Empty Saddles

Raymond "Ray" Hanzlik
January 14, 1929 ~ January 10, 2016

Ray Hanzlik, photo from Rapid City Journal and tsln.com news South Dakota rancher and cowboy poet, Ray Hanzlik, participated at early Elko Cowboy Poetry Gatherings of 1990 and 1992. Our thoughts and deep sympathy go out to his family with the news of his passing.

Here we share the biography he sent to us in 1990, in tribute:

"Ray Hanzlik lives on the cattle ranch in Mud Butte, South Dakota, where he was raised. He says, "times were hard and money was short" when he was growing up in the 1930s, so he "grew up fast and started breaking horses at nine years old." He rodeoed for 11 years and worked as an auctioneer for a few more before moving back to the home ranch, where he and his wife raised seven children. Ray says he started writing poetry at nine or ten, but "didn't know the world would ever be ready for it" until local cowboy poet Bob Dennis told him about the Gathering in 1988."

Other sessions Ray participated in were titled "The Cowboy and his Creator" (1990) and "Modern Ranch Life" (1992).

Read an obituary here: http://www.tsln.com/news/obituaries/20131257-113/story.html

and here: http://rapidcityjournal.com/news/local/communities/belle_fourche/obituaries/hanzlik-raymond/article_0c4a9dfb-71e6-5ba8-bfa7-e418471d7289.html