Rusty McCall
June 25, 1986 ~ August 31, 2013

Photo by Lori Faith Merritt Cowboy, poet and reciter Rusty McCall passed away at the family ranch in New Mexico on August 31, 2013. We first met Rusty when he was a very young boy living on the family’s remote ranch in northeastern Nevada. The cassette tape submissions from his parents, Dave and Deanna, were something we always looked forward to receiving.

Featuring the whole family taking turns reciting, there was always the sound of a generator humming along in the background as their ranch wasn’t on the power line.

Western Folklife Center ranch family fieldwork in 1990 gave us an excuse to visit the McCall family ranch and we have admired and followed the entire family since. Rusty’s favorite poems ranged from the classics of S. Omar Barker and Bruce Kiskaddon, as well as his own and his mother's works.
Family, animals, cowboying, poetry, humor, hunting, and a large network of friends provided support as he endured all that followed his diagnosis with the rare disease, Neurofibromatosis type 2 (NF2) at age 20. In recognition of his indomitable spirit, the 2010 Texas Cowboy Poetry Gathering was dedicated to Rusty McCall, "…for his courage and perseverance in spite of his medical problems to carry on the oral tradition of the cowboy."Rusty will be missed by many. Read the obituary on