Cowboy Songs and Singers: Of Lifeways and Legend

Orejana Bull for Cowboys Only
by Gail Gardner

THE DESERT CABALLEROS

I'll tell you of a wondrous outfit
Born beneath the desert sun,
They ride a hundred mile on horseback,
And they do it, just for fun

They are called the Desert Caballeros,
From Wickenburg they always rile
Up around the Weaver Mountains,
And back across the desert wide.

The big boss Caballero wrote me,
"Now I ain't tellin' you no lies,
"If you will side us for this `weltie',
"It shore will open up your eyes."

So I saddles up and joins the outfit,
I rode out in their big parade.
Listen now and I will tell you
What a sight them fellers made.

Some of them was old-time flintlocks,
To the saddle they was born
Settin' straight upon their horses
Chaps and taps both old and worn.

And then some of them was loose-packs
Ridin' like a bale of hay
A-rubbin' corns on Bybee saddles
Every step along the way.

Some rode fancy Valley horses
Town-dog fat and soft as mush,
Some rode common mountain ponies
Just drove in from rocks and brush.

Now and then I seen a jughead
Ears a-floppin' to and fro,
Britchin' rig and gear a-jinglin',
Men a-tryin' to make 'em go.

We rode on up the Hassayampa
To the camp site on the flat,
And when I had seen the layout
I couldn't believe where I was at.

Wranglers takin' care of horses
Down there on the picket line,
Good old boys that knowed their onions,
All the tock was doin' fine.

Then I seen some guys together
Gathered 'round a big mesquite,
When I shoved into the circle
I seen they had a bar complete.

Shore nuff bar with all the trimmins
An' good old bourbon just uncorked.
I stood and crooked a rusty elbow
Until my eyes run out and forked.

They never had no old chuck wagon
Nor a waspy cook in greasy jeans,
They never had no burnt-up bull meat,
Nor any rocks mixed with the beans.

They had big trucks that shore was loaded
With everything that you could eat,
Vittles plain and some so fancy
A city restaurant they could beat.

Their grub would make you leave your homestead,
'Twas cooked by chefs in spotless white.
We even set and et at tables,
Can you imagine such a sight?

Then when you come to roll your soogans
You didn't have to use no care,
They even had a little enjine
To stuff your mattress full of air.

And come evenin' by the campfire
Your ears was bent with tale and song
Some of which was plenty salty
But then, -- no women was along.

When you rolled out in the mornin'
You got another big surprize
They even had some. real hot water
To wash the sleep out from your eyes.

Instead of heading' for the bushes
You found an arrangement very neat,
You set upon a country privvy
And got no chollas in your-seat.

So on to Walnut Grove and Buckhorn
Each day better than before,
Until the ramrods give the signal
To head back home again once more.

I was once an old buckeroo
Rode the ranges long ago,
I ain't got me no illusions
'Bout how a cowboy's life should go.

'Twas lots of work and little glummer
Until these fellers showed the way
To cut out all the work with cattle
And make a day's ride into play.

I never thought that I would ever
See the day I'd ride for fun
Until the Desert Caballeros
Showed me how it could be done.

GAIL I. GARDNER
Honorary Member

Return to Orejana Bull for Cowboys Only Table of Contents

 

 

Audio Video Poetry Books and Articles Issues and Activities Lifeways Links Home