Featured at the Bar-D Ranch

Cowboy Poetry Week Event Reports




Utah Governor's Proclamation Presentation

Cowboy Poets of Utah honor Colen Sweeten (special feature, separate page)

Oklahoma poets at the Capitol

South Texas Cowboy Poetry Week Report

Heritage of the American West show, Spearfish, South Dakota

Piper's Opera House, Virginia City,  Nevada

Third Annual Cowboy Poetry Festival, Grass Valley, California

Arizona's Gila Valley Cowboy Poets


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April, 2006
Utah Governor Huntsman and the Cowboy Poets of Utah   Salt Lake City, Utah

Members of the Cowboy Poets of Utah met with Governor Huntsman when he signed the Cowboy Poetry Week proclamation on April 7, 2006.  

 Phil Kennington, Jo Lynne Kirkwood, Terri Taylor, Karen Kern, Sam DeLeeuw, Paul Kern, Steve Taylor, 
Rod Miller, Val Carter, and Curly Syndergaard with Governor Jon M. Huntsman, Jr.


Governor Huntsman shakes hands with Jo Lynne Kirkwood as Val Carter and Curly Syndergaard look on.


Sam DeLeeuw makes Governor Huntsman an honorary member of the Cowboy Poets of Utah.


(Photos courtesy of the Utah Governor's office; see additional photos posted on that site, here.)

April, 2006
Cowboy Poets of Utah honor Colen Sweeten   Payson, Utah

See the special report and photos on a separate page, here.

April, 2006
Oklahoma poets at the Capitol


Report by Jay Snider, photo and citation image by Angela Beene (www.abcphotography.net

On April 19, 2006 a little band of cowboy poets from around the state of Oklahoma gathered at the state capitol in Oklahoma City to receive citations from the House and Senate declaring April 16-22, 2006 as Cowboy Poetry Week
in the state of Oklahoma.

Among those attending the festivities were Debra Coppinger Hill of Chelsea, Oklahoma, Calvin "Cowboy Kal" Cook of Apache, Oklahoma,  Jay Snider of Cyril, Oklahoma, Angela and Robert Beene of Jones, Oklahoma, Sandra and LeRoy Jones of Mountain View, Oklahoma, Lavern "Straw" Berry of Cordell, Oklahoma, Karen Neurohr, assessment librarian at Oklahoma State University, Linda and Phil Rexwinkle of Welch, Oklahoma, and David and Dusty King of Claremore, Oklahoma.

photo courtesy Angela Beene (www.abcphotography.net)
Robert Beene, Jay Snider, Debra Coppinger Hill, Lavern "Straw" Berry, Representative Joe Dorman, LeRoy Jones, Dave King, Dusty King, "Cowboy Cal" Calvin Cook, and Phil Rexwinkle

When the afternoon session began, District 65 representative Joe Dorman read the declaration on the House floor and received a unanimous vote. He then invited cowboy poet Jay Snider to the podium to recite one of his poems. Snider then introduced Academy of Western Artist female poet of the year Debra Coppinger Hill who also recited a selection of her original poetry. The ceremony ended in grand fashion with Will Rogers-style trick roping performed by "Cowboy Kal" Cook from Apache, Oklahoma. Legislators and friends were then invited into the lounge area to hear recitations from the
other poets who were in attendance.

A special thanks goes out to representative Dorman and his staff for all their hard work in making this project a reality.

See a larger image of the citation here.

April, 2006
South Texas report, by Linda Kirkpatrick

Photo by Jeri L. Dobrowski

When Paul Kern took the initiative to have Cowboy Poetry Week proclaimed in his state, I vowed not to be out done!  I just really thought that contacting Governor Rick Perry and getting this would be “simple as pie.”  As usual, I was so wrong.  Well, maybe not.  I may have just expected too much too fast.  But when it gets to the point that the people in the governor’s office recognize your voice you begin to think that you may have called too much.   But they tolerated my anxiety with kindness and grace and probably just shook their heads when they hung up from talking to me! Then on Thursday, before the much anticipated Cowboy Poetry Week, I emailed the governor and said that I was very embarrassed because the state, with probably more cowboys than any other, (ok other states with cowboys—that was just a power statement) would not have their proclamation in time for the Monday program at the local school.  You see Friday was Good Friday and I just didn’t think that I would get it then, I was very frustrated to say the least!  But then, when I went to the post office on Good Friday, I discovered that I had to eat crow and send an email to the governor, groveling for forgiveness.  I was so darn excited!

