Who is Badger Clark?

Who is Badger Clark?

Vic Soboleski

International Falls, Minnesota

Charles Badger Clark was one of America’s greatest cowboy poets and South Dakota’s “poet lariat.”

The son of a popular gold camp Methodist minister, 23-year-old Clark left the Black Hills of South Dakota for the deserts of Arizona in 1906. The dry climate suited his tuberculosis. He went to work at the Cross I Quarter Circle Ranch near Tombstone and over the next four years penned enough poems on the cowboy life to write a book. Sun and Saddle Leather is still in print today.

He signed his earlier works as Charles B. Clark, but after he became better known, he began using his middle name.

In 1910 he left Arizona and returned to the Black Hills where he spent the remainder of his life as an early day conservationist. He was so well liked that he was allowed to build a cabin in Custer State Park. The “Badger Hole” remains just how he left it before his death in 1957 at the age of 74. Today it is a South Dakota Historic Landmark.

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Marshall Trimble

Marshall Trimble is Arizona’s official historian and the Wild West History Association’s vice president. His latest book is 2018’s Arizona Oddities: A Land of Anomalies and Tamales. Send your question, with your city/state of residence, to marshall.trimble@scottsdalecc.edu or Ask the Marshall, P.O. Box 8008, Cave Creek, AZ 85327.