Wednesday, October 26, 2011

You asked for it: Best of Bob ‘Cowpoke’ Martin

Land Line Columnist Bob Martin died Oct. 11. On Sunday, Oct. 23, friends and family gathered at the VA Indiana Home Chapel in Lafayette, IN, for a memorial service with military honors.

Many readers have requested that Land Line repeat some of his blogs. These blogs are already available on If you cannot find your favorite, contact us and we’ll help you.

We first introduced readers to Bob Martin through our “Journeys” column. In fact, he wrote the debut column for the February 2009 issue of Land Line, taking us back to the ’60s with some of his favorite truck stops and stretches of highway.

His next “Journeys” submission was “Cannonballs and Crackerboxes” in the November 2009 issue and readers ate it up like butter. By the time he had written “800 Hams” for the August/September 2010 Journeys, we knew he needed a regular spot in the mag. The one about the hams quoted a Tom T. Hall song. Not long after it published, he got a nice letter from Mr. Hall.

The original “Spitballin’ with Cowpoke” was published in the October 2010 issue. He recalled his first time behind the wheel of a truck and his $50 paycheck for a 600-mile trip.

Cowpoke’s first blog for Land Line was about his memories of the 9/11 attacks. The blog included a picture he had taken of his truck in late June of 2001. When he got his film developed – right after Sept. 11 – he saw the photo had the World Trade Center in the background. He asked readers, “Where were you on September 11, 2001?”

He shared so much with us: personal experiences, trucking history (so that’s why weigh stations are called chicken coops…) and life lessons. His fans run the gamut of demographics – whippersnappers to curmudgeons, men and women, truckers, trucking spouses, people with no connection to trucking at all. Something about the way Cowpoke told a story made everyone want to listen regardless of their station in life.

Bob’s adventures in trucking took him all over the country, and he met people from all over the world. One of those people became a good friend. Mr. Kato is a fellow Pete lover, aka ‘ovalhead,’ from Japan. Friends were easily made for Cowpoke, and his best friend also happened to be his wife, Geri. When he received a lifetime achievement award during the 2011 MATS, he credited his success to her.

When it came to doing things his way, Frank Sinatra had nothing on Cowpoke. He wrote his own farewell message to his readers, something few people have the opportunity to do.

There will never be another one like Cowpoke.