Califonia Bountiful

Cowboy poet captures the spirit of country life

A very talented rancher has found a way to share the rural life with anyone who will listen.

Spending a day at the Greber Ranch in Sacramento County means roping and riding horses and cattle. But that's not just work, it's actually the inspiration for one very talented rancher, who has found a way to share the rural life with anyone who will listen.

On any given day, you'll find John Greber doing what he loves, working on the family ranch, which means tending to the daily chores: cutting cattle, dishing out the first meals of the day or teaching fellow ranchers how to rope.

Besides being his 9-to-5 job, ranching also provides John with the material for his other love--moonlighting as a cowboy poet. And just like ranching, writing poetry seems to come naturally to this real-life cowboy. Like his grandfather and father before him, John has a love for performing. With writing and reading his poetry, he has the perfect outlet for what he was born to do: entertain.

A uniquely Western phenomenon, cowboy poetry grew during the Gold Rush era in California. After a long day's work, cowboys would gather around the campfire and tell stories. Today, there are dozens of cowboy poetry competitions all over the West that attract thousands of cowboy poets, including the king of them all, Baxter Black.

As the country's bestselling cowboy poet, Baxter has written 17 books, has a weekly column that appears in more than 100 publications, and tours across the country, attracting thousands of fans along the way. John Greber counts himself among those fans. Calling Baxter a "genius," John recently met up with his idol and had the chance to do what a lot of his fans have always wanted to do--pick his brain and find out what really makes this funny man tick. "He was great," John said about Baxter. "I was really nervous at first, but after talking with him for awhile, it was just like talking to an old friend or a family member. He gave me some great tips about writing poetry and said the main thing was just to have fun."

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