Dusk descends on a charming scene of yesteryears, stirring up an endearing nostalgia in the hearts of the audience. It’s not the usual spectacle you’d expect, but one that brims with a sense of authenticity and an unaffected joy. It’s a night where Waddie Mitchell and Baxter Black, two captivating cowboy poets, regale us with their tales and verses, a testament to a tradition that has long been part of their lives.
The magic unfolds in Elko, Nevada, where the annual gathering of cowboy poets takes place. A tradition that, until recent years, many were oblivious to. It’s a delightful cultural phenomenon that sees 50 to 60 cowboy poets come together and bring the house down with their unique performances.
Waddie Mitchell: A Cowboy’s Fall from Grace
Waddie Mitchell, his voice like the rustle of wind through the sagebrush, shares a tale that’s both a lament and a cautionary saga about a cowboy’s fall from grace. A story that highlights the cowboy tradition’s deep reverence for authenticity and a sobering reminder of what happens when one strays from their roots.
In the tale, a cowboy trades his old ways for something alien to his nature, under the spell of a woman from Chicago. Dressed in garish clothes and doing jobs unbecoming of his cowboy heritage, he becomes unrecognizable to his old partner. In the end, the partner, heartbroken at the sight, puts an end to his misery.
Baxter Black: The Vegetarian’s Nightmare
Baxter Black, a cowboy poet who started his journey as a veterinarian, presents a different flavor of cowboy poetry. His poem, “The Vegetarian’s Nightmare,” is a humorous exploration of the supposed discovery that plants feel pain. It’s a playfully absurd reflection on the paradox of a vegetarian lifestyle from a cowboy’s perspective.
With an amusing blend of compassion and satire, Baxter describes the “brutal” act of harvesting vegetables from a garden. Each vegetable is personified, expressing fear and anguish, as they’re prepared for a salad. The poem ends on a humorous note, with a tongue-in-cheek call for plant rights.
A Timeless Tradition
These cowboy poets, their stories told in verses and laughter, not only entertain but also evoke a profound sense of nostalgia. It’s a glimpse into a world that thrives on authenticity, simplicity, and humor, embodying the spirit of the cowboy tradition.
Just as Jesus taught in parables, cowboy poets share their wisdom and experiences through their captivating stories, giving us a unique perspective of their world. It’s a tradition that fosters community, an ethos of simplicity, and a genuine connection with the land and its creatures.
So, take a moment to watch the video below, delight in the tales of Waddie Mitchell and Baxter Black, and immerse yourself in their world. Share the laughter, the wisdom, and the warmth because these are the tales that remind us of our shared humanity.