On June 10th, 2022 Baxter Ashby Black, large animal veterinarian, cowboy poet and philosopher, husband, father and papa rode his old horse on home. Just before sunrise on that day, Jesus signed on one more ol’ cowboy to ride the Golden Fields across the Jordan.
The iconic cowboy poet and storyteller had humble beginnings. He was born to Robert and Teddie Black at the Brooklyn NavalHospital just before the end of World War II. He was the first of what would eventually be four brothers: Baxter, Bob, John and Stephen. The family traveled through West Virginia, Texas and ended up in Las Cruces, New Mexico where Baxter would call home. When Baxter was 15 years old his life changed dramatically as his father, Robert, who was the youngest Dean of Agriculture at New Mexico State University, passed away unexpectedly and he became the man of the house. All while doing his part for the family, he continued to play the guitaramong many other things but he always went to church on Sunday.
He made his first attempt at writing in high school where , as he would recall, “I wrote something religious I think…” His teacher’s encouragement, after marking an F the size of Texas in red on the paper, was, “Baxter, write about what you know.”
As Baxter began college he started wondering about what he would major in. His first love was agriculture, there was also, a war going on again and he didn’t want to get drafted. He did go in on more than one occasion and take his physical for the Navy. He ‘wanted to fly one of those big planes’ is what he would tell those recruiters.
His decision to apply for Veterinary School came when he realized that no matter what came about he could always ‘fix your cow’. He applied to Colorado State University. He was accepted providing that he finished a few math classes. At the end of his third year the only thing standing between he and vet school was a 58% in “triggernometry” (60% was passing). He went ‘begging’ his teacher to give him that D. The graduate teacher finally conceded as long as he vowed to “never take Calculus or Trigonometry again”. He kept that promise the rest of his life!
Veterinary school saw his jovial and entrepreneurial spirit and vigor take flight again. Baxter made and sold leather belts, brewed coffee in the mornings, cut hair, and did laundry, all for those willing to pay a few cents. He even counted ants one summer for a grad student’s research project. He also earned a few dollars playing in a band with a couple of his classmates on the weekends.
Baxter graduated from veterinary school in 1969 and eventually ended up in Idaho working as the company vet for the J. R. Simplot company. It was while out there driving around andtalking to the old cowboys where his storytelling started to take root. There were no TVs and very few radios in those days so he would take his guitar and tell stories. He found that he could take the cowboys’ stories, write a poem about it, tell it back to them and they loved it. In 1980 he ended up in Denver, CO working as the troubleshooting vet for a pharmaceutical company. Baxter’s reputation as an entertainer spread. Soon the constant requests for his brand of poignant, insightful and hilarious programs allowed him to transition from part time cowboy poet to full time cowboy entertainer.
Shortly after forming the Coyote Cowboy Company, he married his wife of 39 years, Cindy Lou and became the father of Jennifer. A decade later his son Guy was born and after Jennifer graduated high school they moved down to Benson, Arizona.
Over his forty year career, Baxter wrote about what he knew, cowboys, cowgirls, rodeo, cattle, horses and ranch life. He wrote with a flair that still captures the imaginations of everyone who reads his stories today. He spoke throughout the United States, Canada and Australia. His column was printed in over 130 newspapers and his radio program was on 150 stations through the years. He sold over 2 million copies of his books, cds and dvds. He was on the Johnny Carson show on several occasions and was a regular commentator on NPR’s Morning Edition for 20 years.
He lived his life guided by a simple faith in Jesus and his admonishment to, “Love God, practice forgiveness and mercy to all who offend, and to care for the least of these.” No one was a stranger to Baxter, whether you sat next to him on the airplanefor thirty minutes or knew him for decades. Every person he met was a friend.
Something that Baxter would always say after getting home from one of his frequent trips seems profoundly fitting for his journey through this life. Should Jesus look at him and say, “How’d it go?” it is easy to imagine Baxter, with a beaming smile shining out from under his mustache saying, “Lord, I made ‘em laugh, and that’s all that matters.”
Baxter is survived by his wife, Cindy Lou Black; his daughterJennifer Cubbage, husband Will, and their children William and Savannah; his son Guy Black, wife Jessica, and their children Gwendolyn and Magnolia; his two brothers, Bob and Steve and his two dogs, Solomon and Rudy.
In lieu of flowers, memorial donations can be made to the J. F. Shea Therapeutic Riding Center, 26284 Oso Road, San Juan Capistrano, CA 92675; Canine Companions, 2965 Dutton Ave, Santa Rosa, CA 95407 or to a favorite charity of your choice.
I Know You’ll Miss this Man
by Baxter Black, DVM
The Lord spoke to the heavy hearts that stood with hats in hand
"Your sadness pains me deeply and I know you'll miss this man
But, it's true what you've been hearing, Heaven is a real place.
