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Posts Tagged ‘cowboy’

Rodeo Man

Posted on: June 29th, 2012 by R.W. Hampton 1 Comment
Colter practicing

Colter Practicing

Getting back to my music……

Rodeo season is in full swing.  Rodeo and ranching are a way of life that go hand in hand. Rodeo can be addictive though because no matter how much hard luck you had in the arena today, there’s always the promise of better luck tomorrow and the prize money that goes along with it. Rodeo and the optimism that seems to drive a man on to the next show is the spirit that embodies the American West.

It’s no secret that I grew up north of the Dallas-Fort Worth area and attended high school at JJ Pearce in Richardson.  I was fortunate that although we lived “in town”, my parents respected my love of the West, desire to have a horse and to be a cowboy. Although I am pretty sure they hoped I would grow out of my career plans they allowed me to keep a horse at a small local stable that boarded horses.  In high school my friends and I decided we needed a rodeo team so we organized ourselves and formed a club.

Our actual rodeo skills were forgettable at best but we had a lot of fun and loved the life, the travel and the friendships that rodeo provided.  A few of us have held to that lifestyle.

My dream was to be a real cowboy working on ranches across the West that beckoned me but my parents insisted I give college a try.  It was short-lived as, although I loved learning, I had a serious disdain for classrooms.  And then the world of ranching, roping, wild cattle, and fast horses beckoned me to the life I had always dreamed of.

Professional rodeo was never a part of my life but in my wilder, younger years I loved entering up in jackpots, local rodeos, team ropings & particularly pasture ropings where just about anything can happen.  I’ve won a few buckles in my day but nothing like my sons, Cooper and Colter.

Coop & Colt at the Texas HS Rodeo Finals

Coop & Colt at the Texas HS Rodeo Finals

For them rodeo and team-roping became a wonderful past-time they shared throughout high-school as they competed in both NHSRA and National Feed-lot Roping competitions around the country.  Cooper went into the Marines, but Colter went on to compete for his collegiate team and in open ropings all over Texas and the West.  Now he trains rope horses for others and works full time as a cowboy caring for over 6,000 yearlings. Of all of us, he has truly lived the rodeo life for a good number of years.

Colter catching 2 feet

One of the many photos around our house of Colter roping

I’m proud to include the song Rodeo Man on my Austin to Boston album because it was written by my son, Colter, a true “Rodeo Man”, who has chased that dream and won his share of buckles, saddles and prize money; but he has also tasted the disappointment of defeat and had to go on to ride again.  It is a bug that gets into your soul and is hard to get out.  When I first heard Colter sing it I knew that it was a song I had to put on this album, because like me, I felt that many of those who hear it will identify with this Rodeo Man and the tough life he has chosen.

What a special way to have art, life, our heritage and our family all wrapped into one song on this album.

When I recorded the song I was honored to have Colter also add his talents in the background vocals, like a ghostly voice from the arena dust of a long forgotten bronc ride.   This song will always hold a special place in my heart because it is the first song of my son’s that I’ve been privileged to record, I hope you enjoy it as much as I have, and I hope he’ll send me another real soon!

Colter and Bucky Heeling

Colter and Bucky Heeling

 

Honoring Red

Posted on: June 1st, 2012 by R.W. Hampton 1 Comment

R.W. Hampton & Red Steagall

Tonight at the National Ranching Heritage Center in Lubbock,TX, Lisa and I will join a great many others in congratulating our friend, Red Steagall as he is honored with the Boss of the Plains award. As we celebrate his life, achievements and contributions to the RHC and the ranching industry as a whole it is apparent that Red has meant so much to so many. To say that Red has been important in my life and career would be an understatement along the lines of “Texas is big”.  So for this Texas cowpuncher turned western singer and entertainer I think it’s best to say it like this:

Dear Red,
It has been a long trail, mi compadre and you’ve been there along with me every step of the way. Why, when I was just a kid I remember hearing you on my little transistor radio on those cold frosty mornings as I ran my Dallas morning news paper route.  Later you kept me & my running mates company as we listened to you on “8 track tapes” while we chased our high school rodeo dreams.  And who can forget those great rodeo dances & places like the Longhorn Ballroom, Panther Hall, the Fort Worth Stockyards & NFR in OKC.
Since then our trails have crossed, connected & run together many times.  I have been blessed to call you friend, employer, mentor, peer, co-writer, pard & in many ways a father-figure.  You’ve never been stingy about sharing the stage & spotlight or your vast knowledge of the music business.  Many of the things you have taught me have been by example.  Yes, things like the way you treat your fans, fellow performers, & audiences.  The way you have used your expansive career to help those around you.  These are just a few of the things I attempt to emulate. One of the most important things you have taught me is how a man stands up for his faith & his convictions. You have always done this with such impeccable class and non-apologetic authority.
Many people both here and abroad have asked, how I went from a cowpuncher to entertainer and how I’ve managed to get where I am now. I always smile & say, “Well, you can’t get there alone, you gotta have good friends”.  I finish by saying that I was told early to pick out the best and learn from them.  Red, that’s just what I’ve done because you are the best.  Many thanks Red for all you’ve done for me, for all you’ve done for the Ranching Heritage Center and everyone on our industry.
What would you say to your hero if you had the chance?

