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At western festivals throughout the southwestern states, chances are, you'll run into A-10 Etcheverry. For everybody who knows him, he's just A-10. I've known him longer than I really want to admit.
He was born in Fort Collins, Colorado way back in 1950, September 11th as a matter of fact, a grim day for all of us after 2001. His given name is Etienne Etcheverry, The name is second generation Basque-American, it was a big name for a little kid. He was named after a small village in France where his granddad Jean Baptiste Etcheverry was born.
About 22 years was all A-10 could stand attempting to sign his name followed by the explaination of how it came to be so, he changed his name much to the disappointment of his parents, but for A-10, it was much easier to sign his art, checks, divorce papers, wedding papers etc. A-10 had a friend back in those days by the name of Keith Riley. Riley was in charge of entering himself and A-10 in various rodeos and what do you think the first question was... "How do you spell that" course Riley's answer was "Hell I don't know, A dash one zero" and A-10 was born. You wouldn't believe how much his name was butchered until he had it abbreviated. Some cowboys have a wandering mind, A-10 no different, when he wanted to be anonymous, he just signed his real name.
He told me one time that his family moved everytime the wind changed; from Animas, NM to Odessa, TX to Hobbs, NM to Dell City, TX and finally in the early sixties wound up in Carlsbad, NM where his dad was raised. A-10 believes the rock-n-roll song "The Wanderer" was written about him and his family.
A-10 Etcheverry's art career started about the same time that he learned how to hold a pencil. In school, his notebooks and papers were illustrated with semi-serious looking cowboys, horses, cows and soldiers. With his being an avid reader, school and drawing just came easy to him. His tough and about half-mean grandma and mother, who were excellent teachers and who could and would give lessons to the most senior master gunnery sergeants in the firstname.lastname@example.org, got him through school with a minimum amount of trouble.
Nothing is safe from his pen; everything from real drawing paper to mine production reports, oil field water ticket booths, telephone directories, bar napkins and bathroom walls. As the fairy tales go, once upon a time, Mr. Etcheverry was married even with kids of his own. During his rein of becoming civilized and towing the mark, he decided to take a vacation from the drawing world especially since he wouldn't make a pimple on a good artist's posterior but he did continue to draw a little. But, as almost all good things must come to an end...divorce! Then several friends were hounding him to do a calendar, so A-10 decided to draw the calendar. His thought was to have a few printed up, then give'm away. As fate would have it, intervention set in and people started paying real money for these crude calendars. Working in the potash mines in Carlsbad, A-10 somehow managed to do 12 drawings in 12 months. Since the first one he has managed to produce one every year.
Again fate stepped back in his life, the mine he was working closed. After the mine closed, all the employees received federal retraining money and he returned to college, finished his art degree and landed an art teaching position in T or C, New Mexico. Folks are always asking A-10 how he became a cowboy cartoonist, he says; after living in this ole dry country, rodeoing, truck driving, potash mining, marriage, divorce, raising kids, teaching school and other life adventures, I had to do something to keep my sanity!
As I mentioned Tommy Morrell at the beginning of this bio, this is what the multi-hall of fame steel guitarist said about A-10; I'll say it again, "I don't know nuthin' 'bout art but I know what I like! I know you like it too. Just turn a few pages and you'll see what I mean. Besides that, anybody who knows where to find the sheepherders bar in Dell City Texas is mighty fine in my book!" I'll say to everyone who reads this bio that if you know A-10 Etcheverry, you will agree and if you don't know him, when you do meet him, you're bound to call him a friend. Morrell goes on to say about meeting A-10 for the very first time...Guy Logsden from Oklahoma first introduced Tom Morrell to A-10. "that's just what I needed in my life, another weirdo! Mr. Etcheverry proceeded to show Morrell a calendar that he had drawn for that year. That's all it took Morrell said as he was hooked and they have been buddies ever since.
A-10 honed his craft in the magical and enchanted land of west Texas - New Mexico territory. He knows intimately of the sand, soil and occasional moisture that gives that part of the world its textures and character, along with, of course the cowboys, roughnecks, potash miners and ranchers who inhabit that desolate part of the earth. Look at any of his drawings, there will be no doubt as to his origins. A-10 is the real deal. He weaves, scratches, scribes and blends the old with the present in his humorous as well as insightful glimpses into the characters of his land. We lost Tommy Morrell last year to the lord but before he left this earth, Morrell left a legacy with our good cowboy friend A-10 Etcheverry, as on every CD cover from "How The West Was Swung" Volumes #1 thru #15 you'll find the drawings of A-10. He is also the official cowboy cartoonist for the Backforty Bunkhouse Newsletter and has drawn the program covers for the Cowtown Society Of Western Music's annual swingfest.
Ten years ago, back in 1998 the Academy Of Western Artists Will Rogers Awards in Fort Worth, Texas awarded the official voice of Bob Wills Texas Playboys the legendary Leon Rausch for western swing male vocalist of the year, Red Steagall for entertainer of the year, Tommy Morrell for western swing instrumentalist of the year and A-10 Etchverry was awarded the 1998 COWBOY CARTOONIST OF THE YEAR.
Academy of Western Artists 2004 Western Music Disc Jockey of the Year
Cowtown Society of Western Music (CSWM) 2004 Disc Jockey of the Year
CSWM Hall of Fame Inductee-Fort Worth, Texas 2004
Western Swing Music Society of the Southwest Hall of Fame Inductee 2007
Seattle Western Swing Music Society Hall of Fame 2008