By KIRSTEN LASKEY
You never know where a career path will take you. Sometimes a career will move you upward, other times it brings you to a dead end.
For Slim Randles, following a career in journalism and writing has allowed him to zigzag all over the place. It’s been a topsy-turvy path to be sure, but one loaded with adventure, humor and a wealth of great stories.
Randles will share his adventures in writing during the next talk in the Authors Speak Series at 7 p.m., Thursday, Feb. 28 at Mesa Public Library.
Randles started writing when he was 15 years old. His mother was a columnist and he encouraged her to write a column about Dick Johnson, a professional cow roper who lived in Los Angeles.
His mother suggested he talk to Johnson instead and when the column was printed, it had his name on the byline.
Since then, 2.2 million people have read Randles’ syndicated column, “Home Country.” But that is just the tip of the iceberg. Not only is Randles a columnist and journalist, he has been an editor, a newspaper owner and outdoor adventurer.
He has covered society stories and handled the cop beat. He wrote for small and large papers. “I’ve done all of it,” Randles said.
Randles has swatted mosquitoes while paddling on the Yukon River and dealt with dogs in heat while running in a sled race. He has written stories about bear attacks and a woman who was striving to communicate with Venus as well as interviewed celebrities such as Joe DiMaggio.
Randles also was a cowboy who was born in Hollywood. And besides being a journalist, he has written several books, including “Ol’ Max Evans, The First Thousand Years,” the biography of the New Mexico writer and cowboy Max Evans who was Randles’ mentor.
While Randles has been a finalist twice for the Pulitzer Prize, the award he is most proud of is the 2012 Ranchers’ Award, which he received for “Ol’ Max Evans.” Of the two recognitions, he explained he would rather win the Ranchers Award, which honors “those who live and promote the Western way of life.”
“An old cowboy can’t do much better than that,” Randles said.
His other books include “A Cowboy’s Way of Growing Up Right,” which won the National Press Women Book Award in 2012, and “Sweet Grass Mornings,” which earned the New Mexico Book Award in 2011.
During his talk Thursday, Randles said he will give his listeners a taste of what he has experienced throughout his career. He sees it as an opportunity to spin some yarn and have some fun.