Joe Hancock

an original poem by Cowboy Poet, Lee Jones

Lee Jones bulldogging on a Joe Hancock granddaughter

On a ranch in the Texas Panhandle
In the year of Nineteen Twenty-five,
A brown colt was born to a half Percheron mare
That would one day be the fastest alive.

John Jackson Hancock was the breeder,
The great John Wilkens was his sire.
When Joe David Hancock first saw him,
He had gotten himself into some wire.

Joe knew that he had to have him,
As he doctored his wire cuts with care.
After about two weeks a trade was made
And they headed to Nocona in high gear.

From these very humble beginnings
A legend was about to unfold.
A legend that's endured for seventy-five years,
And the stories that will forever be retold.

They took the colt to Uncle Bird Ogles;
The fee was one dollar a day.
The Ogles would do the training;
The Hancocks would furnish the hay.

His first race was at Comanche, Oklahoma;
When they entered him he didn't have a name.
They said "Just call him Joe Hancock,"
So started the legend and fame.

For years he was open to all comers;
Name your price and spit on the track.
But, it got awfully hard to match him;
There were very few that ever came back.

About this time, Tom Burnett entered the picture;
He'd wanted Old Joe for a long time.
He'd been open to the world for about six years
And Old Joe was about past his prime.

So the deal was struck to buy him,
It was a lot of money for that time and place;
Off to the Triangle Ranch at Iowa Park,
Never, ever again to race.

But that was the very beginning,
This is a story without an end.
The colts he sired in the next few years,
Spread his fame throughout the land.

There was Roan and Buck, War Chief and Joe Tom,
Little Joe The Wrangler, Jack Larry and Blue;
Texas Blue Bonnett, Redman, the good mare Joan,
Just to name a very few.

The cowboys, they loved to ride them,
Because they were big, fast and strong.
The Lowrys', Merritts', the McEntyres and Shaws;
You know they could not have all been wrong.

He's been dead over half a century,
But, his blood still runs strong all the way;
And the old timers who cherish his descendents,
Believe it's still the best blood today.

If you're ever around Nocona, Texas,
Stop and give Tom Hancock a call.
He'll give you a horse history lesson
I guarantee you will have a ball.

- Lee Jones, Cowboy Poet, Hancock Breeder

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