Bob Kerby

Living the life of a cowboy in the American West and surrounded by beautiful country, Kerby gained firsthand knowledge of his painting subject matter.

“The cowboy part helped me a lot,” he said, "to get the horses’ proportions correct and make sure other parts of the paintings were authentic. There’s a story behind all of my paintings.” ~ Bob Kerby

Bob Kerby was born in Colorado June 22, 1929. He was 6 years old and playing in La Junta, CO, where his parents were building contractors. He saw two cowboys riding their horses down an alley. “Boy, my eyes lighted up,” Kerby said. “I ran to the next block to see them again.” As a town kid who had his first horse at age 8, he was an accomplished rider by the time he quit school at age 17 and left home to work on three of New Mexico’s largest ranches. One, the Bell Ranch, was the setting for scenes in the old “Rawhide” TV series. Little did he know when he left his Colorado home at the age of 17 to become a cowboy that this would be the beginning of a love and devotion to the cowboy way of life and The American West. He passed away on December 22, 2016.

While drawing in the bunkhouses on ranches in Northern New Mexico his artistic spark was ignited. Living the life of a cowboy in the American West working with horses, cattle and surrounded by inspiring country, Kerby gained firsthand knowledge of his subject matter. He now is recognized as one of the best and most authentic contemporary cowboy artists in America today. “I’ve been in this cowboy life all of my life. We had a lot of horses and broke a lot of horses,” Kerby said, which is how he paid his way through college after he and his wife, Genon, bought a 66-acre place southwest of Kearney. The property includes a horse training and roping arena, five horses and Kerby’s Longhorn Studio. He completed a bachelor’s degree in art education at Kearney State College in 1963 and then taught art for four years at a Grand Island junior high before trying to earn a living as an artist.

One of Bob’s passions was his horses and team roping. During the summers in the past, you would find him on one of his geldings roping a few steers in the Kerby arena. His love for horses, the West and the cowboy way of life, is depicted with his love of the western landscape and lifestyle. “The cowboy part helped me a lot,” he said, “to get the horses’ proportions correct and make sure other parts of the paintings were authentic. There’s a story behind all of my paintings.”

Bob painted exclusively in oils and was committed to preserving the life and times of the contemporary cowboy. His work can be found in public and private collections from New York to Australia and has been featured on magazine covers and reproduced in the form of limited-edition collector prints, post cards, posters, Christmas cards, cookbooks and calendars. It is estimated that over 3 million people a year view his famous “Range Riders” appointment calendars, not to mention his “Range Riders Cookin’” cookbooks. Kerby’s painting extends his pride in his western heritage to his viewers through his paintings.

Eventually, Bob lived on a small ranch outside Kearney, Nebraska where he maintained the Longhorn Studio. The Studio is located at 3710 22nd Ave in Kearney, Nebraska. Bob Kerby’s Longhorn Studio is part of the Independent Artists, Writers, and Performers Industry. Bob Kerby’s Longhorn Studio has 3 total employees across all of its locations and generates $175,406 in sales (USD).

Kerby said that on a perfect day, you’d find him painting or with his horses. Riding probably wasn’t in his future, but painting was.

Longhorn Studio ~ Clint Kerby

Bob Kerby’s studio along I-80 on the outskirts of Kearney, Nebraska has been producing Bob’s “Range Riders” Calendars featuring 12 of his paintings for over 33 years. “We are like the ‘Willie Nelson’ of the Western Art Calendar Industry” say his sons. The calendar business was a brainchild of Bob’s son, Clint. Started in 1988, Clint bought lists of Agricultural Businesses and sent out 35,000 flyers annually. We then sent out actual sample calendars with mock-up ad copies to each potential interested company and followed up with phone calls, emails and follow up mail pieces until we got the order or lost the deal.

Over the years we were blessed to have built a fantastic loyal following of business owners who loved to distribute our calendars to their customers and potential customers each December thru early January. Our best years were in the late 90s early 2000s. We were selling over 100,000 copies a year. We still sell over 70,000 copies a year. Our customers are nationwide. A few have been with us from the start, many have been with us over 20 years. It has been a real blessing to be a part of this wonderful tradition so many business owners have implemented. We have also been blessed to have had wonderful numerous employees throughout our 33-year span.

Written by Clint Kerby, Chuck Peek, Kate Benzel and Lori Potter (Kearney Hub 2013)
* Images from Longhorn Studio and Facebook@ Kerby Studio

People: Bob Kerby Categories: Art