From the pages of
Pinedale Roundup
Volume 103, Number 20 - January 18, 2007
brought to you online by Pinedale Online

When they let farriers on the radio…

by Nikki Mann

Brothers Andy and Jim Nelson sit in their other office, a back room in Andy’s Chiropractic Center where they run their second, award-winning job. One wall is covered in pictures and a map, the Wall of Fame. Pins on the map mark radio stations where their show, Clear Out West (COW) is aired. Pictures of cowboy and cowgirl poets, musicians and other talents surround the map. A simple table is covered with mixing and recording equipment and two large microphones.

Andy was named male cowboy poet of the year by the Western Music Association. He and Jim also received the DJ of the year award again for the second year. Every Tuesday night, the brothers get together to record and edit their one-hour radio show. They kept their microphones turned off while they revealed a little about themselves, a lot about the bloopers they’ve edited out, and what they hope to do with their radio show.

The Nelson's wall of fame.
You guys were full-time farriers. Your website mentions that you have “the farrier way of life branded on [your] hides.” What are the good scars?

We have all the normal ones – fingers smashed, palm of the hand, inside of the legs.

Andy: I had a nail go through my palm and two fingers.

Jim: I was shoeing out at Rob’s place… the pony decided it was done and put its foot down with my hand. I had to take the hammer and beat on his leg. That was the last time I went shoeing with my wedding ring on, it went into the truck…then I swept the ring out when I was cleanin’.

I heard a rumor you guys can shoe diagonal? [One person shoes a front foot while the other person simultaneously shoes the diagonal hind.]

We did shoe diagonal. We were under a young horse, Andy was on a hind, when he says, “Brace yourself. I’m gonna try something.” It was amazing. I was amazed myself. It confused the horse enough that he stood still. (Laughing) We get ‘um done quick. Half the time; twice the price!

Did you ever imagine you would be on the radio?

No idea we would have been on the radio. No idea we would have anything like this until four years ago. We entertained the family, Boy Scouts and such, but it was the farthest thing from my mind.

Who came up with your great name, Clear Out West, that forms such an apt acronym COW?

Andy came up with COW. I was trying to figure out what to call this outfit. First one was Way Out West, but that was WOW and I thought ‘that won’t work’ so I kept thinkin’.

Do you have any plans to try and take COW to satellite radio or elsewhere?

Our plans are to take the radio show to the right person in satellite radio and a regional syndication area. Our day jobs really make it hard to market this.

Why do you think your radio show has become so popular?

It’s honest. Just honest. It’s genuine and something we really enjoy. Many people are also looking for a little bit of entertainment in this serious world. They’re looking to laugh, and reminisce. Sounds and smells are powerful at helping you reminisce.

Has your radio show appealed to the audience you expected?

We were surprised that lots of young folks like it. I was thinkin’ our show would appeal to people of our age, but lots of young folks, even teenagers listen. Our international audience strikes me. We are online and people can listen to our shows from our website. We get emails from people in Germany, Scotland, Japan, England…

This guy just emailed us to tell us he always tunes into our show. He’s in a corner office in one of the largest skyscrapers in Washington, an insurance agent. One of the reasons we’re so popular is people just want to get away. A lot of people wanted to be cowboys but never got the chance.

What’s your favorite part of the radio show?

That’s like asking who’s your favorite child or who’s got the best cookin’! Not the popularity or prestige. My favorite thing is getting together with my brother once a week. We live 20 miles away and probably wouldn’t get togetherif it weren’t for this show. We really meet some great people we wouldn’t ever have otherwise met.

Where do you get the ideas for your radio show and do you ever run out of material?

We get a lot of things from family, friends and listeners. Jim- A friend I work with was talking about a veterinarian. (Pause)

Andy- I don’t think we’ve done a veterinarian. Put it on the list. We keep our ears perked. There are so many show ideas. So much out there. So much to choose from.

We never have any problem having something to talk about. Our show’s not scripted. Good thing it’s not. We would like to have a live calling show, but we’d need a 10 second delay for broadcast. That’d be a hoot! Yee doggie! Let me tell you. Could be a career maker or career ender. They could banish us with Howard Stern!

How has the local area influenced your radio show?

The local area brings cowboy culture to our front doorstep. If something funny happened on the ranch you’ll hear about it. There are lots of talented people here that people really don’t know about. Isn’t that the truth.

The most gifted cowboy writers are very bashful, but will tell you stories on the front porch or on the street, but then they say they don’t want to hear it on the radio, but they really want to. Then there are a couple guys that won’t say a word when they know we’re listenin’.

The old timers have got so much to give, they just need to buck up and let us do it!

There are so many stories. We need to preserve what they have to say. I was thinking about Harve Stone today. We never got to him and now he’s gone. We really missed the boat.

What does it take to put together your one-hour Saturday show?

On Tuesday night, if we’re prepared, we’re done recording in two hours. But within every show we’ve got about 12 hours of work for a one-hour show: mixing, research, recording, etc. It’s just a two-man show, but we do interviews with other people.

What are your best bloopers that you had to record over?

Bodily functions! When you open your mouth to speak and a belch comes out. The day after Green Chili gets a little gamey in here.

Jim- One of our most serious faux-pas was when I pulled a nose hair. Andy was talking and this nose hair was givin’ me hell.

Andy- He pulled it and his eyes started waterin’ and they crossed. I started laughing so hard it probably took us 30 minutes. Jim- Yeah but I got it!

Any grand plans for the future?

Slow and steady wins the race. In a perfect world, this is what we would do for a living.

Photo credits:  Nikki Mann, Nikki Mann

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