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Alkali Ike

by Wyoming Livestock Roundup

This is Alkali Ike I’m tellin’ about.

He works for the A Bar A.

In summer, he hazes little doggies about.

In winter, he forks out their hay.


In color, Ike’s hair is a strawberry roan,

His face is as freckled as sin.

He’s long and lank and limber and lean,

With a devilish cleft in his chin.


In straddlin’ a bronc or twirlin’ a rope,

Was he good, Pard? I’m tellin’ a man!

If he couldn’t scratch both head and the tail,

There’s nary a puncher who can.


Now this Alkali Ike was a keen judge of stock

As ever rode out on the range.

He could squint at a steer, guess at his weight

And hand back a nickel in change.


At spottin’ a horse or selectin’ a bull,

He was good as ever you’ll find;

But when it came to pickin’ a girl,

The poor fool! He must have gone blind!


Ike married a gal named Sally O’Moore.

She came up from Medicine Bow.

She was shy as a colt, just ready to bolt,

All cinched up and ready to go.


She was balky and stubborn with a wild roving eye

To lead she just could not be broke

She was skittish and snorty and tricky and mean

A rearin’, right back on the rope!


Poor Ike! He got stung like a bee on the nose.

His range knowledge betrayed him somehow,

For it was Ike, himself, who got halter broke

And hitched right up to the plow!

  “Maude Wenonah Willford was the valley’s true historian,” according to an article in the 1976 issue of the Bicentennial edition of a publication called “Early History of Saratoga and Vicinity,” in which this poem was published, and compiled by the Saratoga Historical and Cultural Association history committee. She was born in 1881 and was a true and loyal Wyomingite well known for her western verse and manuscripts. When a friend died, she was ready, with pen in hand, to write . . . but, then that’s another story.

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