Fun Life Of Diversity, Always A Cowboy, The Champion Poet

“I have lots of friends. I’ve had lots of fun.”

Pleasantly positive, the Olpe cowboy insists: “I like kids, I like people, I like teaching.”

Still emphatically, Carl Lee Stueve continues: “I like horses, cattle, rodeo, farming…”

The exuberant diverse friend to everyone enjoys life to the fullest.

Always a cowboy, Carl Lee Stueve, inspiring dad and teacher, now champion poet, forever enjoys mounting up to check cattle at his Olpe ranch.
Always a cowboy, Carl Lee Stueve, inspiring dad and teacher, now champion poet, forever enjoys mounting up to check cattle at his Olpe ranch.

Experiences make stories close to the heart, and revealed as poetry made Stueve winner of the Kansas Cowboy Poetry Contest.

“Oh, I just got lucky I guess,” contends Stueve, forever humble and appreciative of all.

Remaining closely tied to his roots from all aspects, Stueve grew up near Olpe in southern Lyon County.

“We milked cows, had a general farming operation. There were seven of us brothers and our sister,” explained Stueve, named after his dad Carl Stueve.

“Most people around Olpe know me as Lee; my dad was Carl. Others do refer to me as Carl Lee,” the cowboy poet explained.

“Dad loved horses. We had a heavy draft team, Belgians that we used to feed in the winter. I got my love for horses from him,” Stueve assumed.

The family farm originated from Otto Schwindt, Stueve’s maternal grandfather, who the senior Carl Stueve farmed with.

Fond reflections growing up farm life for Carl Lee Stueve. “Of course, we didn’t have a TV, but I enjoyed going to sales and everywhere with Dad,” he smiled. “We’d talk to our neighbors about farming, horses. The cowboys; they were my heroes.”

Instinctive cowboy ways were followed. “I just loved to ride and rope,” Stueve admitted.

Active in 4-H club work and inspired as an FFA member at Emporia, Stueve pursued college studies to be a vocational agriculture instructor.

From youthful local play days, roping blossomed in those college years. With brothers as partners, Stueve teams were tough to beat in local jackpots, expanding to amateur rodeos.

Upon graduation from Kansas State University, Stueve joined his mentor Bob Farrar as teacher and FFA advisor at Emporia.

“I married Marilyn Lang, and we started our family and ranching operation here at Olpe,” Stueve said.

“We’ve always had a cowherd, farmed and raised our children, along with teaching,” he verified.

Marilyn taught English, speech, health, and physical education, elementary through college level at Madison and Olpe. “She also coached and continues to coach volleyball,” Stueve added.

Their five children, two daughters and three sons, grew up horseback. They followed their dad and grandad inherent appreciation for horses.

“The kids all liked to ride, rope, work cattle on horseback, participate in play days, 4-H rodeos, and competed in high school rodeo,” Dad verified.

The Stueve children were active in Lyon County 4-H club work and leadership while excelling in community and school sports.

Climaxing his teaching career, Stueve taught science classes at Emporia High School, where he was also assistant wrestling coach for 15 years.

Stueve and his children enjoyed roping. “We all liked to rope and spent lots of time roping as a family,” he admitted.

While impossible to get Carl Lee Stueve to brag, there’s notable satisfaction when he talks about his children’s roping success.

“We made seven trips to the National Finals High School Rodeo, by our children qualifying at Kansas high school rodeos. Linden was the state champion in team roping two years,” Stueve related.

Jackpot, amateur and professional rodeo standings continue with the Stueve name as winners.

Always eager to assist whatever, whenever the call, Stueve is the recognized voice at 4-H rodeos and other agriculture events. Record verifies he’s been announcing 4-H rodeos at Emporia five decades.

Teaching 37 years, Stueve’s been retired eight years. He’s stayed busy with a cowherd and farming. “We have some of the land that was originally owned by my granddad and our family,” he noted.

“I like to ride and rope as much as I can, and still compete in jackpot team roping competitions,” the cowboy added.

Endless stories of a filled life as a cowboy, father, teacher, farmer and more, Stueve put those fond memories into poems.

As winner of the humorous division in the Kansas Cowboy Poetry Contest, Carl Lee Stueve, Olpe, recited his championship poem at the Symphony of the Flint Hills.
As winner of the humorous division in the Kansas Cowboy Poetry Contest, Carl Lee Stueve, Olpe, recited his championship poem at the Symphony of the Flint Hills.

After qualifying at the Fredonia regional event, Stueve entered the Kansas Cowboy Poetry Contest at the Flint Hills Discovery Center in Manhattan, and was named champion in the humorous category.

Along with Western shopping certificates, Stueve received a trophy buckle, unique to his champion team roper buckles collection

There’s been demand for the champion to recite cowboy poetry for community groups. “I’m not looking to make it a business, but lots of people have done a lot for me. Hopefully I can payback some with a little cowboy poetry,” Stueve said.

Children Lea, Braden, Lana, Raylen, and Linden are grown, in professions. “We have six grandchildren, five and under. It’s always a good day when the grandkids come,” contended Stueve.

Appreciation for Flint Hills life is most apparent in Olpe ranchers Carl Lee and Marilyn Stueve and their children Lana Ritchie, Raylen Stueve, Linden Stueve, Braden Stueve, and Lea Taylor.
Appreciation for Flint Hills life is most apparent in Olpe ranchers Carl Lee and Marilyn Stueve and their children Lana Ritchie, Raylen Stueve, Linden Stueve, Braden Stueve, and Lea Taylor.

“I just have fun and have thousands and thousands of good, good friends,” Carl Lee Stueve reminisced-prophesized.