The Adams County Fair in Corning will feature a celebrity visit this (Monday) evening by “Cowboy Poet” Baxter Black. The former large-animal veterinarian says public speaking became his second career years ago. He went to school to be a veterinarian, and was working in the agri-business industry for livestock companies and a pharmaceutical company, where he says “unlike people in the radio business, agri-business has… the security of a smoke-jumper.”
His own jobs went up in smoke after a while, and Black found himself unemployed when the companies he worked for changed hands. But in the meantime, he says he’d discovered that when he talked to farmers and other clients they were more interested in his humorous remarks than in his veterinary medical advice.
He was doing entertaining on the side at producer meetings, and when the regular job ended people continued to call and ask him to speak to groups.
“That was over 20 years ago and they’re still calling, “Black says. He’s now a regular on the speaking circuit, and sells his tapes, postcards and a new book on his website as well as doing a radio commentary carried on stations across the country.
Black’s travels have taught him things that differ from our image of many regions of the country — like, just how many states are the “farm states.” The first time he spoke in New York he says he remarked “You’ve got a lot of cows back here,” and jokes the man looked at him “with the wisdom of someone who’s dealt with lunatics.” He explains New York and Pennsylvania are where farming started in this country, and when he flies over he realizes they’re “all green until you come to
this place that looks like an amusement park and it turns out to be New York City.”
After tonight’s stop in Iowa, Black’s busy schedule takes him to New Mexico, Montana, Wyoming, and Oregon by the end of this month.