The COWBOY UP! Podcast
Welcome to the Cowboy Up Podcast.
This is where cowboy H. Alan Day and dude rancher Russell True team-up to talk all things Western. They share adventures from the range, from the seat of a plane’s cockpit, from the back of a horse. (You may wonder how they lived to tell their tales!) And they roundup some darn interesting guests. Horse lovers, horse trainers, chuckwagon chefs, ranchers, artists, writers, authors, nature lovers, and more. It’s the West now and then.
E12S2: The Wild Bunch Film Festival
It started six years ago in Willcox, AZ and has grown exponentially. Now screening over 60 films during the four-day weekend spectacular, the Wild Bunch Film Festival is a place for western film lovers to gather. Founder Rock Whitehead and childhood actress Dawn Lyn, who starred in the movie “Shootout” with Gregory Peck, join Russell and Alan to talk about this year’s fest highlights.
E11S2: Cowboy Culture Gets a PR Boost
Those eager to preserve the western way of life and cowboy culture come from all walks of life. This week, Russell and Alan speak with two Arizonans who make change through government channels. Kevin and Joe DeMenna saddle up to the ranch to talk about how they use their public relations and political consulting talents to get things done on the range and even the racetrack.
E10S2: Bareback Riding: More Than a Hobby for This Cowboy
Cowboy Jim Liles began his 20-year career as a bareback rider around the age of 13. More than fifty years later, he can still recount stories of the many times those broncs broke his bones, including some bones more than once. And yet, bareback riding has remained his life’s passion, and the broncs have remained the horses he loves most. The founder of the Bareback Riding Hall of Fame and Museum, Jim joins Russell and Alan to talk about his rodeo adventures and his efforts to preserve cowboy culture.
E9S2: Cowboys Don’t Need Tall Tales!
Why tell a tall tale when the truth is so crazy it’s barely believable? In this episode, Russell and Alan confirm that truth is indeed stranger than fiction. When you’re out on the range, on the back of a horse, in the cockpit of an airplane, you’re living adventures guaranteed to be told around the campfire for decades to come. So, grab a seat, roast some marshmallows, and give a listen as two cowboys tell true tales from the range.
E8S2: Following Frederick Loring
When author and historian Lynn Downey learned about Frederick Loring, she instantly became fascinated. Loring was an up-and-coming author from the East Coast when he ventured west in 1871 at the age of twenty-three. Downey joins Russell and Alan to share her adventures retracing parts of Loring’s journey around the West and what she learned about the man and the beauty and brutality he encountered.
E7S2: Cowboy Musings from Kent Reeves
Kent Reeves packs a lot of interests and talent in his wheelhouse. Land conservation. Photography. Cowboy poetry. And he chats with Russell and Alan about it all from his home in California where he founded Rancher to Rancher (R2R), a network of ranchers and ecologists focused on environmentally sustainable land-management practices. What’s good for the land is good for the earth!
E6S2: Murder, Mystery & Suspense with author Shannon Baker
Shannon Baker lives on the edge of the Tucson desert with her “crazy Weimaraner and favorite human.” She also lived in Flagstaff for a few years and spent 20 years in the Nebraska Sandhills, where cattle outnumber people by more than 50:1. She joins Russell and Alan to talk about her mystery series, some set in the desert, some in the Sandhills, and how her experiences, play out on the page—with added embellishments, of course!
E5S2: Behind the Scenes at a Dude Ranch
Like any hospitality business, dude ranching can be full of surprises. Tombstone Monument Ranch manager Michelle DeSplinter reveals some of the challenges, laughs and joys she’s encountered during her years working at a dude ranch. Let’s just say you can’t always predict what the day will bring!
E4S2: Exploring Tombstone with Burt Devere
Russell and Alan continue exploring the history of Tombstone, AZ, this time with special guest Burt Devere, whose great-grandfather settled in the area in the late 1800s. Burt shares some fascinating stories from then and now. (What would you do if you witnessed a train robbery?)
E3S2: National Day of the Cowboy
This year, we celebrate the 17th annual National Day of the Cowboy. Last year, we interviewed founder Bethany Braley, who is dedicated to preserving cowboy culture and heritage. Here’s the special reprise of our interview with her. Hats off to you, Bethany!
