Corsicana Daily Sun, Corsicana, Texas

January 7, 2013

Cowboy preacher saddles up to continue trek across America

By Janet Jacobs
Corsicana Daily Sun

Kerens — Cowboy Pastor Dan Boyd’s plan to horseback ride across the country doing the occasional home repair job for the elderly and poor took a detour two months ago in Kerens when his horse stepped into an electrified fence in a ditch and threw his rider.

“You know, old cowboys don’t get thrown, they just have ugly dismounts,” Boyd said, cheerfully.

At 66, Boyd hit the ground hard, broke some ribs and punctured a lung. For the last two months, Boyd has been healing as the guest of the Kerens Cowboy Church, even spending Christmas with two local families.

“When we have trials and tribulations we give thanks,” he said.

On Thursday, the small troupe will leave town, resuming their journey. He’s traveling with his wife, Gracie, and his 46-year-old son, Gary. Gracie drives the pickup, pulling the horse trailer with a spare mount and all their gear, while Gary sometimes drives a two-wheeled buggy.

Boyd bills himself as “the last circuit-riding preacher,” but this particular circuit is nationwide, well, almost.

“I like to say we’re going through every state except Alaska and Hawaii, because my horses can’t swim that far, and I don’t like the cold,” Boyd quipped.

Boyd’s plan is to visit all the 48 contiguous states, then start over again.

“I figure it will take us two or three years, because part of the ministry is we stop and help people along the way,” he said. “If I come across a widow lady who needs her porch rail fixed or roof repaired, we stop and do that.”

On his trails, Boyd is also spending some time preaching and collecting stories for a book. The riding is a natural extension of his love for horses, and seeing the country from a slower perspective.

“Riding a horse you see America up close and personal,” he said. “You miss too much while you’re driving. I want to go through the back roads.”

The Boyds invite other riders to travel along, and to stop and help with the work they’re doing, too.

Meanwhile, they’re grateful for the hospitality they’ve experienced in Navarro County.

“Local ranchers have provided hay for the horses and I’m proud of you folks here in Texas, especially here in Kerens,” Boyd said. “They just opened up and said we could stay here as long as it took to heal.

“People here have been so generous, so warm and so giving. I can’t describe how good the people have been.”

The intention was to get back on the road Tuesday, but forecasts of cold rain caused them to put off their departure two more days, Boyd said.

Gracie said she was nearing retirement when Boyd came up with the idea and she welcomed it.

“I said ‘it’s the next phase of my life,’” she explained. “I was ready for it.”

Gary was ready for a change in careers, and wanted to help his dad out, so he also saddled up, so to speak.

A private investigator for more than 25 years, Boyd helped found a cowboy church in Kansas in 2003.

“I always wanted to ride across the country,” he said. “I’d been praying about it, and I thought ‘If I’m going to do it, I might as well preach, too, and help people along the way.’”

They’ve made home repairs for the elderly, helped folks with car repairs, anything the trio is capable of doing themselves.

“It doesn’t matter who it is, if they need help we’re going to help them,” Boyd said.

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Janet Jacobs may be reached via email at jjacobs@corsicanadailysun.com. Want to “soundoff” to this article? Email: Soundoff@corsicanadailysun.com