The Cowboy Poet

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Today I’m pleased to introduce you to my lifelong friend, Ernie Roberts. I recently caught up with Ernie at our high school reunion. In school, Ernie was know for the pranks he played on his friends and his skill on the basketball court. After playing college ball for a while, God led him to bull riding and writing poetry. Interesting combination, huh?

Did you know cowboy poetry is a genre of its own and dates back to the cattle drives of the 1870s? I didn’t. Enjoy getting to know Ernie through two of his poems and read more about Cowboys for Christ in his bio below.


Oh Lord, what ya done was the best thing to do,
but I sure do miss that ole horse
since you took him to heaven to be with you.

He lived a full life til he was thirty years old,
and you gave him such a big heart, Lord,
you had to give him a soul.

I've lost count of all the buckaroos he taught to rope and ride
and most of 'em came to pay honor
when we laid him to rest the day he died.

Some of my best memories are times we spent together,
the miles we traveled, the rodeos,
and even ropin' in bad weather.

It was usually my fault if we didn't win
'cause he was always perfect
when that barrier went up and I backed him in.

He could head or heel and rope calves too.
So if you'd like to ride him Lord, just give him his head
'cause he knows what to do.

If there's ever been a horse that deserved the heavenly way,
he's right there with you Lord
and I still think about him every single day.

So yeah, what ya done was the best thing to do,
'cause I know he's a lot better off
being up there with you.

He's probably grazin' where the grass grows stirrup high
with not a single fly to swat,
and a cool, mountain stream flowin' close by.

And runnin' with that herd of mares, he'll find  plenty to do,
please tell him this ole cowboy
will someday be there too.


There's a place called Cowboy Church
We've grown to know and love

It's a time when cowboys and cowgirls gather
To honor and worship God above

Sometimes we gather in the arena,
Sometimes outside under a tent

It's not the place that matters
It's being together and hearing the message God sent

This church sure means a lot to me
For some, it's the only one they know

For some strange reason, when they're home
Mom and Dad just don't want to go

So thank you Lord for this church
We've grown to know and love

And bless the cowboys and cowgirls who gather
To honor and worship God above

All of Ernie’s poems are a rich testimony to his faith, and it was difficult choosing which two to feature. Give him a howdy on Facebook here.

After graduating from high school Ernie attended Hiwassee College in Madisonville, Tennessee. When he realized he didn’t have the size to play pro ball he enrolled at UT Martin because they had a rodeo team. While attending UTM he won two Ozark region bull riding titles and the NIRA finals in Boseman, Montana. Following college, he continued to ride bulls in the Professional Rodeo Cowboy Association (PRCA) and qualified for several South East Circuit Finals and was inducted into the UTM rodeo hall of fame in 2002.

Today Ernie lives in Friendship, Tennessee where he and wife Carol run The Cowboys For Christ Arena, hosting a variety of activities including practice sessions, Cowboy Church and Bull Riding Schools.

“My greatest gift from God is my family.” says Ernie. Ernie’s greatest gift may be the impact he’s making for Christ doing what he loves to do.

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  1. Candyce, thank you for sharing Ernie’s work. My family traveled to the Cowboy Poetry Gathering, held annually during the last week of January in Elko, Nevada. So many beautiful memories were made there. I was in awe and inspired by these cowboys’ stories and work.

    I need to lasso up some grandkids and take them there!

    Blessings, my friend,

    Jackie Freeman

  2. I am so proud of my brother and the Christian mark he is making in our world. He “gets it” when it comes to faith and the command to increase the Kingdom! Love you, bro.

  3. As a horse lover, I really loved this. I like to think my horses are in heaven and there are NO flies! Ernie the poem about your faithful horse waiting for you in heaven is beautiful. Thank you for sharing and may God continue to bless your ministry. Thank you, Candyce, for featuring Cowboy Church and family on your blog.

    1. Hi Amelia. I love all Ernie’s ballad-like poems. They all tell a story. l It was tough picking only two to share.

      Thanks for stopping by.

  4. Ernie and I bonded in the blink of an eye. He was hooked on the round ball
    And so was I
    So as all us warriors waited with our eyes trained upon the leather sphere on its rise
    Us on our side new upon who’s coat we must ride
    It had to Ernie because he was the best with the round ball and he would make sure that we wouldn’t fall.

    Love ya Ern

  5. Interesting and enjoyable read! I’ll check out this Cowboy Poets FaveBook. I’m also from Tennessee and I have a few friends who may know Ernie from Cowboy Church!

  6. Honored to meet Mr. Ernie today, and read his poetry with a Baxter Black tempo and flair. I reckon he’s just a bit crazy like I am; he must be as he was a bull rider. I’ll stick to heading and healing (when I was much younger of course). Enjoyed the poetry, followed Mr. Ernie, and pleased to learn of the arena. Next time I’m in TN, I’ll make it a point to stop by. Thank y’all ma’am.

    1. Crazy is an adequate word to describe Ernie, I guess. I don’t know you well enough to call you crazy yet, but I’ll take your word for it. You two are similar in the way you both care for and love your animals. And our Lord. Hope you two get to meet one day.

  7. Enjoyed this very much…I could just see and hear our friend Ernie riding along on his horse talking to God. Thanks for sharing.

    1. Thanks, Helen for reading and commenting. It’s nice reconnecting with our school friends to see how they’ve blossomed and grown. Ernie really has a heart for God.

      Are you expecting impact from Hurricane Ian. Please stay safe, my Floridian friend.

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