Bowerman first became interested in cowboy poetry in 1979 when he broke his neck and was in the hospital paralyzed from the neck down.
“I started memorizing a few of the old traditional cowboy poems. Then when I got some of the feeling back in my fingers, I started writing some of my own,” Bowerman said.
Being a rancher with plenty of tales to write about, Bowerman’s pieces attracted attention and he was invited to be part of the first cowboy poetry gathering in Elko, Nev., which was attended by poets from all over North America.
“They took two of my poems and put them in the book ‘Cowboy Poetry: A Gathering,’ he said, noting it was around 1984.”
After that debut, he became a popular speaker and entertainer at farm and livestock banquets, schools and writers workshops. Even groups like the Northwest Tire Retailers and Oregon Association of Certified Public Accountants asked him to entertain.
In addition, Bowerman wrote for publications, including “Western Horseman,” “Cascade Horseman,” and the Capital Press.
“I made a good living at it for six or eight years, then quit to spend more time with my family,” Bowerman said, noting he just does occasional performances now. (Portland Tribune)
Jon Bowerman may not be considered one of your conventional poets. In fact, I had a hard time even finding any info on him. But I ran across this poem and was struck by his description of the old cowboy movies I remember so well… My how things have changed!
The Saturday Matinee
I still recall that early day
When we went to the Saturday matinee
There was Roy and Hoppy and lash Larue
Gene Autry and a lot of others too.
They rode good horses and they all packed guns
But it seems they never killed anyone.
They never ran from a stand up fight
But they always fight fair and did what was right.
When threatened by a rustler band
They shot the guns from the outlaws hands.
They had truth and honor and all the traits
That makes a hero really great.
And after the Saturday matinee
When we would all go outside to play
We lived by “The Code” and could understand
Only shoot the guns in the bad guys hands
Back when playing cowboys was all in fun
And real heroes never killed anyone.
Picture Source: Heavy.com