A Cowboy’s Faith: Winning roper is life’s champion

buchmanhead“He never missed.” Nobody catches every time, and the most respected cowboy surely didn’t always rope a wild runaway with his first loop in the millions of cattle he cared for in nearly a century.

But, we can’t remember Bobby not roping his critter in rodeo competition, or practice sessions, and we first saw him at a rodeo during the mid-’50s, and hundreds of times thereafter.

When Bobby’s name was called, everybody knew he’d catch whether a calf, team roping or wild cow milking, which became his local forte.

The horse Bobby raised and trained was the same one ridden in the pasture and the arena, because he “couldn’t afford another one.” Yet, in reality, a better one couldn’t be found.

Still roping and winning into his late 70s, Bobby was a champion at every level, including National Old Timers Rodeo Finals, with verification of all-around abilities by induction into the Kansas Cowboy Hall of Fame, along with his brother Wayne, a top roper, too.

Always with the broadest and most mischievous grin, Bobby never met a stranger, never forgot a name, whatever the occasion, helping everybody needing.

Eulogy of such a fine person is difficult, and his namesake grandson’s bride, a pastor, recognized that appropriately to the filled church with no dry eyes at services for Bobby, who passed just shy of 95, mighty to the end.

Faith obvious, Bobby was a cowboy’s cowboy, a friend to everyone, the best of the best.

Saddest day for him was the early passing of his daughter, Vicky; so most fitting to repeat one of her Father’s Day presents to Bobby:

Up in the morning, early each day,
Hook up the trailer, and be on the way.

Cattle to count, fences to fix,
Stop at the Hilltop (Cafe), watch for the tricks.

The old Ford pickup, clearing the brush.
Cuts and bruises, fixing things in a rush.

A contagious laugh, being heard for a mile.
Kids and critters, make him smile.

Horseshoes and baling wire are tools of his trade.
Through years of work, many friends have been made.

He’s been a true cowboy, since he was a lad.
There’s no one else like him, this cowboy’s my dad.”

Reminds us of Psalm 116:15: “Precious in the sight of the Lord is the death of his saints.”


030615-franksmug2Frank J. Buchman is a lifelong rancher from Alta Vista, a lifetime newspaper writer, syndicated national ag writer and a radio marketing consultant. He writes a weekly column to share A Cowboy’s Faith.


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