E2S2: Back at it in Tombstone
Russell and Alan continue exploring Tombstone, Arizona, where they chat with longtime resident Steve Goldstein, owner of Big Nose Kate’s Saloon. If you spend enough time in the town, you’ll most likely meet Goldstein, otherwise known as “Mr. Tombstone.” So how did a guy from the Bronx find his way to this best-of-the-West setting? Bet you’ll never guess!
E1S2: Meet Craig Hensley
Actor and playwright Craig Hensley knows the West, old and new. Born and raised in Arizona, he was headed toward a career as a forest ranger when he heard the call of “show biz.” Hensley has accumulated acting credits in film, television and theater from New York to Los Angeles and numerous locales in between. He also wrote and starred in the stage production, “Wyatt: Last Words.” Hensley speaks with Russell and Alan from historic Tombstone, AZ, where he lives with his wife Gina and Golden Retriever, Coosa.
E50: The Legendary Pony Express
Many of us have heard about the Pony Express, founded in 1860. But did you know this “start-up” mail delivery service only operated for 18 months? Expert Jim DeFelice, author of “West Like Lightning,” joins Russell and Alan to sort through the fact and fiction associated with the legendary Pony Express. [True or False: Buffalo Bill Cody rode for the Pony Express. Listen for the answer!
E49: Horse ‘in Around
No cowboy is without a saddlebag or two of horse stories. And Russell and Alan are no exception. Joining in with his own share of tales about horses ridden and loved and wrecks survived is lifelong cowboy Mac Mackenny, who hails from Calgary in Alberta, Canada. If you want to hear some wild, western adventures that not even the best fiction writer could concoct, then give a listen, right here, right now.
E48: Blockbuster Western Fiction with Michael Punke
You may know bestselling author Michael Punke from his blockbuster novel “The Revenant,” also an Academy award-winning film starring Leo DiCaprio. Well, Punke has picked up pen again and this time turned out “Ridgeline,” a riveting story set in 1866 Wyoming. He joins Russell and Alan to talk about the true events and characters behind this new novel already optioned for the silver screen.
E47: The Sonoran Desert’s Culinary Heritage
Carolyn Neithammer has been writing ethnobotanies, cookbooks, and biographies about the Southwest for her entire career. Her most recent book, “A Desert Feast,” explores how Tucson came to be honored as the first UNESCO City of Gastronomy in the U.S.. Caroline, Russell and Alan dig into the culinary heritage of the Sonoran Desert—and just what parts of the prickly pear cactus are edible.
E46: Art and the Historical “Folk Hero”
Artist Thom Ross has had a lifelong love of American history, storytelling and painting. Not surprisingly, his art focuses on the “folk hero,” like Billy the Kid, rather than on the mythical “folk hero,” like Paul Bunyan. Thom chats with Russell and Alan from Due West, his studio in Santa Fe, New Mexico.
E45: The Greatest Gambling Story Ever Told
When he was sixteen years old, Mark Paul snuck into the Santa Ana racetrack and was smitten. Over decades, Paul traveled the world attending horse races and placing bets. But no bet was bigger and more dangerous than the one placed in Tijuana on the Derby. Paul joins Russell and Alan to share his Seabiscuit meets Narcos adventure.
E44: The Real and Imagined West with Stuart Rosebrook
The West endures in the archives of museums and libraries. It also endures in novels and movies. Historian Stuart Rosebrook chats with Alan and Russell about some of the great writers and film makers, as well as the real characters and events, that inform us about the West then and now.
E43: Black Cowboy Rodeo Heroes
They ride horses, rope calves, buck broncos, ride and fight bulls, and even wrestle steers. They are Black cowboys, and the legacies of their pursuits intersect with those of America’s struggle for racial equality, human rights, and social justice. Journalist and author Keith Ryan Cartwright joins Russell and Alan to talk about his timely and fascinating upcoming book “Black Cowboys of Rodeo: Unsung Heroes from Harlem to Hollywood and the American West.”
