COWS ON FIRE
Born in 1945 in Brooklyn Naval Clinic, New York, his parents were Robert and Theodora Black.
He grew up in Las Cruces, New Mexico. Whilst at school he became National President of the FFA (Future Farmers of America). He represented the school at wrestling and became Senior Class President.
He was also excellent at performing in the rodeo.
Baxter then went to the State University to study animal husbandry. From there he went to veterinary school in Colorado and graduated as a vet in 1969.
He served as a vet, specialising in large animals (especially cows and horses) from 1969 until 1982.
He met Cindy Lou Logsdon at the annual convention of the Arizona Cattle Growers Association and they were married soon afterwards. They were to have two children, Jennifer and Guy (known as ‘Dude’).
In July 1980, Baxter was asked to do a talk at National Western’s Red Moat Club. It earned him $25 and went down a storm.
So, he began public speaking. Very soon he was offered the chance to host his own TV show ‘Baxter Black and Friends’. It was a hit and encouraged him to give up being a vet.
In 1988 there was a massive fire at Yellowstone National Park. Baxter was listening to public radio in Washington and there was no mention of the fire. So, Baxter phoned the radio station and read out his poem about the fire. His poetry career was launched.
He started writing poetry and books were published, as well as fiction and children’s literature. CDs were sold of him reading his own poetry – and eventually there were DVDs. He published three dozen books, some with exceptional titles and had over 2 million sales.
In 1989 he was asked to write a newspaper column called ‘On the Edge of Frequent Sense’. It became syndicated in over 150 publications around the USA.
But he still kept writing locally, recognising his roots. He had a Baxter Black column in ‘Amarillo Now’.
In 2002, Baxter started his radio show, ‘Early Morning Vision’. It was also syndicated, to over 200 community radio stations. It ran until 2009.
He appeared on the Johnny Carson Show and was so popular that he was invited back five more times.
Yet despite all his media success, Baxter had no cell phone, television or fax machine.
Once asked why he decided to be a cowboy he said, “You either are one or you aren’t. You never have to decide.”
Recently he had some health issues and he died at his home in Benson, in Cochise County, Arizona. It was discovered that he had leukemia.
His book titles include;
• The Cowboy and His Dog (a.k.a. Go, Git in the Pickup)
• Hey Cowboy, Wanna Get Lucky?
• Loose Cow Party
• Hey Cowgirl, Need a Ride?
• Cows on Fire (a.k.a. It’s Hard to Blow Out a Holstein)
• Reindeer Flu
• There’s Mountain Time, There’s Daylight Savings Time and There’s Cowboy Standard Time
• Croutons on a Cowboy
The last one refers to the rare occasion when a cowboy has to wear a suit.
RIP – Rodeo Inspires Poet