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.
HORSES DO GO TO HEAVEN 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. COWBOY CHURCH 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.