E42: Ranch Pets: From Horses to Javelinas
May is National Pet Month! And don’t we love our pets. Russell and Alan share some of their favorite pet stories with guests at White Stallion Dude Ranch. A little hawk named Sylvester. Two javelinas named Sandra and Ann. And dogs, horses, and more. If you love animals (or just some great stories) join in!
E41: Cowboy Poetry with Doris Daley
Doris Daley is a renowned cowboy poet, emcee and humorist—or as she prefers, a “western poet.” Her 20-year performance career includes appearances with the Reno Philharmonic Orchestra, the Smithsonian Folklife Festival and the Saskatchewan Opera Company. Doris joins Russell and Alan from Alberta, Canada to share her wordsmithing and love of the West. It’s a cowboy celebration of National Poetry Month.
E40: Jim Jones: Singer, Songwriter, Storyteller
Sometimes nothing lifts the heart and soul like a good western tune. Jim Jones has plenty of them—and plenty have won prestigious awards. He joins Russell and Alan to talk about his career as a solo musician and a member of the trio The Cowboy Way and as an author of western novels. He even has his guitar within reach. Give a listen!
E39: Mustang Saviors: Inspiring New Documentary
Director and producer David Glossberg never anticipated making a documentary about wild mustangs and military vets. But when he learned about the high suicide rate of veterans and how wild mustangs have been helping that rate decrease, he felt called to action. The result: Mustang Saviors, an award-winning film that, as you’ll discover in this episode, will lift your spirit and renew your hope.
E38: The Authentic Western Life
Mark Bedor returns to the ranch to talk all things western. Mark is the host and director of the TV show, “Today’s Wild West,” a half-hour magazine show that combines his experience as a television news anchor and reporter with his love of the West. Winner of a 2021 Western Heritage Award, “Today’s Wild West” airs on over 70 PBS channels.
E37: Writing the Frontier with Nancy E. Turner
Arizona author Nancy E. Turner started college when her children were full-grown. After earning a triple major in creative writing, music and studio art from the University of Arizona, Turner went on to become a bestselling author of many novels. She joins Russell and Alan to talk about her new novel “Light Changes Everything,” which Publisher’s Weekly describes as a “satisfying, immersive, and often heart-pounding tale of one indomitable young woman’s frontier life, touched by tragedy and hope.”
E36: Military Wives: Women Who Helped Settle the Frontier
In honor of Women’s History Month, award-winning author and historian Jan Cleere joins Russell and Alan to discuss her new book Military Wives in Arizona Territory: A History of Women Who Shaped the Frontier. Most of these women journeyed from the East and knew little of the hardships and challenges waiting in the Arizona Territory. But these brave, bold women persevered and left a legacy that endures today.
E35: Horse Crazy in NYC and Around the World
Sarah Maslin Nir, a Pulitzer-prize winning journalist and New York Times reporter, fell in with horses by age two. But growing up in New York City meant horses weren’t readily accessible. Maslin Nir speaks with Russell and Alan about how she managed to seek out horses throughout her life and how those equine relationships sustained and healed her, a journey she relates in her new memoir Horse Crazy: The Story of a Woman and a World in Love with an Animal.
E34: Cowboy, Horse Lover, and Raconteur: Randall Dale
What happens when three cowboys get together? Well, the stories start to flow, especially when all three were raised on Arizona ranches, are horse lovers to the core, and have written books about their adventures. So refill that coffee and settle in for an entertaining and enlightening conversation between Russell, Alan and their guest Randall Dale.
E33: Learning the Language of Horses
Anna Twinney communicates with horses on a daily basis. The founder and owner of the Reach Out to Horses® program, Twinney takes horsemanship to a new level using body language, energy work, animal communication and other healing modalities. She joins Russell and Alan to share her experiences and insights gleaned while working with horses and horse lovers from around the world.
E32: What’s the News in Loveland, CO?
Sylvan Dale Guest Ranch. Grass-fed cattle. Cutting-edge land conservation. Award-winning historical novel trilogoy. All good things, and all connected to the energy, passion and creativity of David M. Jessup. Give a listen as Russell and Alan chat with David about his many accomplishments on the front range of the beautiful, bold Rocky Mountains.
