Sunday, May 20, 2012


Steamboat - King of the Outlaw Bronchos

The following is a transcription of a poem found in my father's boyhood scrapbook. The only notation he made on the yellowed paper is "1931". It is probably from the Atlanta Journal and Constitution since that is where he grew up and, since that is where all other identifiable newspaper clippings in his scrapbook came from.

A Western Ballad
By Ted Olson

(Steamboat, equine hero of Wild West shows a decade and a half ago, is remembered throughout the West as the only broncho unmastered by man.)

It was a horse, the legends say,
(Ride 'em, cowboy, ride!)
Brought ruin to Troy one ancient day.
Here is the tale of a deadlier steed-
Steamboat, king of the outlaw breed!
(Ride 'em, cowboy!)

Fifteen hands and a trifle,
Teasingly mild of eye,
Sleek as a well-oiled rifle,
Swift as a dragon-fly;
Ten hundred pounds of Hades
Poured into ebon hide-
North and south the riders came,
Broncho-peelers of fadeless fame;
Novice or champ, it was ever the same -
Steamboat humbled them all.

He was meek as a pet to saddle;
He was docile beneath the noose.
Not til the man was astraddle
Did he turn the lightning loose.
Then . . . came a black eruption,
Shod with an earthquake's kick;
Blur of Stetson and rainbow shirt,
Hoof and stirrup and mane and quirt -
And one more buckaroo nosing dirt
And feeling a little sick!

Stanley, and Plaga, and Sowder,
Scoville and Danks and Stone -
Never were records prouder,
In the roll of the rangeland's own.
Read me the shining roster
Of champions present and past;
Many a valiant name is there,
Many a dauntless heart - but where
Is rider who rode old Steamboat fair
And scratched and fanned to the last!

What though the ancient order
May change and the world forget?
Still from border to border,
Outlaws are outlaws yet!
Still at stampede and rodeo,
Records - and riders - fall.
But always the the talk of the older men
Turns to the brave days of old Cheyenne
And they mourn: "There'll never be broncho again
Like Steamboat, king of 'em all!"

Steamboat has gone to his last, long rest.
(Ride 'em, cowboy, ride!)
Honor his memory, men of the West!
Make his spirit your guide and token -
The tameless heart and the pride unbroken!
(Ride 'em, cowboy!)

Labels: , , , , , , , , , , , ,

This page is powered by Blogger. Isn't yours?