© words & music by Annie Wilson
from CD Clean Curve of Hill Against Sky

Album note: As my tribute to the men and women who take care of the cattle and land, this is a composite portrait of folks I have worked with over the years.  Some are landowners, while others (as in this song) are not, but if ownership were granted on appreciation and knowledge of the land, they would own half the county.  Their understanding of the prairie and animals can't be found in books, and their innate good character and work ethic make them a rare treasure in today's world.

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You'll meet him on the back roads in his dusty old flatbed 
His trailer's lost its paint job and it's down to rusty red 
He's prob'ly headed home now, cause his day's already gone 
His horse and him have been at work since well before the dawn 

His dashboard's like a journal of his complicated days 
Some ear-tags, and some iodine, and little bits of hay 
A busted rein, his worn out gloves, and fencing clips and pliers 
An arrowhead, his favorite spurs, and a piece of balin wire 

He's a workin Flint Hills cowboy though he doesn't own a ranch 
He's just the one who does the work way out there on the land 
There ain't no money in it, but he has all that he needs 
As long as he can ride out in these hills that keep him free 

He went out this morning just a little after four 
Caught and saddled up his pony and then shut that trailer door 
Headed up the ridge road over past the county line 
To meet the other riders as the sun began to rise 

He can ride into a herd and cut a stray out just like magic 
He's patient and he's gentle and he knows those critters' logic 
But if a renegade comes chargin, he knows just what to do 
He's handy with a rope so he can catch and load him too 

He's a workin Flint Hills cowboy always try'n to make ends meet 
He helps down at the sale barn, hauls hay and winter feed 
There ain't no paid vacation, he'll be the first to say 
But a million folks would prob'ly like to live their lives his way 

His chaps are full of patches; his hat's a dusty brown 
His pony ain't no show horse but she sure can get around 
He prob'ly knows most pastures much better than the owners 
He's ridden every ridge and draw clear back into the corners 

He's always there to help us put a critter in that's strayed 
We trust him like a brother, because he's just that way 
He doesn't talk a lot but there are stories he can share 
Of wild cattle, ragin storms, and dangers he's been spared