Jiggity Jig

Posted on: May 8th, 2012 by Lisa Hampton 4 Comments

 

Wyoming 2012

Home again, home again, jiggity jig…

Whoever wrote that certainly wasn’t returning from almost THREE full months on the road with two kids.  It was more like “Home again, home again, collapse at the door…”

Yes, three (3) months.  What started as a two year commitment to travel with the kids and homeschool them has, over the past three months, turned into a true once-in-a lifetime adventure we never could have imagined.  I can say in all honesty that given the opportunity, I would do it all over again.  But, if you had showed me last fall a map and calendar of what 2012 was shaping up into, I think I probably would have chickened out. 

Maybe that’s why God doesn’t lay out everything He has in store for us all at once.  Consider all the things we would miss in life when the mountain in front of us looks too high to climb.

Well, I guess that brings me back here, home after almost three full months traveling in an SUV on the road with two very active and energetic young boys.  And where is here?  Well, it’s a state of exhaustion, amazement, enlightenment, and sheer awe at all the truly wonderful things and people we met and visited along the way. 

 Elko 2012

We began the adventure at the end of January with a trip back to the annual National Cowboy Poetry & Music Festival in Elko, Nevada.  Neither of these boys had been to Elko and I hadn’t been back with R.W. in years.  The best thing about Elko and its legendary gathering – it never changes.  It is pure “cowboy” in so many ways and yet it constantly seeks to show how our culture is so connected to similar cultures and people from around the world who are so very different but have much in common.  The artistry displayed, heard and shared at Elko is like nowhere else; a venerable feast for the cowboy (or cowgirl) spirit.  Buckaroos, cowpunchers, vaqueros, ranchers, friends, fans, family – they all gather for one week to experience the expression of that spirit and to feed their own souls with music, poetry, stories, art, culture, and friends.

Two days up to Elko through Colorado, Wyoming, Utah and Nevada, a four day stay for the gathering, then another two days back home.  The following week at home flew by with doctor appointments, business meetings, church meetings, a Boy Scout banquet that required a cake and table center-piece, car tune up and oil change, surgery on a sick horse, and setting up everything for the five-week trip we were about to embark upon. Not to mention the usual stuff that goes on like home-school, music business, ranch chores, and dealing with a winter storm.

Tennessee 2012

Then it was off to the East! With the excitement of a new adventure we loaded up and pointed the SUV towards Texas. And then Oklahoma, Arkansas, and Tennessee where we started out the musical portion of the trip in Nashville with R.W. filming a couple of music videos right down on Music Row.  The next day R.W. was invited to a singer-songwriter night at Douglas Cafe and connecting with both new friends (including the up-and-coming new group The Henningsens (who have written several top hits for The Band Perry), and old friends (like cowboy partner Dave C. who manages Charlie Daniels, and fellow Savannah Music artist, Michelle Wright).  No matter what industry you are in, it is always great re-connecting with the folks you hope to work with in the future. 

From Nashville it was off to Pigeon Forge for a four day festival called Saddle Up (one of our personal favorites!), then down to Chattanooga, farther south to Georgia, back up to Chattanooga, over to South Carolina, up to North Carolina, and then Virginia for over a week at the Williamsburg Film Festival. From there we headed back West through West Virginia, Kentucky, Indiana, Illinois, Missouri, Kansas and Oklahoma… You get the picture.

Inside Raccoon Mtn, TN 2012

TN. Racoon Mtn.2012

Along the way we went caving in Chattanooga, had a blast at Rock City, visited Wade Hampton III’s homes in Columbia, SC.

Pillars remain at WadeHamptonIIIs.2012

We toured historic Jamestown and Williamsburg, where we all spent some time in the stocks.  The boys and I spent an afternoon at the beach on the Atlantic side of America and even got to watch the regal USS Enterprise ship out on her final deployment before she is decommissioned.

In the Stocks in Williamsburg.2012

Somewhere along the way we toured the Great Smoky Mountains, Monticello, Greenbrier Resort, Churchill Downs and the majestic Gateway Arch in St Louis, Mo among other things.

Monticello.Spring2012.photo by Denver Crowder

The Boys on the steps of Monticello

Jefferson's Gardens.2012

You might think that after those five weeks a little rest was in order, but no, thankfully R.W. had another job waiting for him in Texas the next weekend to help pay for all our fun!  So after five days of “rest” and unpacking, repacking, ranch repairs, another car tune-up, and several kids’ activities it was time to load up and head back to Northeast Texas for another five days on the road.  (Thankfully for me, this was an “all male event” so I was able to stay home and at least get the laundry caught up!)

