AABP: The Baxter Black Perspective

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!”

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