Squire Omar Barker was born in a modest log cabin in New Mexico in 1894, where he stayed to live throughout his entire life. Barker was the youngest of eleven children, and was constantly trying to find his place in the family. He made the most of living on the homestead, and eventually went to college in Las Vegas, New Mexico. Upon graduating, Barker became somewhat of a ‘Jack of all trades’. He started out being a teacher of high school Spanish and got promoted to principal. This wasn’t enough for the restless man though, as he went on to become a forest ranger, a sergeant of the 502nd Engineers in France in World War 1, a trombone player in Doc Patterson’s Cowboy Band, a state legislator, and a newspaper correspondent. It was only after he explored all his options that he found his passion, writing. He began selling anything he could, from stories and poems to articles; Barker quickly became a full-time writer. Soon after he married his true love, Elsa McCormick, who also just so happened to be a writer of many beloved western stories.
Barker produced a staggering 1,500 short stories, 1,200 articles, and 2,000 poems. From that he produced five volumes of poetry, one book of short stories, and one novel. Barker’s best-known work was “A cowboy’s Christmas prayer” which has been printed over a hundred times. Barker also gained recognition by cleverly signing his books with his initials and trademark “Lazy S.O.B”.
Barker was awarded with the Western Writers of America Spur Award twice and was the 1967 recipient of the Levi Strauss Saddleman Award for showing respect and poise as a westerner. He was also named an honorary president of WWA, of which he was one of the founding fathers.
What makes Barker a great westerner to model your life after isn’t necessarily all of his awards; it was his dedication to his western heritage and his determination to bring honor and integrity to the western legend.
To take a look at some of S. Omar Barker’s work, click here.