Born in the San Joaquin Valley of California,” Straw” Berry moved with his family at the age of three back to the west central part of Oklahoma. He grew up on a ranch raising cattle, sheep and poultry. Straw was part of the third generation of Berrys to work on the Botchlett Ranch west of Cordell in Washita County, following in the footsteps of his grandfather, his father and several uncles and cousins. After graduation from high school and a short stint at college, Straw moved to the Oklahoma City area, where he played in several country bands and worked as a staff musician in local recording studios After some time spent travelling on the road playing music, he moved back to his boyhood hometown. After working as a police officer for a few years, he then entered the feed and fertilizer industry, from which he retired in 2010. He received a BA in History and Sociology from Southwestern Oklahoma University at Weatherford, Oklahoma in 1990.
Straw has been writing and reciting poetry for a number of years, but began writing and performing cowboy poetry about 2000. He has been an invited performer at the National Cowboy Poetry Gathering in Elko; the National Cowboy Symposium in Lubbock, the Nara Visa Gathering, and numerous civic and agricultural groups. This is his second year to perform on the afternoon show at the Red Steagall Cowboy Gathering in Fort Worth. He has recorded a CD of original poetry called “Red Hill Reflections”; and continues to write and perform his poetry.
Straw partners with his father in a small cow-calf and wheat growing operation east of Cordell on land that has been in the family for seven decades. He keeps a couple of geldings around and occasionally finds time to learn some new tricks by starting a colt or two. He and wife Penny have three children; and six grandchildren. Straw is vice-president and a director of the Washita County Historical Society and a director of the local library board and member of the Cordell Round Up club. He and wife Penny are both members and Sunday school teachers at the First Baptist Church. They live in Cordell, which Straw says is the only place in the world “where he’d rather live than Texas.”