Remembering Cowboy Poet Baxter Black | New
American cowboy poet, humor columnist and veterinarian Baxter Black died Friday, June 10 at the age of 77.
Black has written over 30 books of poetry, fiction – both novels and children’s literature – and commentary, selling over two million books, CDs and DVDs.
“Baxter Black was a cowboy poet and an icon known around the world,” said Patrick T. Muldoon, a friend of Black. “His words and stories gave those of us who live that cowboy life permission to celebrate it. As a performer, he was second to none. For those who were lucky enough to meet him and getting to know him, they found a warm and engaging soul. Baxter Black, the performer, was larger than life, but so was the man.
Black was born at Brooklyn Navel Hospital in Brooklyn, NY, but grew up in Las Cruces, New Mexico.
In high school, Black became the president of Future Farmers of America, the senior class president, and did a year of wrestling. He began riding bulls in rodeos while in high school and continued riding throughout college.
He earned his undergraduate degree at New Mexico State University and completed his veterinary education at Colorado State University, where he graduated in 1969.
He was a practicing veterinarian from 1969 to 1982, specializing in large animals, such as cows and horses.
In the last two years of his veterinary career, Black gained popularity through public speaking with over 250 appearances. After that, his career as a poet began.
Black also hosted the public television series Baxter Black and Friends. He wrote a column, spoke on the radio, and had filmed segments on RFD-TV and The Cowboy Channel.
He and his wife, Cindy Lou, resided in Benson, Arizona, where they had no cell phones, televisions or fax machines.
In late 2021, Black retired from writing and speaking engagements due to health issues. He entered hospice care in January.
Muldoon said he and Black both shared a love of poetry. He shared the self-penned poem “Facing Backwards” as a tribute to his friend.
face upside down
A day when life overflows
And my old saddle sits on its own
As we gather for the last goodbye
Tie ’em back on the way home
Choose a horse that I would saddle
In a place where the roots run deep
Lace up my boots in the stirrups
Before I lay down to sleep
Lead me to the sound of pipers
Play old songs to score that way
Put my ashes in my best boots
And ride with me one more day
Send me like kings and warriors
Aboard bold ponies, no one rides
So please send me to Valhalla
Of these sacred campaigns
For old cowherds and old poets
As they take their last good run
On board a horse without its rider
West under the setting sun
PT Muldoon ©2017