That's no small consolation. You should use that fact to face
The emptiness his parting left that seeps into your bones
And draw on it to ease your pain. For he is not alone.
You see, all his friends are up here and all his loved ones, too,
'Cause it wouldn't be a heaven without each one of you.
And heaven for a cowboy is just what you might expect,
It's horses that need tunin' up and heifers that need checked.
It's long rides with a purpose and a code that lights the way
And a satisfying reason to get up every day.
It's the ranch he's always dreamed of and never knew he'd find
And if you think about it, you can see it in your mind.
Him, leanin' in the saddle with his ol' hat on his head,
Contentment set upon his face like blankets on a bed.
The leather creaks a little as he shifts there in the seat.
The bit chains give a jingle when his pony switches feet.
And you somehow get the feelin' that he's sittin' on a throne
A'gazin' out on paradise just like it was his own.
I can promise you he's happy, though I know you can't pretend
You're glad he made the journey. It's too hard to comprehend.
The earthly way you look at things can never satisfy
Your lack of understanding for the answer to the 'Why?'
So, I offer this small comfort to put your grief to rest,
I only take the top hands 'cause my crew's the very best.
And I know it might seem selfish to friends and next of kin
But I needed one more cowboy and Baxter fit right in."
Walter Brownie Stimatze passed away on Friday, June 24, 2022 at the Herington Hospital in Herington, Kansas at the age of 71. He was born on May 27, 1951 in the Donohue Memorial Hospital in Syracuse, Kansas, the son of Melvin Elmer Stimatze and Maxine Marie (Barclay) Stimatze.... [More]
Judd Thomas Cherryholmes, infant son of Cole Thomas and Nikki Kay (Delzeit) Cherryholmes, Hays, passed away Wednesday, June 29, 2022 at Wesley Medical Center in Wichita. After his parents learned about Judd’s sickness, this little fighter lived for another 118 days in... [More]
Beverly Lynn Musgrove, 60, of North Newton, Kansas, passed away Monday, June 27, 2022. Beverly was born on May 4, 1962 to Robert Eugene and E. Berniece (Drew) Musgrove. She grew up on the family farm outside of Rolla, Kansas. Following graduation from Ulysses High School... [More]
Arthur Gene Coghill, 82, died Friday, June 24, 2022, at his home in Syracuse, Kansas. He was born August 17, 1939, in Lakin, Kansas the son of Sam & Mary (Florentin) Coghill. Arthur grew up in Lakin, Kansas where he attended school. On January... [More]
Dr. Craydon Dean McDonald, 75, of Phoenix, Arizona, passed away unexpectedly on Good Friday, April 15, 2022 from cardiopulmonary complications during a routine medical procedure. Craydon was born December 22, 1946 in Denver Colorado to Donald and Irene McDonald and grew up... [More]
Juan Carlos Cordon passed away on Friday, June 17, 2022 at the age of 12 near Syracuse, Kansas. He was born on January 16, 2010 in El Progreso Yoyo Honduras the son of Jose Luis Cordon Miranda and Olga Lobo. Juan began his life in Honduras and later moved to Deerfield, Kansas... [More]
Iona Darlene (Boyce) Markley passed away on Friday May 27, 2022, at the age of 93 at the Hamilton County Hospital in Syracuse, Kansas. She was born on June 20, 1929, in Herington, Kansas the daughter of Otis William Boyce and Pearl Elizabeth (Combs) Boyce. Darlene began her... [More]
Velda Mae Spencer, 88, died Friday, May 27, 2022, at High Plains Retirement Village Assisted Living in Lakin, Kansas. She was born December 2, 1933, in Pratt County, Kansas, the daughter of Wymer J. & Lotus L. (Blair) Cartwright. Velda moved with... [More]
The Lady Bulldogs were undefeated during the Border Wars, defeating Eads on Friday, 42-7 and Walsh on Saturday 62-5, bringing their record to 3-1. But the winner wasn’t announced until Tuesday evening. Syracuse Athletic Director Josh Johnson explained, “It came down... [More]
Monday night at home at the Herndon Gym, the Junior High boys swept Lakin! Head coach Vance Keller said, “We’re a young team with only six eighth graders and 12 seventh graders. We’ve had six total that started the season with injuries so we haven’t had... [More]
Three Syracuse High School volleyball seniors were honored on Tuesday, October 5, during the volleyball tournament at Syracuse. Kaetlin Thomeczek, daughter of Joe and Dami Thomeczek has played volleyball since the third grade, playing with Syracuse Youth Activities Association... [More]
Head coach Steve Navarro said, “The coaching staff has really enjoyed working with this group of kids this year. They have been putting in hard work despite some less than stellar conditions for practice and meets. We are excited to see what they can do now that we are... [More]
Baseball: The Bulldogs faced the Goodland Cowboys at home on Thursday, April 8, losing game one, 2-22 and game two, 1-17. Head Coach Dustin Doze said the Bulldogs really struggled throwing strikes again and they had too many errors. We need to clean things up if we want to... [More]
One year ago, athletes and coaches were beginning practice for their spring sport, some practicing during spring break, others enjoying the break from school. Soon they found out their break was extended a week, some with great joy, others with apprehension. Then came the unfortunate... [More]
