"It was like riding shotgun," J. Don Looper says, "I was the guy on the other seat hoping the Indians did not attack and the Wells Fargo box arrived unplundered." Looper is author of a new book of memoirs, "I Coulda Been a Cowboy but My Boots Didn't Fit," which recalls a career riding alongside great events and people as ghost writer, media foil, and troubleshooter. He left a Dust Bowl childhood for a life in journalism, public affairs, and international politics. He traveled in 60 countries and wrote for newspapers as far away as Hong Kong.
When Henry Kissinger called a World Food Conference to confront a global hunger panic in 1974, Looper went to Rome as a U.S. delegate. When Jimmy Carter restored diplomatic relations with China, Looper was assigned to Beijing for the first U.S. trade show. When Ronald Reagan okayed a second grain deal with the Russians in 1982, Looper went to London to handle the media crush. He accompanied more than a dozen V.I.P missions abroad and sat with foreign leaders as distant as President Marcos in Manila and Premier Kosygin in the Kremlin. He wrote speeches for top officials in every administration from Truman to Reagan.
Looper is a native Oklahoman, son of a cattle trader and auction operator. He completed journalism degrees at Oklahoma State University and advanced studies in international politics at The American University in Washington. He wrote for Oklahoma newspapers, the Sioux City stockyards, a Milwaukee advertising agency, and the U.S. Department of Agriculture. He worked as a Washington consultant and as Washington correspondent for the South China Morning Post (Hong Kong). He was for 13 years public information director for USDA's Foreign Agricultural Service. He now free-lances near Tampa FL, where he lives with his wife, Pat.