He’s putting music, rhymes and real western entertainment on your radio.
By GARY VORHES, originally published in the March 1994 issue of Western Horseman.
No matter where you live, you can spend an hour each week out West. That is, if a radio station in your area is carrying a new syndicated show called Red Steagall ‘s Cowboy Corner.
The Texas entertainer says he’ll have a guest each week.
“Each week we’ll also have a guest poet, and we’ll read that person’s work on the air. We will also have a guest singer each week . That singer may be from today or yesterday.
“The show takes place in the bunkhouse, with some characters I talk to, but they never talk back to me,” Red says. “I will have one sidekick who does talk back to me: That’s Buck Ramsey. ”
There will be a segment called the Cabin Fever Library, sponsored by Cabin Fever, where each week Buck will review a book, a television show, a movie, a video, about the western way of life.
“Each week I’ll play a classic cowboy song, and I’ll talk about the artist, and the writer and the time period in which it was released. It will show what cowboy music sounded like years ago.
“I’ll do a feature each week about a famous person, event or ranch. And I’ll close out the show with a song of inspiration, and not necessarily a gospel song, but sometimes a cowboy song of inspiration.”
Red Steagall has been bringing the West to people for 25 years, mostly as a musician and an entertainer. He’s a talented and prolific songwriter, has produced albums, performed all over the world and has produced and hosted television shows as well as appearing many times. His affiliation with rodeo includes 4 years of hosting the televising of the National Finals, plus 4 years as host of the Canadian National Finals Rodeo. He’s also an honorary member of the Cowboys Artists of America, and was named the official cowboy poet of Texas in 1991.
Red grew up in the ranch country of the Texas Panhandle, near Sanford.
“The horse I learned to ride on was an old palomino mare named Babe, owned by Ray Brazil. She was just a baby sitter-every kid in town rode her.
“On the Canadian River, it was open range for 500 feet on either side of the banks. So a lot of the ranchers used to throw cattle in there. And in the wintertime a lot of people would throw horses in there because they couldn’t feed them.
“Over the years, a big bunch of wild horses developed in there. Every once in a while, we’d catch them in a corner and we’d rope a couple of those young horses and try to ride them. And they’d throw us and get away. We were always looking for horses,” Red recalls.
When he was in high school, Red was befriended by a man named Wilber Moss, who inspired him to consider a career as a veterinarian. Red called him “the best shade-tree veterinarian I’ve ever known.” Folks brought their sick horses to Wilber, who coached Red on how to treat them.
He graduated with a degree in animal science from West Texas State University, and worked in agricultural chemistry. But his entertainment career took him to Hollywood, then eventually back to Texas, where he raised cutting horses at his Hondo Canyon Ranch west of Fort Worth.
“I cut a little bit every once in a while.” he says. “But I’m left with four horses, and they’re mainly pasture horses. I have one really good arena roping horse, and I have one mare that I bred last year to Zan Parr Jack.
“The other two horses are just good pasture horses. I use them when I go out in the spring. If I get the urge to go to the 6666s or the Waggoners, or someplace like that, I’ll haul those horses. I don’t like to take horses out of a good cowboy’s string.
“If l show up as a guest, somebody’s got to provide me a horse if I don’t bring my own. And that means he’s got one less horse in his string, and I don’t like to do that.”
Steagall has strong feelings about maintaining his ties to the men on horseback.
“Absolutely nothing thrills me like going out to those ranches—spring roundup or fall roundup. Just to ride out in those pastures, work with those cowboys, watch them work, learn from them and live their lives.
“The only regret I have is that I’m not young enough to take the outside circle.”