Dakota Midday: 100 Years Of 'Sun And Saddle Leather'

Aug 20, 2015

South Dakota's legendary cowboy poet Badger Clark published his first collection, Sun and Saddle Leather, 100 years ago in 1915. It includes some of his best-known poems including "Ridin'," "The Glory Trail," and "A Roundup Lullaby."

Badger Clark

Clark was born in Iowa, but moved to Dakota Territory with his family when he was three months old. Clark took a doctor’s advice to move to a dry climate after being diagnosed with tuberculosis. He tended a small herd of cattle at a ranch in Arizona and devoted his time to writing. After four years of cowboy life in the southwest, he returned to South Dakota. In 1927 he built a cabin in Custer State Park, which he affectionately called “the Badger Hole.” He was named South Dakota’s first poet laureate in 1937. Or as he liked to say, poet lariat.

On Sunday, August 23 at Custer State Park, Pegie Douglas and Rex Rideout are reciting and singing Badger Clark’s poems and telling stories of the life of the legendary poet cowboy. There's a 1 pm program at Badger Hole and a second at 7 pm at the Tatanka Barn Theater.

Douglas leads the Badger Sett Band and has set several of Clark’s poems to music. She also created the show The Life and Times of Badger Clark. Rex Rideout has been studying Old West song and verse for more than thirty years. As the proprietor of Time Travel Music, he’s performed at countless historic sites and museums across the West playing fiddle, banjo, mandolin and other instruments. He also appeared as a fiddler in the film Cowboys and Aliens playing the fiddle.

Pegie Douglas and Rex Rideout joined Dakota Midday and discussed the life and legacy of Badger Clark.