I had the proclamation and that fabulous poster framed. Monday morning found me at Leakey Independent Schools for a program with the 7th through 12th grade students. The kickoff for Cowboy Poetry Week was a success! The students were so great. This week was also the anniversary of the last conflict between the Indians and Anglo settlers in the Frio Canyon . It was also probably the last in the state so I feel that everyone in this canyon needs to know the story and the importance of this historic story and the trickle down effect that it has had on three different cultures, Texas History and the women of the west.  Many of the students had never heard of the incident, so I told the story and recited the poem, “Conflict in the Frio Canyon ,” written about the events of April 18, 1881 . The students were so quiet that you could have heard a pin drop! 

Next stop was Tuesday morning at the El Progresso Library in Uvalde , Texas .  Frank Roberts and I drove the forty miles in separate trucks as I was going to pick up a load of non existent hay!  Well, I went down without hay and came back with the same amount. The new library there is so nice and they are really doing great things to preserve the local ranching history which is a first in this part of South Texas .  The program was great with a nice number of adults.  Nancy Feely , the librarian, really liked the poster and the story behind it.  She told the story of Joelle Smith and the models in the painting.  She really brought everything together by relating cowboy life and the art world from painting, stories, poems and music.   

On Wednesday morning, Joe Wells, Frank Roberts and I left our quiet canyon for Panola College in Carthage , Texas (deep East Texas I might add) just a short nine and a half hour drive away. Thursday morning we met with the sound man and other people from the college.  We then stopped by the Texas Country Music Museum. Carthage , Texas is the home of several well known Country music legends.  We always try to get a glimpse of the local museums and historic places when we travel.  It was then back to the college at 6:00pm for a stop at the reception and then to kick off the show at 7:00pm .  We were so pleased with the audience of about 350 students and faculty.  Greg Powell , President of Panola College, said that the program was just exactly what he wanted. 

When I arrived home on Friday evening, I had a message on my recorder asking if I would stop by one of the churches on Saturday at high noon to talk to a group of Antique Car people who had driven from Houston and Dallas to Leakey for lunch.  I called back and said, “Sure!”  There were twenty eight people in fifteen cars from the 1950’s and they were so great.  They loved the local lore and cowboy poetry.  One lady came up afterward and said that this was her first time to hear cowboy poetry and she had always thought that she would never like it but that she really did.  She even bought one of my CD’s and I am sure that she will be a visitor to cowboypoetry.com. One lady even related that she had received an email from a friend with a cowboy poem attached about a fence.  She was excited when she realized that I was familiar with the Red Steagall poem, “The Fence That Me and Shorty Built.”  I sold everything that was in my case!  I was very pleased. 

Here it is Sunday and I have no place to go today!  I guess that I will just wash clothes and relax a bit from the last week and I may just work on a new poem or two!

Thanks to everyone who took part in promoting this genre that is so dear to my heart! 

April, 2006
Heritage of the American West  
Spearfish, South Dakota  Celebrating Cowboy Poetry Week

  The Heritage of the American West show celebrated Cowboy Poetry Week in a special program on April 20, 2006 in Spearfish, South Dakota before a live audience at the High Plains Heritage Center, with Yvonne Hollenbeck, Wally Bazyn and South Dakota's first screening of Ridin' & Rhymin', the award-winning documentary about Georgie Sicking.  Georgie and Rhonda Sedgwick Stearns also recited poetry. You can listen to the archive here.

 Producer Francie Ganje created a colorful report with photos and more, which you can see in full here.

