Lloyd McKenna

Lloyd McKenna

Lloyd McKenna. A Montana native, raised on a ranch in eastern montana. Attended a one room country school for 6 years and stayed in a high school dormitory 4 years. He has been an active cowboy poet for 28 years, writing and reciting his own original poetry and the classics. Authored and self-published three books. “The Biggest Little Cowboy”, “So You Want to be a Cowboy”, and “Sunrises and Rainbows”. Currently working on a fourth book. Has recorded one poetry CD, “Rooster Stew”. His CD is available at CD Baby on line or contact Lloyd at cwbypt@gmail.com. Married to Meryl and has one daughter, Becky.

Lloyd McKenna is a popular cowboy poet and “sometimes” songster. He’s on the board of MT Cowboy Poetry Gathering and has participated in the annual gatherings since 1987. He’s president of the Judith Mountain Players here in Lewistown. He’ll be performing at this year’s 36th Gathering, Aug. 12-15, 2021.

If 2020 Was a Buckin’ Horse

If 2020 was a buckin’ horse, it’d be sneaky, mean and cruel,
Faster than a mountain lion, stubborn as a mule.
Fetlocks made of yucca plants and cactus ‘round its knees,
Forelock full of rattlesnakes, its nose is full o’ bees.
Standin’ 19 hands to where its withers should have been
Sway backed, knock kneed, Roman nosed, uglier than sin.
Covered with a coat like a porcupine with quills,
To put a saddle on would give a cowboy bitter chills,
And make you want to down a shot and a couple beers,
His tail drug the ground behind and it would appear
It was full of burdock, a nasty tangled mess
Hooves as sharp as razor blades and I must confess
When he looked he saw right through, as if you weren’t there.
His yellow slanted creepy eyes that didn’t really care.
If you ever got the courage to set upon this brute,
He’d try to rub you off when comin’ out the chute.
Sun fishin’, swappin’ ends like a psycho cuttin’ horse,
Bitin’ at you with his teeth to pull you off of course.
Takin’ thirty feet a jump and landin’ in the dirt,
Stiff legged, landing hard, to really make it hurt.
But we survived this buckin’ horse albeit a couple bruises.
Lost a couple riders but you know the latest news is,
We’re gonna turn him out into the pasture past the well
And he can go right through the gate and fall down into hell.
That’s where he belongs with the devil’s private cavvy,
He knows how to treat this rotten horse with devil savvy.
So we can look to next year and hope for better stock.
Maybe we have learned a bit and finally can talk
And remember 2020 as a bad one in the bunch
And hope that next year’s better…..I just kinda got a hunch.


He’s up before the crack of dawn, head’in down the road,
Gotta get to someone’s place so they can start to load,
Calves into the trailers or trucks upon on their way,
To the stockyards where a scale and empty semi’s wait.
He’s gotta read a brand with such supersonic speed,
There’s no such thing as focus, his eyes just really need,
To see it then the next one and the forty after that.
It keeps the gears a’workin’ in that thing beneath his hat.
Windy days are awful when the dust gets really thick.
And lookin’ for a faded brand can really be a trick.
The stockyards are his home when it’s shipping time.
He counts and sorts and weighs, according to this rhyme.
His pickup carries everything to make it through the day.
Gloves and mittens, cap and slicker almost always stay,
In the pickup cab together with a rope and sortin’ stick.
Short whip with a flag and some clippers do the trick,
When the brands get all haired over later in the Fall,
Over shoes for muddy days when he gets the call.
Wintertime’s the worst when it’s five or ten below.
He warms his frozen hands in the pickup cab you know,
If he has to thaw the ink to write in his little book,
It’s not much fun, he ponders and then he takes a look,
At what it is he’s doing, the special service he provides.
Keeping everybody honest with a sense of cowboy pride.
He does all this and gets a couple dollars for his troubles,
Thinks about a padded cell and blowin’ lots of bubbles.
You might not know this feller or know him really well.
Chances are there’s one nearby and I’d just like to tell,
You that this feller really is your horse and cow protector.
Better known out west as the local brand inspector.