Professional singer-songwriter and AQHA World Champion Header Paul Bogart answers the phone clearly and with confidence, and from behind the wheel of a Kenworth rig, hauling a 53-foot box of dry goods that needs delivered in St. Louis, nearly 400 miles from his home in Oologah, Oklahoma, because—in addition to headlining music tours, competing on top-shelf horses and raising three children with his wife, Tanya—he is also an occasional driver for his dad’s trucking company.
At first glance, he’s a 40-year-old renaissance man. But really, Paul Bogart has spent his years becoming what he always was: A son to both a musically gifted mother who raised her children with her talents and a trucking operator father who possesses a passion for raising the kinds of horses that can win world championships.
“Enjoy the Ride” (2010)
“I don’t know that there’s much that makes Jack happier than at a horse show or at a futurity when it says, ‘Bred by Jack Bogart, owned by Jack Bogart, and ridden by Paul Bogart,’” said 2022 AQHA World Champion Casey Hicks of Paul’s father, Jack.
The Bogarts have been a client of Casey Hicks Performance Horses for the past few years, and they’ve shared an impressive history in that time together. In 2017, Hicks won the senior heeling reserve world championship at the AQHA World Show aboard Bourbon Street Chrome, a 7-year-old chestnut gelding by Custom Chrome out of Toulouse Lena, owned by Jack Bogart, also of Oklahoma. Two years later, also on Bourban Street Chrome, Paul won the 2019 ARHFA Oil Can Classic’s Rope Horse Futurity in the non-pro heading.
In fact, Hicks acquired his well-earned AQHA World Championship buckle aboard Bogart’s Two Eyed Meterman, the 2022 World Champion Senior Head Horse and Senior Heeling Finalist. When Paul saddled the horse up at the Redbud Spectacular this year with Hicks on the heels, another ARHFA non-pro heading championship followed. The horse has become a favorite of Paul’s.
“By the grace of God, I’ve ridden some really good horses,” Paul said. “But, man, right now, we’ve got a horse we call ‘Gibson.’ Two Eyed Meterman is his registered name and, if I had to pick a favorite, heading or heeling, [it’s] Gibson. He’s just so honest and, granted, he’s 11 years old now. So, he’s supposed to be honest. You’re supposed to be able to trust that horse, and I do. Good grief.”
The horse sounds like a heck of a ride.
“You back him in the box and on the head side, and he just stands like a champ,” Paul continues. “He’ll stand there till you let him go. Is he the fastest one in the pen? Probably not. But he’s got plenty of speed and then he just melts—not that he’s killing [the steer] off, but he just melts into the ground, drags his left leg and peels out of there and faces up. He’s just honest.”
Two Eyed Meterman is out of the late Jacks Royal Ginger, reported to be the all-time leading dam of the ARHFA in 2022. Prior to being purchased by an owner in Brazil, the great mare produced for the Bogarts Two Eyed Meterman and Shesa Royal Cat. Known as “Irene,” the powerhouse mare was the ARHFA’s all-time leading earner in 2022 for amassing $77,136 in four years before aging out—a record Hicks and Paul were both able to play a role in setting.
“Jack is big on mare power,” Hicks offered. “They had a mare, Probably A Gem. Brad Lund won the World on her [in 2015] and they sold her to Brazil. And so, the mare I’m riding now is out of her and by Metallic Cat. I won the futurity on her at Ardmore, and I placed on her in Fort Worth at the futurity there in July this year. So we’ve got high hopes for her. Everything we ride, they’ve raised.”
In 2014, another Bogart gelding—CD Wooden Heart by CD Olena and out of Gay Wooden Heart—won the World Show under Brad Lund in the 2014 junior heading. The week prior, the horse won the amateur under Paul.
“I’ve got two half-siblings to him right now,” Hicks said. “One of them, Paul’s showing, and we’ve won some money on him at the rope horse futuritites. Then there’s a mare that we’ve won some money on at the rope horse futurities. They’re both out of Gay Wooden Heart.”
The lineup doesn’t stop there. There are babies out of Shesa Royal Cat by the likes of Metallic Cat, Sanctus and other notables, as well as breeding appointments in the book with The Notorious B I G. The program has eyes on the future and, for as much as it’s accomplished and is looking forward to, Paul, the professional touring musician, family man and sometimes truck driver, has figured a way to embrace it all.
“I’ve Fought Goliath” (2008)
While it’s fair to say Paul has made the most of his upbringing and his God-given talents, it would be a mistake to confuse that with the notion that he hasn’t earned the life he’s curated.
At the mention of his 2010 song, “The Cowboy Way,” Paul recalled his arrival in Music City.
“That was one of my few songs that I moved to Nashville with whenever I was right out of college. You move out there and you have your demo CD—at the time—and that was one of them. It’s just a cowboy song and I was like, ‘This song does it. This speaks to my demographic,’ and nobody in Nashville.…’”
Nashville provided for Paul and his now wife, Tanya, in myriad ways, but perhaps not in the ways they expected.