E31: Lynn Downey: Author, Archivist, and Authentic “Dudine”
Although Lynn Downey was raised around cowboys and horses, she never inherited the horse gene. Instead, she got the love-of-western-history gene. Russell and Alan chat with Lynn about her career curating and archiving for museums and businesses and writing award-winning books about dude ranching, Levi Strauss & Co, Sonoma, CA, Wickenburg, AZ and more!
E30: Tucson, AZ: Not Just for Horse Lovers
Over the past decade, Tucson has become a literary hub. The Old Pueblo is now home to the Tucson Festival of Books, the 3rd largest book festival in the country. Hundreds of talented writers, including National Book Award finalists and Pulitzer Prize winners, live in Tucson and the surrounding southern Arizona area. Lynn Wiese Sneyd, author, literary consultant to the Tucson book fest, and all-around book nerd, joins Alan and Russell to talk team penning, publishing, and, of course, books.
E29: What Really Happened in Tombstone?
On October 26, 1881, a gunfight between a group of lawmen and outlaw cowboys occurred at the O.K. Corral in Tombstone, AZ. It lasted all of 30 seconds. The infamous shootout has been the basis for books, movies, and TV shows. And yet, controversy remains over what really happened. Bestselling author Tom Clavin, whose newest book is “Tombstone: The Earp Brothers, Doc Holliday, and the Vendetta Ride From Hell,” joins Russell and Alan to shed light on this landmark event.
E28: Loop Rawlins, World Renown Trick Roper
Tucson native Loop Rawlins is one of the most versatile western performers in the world today. His act of trick roping, whip cracking and fancy gun spinning thrilled audiences in Vegas and national sports stadiums, at corporate and private events, and even on America’s Got Talent. Meet this fascinating talent who is keeping the spirit of the West alive.
E27: Meet the Inimitable Bob Boze Bell
He’s an illustrator, an author, a storyteller extraordinaire. He’s written a book about Wyatt Earp and three books about Billy the Kid. He grew up in Kingman, AZ along Route 66 and currently is the owner and editor of True West Magazine. There is only one Bob Boze Bell, and it’s time you meet him.
E26: Guns of the Old West
Russell and Alan chat with two gun experts and historians. From the pioneer days through the Civil War into the 20th century, the evolution of guns is fascinating. This episode is sure to leave you with a new appreciation of the guns used in western movies. (Can you name the gun featured in Silverado, True Grit, Dances with Wolves, Legends of the Fall, and How the West was Won?)
E25: It’s Here! It’s Here! It’s a New Year!
Turn the calendar. Open the gate. And say hello to 2021! Russell and Alan review the challenges of the past year and also challenges they’ve faced in the past. What does it take to get through tough times, as well as prepare for a ride into new pastures, hopefully greener ones? Sometimes cowboys know best.
E24: The Equus Film & Arts Festival Rides Again!
Lisa Diersen, Founder and Executive Director of the EQUUS Film & Arts Festival, and associate Julianne Neal make a virtual tour stop at the ranch to speak with Alan and Russell. Every horse has a story, and it’s the mission at the EQUUS Film & Arts Fest to share those stories through film, art and literature. No matter what your interest is in horses—dressage, equine therapy, saving wild mustangs, trail riding, or simply loving a horse—the festival has something for you.
E23: Meet Marshall Trimble: The Will Rogers of Arizona
He’s an author, songwriter, storyteller, performer, cowboy, college prof, and Arizona’s own state historian. As the Arizona Historical Foundation’s executive director says, “His homespun wit and unassuming demeanor often serve as a smokescreen to his incisive talents in the scholarly arena.” You’re in for a treat because you’re about to meet Marshall Trimble.
E22: Holiday Traditions, Celebrations & Libations in the Old West
‘Tis the season to celebrate, even in these crazy, strange times. But how have holiday celebrations evolved over the decades? Culinary and western historian Sherry Monahan chats with Alan and Russell about what Christmas and other holidays looked like on the Victorian western frontier. Differences? Yes. But traditions remain!