Home again, home again, jiggity jig… for another five day stretch of rest, repairs, and repacking then off to West Texas to our daughter’s hometown to celebrate  Easter with her, her husband, their two boys, and a bunch of his side of the family.  Not a bad little trip at all but we were starting to feel the miles each time we clicked those seatbelts on.

Driving... some more

After a big four day rest it was off again! Destination: Kansas… in tornado season no less.  As the weather reports started warning of one of the biggest storm systems in current history R.W. and one of the boys loaded back up for what our son was convinced was going to be a “really exciting” trip to see a tornado.  Fortunately for me, as I was a nervous wreck waiting at home, the excitement didn’t turn out like he had hoped and the event which was to be held outdoors at a local riding arena was moved to a theater downtown that also doubled as a storm-shelter.  Unfortunately, for the good folks putting on the event, the attraction of holding the concert in a location that doubled as a storm shelter still wasn’t enough to convince a good portion of those who had planned on attending to leave their homes and brave the unknown forecasted weather.

With the excitement behind them the boys returned home with a little less jiggity jig for a whopping two day rest.  With over twenty states covered in less than 2 1/2 months it was time to complete the circle of the Central United States by heading west again, this time to Santa Clarita, California just north of Los Angles.

As we once again loaded suitcases, CDs, a plastic crate of our school books & lesson plans, R.W.’s guitar, hats, boots, a few toys, a box of office work I hoped to finish, and assorted drinks, snacks and cell phones I had to laugh at how we had managed to perfect our use of space. Even our five year old knew the drill by heart and loaded without complaint.  (Of course it didn’t hurt that there were a few days set aside for family fun at Disneyland ahead either!)

Goofy and Ethan being... goofyThe next 13 days included travel days across New Mexico, Arizona and Southern California; a quick visit to one of our sons who is stationed at the Twenty-Nine Palms Marine Base; several days at the annual Santa Clarita Cowboy Music Festival, two days in the recording studio working on some new songs, a visit to Disneyland with four generations of our family present, an afternoon visiting the Grand Canyon, and the drive back across Arizona and New Mexico. 

 The Grand Canyon.2012

Yes, by the time we got back late last Monday night our jiggity jig was completely gone.  But can you imagine missing all or any of that?  What an adventure! What a great experience for our boys!  What memories we have made!  What fantastic things they have learned and people they have met!

So, another week at home and although it was full of unpacking, repacking, shipping orders, homeschool, cleaning house, cleaning up the yard, and end of the school year activities we seem to have gotten our jiggity jig back so we head out again for Texas this afternoon.  Each time it’s been a little harder to load up and drive off, but we won’t ever have the chance to make those miles and memories again, so why not? 

Our travel times with our youngest boys won’t last forever so we cherish these trips plus it’s even more fun having you along for the ride. And, essentially we owe it all to you, because without you and your support we wouldn’t have the chance to share this wonderful country without children this way. Without you, R.W. would just be a great voice singing around the campfire in some remote cow-camp.  I can’t imagine our life without you, so I’m so glad you have not only joined us on our adventure – but you are the whole reason for it!

Thanks!  The Hamptons, Lisa, R.W., and of course, “the boys”

Job For A Cowboy

Posted on: July 30th, 2010 by R.W. Hampton 4 Comments

Take one cowboy (any age) mounted on a good,  solid, reliable horse (white, of course). Now take a woman (young and beautiful, of course) who is drowning in a sea of despair due to a badly broken heart. A wound made all the worse due to the fact that it was inflicted by that type of sorry, low-down, black-hearted vermin who preys on trusting women.

Now did I mention that our cowboy is so sure of himself that he knows his combination of savvy, sweet-talk, crooning and caress would, on any given day, heal the crack in the Liberty Bell? Oh yes, and a broken heart is his specialty. So let’s get out of our hero’s way and let him do his job!

That’s right, take all this and you’ve got a Job For A Cowboy, which just happens to be the title of one of my new songs (of course!) on my new Austin To Boston CD.

Come on now, what woman hasn’t dreamed of being rescued by a handsome, daring cowboy in a white hat (of course!) And show me the man or boy who hasn’t dreamed of galloping into town, guns a-blazing (of course), to rescue a damsel in distress. 

Ahhh, you’re in luck, and I’m going to show you how to apply these heroic principles on a modern day level. You see, right now my wife is pulling up to the ol’ ranch house with a huge load of groceries and supplies from town. I’ll just don my whitest hat (of course) and go out and say, “I’ll get these, Ma’am.” Even though we’ve been married for forever, I can still impress her by grunting and groaning and flexing my muscles as I carry this stuff into the house. 

But wait! This is not what I had in mind. She bats her pretty eyes and says, “I can handle them, but if you really want to help,” (and I think I do, of course), “our youngest has needed a diaper change since I left the store.” And folks, we live a long way from town!

Well, it looks like I’ve got a job to do. It’s not very glamorous, but a cowboy’s work is never done. So take a tip from me, forget everything I told you and just enjoy my new song, Job For A Cowboy. And… let me know how you like it. (Of course!)