Cowboy Poetry and Western Life

Events and Festivals

Gathering Reports


We invite folks to send in reports about gatherings.

Following are reports about events that 
are linked from event listings on the Events page. 

(Some links may be out of date.)

2005 Reports


(see January-February reports here)
(see March-May reports here)
(see September-December reports here)


Amarillo (Texas) June

Winthrop (Washington) June

Gordon (Nebraska) June

Rupert (Idaho) June

Encampment (Wyoming) July

Salinas (California) July  separate page

Woodside (California) July

Idaho, Washington, Oregon (The Great Northwest RV Tour) July

Lemmon and Mobridge (South Dakota) August

Creswell (Oregon) August  separate page

Kanab (Utah) August  (Western Legends Roundup) separate page

Kanab (Utah) August  (Cowboy Poetry Rodeo) separate page

Grass Valley (California) August

See reports from 2004 here
See reports from 2003 here
See reports for 2002 here
Reports from 2000- 2001 are here


Back to Events page . . .
Back on home . . .


June, 2005
Cal Farley's Boys Ranch Youth Cowboy Poetry Gathering  Amarillo, Texas

story and photo by Yvonne Hollenbeck



Built on the site of the historic Texas town of Old Tascosa, the beautiful Cal Farley's Boys Ranch near Amarillo, Texas, was the scene of one of the finest cowboy poetry gatherings in America, June 16 through 19, 2005.  In addition to the best in cowboy poetry and western music, attendees were treated to a multitude of workshops presented by many of the nation's top entertainers; a Western Arts and Trade Show; a cattle drive; celebrity team roping; dances; a chapel service, and delicious food from the finest of chuck wagon cooking.

The Thursday evening kickoff entitled "An Evening With
Waddie Mitchell & Friends" featured several of the entertainers that would be presenting throughout the weekend.  The Friday and Saturday night performances included The Burson Family; R. W. Hampton; Yvonne Hollenbeck; Wylie & the Wild West; Don Edwards; Chris Isaacs; and the Gillette Brothers. Youth poetry winners also presented poetry on each show, and making a debut performance was young fiddler, Anna Hedges, accompanied by her brother, Andy Hedges.

Plans are already underway for the 2006 event.  For more information on this and other activities at the Boys Ranch, see or call 1-800-687-3722.

Back row: Scott Wilburn of Wylie & the Wild West; committee member Darci Johnson; Wylie Gustafson; Dale, Ross and Brittany Burson

Front row: David Reynolds of Wylie & the Wild West; Ray Doyle of Wylie & the Wild West; Yvonne Hollenbeck; and R. W. Hampton

June, 2005
Dollar Watch Cowboy Jamboree   Winthrop, Washington

lauraleesm.jpg (15901 bytes)

story and photo by Lauralee Northcott 

Virginia Bennett, Jim Reader, Horse Crazy, and Dave McClure rode high Saturday night, June 25, 2005 in another edition of the Dollar Watch Cowboy Jamboree.  Virginia touched hearts with poems and charming stories. Jim Reader's amazing guitar playing and fine song writing took the people on a trip through golden Alberta.   Audiences roared to the comedy sketch, "Forest Stump and Leana Tree on Fire Patrol." Horse Crazy's tight harmonies and accomplished musicianship wowed the crowd and everyone had a great night.

Join us for the next hilarious trip down the memory trail September 17, 2005 with Skip Gorman as we revisit the golden age of radio, beneath a western moon and surrounded by the spirited history of the Methow Valley.  KMOO is a fictional radio station dedicated to preserving Cowboy Culture for those hungry masses starving for wholesome entertainment.

This program will be presented in conjunction with the Winthrop Antique Auto Rally.  Please don't miss the special event in Winthrop, Washington.

For more information:  Call (509) 996-2404, or check out: or or email to  Also, you can check out to keep up on all the Winthrop news.

See our feature on Lauralee Northcott's Dollar Watch Cowboy show.

June, 2005
Tri-State Old Time Cowboys Association Gordon, Nebraska

story and photo by Yvonne Hollenbeck

In the beautiful Winship Park at Gordon, Nebraska, a small ranching community in the Northern Panhandle, is a wonderful cowboy museum which was built by the Tri-State Old Time Cowboys Association.  The association was originally founded by many of the first ranchers to the tri-state area as well as several who had came up with Texas trail herds and electing to stay and establish ranches after the country was opened to homesteading.  The museum houses saddles, photographs, and memorabilia of these old cowboys, including those of the five generations of the Parker family, one of the foundation ranch families in the area.  Last July, Howard Parker, the 4th generation rancher of this clan, died suddenly and left a great void to this association as well as to the entire cowboy poetry and western entertainment family.  Last Sunday (June 12, 2005) a new sign in front of the museum was dedicated at the association's annual picnic.  This sign was purchased in memory of Howard Parker by a retired Long Pine, Nebraska, veterinarian and former rodeo contestant, Dr. Lyman White.

the late Howard Parker's wife, Jean, and son, Chuck Parker


Read more about Howard Parker and some of his poetry here.

