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Cowboy, songwriter, film maker, poet


Gail Steiger comes from both a ranching and songwriting background. His grandfather, Gail Gardner, wrote several well-known cowboy songs, including Tying Knots in the Devil's Tail (or Sierry Pete's), and The Dude Wrangler. Gail Gardner was named "Poet Lariat" [sic] of Arizona by Governor Bruce Babbitt.


Gail Steiger worked on his father's ranches off and on while growing up, and later worked full time on the Cross U and Spider Ranches in Yavapai County, AZ for several years. He has also worked for the Yolo Ranch, the 7UP, the DC Cattle Co., and the O6 Ranch. 


In 1987, Gail, along with his brother Lew and friends he had worked for and with made a film about cowboys called Ranch Album which was released as a national PBS special. The film was awarded a CINE Golden Eagle. TV Guide called it "cinematically brilliant and wonderfully constructed" and the Wall Street Journal said it was "a gorgeous film". Ranch Album was included in The Academy of Motion Picture Arts/ UCLA Film and Television Archive Series of Outstanding Documentaries.


Gail has been the foreman of the 50,000 acre Spider Ranch since 1995. The ranch runs from 6100’ to 3400’ with Ponderosa pine trees at the top end, cedar mesas and chaparral in the middle, down to saguaro cactus and Sonoran desert at the bottom end. 


He continues to work part-time with Lew on various film and multimedia projects. He sings songs and tells stories at cowboy poetry gatherings around the southwest. 


Gail has traveled to Mongolia, Brazil, Argentina, France, Spain and Hungary with the Western Folklife Center in connection with their cultural exchange program and is working on a documentary project about cowboys around the world. Recently, the State Department invited Gail to travel to Afghanistan and Turkmenistan to work with the US Embassies in Kabul and Ashgabat to connect some American cowboys with Afghan and Turkmen horsemen and herders.


Steve Atkinson design

Photo credit Steve Atkinson

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