Ivan Denton: The Cowboy Whittler rides off into the sunset | Street Jazz

Wednesday, July 3, 2013

Ivan Denton: The Cowboy Whittler rides off into the sunset

Posted By on Wed, Jul 3, 2013 at 1:22 PM

The truth of the matter is that Marlin Ivan Denton, or simply Ivan Denton as he was known to many, was probably a little too conservative for my tastes.

When he wrote his regular column (“The Cowboy Whittler”) for the Northwest Arkansas Times back in the 1990s, he would often rail against those he termed as “false environmentalists,” and he had this to say when he was the guest speaker at the monthly meeting of the Northwest Arkansas property rights group Take Back Arkansas in April of 1996:

“I love to see a log truck going down the road with a load of logs to get sawed up to make a home for someone. It looks good to me. The ranches, the cattle, the homes . . . I love to see Tyson trucks.”

Like many in the property rights movement, Denton believed that “religion” was part of the environmental agenda.

Wow, you may be thinking. What a neanderthal. You know everything there is to know about Ivan Denton right now, don’t you? He just isn’t one of us, is he?

Why even write about him?

Which is what we do, isn’t it? Someone espouses conservative or liberal beliefs and we conveniently slide them into a little box in our brain. And why do do we do this? Because modern life has turned us slightly stupid.

With our own consent, as well. This saves time, as well as thinking.

So though liberal readers of these pieces may not have had much in common with Ivan Denton, there was a lot more to the man than simply the tone of the columns he wrote for the NWA Times.

Denton was an artist of some note, earning the moniker “Cowboy Whittler” by dint of skill and hard work. Here are some samples of his work:


In addition to his newspaper column and artwork, he was also an author, historian, and songwriter.

As an artist, Ivan Denton specialized in showing the world the life of the cowboy. Not just any cowboy; pretty much every figure has the features of Ivan Denton himself. And as he had the grizzled good-looks of a man who has spent his life outdoors, he probably made a good choice in his model.

Some years ago a short documentary film was made about him.

Ivan Denton was not just an example of a life well-lived; he is the perfect reason we shouldn’t let laziness run our lives, and just slip people into into tidy slots because of their political beliefs.

While there memorial service was planned, condolences can be left at:



Quote of the Day

Growth for the sake of growth is the ideology of the cancer cell. - Edward Abbey


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