June, 2005
A Night On The Snake River Plains  Rupert, Idaho


Report and photos by Smoke Wade


A Night on the Snake River Plains

When someone mentions the word "fundraiser," cowboy poets and musicians pop-up like jack rabbits in the sage brush, shine their boots and start a stampede to the event center.  Cowboy entertainers seem to love fund-raisers and such was the case recently in Rupert, Idaho.

The Renaissance Art Center, Inc. has slowly been restoring the 1920's era Wilson Theater in Rupert through a series of fund-raisers. The Wilson has been the event center for the annual  Mini-Cassia Snake River Valley Cowboy Poetry Gathering held in November for the last few years. The most recent event was billed as A Night on the Snake River Plains and featured cowboy poetry and music.

The near capacity crowd was treated to a special pre-show by one of the great poets of Idaho, Bill Ramsey. Ramsey is a past recipient of the Silver Quill award presented annually by the Cowboy Poets of Idaho, Inc. The theme of many of his poems is about horses and one such poem in particular delighted the audience. The poem is about a outlaw cowboy trapped under a dying horse with no way to escape. At the end of the poem, Ramsey pulls a
revolver from his pocket and fires two shots - one for the horse and one for the rider. Needless to say, the attention of the audience was uniquely captured.

After a welcome by Earl Corless of the Renaissance Art Center, the show got under way with cowboy poet and emcee for the event, Smoke Wade of Idaho. Wade's presentation followed the theme of the evening, "The Snake River Plains" with poetry and stories of the Oregon Trail and Snake River cowboys. The featured musicians included Larry Gibson and John Westbrook, Montana as well as Wayne Nelson, Idaho.

Left to right: Larry Gibson, Wayne Nelson, Becky Nelson (secretary of Cowboy
Poets of Idaho), John Westbrook and Smoke Wade

Larry Gibson, host of the Townsend, Montana, cowboy gathering, presented a selection of favorite western songs as well as his original work. Dressed in his fancy gunfighter clothes, Gibson challenged Smoke Wade to a poetry duel. Perhaps the first time in the state of Idaho, the cowboy poets presented a poetry duet of the classic poem, "Silver Bells and Golden Spurs." Gibson recited the Dandy Ran's lines complete with a chain of silver bells on his checkered vest, while Wade, with his golden spurs, recited the stranger's lines.

John Westbrook, dressed in his old west U.S. Marshall costume,  delighted the audience with his signature style of guitar picking. Westbrook, known for his bass playing with Johnny Lee in "Looking for Love" from the sound track of Urban Cowboy, has also performed in shows with Merle Haggard, Michael Martin Murphey, The Oak Ridge Boys, Don Williams, Waylon Jennings and The Riders Of The Purple Sage.  Westbrook presented songs from his new CD, Along the Banks of the Yellowstone, as well as providing sound for the event.

The show just kept getting better when John Westbrook and Larry Gibson teamed up for a set together.  Their instrumental version of "Ghost Riders" greatly pleased the audience. A particular favorite of the crowd, by their
ovation, was Westbrook's new song, "Sally Ann," the story of a "soiled dove" in Hells Canyon attempting to lure cowboy, Smoke Wade, into parting with his silver bells and golden spurs.

Local favorite, poet and musician, Wayne Nelson closed out the show. Nelson is the only person to win both the Silver Quill and Golden Note award from the Cowboy Poets of Idaho. The awards are presented annually for excellence in poetry and music. Wayne Nelson is best known for his sage harp and his poem, "Snowville," a soon to be classic about an albino bull and a black rodeo clown.  Perhaps the most progressive songwriter in Idaho, Nelson closed the show with his original song, "Snake River Plains," a story of a cowboys last request to have his ashes scattered across the Snake River plains.

After the show, the performers greeted the audience in the lobby for autographs and CD sales. The show was deemed a success and the organizers immediately booked the western performers for the 2nd Annual Night on the
Snake River Plains
to be held at the Wilson Theater on June 10, 2006.

