Cowboy Poet Profile: Ross Knox 

So those of you who follow me on Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter got a hint that some new things were coming. One of them is profiles on some “real deal” cowboy poets. There was a time when folks came to cowboy poetry from an old Kiskaddon book laying around a cow camp or another guy in the bunkhouse reciting at night. In the case of Ross Knox, he came to cowboy poetry due to boredom.

Ross grew up on a small cow/calf operation in Prineville, OR and he always knew he wanted to cowboy. At the age of 16 he quit school and headed for Elko since that’s where all the big outfits were. He cowboy’d down in Wyoming and Arizona before working his way back to Nevada and Oregon. Ross rode for the TS 3 different times under Darrell Munson and at the age of 23 was the youngest jigger the MC had ever had. Since leaving home, he’s always drawn wages cowboying or packing.

At the age of 20, Ross began to write. This was probably ten years or so before the first cowboy poetry gathering was ever started. Originally he wrote stories of his time in a MC cow camp and out on the Owyhee desert. These pieces were never meant to be shared, just something  to drive away the evening boredom. Occasionally he would recite his pieces to fellow crew members, but this was just a source of entertainment shared with a bottle of whiskey.

The first time he ever “performed” was at a storytelling festival in Reno, NV with Larry Schutte and Waddie Mitchell. Not long after that the National Cowboy Poetry Gathering in Elko was created. Now 30 years later Ross has performed at all but 2 of the annual events. And the rest you can say is history.

Ross is now a government packer in Yosemite National Forest. He packs from April to November, then spends his winters day working, braiding, and training colts (when I first met Ross his collar bone was broke from a colt he’d been training!) His wife Lynne is on the same schedule as she is the assistant manager for the stable. Life is good.

 I hope you guys enjoyed reading this as much as I did listening to Ross share his life. If you’d like to read more about guys like this, let me know!

As always, have fun, take’r easy, and always ride hard!



1 Comment

  • Mike McBride

    Mike McBride Keizer Oregon

    I met and worked with Ross at the Grand Canyon. He was a great mentor, and even inspired me to get into Cowboy poetry.
    I met and worked with Ross at the Grand Canyon. He was a great mentor, and even inspired me to get into Cowboy poetry.