaimed rawhide braider’s love affair with horse gear.

Grounded in the Spanish vaquero tradition, Ortega was recognized by the National Endowment for the Arts as a Master Traditional Artist. The photography within the book is outstanding, offering close-ups of his intricate hackamores, headstalls, reins, quirts, hobbles and reatas. It is sure to please the braider or cowboy who appreciates fine craftsmanship.

“Luis Ortega’s Rawhide Artistry” lists for $29.95 in paperback; $55 in hardback. It is available from online book sellers or University of Oklahoma Press, 2800 Venture Drive, Norman, OK 73069-8216; 800-627-7377,

Volume 8 from the Western Legacy Series is “Arena Legacy: The Heritage of American Rodeo” by Richard C. Rattenbury, forward by Larry Mahan, collection photography by Ed Muno (University of Oklahoma Press, 2010, 10 x 12″, 432 pages, 620 color and b/w illustrations, hardcover, ISBN-13: 978-0806140841). As the page count indicates, this is a BIG book. It weighs a whopping seven pounds!

A historical review traces rodeo from the first recorded competition among Colorado cowhands in 1869 to today’s big-business world of the National Finals. Showcased are items within the collections of the National Cowboy & Western Heritage Museum: costumes, trophies, buckles, riding equipment, posters and programs. I was thrilled to see a pair of chaps that belonged to Bob Askin. Released in October, this is going to create a lot of excitement among rodeo aficionados, participants, collectors and historians.

“Arena Legacy” lists for $65. Look for it at your favorite bookstore or order from University of Oklahoma Press, 2800 Venture Drive, Norman, OK 73069-8216; 800-627-7377,


See more