Cowboy Songs and Singers: Of Lifeways and Legend


These verses, which appeared in the Stock Growers' Journal on April 7, 1894, and were signed D. J. White, were written during a meeting of the Stock Growers' Association at Miles City. Mr. O'Malley says the town was full of young fellows seeking jobs as cowhands. "They were all dressed up with no place to go. Big hats, spurs, leather cuffs, sixshaoters. And 95 per cent of them had never punched a cow in their lives unless it was some old milk bossie in the barn that they had punched with a pitchfork handle while they were feeding her." To "make a winter play" was to keep busy while in sight of the boss. To "catch a regular" meant to take a nap on day herd while the cattle were lying around on water.

I want to be a cowboy
   And with the cowboys stand,
With leather chaps upon my legs
   And a six-gun in my hand.
And, while the foreman sees me
   I'll make some Winter plays,
But I will catch a regular
   When the herd's thrown out to graze.

I'll have a full-stamped saddle
   And a silver-mounted bit,
With conchos big as dollars,
   And silvered spurs, to wit;
With a long rawhide reata
   And a big Colt's forty-five
I'll be a model puncher
   As sure as you're alive.

I want to be a tough man,
   And be so very bad,
With my big white sombrero
   I'll make the dude look sad.
I'll get plumb full of bug juice
   And shoot up the whole town
When I start out to have a time,
   You-bet I'll do it brown.

I want to be a buster
   And ride the bucking horse,
And scratch him in the shoulders
   With my silvered spurs, of course.
I'll rake him up and down the side,
   You bet I'll fan the breeze.
I'll ride him with slick saddle
   And do it with great ease.

I want to be a top man
   And work on the outside
So I can ride within the herd
   And cut it high and wide.
Oh, a rep is what I want to be,
   And a rep, you bet, I'll make.
At punching cows I know I'll shine;
   I'm sure I'll take the cake.

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