E21: Where Cowboys and Celebrities Converge
Alan and Russell talk with guest Bill Markley, a western writer and history buff, whose experience with Hollywood’s silver screen began where Alan’s left off. And to think, it all happened in South Dakota. Can you guess the topic? Tune in to find out!
E20: Cowboy Hats: Icons of the West
Few westerners know hats better then master hatter Jimmy Harrison, fondly known as Jimmy “the hat man.” He’s been shaping and cutting down hats since he was young and in rodeo with his buddies. Eventually, he became the owner of Double H Custom Hat Company in Darby, MT and Wickenburg, AZ, where he creates and manufacturers hats for customers worldwide. Jimmy joins Russell and Alan to share the secrets of cowboy hat making.
E19: Extraordinary Women of the Old West
Russell and Alan chat with historian and author Chris Enss. Some of the most famous names in history, not to mention film and pop culture, populate her 40+ books. Her newest book is “No Place for a Woman: The Struggle for Suffrage in the Wild West.” Learn more about Chris at www.chrisenss.com.
E18: Remembering John Wayne
In 1907 in the small town of Winterset, Iowa, Marion Robert Morrison was born. As an adult, he would change his name to John Wayne. A Hollywood legend, Wayne remains an integral part of western film and culture. Russell and Alan chat with Brian Downes, the executive director of the John Wayne Birthplace and Museum. Tune in to their conversation now! As The Duke would say, “We’re burning daylight.”
E17: When Life Is Stranger than Fiction
On a ranch, the unexpected is just part of life. You might say it’s the expected. From quirky individuals who move in as neighbors to horse wrecks and pickup wrecks, the unanticipated flavors ranch life with the kick of a habanero pepper flavoring hot sauce. Russell and Alan share stories that they’ll never forget, and neither will you!
E16: A Travel Writer’s Take on Awesome Arizona
Roger Naylor, an award-winning travel writer, avid hiker, and road trip junkie, joins Russell and Alan. Roger has been exploring and delighting in the Grand Canyon since he moved from Ohio to attend Northern Arizona University four decades ago. His scope of knowledge wows the two lifelong Arizonans. Check out Roger’s new book “Arizona’s Scenic Roads and Hikes: Unforgetable Journeys in the Grand Canyon State.”
E15: Cooking and Conversation on the Ranch and Over the Range
Russell and Alan enjoy learning from one another and sharing stories. One question remains. Should Alan’s blue-ribbon beef jerky be renamed?
E 14: Captured on Camera
Wild horses tend to be a shy bunch, but for photographer Jan Drake, they are beautiful and fascinating subjects. Jan joins Alan and Lynn Wiese Sneyd to talk about her experiences out on the range both as photographer and as a volunteer for the Intermountain Wild Horse and Burros program and Wild Horses of America Foundation. Jan’s new book is “Wild Horses of the West,” a coffee table collection of over 200 photos of wild horses.
E13: Dude Ranching DNA
Dude rancher Russell True and cowboy H. Alan Day team up in Tucson, Arizona to talk all things Western. They’ll share adventures from the range, from the seat of a plane’s cockpit, from the back of a horse. (You may wonder how they lived to tell their tales!) And they’ll have a roundup of guests, Western writers, horse lovers, chuckwagon chefs, ranchers, nature lovers. It’s the West now and then.!
E12: Gotta Love Your Mentors
Ever have a mentor who impacted your life, a person who you’ll remember forever? Russell and Alan reflect on their mentors and offer up some inspiration and lessons to help us get through these crazy times. They also talk about being mentors and paying it forward. If you have a mentoring story you’d like to share, email us at email@example.com and we’ll get it posted on our social media.
E11: How Many Hats Can A Cowboy Wear? Ask Ross Knox
Ross Knox learned about life from the saddle. A wrangler, mule packer, leather braider, and renown cowboy poet, Knox offers up some western adventures, along with a few inspiring poems. And it’s not everyone who has a song written about them, but Knox lays claim to that one, too!
E10: Veterans, Their Families & Wild Mustangs
Deborah Plum, co-founder of Base Camp for Veterans, Inc., and Jeff Cook, wild mustang trainer at Dream Horse AZ, join Russell and Alan to talk about the unique program being offered to veterans and their families. At the center of the program: wild mustangs, those four-legged creatures capable of helping us grow and transform.
