Baxter Black featured speaker at chamber banquet

By Argen Duncan: PNT senior writer

Baxter Black, the “self-described cowboy poet, ex-veterinarian and sorry team roper,” is set to bring laughs and his Western rural theme to the Roosevelt County Chamber of Commerce annual banquet.

Tickets go on sale Monday.

Chamber Director Sharon King said this year is the organization’s 85th anniversary, so planners wanted to do something big. Black writes a syndicated column and books of poetry and short stories, as well as doing radio and television shows.

“He bases everything on the Western way of life — farming and ranching and things of that nature — and he puts his own little spin on it and makes it a lot of fun,” King said of Black.

King said the banquet would include annual awards and a Western buffet with barbecue, but the focus would be on Black’s performance. Because the theme is Western, the preferred dress is jeans and boots instead of ties and suits.

Outgoing Chamber Board of Directors President Sheryl Borden said she heard Black speak about 10 years ago.

“I just thought it was so uplifting and hilarious, and yet we could all relate it to our own lives,” she said.

As to the Chamber’s 85th birthday, Borden attributes its long existence to the benefits it provides to business. The organization works to bring people into the community with events.

“It’s a way to promote local business,” she said.

According to Black’s Web site, the poet grew up in Las Cruces and lives in Benson, Ariz., without a cell phone or television.

Black defines a cowboy as “someone who can replace a uterine prolapse in a range cow in a three-section pasture with nothing but a horse and a rope.” In a uterine prolapse, a cow’s uterus comes out behind the cow.

Black also writes that a person either is or is not a cowboy, and never has to decide whether or not to become one. He says he was inspired to become a poet as “just sort of an accident.”

“I thought I was a song writer,” Black writes.

Black also says he doesn’t accept awards and wants to be remembered as someone who doesn’t embarrass his friends.