“Shortly after I got my bachelor’s degree, I think the very next month I moved to Nashville, and I just loved it,” Paul remembered. “Just fell in love with the town, with the chase of the music industry and networking and meeting people. At the time, Nashville was this great big, small town … and you kind of figured out the people you wanted to run with and write songs with. And it was just loads of fun. About a year later, Tanya and I got married. She was in Oklahoma, so I moved her to Tennessee, and there we went.”
Painted in one light, though, Paul’s music got missed in Nashville. The ability of the “Yellowstone” TV series to introduce real Western themes and perspectives to popular culture was still a decade out and mainstream music execs, largely, were not ahead of their time. Whereas the people who live his music know it as nothing but authentic, “the industry” misunderstood Paul’s songs entirely.
“My music just didn’t really make sense to a lot of those A&R people,” Paul said, explaining that A&R stands for “artists and repertoire,” or the industry people who say yes or no to those looking for a record deal.
Paul’s takeaway was simply to work harder.
“You can do it,” he asserted. “You can figure out a way to make a living. I mean, it’s tough to make a living in the arts, but with enough drive and want to, you can carve out a living.”
So, he did. He went to work with a bus and a band and he and Tanya saved enough money to buy their first house. Then the flood came. Literally.
“We didn’t live in a floodplain, but we were one of the 11,000 homes,” Paul recalled of the weather event that dumped more than 13 inches of rain in the area in early May 2010. “We had water up to our light switches. And not just water—nasty, oily, gunk water. It wrecked our house. We had just spent all of our money. We’d spent our nest egg to put our payment down on our first starter house.”
The young couple weighed their few options and landed firmly on “Hustle.”
“Let’s go hustle as hard as I know how to hustle playing music.” Paul said. “Honestly, that’s what kind of kicked everything off.”
Paul and Tanya also got the opportunity to discover what they really loved most in Nashville.
“Our church community, they loved on us and they helped us tear our walls down,” Paul said. “They gave us a place to stay and gave us, literally, the shoes off their feet. Like, ‘Here, after I’ve slaved for you all day tearing your house down, have these shoes.’ It just gives me chills.”
Even Paul’s band was game to make his home whole again.
“It was like, ‘Fellas, we’re going to go to work and we’re going to drive the wheels off this truck and we’re going to do it on the cheap, and I’m going to put all the money that I can into rebuilding.’ We started playing 80, 90, 100 shows a year out of the need to do that—to rebuild.
“All I Need” (2013)
Not unlike the pro ropers on the road before rodeo limits were put in place, Paul put his nose to the grind, but he’s been able to take his foot off the hustle pedal as his career and life became established.
“You know, I’m very grateful people appreciate the music enough to want to have us come play,” Paul said after pondering when was the last time he made a cold call.
Paul and Tanya returned to Oklahoma a few years ago and are raising their three kids—Jett, 7; Ace, 5; and daughter Gentry, 2—in the lifestyle that only horses and cattle provide. The music still takes them to Nashville and around the world, really, but it’s also pointed them to venues like the Superior Livestock Sale in Winnemucca, Nevada; the Wyo Rodeo and Don King Days in Sheridan, Wyoming; and to Billy Bob’s in Fort Worth. To places that attract the kind of crowd that doesn’t need a music exec to let them know they’re seeing the real deal.
And sometimes, when he’s playing a college rodeo banquet in Gillette, Wyoming, and gets invited to break in muleys the next day, they get to see the Paul Bogart who grew up team roping with his dad and calf roping through his own college rodeo years. The Paul Bogart who can’t forsake his whole concert schedule to show off the prowess of the Bogart performance horses, but who will dang sure try to be tuned up when the schedule does allow.
“I’m always calling Jay Wadhams and saying, ‘What are your dates for such-and-such?’” Paul explained. “Because he knows. He knows that I need to, if possible, schedule six, eight, 10 months out in advance. And, it’s really the same way with the AQHA and their World Show. You can’t plan a concert over the top of the World Show or the futurity in Fort Worth. You gotta be there.”
“Another Ride” (2008)
Growing up between a sister that Paul describes as “a tremendous vocalist” and a brother whose own vocal talents took him to Rome, there were no guarantees that Paul would be the one to hitch his wagon to a country music star. And now, there are no guarantees that his three children will be either professional musicians or handy horsemen.
There’s a lot left to be determined, and the same still rings true for Paul, too.
“Real talk here,” Paul said about his calf roping. “I’m 40 with three kids. If I’m going to go be sharp in the calf roping, I’ve got to practice. Three kids. You’ve got less time. But we’ve got a few colts that are making some pretty good calf horses and, well, I’ll say this: I’m definitely not done in the calf roping.” TRJ
Find concert info at paulbogart.com