S. Omar Barker
S. Omar Barker – Cowboy Poet and Author
(1894–1985), an oft-recited cowboy poet was born in a log cabin in New Mexico where he lived his entire life as a rancher, teacher and writer. He published many books, including Vientos de las Sierras (1924), Buckaroo Ballads (1928) and Rawhide Rhymes: Singing Poems of the Old West (Doubleday, 1968).
Barker was a state legislator and a newspaper correspondent. He began writing and selling stories, articles, and poems as early as 1914 and became a full-time writer at the end of his legislative term in 1925.
He once estimated his career output at about 1,500 short stories and novelettes, about 1,200 factual articles, about 2,000 poems. They appeared in a broad range of publications from pulp magazines to such prestigious slicks as Saturday Evening Post and a varied array of general newspapers and magazines. He produced five volumes of poetry, one book of short stories and one novel, Little World Apart, as well as one western cookbook with Carol Truax. He was even a co-writer for one episode of the TV western “Sugarfoot” in 1957.
The work probably best known to the general public was his poem, “A Cowboy’s Christmas Prayer,” which has been printed more than one hundred times, recorded by Tennessee Ernie Ford and Jimmy Dean, and plagiarized more than once. He won the Western Writers of America Spur Award twice and was the 1967 recipient of the Levi Strauss Saddleman Award for bringing honor and dignity to the Western legend. In 1975 he was named an honorary president of WWA, of which he was one of the founding fathers and an early president. Elsa also served a term as president. In 1978 he was the first living author to be inducted into the Hall of Fame of Great Westerners in the National Cowboy Hall of Fame, Oklahoma City. He often signed his books with his initials and trademark brand, “Lazy SOB.”