A Cowboy’s Faith: More than heartfelt cowboy – Osage County Online | Osage County News

A Cowboy’s Faith: More than heartfelt cowboy

A Cowboy's Faith: Click to read more from Frank J. Buchman.“This cowboy was certainly one of a kind.”

While riding, studying, breeding, producing, and merchandizing horses brought lifetime enjoyment, Rick Johnson was much more.

Now 35 percent of 100 students Class of ’69 into the Great Beyond, this all-around cowboy’s passing tugged heartstrings hardest. Defining Rick as an “all-around cowboy” has such a profound significance. He was unquestionably a cowboy at heart with definite broad successes therein.

Yet it’s impossible to adequately define the unique, versatile, talented, outgoing, congenial, fun-loving yet sentimental gentleman. Undeniable orneriness revealed in his always widespread grin, Rick was an “all-around nice guy,” everybody’s friend.

Sadly, one’s real worth in life can sometimes only be realized completely at time of passing. Cowboys, family and friends from near and far paid sorrowful respects at his church yard memorial services. Tied to nearby tree, the bay Quarter Horse carrying Rick’s saddle sensed the feeling, nickering precisely upon emotional reflections.

A local horseshow nearly six decades ago, Rick came riding in on his bay mare. Start of a lifetime cowboy friendship continuing and diversifying through passing years.

Inheriting love for cowboy life and horses from both sides of his Flint Hills families, Rick proudly touted that heritage. Classmates even through college days, infrequent time shared immediately turned to horse talk.

Quite intelligent, ambitious and determined, Rick, frugal too, made short order of university days graduating earlier than most. Following boot steps of his endeared father, horseman and lawyer, Rick became an attorney at Valley Falls.

Marrying his high school sweetheart, Bonnie, the greatly-admired, community-serving couple of apparent strong faith raised three daughters. The women in his life made Rick shine even more than talking about horses until seven grandchildren had arrived.

Being husband, Dad and Grandad were utmost pride and joy. Family expressions divulged this unique cowboy best: “Rick Johnson was even bigger than life.”

Fond of foundation Quarter Horses buckskins or duns, the cowboy studied pedigrees like law books. Matings were successful with production marketed; nationwide demand enhanced by appreciative word of mouth and repeat customers.

Collector of everything cowboy, Rick’s life size John Wayne caricature in his law office revealed true character “A man’s got to do what a man’s got to do.” Rick Johnson lived life to the fullest.

Reminded of Isaiah 42:9: “He makes them alive with his own life.”

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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