Hot Springs (South Dakota) September
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9th Annual Badger Clark Hometown Cowboy Poetry & Music Gathering Hot Springs, South Dakota
Report and photos by Slim McNaught
BADGER CLARK HOMETOWN
COWBOY POETRY AND MUSIC GATHERING
Beautiful country, perfect weather, great chuck wagon cowboy cookin', and a whole herd of the finest folks a feller could get corralled up with. When you have experienced an event that will leave a lasting impression, it is sometimes hard to get the right words lined up on a page to describe it.
So it was with the 9th Annual Badger Clark Hometown Cowboy Poetry and Music Gathering at the Mueller Civic Center, Hot Springs, South Dakota, September 29 and 30, 2006. When we pulled in and set up camp at the Budget Host Inn, there had been enough moisture to green up pastures and if you have some cow in your background, that grass sure looks great.
While we were checking in, Robert "Jingle Bob" Dennis and Gale and Geri Patzlaff pulled in, and the good times began. Scotty's Roundup on the Highway 18 Bypass was hosting a jam session at 7:30 that evening, so we all went there
for supper. (To you city folk, that's dinner). After supper we gathered up and the patrons of that establishment (the room was packed to overflow) were treated to some of the finest cowboy singing and poetry you'll find anywhere.
This Cowboy Gathering is presented by the Hot Springs Area Chamber of Commerce and Mary Jo Grill is the Program Director. This lady has a heart of gold and a love of the cowboy way, which puts her way up there in my tally book. This two day program was being hosted by Robert "Jingle Bob" Dennis again, as it has for the past several years. He keeps trying to get out of the job, but Mary Jo knows a good thing when she sees it and keeps him eared down and somewhat behaving (He does an excellent job).
Now, things were going so great and we were having so much fun, that I didn't get around to getting all the names of the performers at this deal. It gets to be just like a big family get together and later you think, "Oh man, I either didn't get that person's name or I have forgotten it." That is one of the results of getting some age on and having a few gimps, so I apologize to anyone I didn't get mentioned here. Blame it on "Old Timer's Disease."
"Jingle Bob" and Dan
Scott and Jed
With Jingle Bob emceeing and on the guitar and doing poetry, along with guitar pickers Jed (the yodeler), Richard (the real Californian), Scott, and Dan, among others, the audience couldn't sit still. Then throw in Gale Patzlaff, Marty Blocker, and myself doing cowboy poetry and the folks there let us know they had a great time right up to when the doors were locked for the night.
Saturday we gathered at the Mueller Center. Darlene and I had some of our "Slim's Leather" hand tooled items on display there, along with several other venders with some really nice buckaroo gear, hand made log furniture, and several other cowboy products and paintings. The open mike sessions ran from 11:00 to 1:00 with Jingle Bob as emcee and 2:00 to 4:00 with Gale Patzlaff as emcee. We gained a few performers and some new audience. Liz Masterson with her blue heeler and her guitar, along with Elizabeth Ebert and Mrs. Landers, brought the crowd even more enjoyment. During this open mike session we would sometimes ramble through discussions of our experience with roundups using chuck wagons, ranch life years ago, and cowboying in general. It got purty interesting before it got over. We had almost more fun than the law should allow.
After an absolutely fun filled day of checking out the vendor booths, listening to cowboy songs, poetry, and ramblings, the audience was offered one of the best chuck wagon meals I can remember. Roast beef, cowboy baked beans, coleslaw, dinner rolls, apple cobbler, cowboy coffee and lemonade, all cooked to perfection. It was enjoyed by all.
Dan Barcus has put together this chuck wagon outfit and does a bang up job. He built his own wagon and is set up to feed a couple hundred people very handily. When he's all set up with tent and everything he covers a goodly space. He has all the necessary pots, utensils, knock down serving and food preparation tables, and the whole works stores neatly in his chuck wagon, ready for the next roundup. It's amazing when you look at how organized that outfit is, but that's a trait of them cow camp cookies.
Now comes the sad part. We had to pack up and get rolling before the 7:00 evening performance. I was scheduled to be one of the featured poets at Alzada, Montana, the next day, and due to the fact that I'm a party animal as long as it don't last past 9:30, I had to get home and get some bedroll time before we had to get up and go again.
But that Mary Jo sure knows how to pick good performers for her evening shows. On the bill was Liz Masterson from Denver, Colorado, an excellent cowgirl singer who does some Patsy Montana and other old time favorites. Then there was Keith Burden from Custer, South Dakota on the guitar and mouth harp with his unique style of playing cowboy music. This was my first meeting with Keith. Got to hear a little of his music before I had to leave. He's a performer you'll sure remember.
Bill Lowman from Sentinel Butte, North Dakota is a hit at any performance. Bill is a very talented poet and artist and is the gent who, along with his wife, JoAnn and some other very able help, has put on the Dakota Cowboy Poetry Gathering in Medora, North Dakota for the last 20 years. It sure was good to see Bill and JoAnn. Usually only get to see them once a year when we get up to Medora. It is very interesting how we can wind up so wealthy in friendships when we are able to get around to events like this Badger Clark Cowboy gathering.
Then turn Robert 'Jingle Bob' Dennis loose as the host of the evening lineup and you're going to have a night you'll long remember. After the evening performance there was a jam session scheduled at Scotty's Roundup again. I sure felt bad havin' to miss that get-together, too.
This Badger Clark Cowboy Poetry and Musical Gathering has the potential to become one of the next great entertainment spots in our end of the country. The location is centered, the facilities can't be beat, the surrounding Black Hills scenery is spectacular, the community is as friendly as it gets, and it goes on at the perfect time of year. If you're looking for good clean family entertainment and a chance to learn some history of how the cowboy and his horse helped build this great country with the same beliefs and principles that America was founded on, send a signal to Mary Jo or the Hot Springs Chamber of Commerce and get on the list to get information.
Any cowboy poets or musicians who are interested in being a part of this fun filled gathering contact Mary Jo Grill at 605-745-6639. Vendors call Pati Duff at the Hot Springs Area Chamber of Commerce, 605-745-4140 or 1-800-325-6991. If there is anyway possible to fit this event into your schedule, I would sure recommend not missing it. Who knows? This show could wind up being the "best of the best" in Dakota Territory.
If you didn't get to this event you don't know what you missed.
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