July,  2005
Grand Encampment Cowboy Gathering 
Encampment, Wyoming

story by Yvonne Hollenbeck, photo by Candy Moulton



Off to a good start, the dedicated committee members from throughout Encampment, Riverside, Saratoga and Carbon County, Wyoming, just completed a very successful third annual gathering at Encampment July 15, 16 & 17.  This little community, located on the Western slope of the beautiful Sierra Madre Mountain Range,  Southwest of Laramie, certainly did an outstanding job hosting a successful gathering.   Folks gathered from many a mile to take in the various events, which included stick horse rodeo, melodrama, outlaw shoot-out, poetry and music sessions around the campfire, afternoon sessions, area tours, and a Saturday Night Special featuring Yvonne Hollenbeck, Chuck Larsen, T. J. Casey, Steve Moulton, and The O'Brien Family Band.

(Photo courtesy of Candy Moulton)
From left: Kyle O'Brien, Dan O'Brien, Lacy Rose, Chuck Larsen, Maura O'Brien (in front), Yvonne Hollenbeck, T. J. Casey, Steve Moulton, Jeanette O'Brien, 
and Grand Encampment Cowboy Gathering President Robert Worthington.

July, 2005
10th Darn-Near Annual Woodside Western Music and Cowboy Poetry Night 
  Woodside, California

story and photos by Susan Parker



Through the well-organized efforts of the Mounted Patrol of San Mateo County (MPSMC), The 10th Darn-Near Annual Woodside Western Music and Cowboy Poetry Night in Woodside, California on July 23rd was an awesome evening.  With its woodsy setting reminiscent of my childhood camping days, the friendly folks and the camaraderie of kindred spirits, the whole affair was like a big family BBQ with entertainment.

Bob Weber

Buckaroo Bob Weber, the "local guy" and original instigator of the event, did an excellent job of hosting the evening.  With both talent and humor, he kept the program on schedule. Playing his guitar and singing a medley of old country tunes, including those by Ray Price, Hank Snow and Merle Haggard, he proved to be an authentic singing cowboy. And had the lady sitting in front of me keeping time to his music "dancing" in her seat while knitting a pink cap!  (I know there is a poem lurking there!)

Sourdough Slim

Sourdough Slim, was, well, Sourdough Slim; very talented and always hilariously entertaining.  Having the opportunity to sit across from him at the BBQ, I was pleased to discover that he is just your basic everyday nice guy and absolutely delightful!  Performing my personal favorites, "Barnacle Bill" and "Big Bad Bill from the Badlands", he never ceases to amaze me with his ability to play the harmonica and the accordion while singing and


Virginia Bennett

Virginia Bennett, one of my favorite poets, gave a flawless performance. She is the "real deal."  I felt like we were just hanging out around the campfire while she regaled us with true-life stories in her playful, modest manner.  A lady everyone should have for a friend or sister! From the humor of "Storms on the Divide" to the ones that gave you pause, like "The Lion," and my personal favorite because it reminds me of my passion for wild horses, "The Truth of the Matter," Virginia held everyone's attention.  One of her poems I was hoping to hear was "In the Canyon of the Forgotten," a true gem that quietly whispers to be heard.  Maybe next time.  All these poems and more can be found in her new book In the Company of Horses, a "must have" for everyone!

The Lost Canyon Rangers

The Lost Canyon Rangers stole the show!  Bursting out at the seams with musical talent, their performance of western favorites like Bob Nolan's "Tumbling Tumbleweed" and RW Hampton's "Cowboy & the Queen" had people dancing in the grandstands. Then throw in some gospel like "May the Circle Be Unbroken," and it is obvious why they were the recipient of  AWA's Will Rogers Cowboy Award for Rising Star of the Year for 2005. After performing other favorites like Ian Tyson's "The Gift," they were heading off the stage when the audience stood up applauding, demanding an encore song. Combining their talent and passion for western music with Skeeter Mann's wit and charm, Lindalee Green's infectious smile and laughter, and Scotty Van Salter's mighty fine banjo playing, you can expect to see these folks around for a long time.  Buckaroo Bob Weber said it was the best western music they had ever had.  Look for them in a town near you.

When the Woodside event rolls around next year, don't miss it.  The price is extremely reasonable for excellent talent, with the proceeds going to benefit MPSMC charitable organizations. And you get to hang out with wonderful folks.

July, 2005
The Great Northwest RV Tour   Oregon, Washington, Idaho


Report by Smoke Wade


Ed Dailey, host of the syndicated radio show LEGENDS OF COUNTRY, organized The Great Northwest RV Tour that took place on July 17 - 24, 2005. The tour stopped in six towns in eight days and featured known cowboy poets and western musicians.

