From the Barnyard

Brushes with fame

Howdy friends.

I have been fortunate enough to have a few, very few, brushes with celebrities. And of course my idea of celebrities and your idea of celebrities may vary dramatically.


Many years ago my sister Bethany and I met Neil McCoy. It was a fabulous concert! We stood in the arena dirt at the Jackson Hole fairgrounds and danced and sang and shouted and enjoyed! The night began with Bethany throwing her photo ID on stage for Neil to retrieve for her and ended with us jumping off the tour bus as it left the fairgrounds.


I met Billy Dean after a concert at Cody, Wy. That night started with me buying Billy a beer at Buffalo Bill’s famous Irma Hotel bar and ended with me smashing my boot down on his toe. On purpose. Don’t ask.

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But my all-time favorite brush with stardom was when I met Baxter Black,cowboy, poet, philosopher, former large-animal veterinarian, and radio and television commentator. I suppose there are manycelebritiesthat when youmeet them you are disappointed.

Baxter Black was everything I hoped he would be and more. A. Real. Man. And. Cowboy.

We were at the Worland Museum, he was doing a book signing and would do an auction and performance afterward to benefit the museum. I showed up with my only Baxter Black book, one given to me by a great friend from HS, Beau. It had been well loved and actually had cool-aide stains on it. But me being an 19-year-old girl, and broke, brought it anyway. Baxter signed it and didn’t say a word.

The book signing wasn’t what you might call packed with people so I had the opportunity to visit with Baxter, I figure we were first name basis by then. My grandfather owned a tack store in Worland at that time and he had donated some items to use as decor for the evening’s festivities. I latched on to that for inspiration and started up a friendly chat.

"See those reins hanging there on the wall? My grandpa Joe made them.”

“I don’t like flat reins,” Baxter replied. “One time I almost lost my fingers when my horse spooked.” He said and he held up said fingers. The middle right finger was black and about to loose the nail.

“You aren’t supposed to wrap the reins around your hand,” I said. This being basic horse safety 101, Baxter smiled and tipped his hat. He knew as well as I did. “What happened to your hand?” I asked.

“Hit it with a hammer.” He said. That famous Baxter grin.

“Did you ever find the hammer?” I asked.

He looked at me perplexed for a moment. Then the smile. “When I threw it you mean?” he laughed.

“Yes!” I then held up my right hand which was all sorts of black and purple at he end of my middle finger (we had matching fingers your see.)

“My dog bit my finger off.” I said. This is actually what happened. Because, yes, I really am just that cool.

I know how to make all the boys come running! (Or perhaps, send them running. Away.)

** And disclaimer - they were a couple of mean ol’ blue heeler dogs I had when I was freshly out of HS. Not the good dogs I have now. Wink. **

I think it was about this time in the conversation a different book owner showed up, with a brand new Baxter Black book to sign. One that didn’t sport tropical punch stains. And I figured Baxter was glad to have the rabid dog owner out of his way. He commenced to signing books as I made my way up to the auditorium for the auction and performance.

Though I was excited to see Baxter perform, I was mentally kicking myself for my total lack of social skills, or anything that amounts to lady-like-conversation abilities.

As the auction started it became evident that people sitting in the auditorium, potential bidders/buyers weren’t able to see the art well enough. Suddenly Baxter looked up from the stage. He said, “I know who can help. Erin, Erin are you out there?”

Gasp! He remembered my name! He asked me to hold the art and tour it around the auditorium so people could see it up close, black-broken-dog-bit finger and all. It was Awesome!

If you aren’t familiar with Baxter’s work I highly suggest you check it out! He has a great sense of humor, a real grasp on rural living and I would consider him a true agriculturalist.

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And just in case you are wondering, no I didn’t necessarily get permission to use these images, but I did link them all back to their source. And no, Baxter didn’t ask me for the extra publicity, but hey- Baxter if you want to work on some social marketing together have your people call my people. And when I say my people. I mean me. Just call me. Erin 307-254-3968

What’s your favorite Baxter Black Poem?

Have you had any brushes with stardom? Are you any smoother than me? I want to hear your stories.

Thanks for joining us here at the barnyard. Hope you had a chuckle! See you again next time.

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Wonderful Wyoming

It is January, time for New Year’s Resolutions (and for me that always includes getting organized. pft!) But in my meager attempt the first thing I must do is back up my photos. Seriously, people must do this and often!

While backing up my photos I found these lovely fall images taken in October up the South Fork of Cody and knew I must share them with you. Enjoy!


This is the home front before we left that day.

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We were taking some horses up to some winter pasture.

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This is where the lucky equines will winter. ah! Takes my breath away!

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Thanks so much for joining us here at the barnyard! Come back soon!

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Erin Stiver-Henson 2013