Baxter Black shares his recollections of attending AABP conferences
Baxter Black shares his recollections of attending AABP conferences

Through the 50 years of its annual conference, AABP has had its share of interesting characters attend. One notable attendee over many years -- attending for CE or providing entertainment – is internationally acclaimed cowboy poet, storyteller and humorist Baxter Black, DVM.

                Black gives a look back on some of his own memorable AABP moments:

·         In 1973 I was invited to speak at the AABP Annual Conference. I was the resident veterinarian for Simplot Livestock Company. The meeting was in Wisconsin. I spoke about the coyote predation of sheep in the Wild West. I remember howling.

·         Ten years later, as field veterinarian for Burroughs Wellcome, I took a call from Slap Out, Okla. It was none other than Dr. Ray Ivie (AABP President, 1969). We solved the problem and I got to spend the day with AABP royalty!

·         I was there when Dr. Dave Bechtol was inaugurated (1980). We ended up in the hot tub! By then I had come to be more “entertaining than informative”.

·         Dr. Steve Lewis invited me to entertain at the AABP Annual Conference in San Antonio in 1995. He and Dr. Jim Jarrett were worried about my fee. I assured them that I would adjust the price if the crowd didn’t cover it. Pfizer kicked in, and 930 attended the banquet. It was quite a bash! Biggest ever, they said.

·         Personally, it was humbling. So many of the members were, and still are, what I aspired to be. I thought food animal medicine would be my life’s work. But, alas, cowboy poetry hijacked my career.

“I am proud to be a part of our world,” Black says. “Forty-five years have passed since that Wisconsin AABP meeting. Seems like yesterday, and yes, I can still howl like a coyote!”