The towns visited were Union Gap, WA, Lewiston, Idaho, Milton-Freewater, Oregon, Long Creek, Oregon, Seaside, Oregon, and Pasco, Washington. Performing members of the tour were Ed Dailey, AWA 2003 "Rising Star" award winner, Tammy Gislason, Eddie Collins, Rod Erickson, 13-year-old Marlissa Fite, Bud Massengale, Clark Crouch, and Country Music rising star, Zac Grooms.

At each stop along the way, local and known performers joined the group. Songwriter Pete "Bummin' Around" Graves joined the tour in Union Gap. Bodie Dominguez, Shiloh Sharrard and
Smoke Wade performed in Lewiston. A. K. "Kathy" Moss performed poetry in Long Creek. Many other cowboy poets also gathered and contributed along the way.

The highlight of each stop was young Zac Grooms and his band. Zac plays a blend of traditional and modern country as well as cowboy and western songs. His performances indicate that Zac will be a name we may very well be aquatinted with in the future. A fun time was had by all that participated, and the wonderful sound of cowboy poetry and western music was brought to many towns that usually don't have cowboy gatherings. Ed Dailey is certainly to be commended for all he does to promote western and cowboy entertainment.

August, 2005
Boss Cowman Cowboy Opry 
Lemmon and Mobridge, South Dakota

story by Slim McNaught

[photo of Slim McNaught by Jen Dobrowski]



On a beautiful Tuesday evening, August 9, we began an interesting and fun filled two days. We were attending the Boss Cowman Cowboy Opry, broadcast live on the Webb from the Boss Cowman Conference Center at 214 2nd Avenue West, Lemmon, South Dakota. Bob and Winona Penfield of Penfield Auctions present this program on the second Tuesday of every month. They have regular listeners in China and Australia, as two examples of the Webb audience. This performance was well attended at the Center by folks from North and South Dakota, Wyoming and Montana, as well as some folks from Florida.

Duane Dickinson of Scoby, Montana was the musical talent of the evening. Duane has been performing for far over two decades at cowboy shows all over the west. His specialty is the old cowboy songs from the eighteen hundreds to early nineteen hundreds. He sings these old ballads the way they were written seventy five to a hundred years ago. As the cowboy poet of the evening, I recited poetry that I have been writing since the late forties, some new, some old. As I told the crowd, when I was young I wrote poetry about the way I thought things should be. As I got older I wrote poetry about the things I was doing. Nowadays I write poetry about things I used to do, since I don't do much anymore.
After the broadcast, the Penfields hosted everyone to a delicious lunch in the basement kitchen and dining area of the Boss Cowman building. Duane displayed his CDs and tapes and I put out my books. We had a great evening.

The next evening, August 10, we were a hundred miles east of Lemmon. We performed in the Sacagawea Learning Center Auditorium just off US 12 in West Mobridge, South Dakota. This was Mobridge's Second Encore Edition, again put on by Bob and Winona Penfield. Here, the Penfields hosted a dinner theater, catered by The Pizza Ranch of Mobridge, South Dakota. Great food, excellent chicken! Duane and I performed about a half hour and then Rory Hoffman and his brother Reed went on stage and put on a great musical performance. They had Ethel Diggs, Gospel singer from Los Angeles, California, sing a few numbers. That lady has one beautiful voice! Also doing a couple  numbers was Jesse Ginter from Lemmon, a friend of Rory's. That girl has lots of talent, she is only in the eighth grade, but sounds and acts much more mature. Rory is an excellent musician. He started playing guitar at age three and now plays fourteen different instruments. Both born blind, Rory and his brother, Reed, are musical geniuses. They write and compose their music. They have recorded with the Potter Sisters and others.

Depot Music Productions,with Eric Ulmer at the helm doing an excellent job on sound, broadcasting, and recording of both night's performances, handles the Penfields Cowboy Oprys and operates from his studio in Mobridge, South Dakota. Duane and I finished up the last half hour of the evening. Bob Penfield, who was the MC both evenings, signed us off each night. He also did a very good job for the sponsors for both shows. And a good time was had by all.

August 2005
Nevada County Poetry Series  Grass Valley, California

Harold Roy Miller sent this photo of from The Nevada County Poetry Series event that took place in Grass Valley, California on  Saturday August 20, 2005, which featured Mick Vernon, Janice Gilbertson and Harold Roy Miller.

Janice Gilbertson, Harold Roy Miller, and Mick Vernon 

Read the original event announcement here.


We invite you to send in reports about gatherings and other events.



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