Poster for the National Cowboy Poetry Gathering in Elko, Nevada, January 26-31, 2015
Probably won’t be a red carpet, but frankly, I’d rather the bottom-feeder TV entertainment news programs would interview cowboys coming in from the dusty trail to recite their saddle-born poetry than interview women in ugly gowns at some Hollywood awards show.
I’d watch to hear the cowboys recite in verse. Cowboy poetry is probably one of the best-attended entertainment events in heaven, I figure.
Some year I’m going to make it to this festival. Alas, not this year.
Press release from Western Folklife Center:
31st National Cowboy Poetry Gathering Begins January 26
(ELKO, NV)— The 31st National Cowboy Poetry Gathering is January 26-31, in Elko, Nevada. The Elko Gathering is the nation’s oldest and largest annual celebration of the cultural traditions of the ranching and rural West. Every year, thousands travel to this high desert town in the heart of winter, to listen, learn and share. Through poetry, music and stories, ranch people express the beauty, humor, creativity and challenges of a life deeply connected to the earth and its bounty.
At the 31st Gathering, more than 55 poets, musicians and musical groups from the U.S., Canada, Australia and Mexico will perform on seven stages at four different venues. The line-up includes poets Baxter Black, Jerry Brooks, John Dofflemyer, Linda M. Hasselstrom, Yvonne Hollenbeck, Wally McRae, Waddie Mitchell and Paul Zarzyski. Musicians and bands include Gretchen Peters, Tom Russell, Ian Tyson, The Western Flyers, Wylie & The Wild West, Eli Barsi, Cowboy Celtic, Don Edwards, Corb Lund & The Hurtin’ Albertans, Gary McMahan and many more! The Gathering also features hands-on workshops in traditional western arts, exhibitions, western dances, films, discussions, open-mic sessions and more. Tickets to the National Cowboy Poetry Gathering can be purchased at http://www.westernfolklife.org, or by calling 888-880-5885.
The 31st National Cowboy Poetry Gathering will also celebrate a little-known corner of Mexico—Baja California Sur—and its rich ranchero culture. The Gathering will welcome Baja’s vaqueros, who will share with their American cowboy counterparts the traditional acoustic music, ranch cuisine, local art and craftwork, traditional lore and humor of their Californio roots. For nearly 300 years, ranching families have carved out an existence in the rugged, arid environment of the sierra of the lower California (Baja) peninsula. These ranching families are the direct descendents of Spanish missionary soldiers, and continue to maintain their horseback traditions, using riding equipment patterned after the horse gear of their Spanish ancestors. They are a living link between Spain and the American buckaroo.
The 31st National Cowboy Poetry Gathering is produced by the Western Folklife Center and supported by NV Energy, Newmont Mining Corporation, Barrick Gold of North America, Nevada Humanities, Nevada Arts Council, National Endowment for the Arts, Elko Convention and Visitors Authority, the City of Elko and many more foundations, businesses and individuals.
The Western Folklife Center is dedicated to exploring, presenting and preserving the diverse and dynamic cultural heritage of the American West.
31st National Cowboy Poetry Gathering Poets and Musicians
- Eli Barsi, Moosomin, Saskatchewan, Canada
- Mike Beck, Monterey, CA
- Baxter Black, Benson, AZ
- Dave Bourne, Agoura Hills, CA
- Jerry Brooks, Sevier, UT
- Cowboy Celtic, Turner Valley, Alberta, Canada
- John Dofflemyer, Lemon Cove, CA
- Elizabeth Ebert, Lemmon, SD
- Don Edwards, Hico, TX
- Thatch Elmer, Bear River, WY
- Dick Gibford, New Cuyuma, CA
- DW Groethe, Bainville, MT
- Kenny Hall, Tropic, UT
- Linda M. Hasselstrom, Hermosa, SD
- Chuck Hawthorne, Manor, TX
- Andy Hedges, Lubbock, TX
- Carol Heuchan, Cooranbong, New South Wales, Australia
- Brenn Hill, Hooper, UT
- Yvonne Hollenbeck, Clearfield, SD
- Ross Knox, Midpines, CA
- Corb Lund & The Hurtin’ Albertans, Edmonton, Alberta, Canada
- Deanna Dickinson McCall, Timberon, NM
- Gary McMahan, Bellvue, CO
- Wally McRae, Forsyth, MT
- Doc Mehl, Westminster, CO
- Augie Meyers, San Antonio, TX
- Chuck Milner, Reydon, OK
- Waddie Mitchell, Twin Bridges, NV
- Andy Nelson, Pinedale, WY
- Joel Nelson, Alpine, TX
- Rodney Nelson, Almont, ND
- Wayne Nelson, American Falls, ID
- Kay Kelley Nowell, Alpine, TX
- Glenn Ohrlin, Mountain View, AR
- Sharon Salisbury O’Toole, Savery, WY
- Ed Peekeekoot, Crofton, British Columbia, Canada
- Gretchen Peters & Barry Walsh, Nashville, TN
- Shadd Piehl, Mandan, ND
- Vess Quinlan, San Acacio, CO
- Henry Real Bird, Garryowen, MT
- Brigid Reedy, Boulder, MT
- Pat Richardson, Merced, CA
- Randy Rieman, Dillon, MT
- Kent Rollins, Hollis, OK
- Tom Russell, Canutillo, TX
- Sandy Seaton Sallee, Emigrant, MT
- Georgie Sicking, Kaycee, WY
- Sourdough Slim & Robert Armstrong, Paradise, CA
- Gail Steiger, Prescott, AZ
- Caitlyn Taussig, Kremmling, CO
- Charis Thorsell, Burbank, OH
- Ian Tyson, Longview, Alberta, Canada
- The Western Flyers, Burleson, TX
- Wylie & The Wild West, Conrad, MT
- Paul Zarzyski, Great Falls, MT
San Antonio is probably the biggest city represented on that list of performers; most of the others in Texas and Utah (the ones I know best) are small towns, tiny towns. No tuxedoes or Dior gowns there, I’ll bet.
Wouldn’t it be great if the entire event were streamed, and broadcast, and available on DVD?
Not this year. Western Folklife Center explained on Facebook:
Unfortunately, we will not have a live broadcast of the National Cowboy Poetry Gathering this year. Funding we were hoping to receive did not come through. However, we will be documenting the Gathering in other ways this year, by filming in the G Three Bar Theater and throughout the event. Stay tuned to our website, Facebook page and YouTube channel to see videos of this year’s Gathering as well as all the great videos of past events. We will also be posting lots of great photographs on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram!
You know, if Entertainment Tonight doesn’t have a full crew there in Elko, the world will be much the poorer for it.
One of my all-time favorite poems, “Reincarnation,” performed by its author, Wallace McRae.
National Heritage Fellow Wallace McRae performs his classic poem “Reincarnation” with friend and fellow Montana poet Paul Zarzyski at the 25th National Cowboy Poetry Gathering in Elko, Nevada. (15,083)