Substate began and ended quickly but these Varsity teams left it all out on the court. In heartbreaking last second baskets, our basketball season was over. The boys lost by two points in the last five seconds and the girls lost by three. A wrap up of the season will come in... [More]
The SHS Bulldogs faced the 4-A Holcomb Longhorns for the final home game of the season, with the varsity teams unable to win. The boys will be the number three seed in first sub state match up at home, Monday, March 1, against the number 6 seed, Stanton County. This will be the... [More]
Bike Across Kansas (BAK) came through in a flash and they were gone. Over 600 bicyclists came to eat, drink, visit and leave early in the morning. One cyclist refers to it as Banquet Across Kansas because he can eat as much pie as he likes. They... [More]
The Hamilton County Historical Society is pleased to announce HunterRodriguez has been hired as the new director of the Hamilton County Museum as of May 25. Born and raised in Syracuse, Rodriguez is the daughter of Jamie and Skyla Todd and graduated from Syracuse High... [More]
The rodeo came to town last weekend and it was a hit. Pickups and bleachers were filled with people watching.locals and folks from Syracuse to Oklahoma to Colorado. The first night had a rain delay but rodeo people don’t quit. And came back shortly after. Monte Williams... [More]
Mother Nature cooperated this year for the annual Syracuse Hamilton County Chamber of Commerce alumni parade and BBQ. Last year we were looking for a jacket and shelter from the cool wind and this year we were looking for a shade tree and hoping a little breeze would come and... [More]
Steve Schmidt has worked for USD 494 for 27 years. And today, May 31st, from 1pm to 3pm at the media center is a come and go reception. Please come by and wish Steve well! When asked what he will miss the most, Steve said, “Everyday, my mornings start by walking... [More]
We are saddened to report - On Saturday May 28, 2022, there was a single ATV rollover. The ATV came to rest on top of driver. The driver was transported to the Hamilton County Hospital. The driver sustained fatal injuries. The driver was from Colorado. Prayers to his family. ... [More]
“What we have once enjoyed we can never lose. All that we love deeply becomes a part of us.” ~ Helen Keller For nearly two years, “Where Are They Now?” has searched out the people who had once called Hamilton County home to tell their own story;... [More]
Eastbound U.S. 50/400 to close in Kearny, Finney counties for railroad crossing repair The Kansas Department of Transportation will be closing eastbound U.S. 50/400 starting Wednesday, June 1, until Monday, June 13. The closure is necessary to allow Pioneer Lines to... [More]
My heart is grieving. This joyous Jesus who I came to broken down by life is one many will never know. In people’s zeal they maybe forget how they came to know Him. Or maybe they never had that experience. Before I knew God, I seriously thought gay people weren’t... [More]
Here I am less than an hour from deadline trying to come up with something to write about. Many newspapers have begun to remove or lessen their opinion section. With social media and daily news outlets opinions, people have grown weary of more opinion. At least according... [More]
I am sitting in my hotel room finishing up the paper. My daughter is at basketball camp and I just got a 1.5 mile walk in. After the paper goes out I will get to watch a little of her camp and then grab some lunch. We are about 100 miles from home but it feels like... [More]
Kids have been asking me questions about the Value them Both signs in a lot of people’s yards. They want to understand. It has brought up discussions with adults as well. Like everything else our votes and our opinions are based on our experiences, our beliefs and... [More]
I woke up Wednesday morning and read my daily bible verse “Therefore, as God’s chosen people, holy and dearly loved, clothe yourselves with compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience. Bam. I was hit immediately that my yesterday was not that. Being honest... [More]
If you told me 25 years ago a livestock barn would be where I found my joy, faced my fears, and built my strength, I would have laughed at your vision. For the last four years, I have struggled in 100 degree weather with flies, mice, skunks and rattlesnakes. My daughter... [More]
Road Construction. ARGH! As they work on highway 50, we have a taste of big city life. Pilot cars, long delays, and frustrations. You could literally see right where you wanted to go but couldn’t get there for 20 minutes. I stuck to the roads in town as much as possible... [More]
Our community and surrounding areas are in desperate need of rain. We pray, we hope, we watch the sky. Instead, we have heat, high winds and sun. Yesterday I saw a comment on social media from someone in another part of the world on how they were so happy to have a day without... [More]
©2022 The Syracuse Journal. Powered by Pluto Sites.