April, 2006
Piper's Opera House fundraiser  
Virginia City, Nevada  Celebrating Cowboy Poetry Week

Reports by
Dave P. Fisher and Harold Roy Miller

  From Dave P. Fisher:

Piper's Opera House, spearheaded by Executive Director, Margo Memmott, along with Andy Miller of the Sierra Express Band, organized a pre-season fund raiser for renovation work on the grand old opera house.  It was decided to combine the event with a tribute to Cowboy Poetry Week. The event went off well and all involved had a good time.  There wasn't a bad act in the house.

Piper's has been standing on its present location since 1885.  The interior, stage, dignitary boxes, and woodwork are original from that date. To be on that stage is an honor in itself.  The performer stands in the tracks of Mark Twain, Bill Cody, Maude Adams, and a host of other legendary performers who at one or multiple times have performed on Piper's stage. Virginia City and the Comstock represent some of the greatest history in the settling of the West, and Piper's Opera House played a significant role in that development.

Each performer put on an hour-long program.  Performers for the event included:  Cowboy poet and western storyteller
Dave P. Fisher, cowboy poets Harold Roy Miller and Diane Miller, John Denver impersonator Steve Kern, the Red Rose Band, Nevada Rain Bluegrass Band, and capping the event was the Sierra Express Band.

Dave P. Fisher wrote a poem entitled "The Grand Lady" specifically for the event.  He opened his program with this poem.  The poem was donated to the Opera House and will continue to be sold in its gift shop with all proceeds going to the renovation work.

Dave P. Fisher


  From Harold Roy Miller:

In celebration of Cowboy Poetry Week, cowboy poetry was performed at a fundraiser to continue the restoration of Piper's Opera House in Virginia City on Saturday, April 15.  The Opera House was first built in the mid-1800's.

Two cowboy poets performed along with bluegrass, cowboy and rock bands, an opera singer and a ragtime piano player featuring songs popular around the turn of the century.  Cowboy poets
Dave P. Fisher and Harold Roy Miller performed.  Sharing Harold's slot was his reciting wife Diana and Steve Kern, a John Denver look-alike who performed several of John Denver's songs as well as his own.

The Nevada Appeal had a nice write-up about the event.

photo by Arlene Wolfe of Lake Tahoe, California
Steve Kern ("Little John"), Harold Miller (seated) and Diana Miller 

April, 2006
Third Annual Cowboy Poetry Festival   Grass Valley, California

Report by Susan Parker, photos by Diana and Harold Roy Miller


Grass Valley Elks Help Celebrate Cowboy Poetry Week

Under the threat of rain, Grass Valley, California's Third Annual Cowboy Poetry Festival was held on April 22nd, sponsored by the Grass Valley Elks #538 to celebrate Cowboy Poetry week.

The Stardust Cowboys got the night off to a boot-scootin' start with some cowboy songs of the old west as well as some western swing, rockabilly and a few of their own originals.  The Stardust Cowboys have an impressive list of credentials, playing throughout California and Nevada, as well as other parts of the Northwest, including Canada.  Check out their website at www.stardustcowboys.com.

photo by Diana and Harold Roy Miller
Stardust Cowboys

A dinner break provided everyone with an opportunity to fill their belly with spicy bean soup, coleslaw, barbequed ribs and cornbread, all prepared by the Elks volunteers.

Co-ordinated by local Elks members Dawn Navrvaez, Laura Argento and Tony Argento, Sr., cowboy poets from California and Nevada entertained the audience with a wild variety of tales.

Jim Cardwell from Oroville, California recited favorites like "Snaketale," "Thrasher," and "Itching Denied the Benefits of Scratching," together with his latest song inspired by Hurricane Katrina, "Son of California," in which he accompanies himself on the guitar.  Jim has a new CD with the best of his own poems, including "Son of California."

photo by Diana and Harold Roy Miller
Jim Cardwell

Susan Parker, from Benicia, California recited her own "Cowboy Kinda Girl" and "Spiritual Source," together with her latest titled "Final Ride."  She also performed Sally Bates' "Generic Titles" and "Where The Ponies Come To Drink," written by Henry Herbert Knibbs

photo by Diana and Harold Roy Miller
Susan Parker

Tony Argento, from Reno, Nevada, performed some excellent renditions of works by Baxter Black and Robert Service's "The Shooting of Dan McGrew."  A wiry, lean-machine in a ten gallon hat, he entertained everyone with his antics.

