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True Stories of Amazing People and Places in Texas
Ramsey was born January 9, 1938 New Home, Texas,
in Lynn County into a musical family. His father
gave his newborn son the nickname Buckskin
Tarbox, and from then on he went by the nickname
Buck. Ramsey grew up to become an award-winning
American cowboy poet and singer. He earned a
national reputation for preserving cowboy lore
In 1956, Buck graduated from Amarillo High School and enrolled in what is now Texas Tech. To support himself in school, he worked at part-time jobs on ranches around Lubbock. His love of the outdoors made him quickly leave school to travel around the country. In 1958 he returned to Texas and enrolled in what is now West Texas A&M University in Canyon Texas. He worked as a cowboy on big West Texas ranches while continuing his education. He continued this life until 1962, when injuries sustained in a riding accident left him paralyzed from the chest down. He got around in a wheelchair for the rest of his life.
Buck Ramsey's awards and achievements include a National Heritage Fellowship from the National Endowment for the Arts in 1995, Lifetime Achievement and Best Poetry Book awards from the Academy of Western Artists in 1996, and the Golden Spur Award from the National Cowboy Hall of Fame in 1997. His performances of cowboy poetry and songs have been featured at the Smithsonian Institution and at the Gene Autry Western Heritage Museum in Los Angeles.
His recordings of the traditional "Rolling Uphill from Texas" (1992) and "My Home It Was in Texas" (1994) each won Western Heritage Wrangler Awards from the National Cowboy Hall of Fame. In 1993 his epic poem, As I Rode Out on the Morning, was published by Texas Tech University Press. The prologue, "Anthem," was highly acclaimed as a standalone work.
His awards continued after his death in 1998. In 2002 the Academy of Western Artists named their annual poetry book award the Buck Ramsey Award in his honor. "Hittin' the Trail", a two-CD set of his recordings, was released by Smithsonian Folkways Recordings in 2003. It won the 2004 Western Heritage Wrangler Award.
Ramsey died January 3, 1998 in Amarillo, Texas