Baxter Black, America’s Popular Cowboy Poet, Has Died

Baxter Black

Baxter Black, the nationally popular cowboy poet, storyteller, and philosopher of rural life in America, died Friday at the age of 77, it has been announced. He was a resident of Benson in Cochise County.

Back in January, a Facebook posting by Baxter’s wife Cindy Lou noted he was suffering from blood leukemia and a form of dementia.

“Don’t forget to tell your friends and family how you feel about them. You never know when their time is up,” Cindy Lou wrote on Jan. 17.

At the time, news that Baxter was receiving hospice care at his Benson home led to an outpouring of heartwarming comments and reminiscence on social media. It also introduced younger generations to Baxter’s works as well as his once high profile celebrity.

Baxter was known for several decades for his poetry and storytelling. But unlike many country wannabes, his cowboy roots ran deep, as evident by his time competing in rodeo in the mid-1960s. He then earned his Doctor of Veterinary Medicine, a profession and passion he worked at until the early 1980s, keeping him directly involved in the ranching world.

By the mid-1980s, many rural Americans knew of Baxter through his various performances at rodeos, FFA functions, and several other western or cowboy events.

Then an appearances on The Tonight Show with Johnny Carson introduced Baxter to a huge swath of urban Americans. This was followed by additional appearances with Carson as well as on other television programs.

This garnered Baxter a much wider audience which led over the years to opportunities to commentate about rural life on NPR, publish numerous books, and continue personal appearances at events across the country before officially retiring in 2021.

Baxter Black is survived by his wife Cindy Lou Logsdon Black whom he met at an annual convention of the Arizona Cattle Growers’ Association.

A collaboration of performances

NPR Archives: Baxter Black on important skills