Cowboy poet and large-animal veterinarian, Baxter Black, says "I was raised with the coyotes. No, this is serious. I was raised in New Mexico, did three years at New Mexico State University in Las Cruces, then four more years at Colorado State University to earn a Doctor of Veterinary Medicine degree. Veterinary school was hard for me. (The price of a gallon of gas was higher than my GPA!)
"Throughout the summers of my college years I worked at different livestock operations as 'cowboy labor.' To help support myself, among other things, I had a band and rode bulls. Upon graduation I practiced for thirteen years in the livestock business and would still be there if cowboy poetry had not hijacked my life.
"Since poetry is virtually illegal in the United States, I have had to work around the edges of the mainstream to make a living - outside the box, as it were. For thirty years I have been successful performing cowboy poetry (think of Shakespeare rather than Robert Frost) at venues across the country and in Canada. The greatest blessing in my business is that I have never had to solicit appearances. It has all been word of mouth.
"To augment my performances, over the years I have expanded into best-selling books, CD and DVD publishing, a regular column, a commercial radio program, National Public Radio appearances, cable television, and producing commercials.
"Our entertainment business, my wife’s and mine, began in Colorado. Twelve years ago we moved to Arizona to take care of my folks. I still have a heavy travel schedule and we have five employees in our office. We have a married daughter and a teenage son.
"We live on a small ranch close to the Mexican border and I punch cows when I’m not on the road. It ain’t a bad life."