E9: The Lady Who Led the Way
Alan shares more stories about his sister, Sandra Day O’Connor, the woman who started Stanford at age 16, graduated from law school at 22, found her way to the Arizona legislature and eventually to Washington, D.C. A most timely conversation. 2020 marks the 100th anniversary of the passage of the 19th Amendment, guaranteeing women the constitutional right to vote. Many women opened doors and paved the way for Justice O’Connor, and she in turn opened doors for future generations of women.
E8: The Making of a Supreme Court Justice
Ranch life is not the easiest. One thing it does, however, is build character. Alan reflects on how being raised on a cattle ranch in the hard-scrabble, high desert of Arizona influenced his sister, Sandra Day O’Connor, the first woman nominated and confirmed to the United States Supreme Court.
E7: Diana Madaras and the Spirit of Western Art
Award-winning artist Diana Madaras is equally well known for her bold, colorful Southwest art as for her generous charitable giving. Diana owns Madaras Gallery in Tucson, Arizona, which features her work, and is president of the non-profit Art for Animals Foundation, a charity she founded in 1999 to help abused, injured, and orphaned animals. Voted Tucson’s Best Visual Artist nine times, she has been featured in national magazines, as well as television shows produced by NBC, CBS and PBS affiliates. Diana joins Russell and Alan at White Stallion Ranch, where she frequently sets up her easel and paints.
E6: Celebrate “The National Day of the Cowboy”
Guest host Lynn Wiese Sneyd talks with Bethany Braley, the executive director and publisher of National Day of the Cowboy, a non-profit dedicated to preserving pioneer heritage and cowboy culture. Saturday, July 25, 2020 marks the 16th annual celebration of National Day of the Cowboy, and the start of another year supporting western artists, photographers, writers, filmmakers, and cowboys and cowgirls across the country. This is one fantastic group!
E5: Training, Adopting & Saving Wild Horses
Russell and Alan talk with horse whisperer and author of Lessons from Horses Randy Helm about the future of America’s wild horses. Alan shares how he came to start the first government-sponsored wild horse sanctuary in South Dakota and the tragic request issued one day by the Bureau of Land Management. Learn more about Alan’s experiences in his award-winning memoir The Horse Lover: A Cowboy’s Quest to Save the Wild Mustangs.
E4: Wild Horses and Inmates—Partners in Prison
Russell and Alan invite Randy Helm to the ranch. An experienced horse whisperer, Randy is the supervisor of the Wild Horse Inmate Program (WHIP) at the Arizona State Program. This incredibly successful program takes wild horses out of captivity and puts them in the hands of men who are in captivity, but who are eager for the opportunity to train the animals. A truly win-win situation – and these days, don’t we need to hear stories like this one. For more information about Randy and WHIP, visit here.
E3: For the Love of Horses
Chess is a game. Tennis is a sport. But horse riding is an adventure. So let’s go to the ranch and hear Russell and Alan who have over 100 years of experience and stories about loving, caring, grieving and riding horses. These two cowboys will move your spirit, touch your heart, and maybe even bring a tear or two! There isn’t a better way to spend the next half hour of your life than to just to listen right here.
E2: True Tales of the West with Guest Mark Bedor
Russell and Alan chat with guest Mark Bedor, an avid horseman who wears many hats. Writer, photographer, news reporter, anchor, producer, author, musician and host of the TV show “Today’s Wild West” — Mark has done it all. Check out the Quigley shoot, the sentimental meaning of spurs, and one of the most important cowboy mantras. Ears on… this one’s for you!
E1: Raised a Cowboy, Always a Cowboy
Meet Russell True and Alan Day, two cowboys who’ve lived big lives in big spaces. Russell grew up on White Stallion Dude Ranch in Tucson, AZ. Alan was raised on Lazy B, a 200,000-acre cattle ranch straddling the high deserts of Arizona and New Mexico. What was it like to grow up with cowboys and horses and make a hand by age five? Find out here as Russell and Alan share some high-tale, horse lovin’ adventures.