After a brief intermission, during which winning raffle tickets were pulled for some fabulous prizes, the cowboy poetry continued with Diana Miller and Harold Roy Miller from Stagecoach, Nevada, sharing some of Harold's work, where he says "he tries to capture the lighter side of horses and cowboy life in his writings."  Being advocates for Nevada's wild horses, they shared lots of horse poems, both funny and sad.  Harold's poetry, with some stunning photos, can be found in his book Horse Daze.

Harold Roy Miller and Diana Miller

The evening rounded out with some folks from Marysville, California. Gene Davis performed his original poetry accompanied by Fred Gibbons, aka "Harmonic Hank," on the harmonica.  Hank's daughter, Mandy, performed "Outdoor Plumbing," written by her sister in Texas.

Happily the rain didn't make an appearance and the campfire kept burning.  A great time was had by all!  Be sure to mark your calendars for next year. The monies received assist the Grass Valley Elks in serving their community.


Arizona's Gila Valley Cowboy Poets

Report and photos by Ann Blackford


Gila Valley Cowboy Poets
Cowboy Poetry Week, 2006

The sounds of cowboy music, poetry and stories were heard throughout Arizona's Gila Valley during Cowboy Poetry Week April 16 - 22, 2006.

On April 19 the Gila Valley Cowboy Poets partnered with the Graham County Library in Safford for the Library's Open House event. Student poets and musicians joined local musicians, poets and storytellers to provide family entertainment hourly during the daylong open house. Safford Mayor Ron Green, with his trusty bass and Jon Messenger, well known cowboy poet and musician from Sierra Vista, were special guest performers. Visitors were delighted to see the library decked out in cowboy style, with hay bales, saddles, lariats and every cowboy accoutrement imaginable, including the horse accompanying Library Director, Jan Elliott during her welcome speech. Cleanup was not an issue however, as the steed was a stick horse. Special invitations to Senor Citizen groups and all local schools brought members of every age to enjoy a day of refreshments, cowboy entertainment and an introduction to new technology now available in the library.  Director Elliott called the event the best the library has ever had, and plans are already being made for more joint activities between the Library and the Gila Valley Cowboy Poets.

Safford Mayor Ron Green, Ralph Smith and Skelly Boyd

The Graham County Historical Museum in Thatcher hosted a Cowboy Poets Week reception the evening of April 20. Gila Valley Cowboy Poets provided two hours of entertainment to those attending the reception, which was held in the Music Room of the museum. Mayor Green again generously contributed accompaniment. Gila Valley Cowboy Poet Bunny Dryden premiered the fall Gathering theme song "Trailin' Memories," which she wrote this winter.

Bunny Dryden accompanied by Ralph Smith

The 7 am breakfast event for the Heritage Days celebration at the Eastern Arizona Museum in Pima was the stage for the Gila Valley Cowboy Poets, storytellers and musicians on April 22. The large group attending the
breakfast enjoyed great cowboy entertainment along with their pancakes.

The Gila Valley Cowboy Poets visited several participating local business throughout the week to provide a bit of cowboy entertainment. Restaurants added special Cowboy Poetry Week menu specials, the local coffee company had a cowboy poetry week special drink for the week and the western wear store featured a special as well as cowboy candy bars. All the participating businesses displayed the Cowboy Poetry Week poster and the Governor's and Mayor's Cowboy Poetry Week proclamations. As one resident said, "it woulda' been pretty hard to be in this community this week and not know it was Cowboy Poetry Week in the Gila Valley!"

Ralph Smith and Skelly Boyd





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