Bobby Atwood is known for his recitation of “cowboy poetry,” a genre that grew from a tradition of cowboys telling stories.
“I got interested in cowboy poetry abut 30 years ago. I like to learn and memorize poetry, although I am not a poet myself,” Atwood said.
“I have been a horseman all my life,” he said. “I do anything that you can do on horseback, such as cutting. I also have done bull riding. I love horses.”
To that end, Atwood is a member of both the United States Team Penning Association and the Cowboy Hall of Fame.
As for one of his biggest influences, Atwood names legendary cowboy Gene Autry.
“I really enjoyed everything he did,” Atwood said.
He first got interested in cowboy poetry in the mid-eighties.
“My twin brother Billy and I love cowboy poetry, and it was then that I got really serious about learning it. Some of it is serious; some will make you laugh; some will make you cry,” said Atwood. One of Atwood’s favorite cowboy poets is Baxter Black. “Take Care of Yer Friends” is a Black poem that Atwood likes to recite.
With the help of Johnny Boswell, Atwood has made recordings of much of the poetry, and he has much more to do.
“I am excited about the Skipworth Performing Arts Center,” remarked Atwood. The plans are for some of Atwood’s recordings to be in the Grove Hall portion of the center.
“I am looking forward to it, and to have some videos of myself doing cowboy poetry,” Atwood concluded.
Take Care of Yer Friends
Friend is a word that I don’t throw around
Though it’s used and abused, I still like the sound.
I save it for people who’ve done right by me
And I know I can count on if ever need be.
Some of my friends drive big limousines
Own ranches and banks and visit with queens.
And some of my friends are up to their neck
In overdue notes and can’t write a check.
They’re singers or ropers or writers of prose
And others, God bless ‘em, can’t blow their own nose!
I guess bein’ friends don’t have nothin’ to do
With talent or money or knowin’ who’s who.
It’s a comf’terbul feelin’ when you don’t have to care
‘Bout choosin’ your words or bein’ quite fair
‘Cause friends’ll just listen and let go on by
Those words you don’t mean and not bat an eye.
It makes a friend happy to see your success.
They’re proud of yer good side and forgive all the rest
And that ain’t so easy, all of the time
Sometimes I get crazy and seem to go blind!
Yer friends just might have to take you on home
Or remind you sometime that you’re not alone.
Or ever so gently pull you back to the ground
When you think you can fly with no one around.
A hug or a shake, whichever seems right
Is the high point of givin’, I’ll tellya tonight,
All worldly riches and tributes of men.
Can’t hold a candle to the worth of a friend.