We invite folks to send in reports about gatherings.
Following are reports about
are linked from event listings on the Events page.
(Some links may be out of date.)
January - March
Lewiston (Idaho) January
Arvada (Colorado) January
Elko (Nevada) January-February (separate page; multiple reports)
Lewiston (Idaho) (Lee Earl Gathering) February (separate page)
Clearfield (South Dakota) February
Valentine (Nebraska) February
Chadron (Nebraska) February
Alpine (Texas) February
The Great American Cowboy China Tour/ March-April
Lewiston (Idaho) March
Kamloops (B. C.) March
Cedar City Cowboy Gathering (Utah) March (separate page; multiple reports)
April-June reports here
See July - September reports here
See October-December reports here
from 2005 here
See reports from 2004 here
See reports from 2003 here
See reports for 2002 here
Reports from 2000- 2001 are here
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2nd Annual Best of the Best Cowboy Poet Extravaganza Lewiston, Idaho
Report and photos by Smoke Wade
Cowboy Poet Extravaganza
The American Legion Lewis-Clark Post #13 presented their 2nd Annual Best of the Best Cowboy Poet Extravaganza on January 28, 2006. The event has become an annual fund-raiser for the Legion Post. The evening's entertainment took place at the Lewiston Community Center.
The featured cowboy poets were David Nordquist, Washington, along with Howard Norskog and Smoke Wade, Idaho. The musicians included cowboy gospel singer Jim Bullard, Gary Eggers, Shiloh Sharrard, and Dean Wadsworth all of Idaho; Eric Larson, Washington; and Sweetwater Country, a local band that delighted the audience with a blend of traditional cowboy songs and country music.
photo by Smoke Wade
Rear: Eric Larson, Howard Norskog, and David Nordquist
Front: Jim Bullard and Dean Wadsworth
June Huckleberry, Clearwater Country, performed the old time art of whistling with each song. June produced a CD of her whistling songs that sold over three hundred copies locally in thirty days.
photo by Smoke Wade
Howard Norskog and Dean Wadsworth, reunited after several years, performed several of the poems set to song and music. The crowd favorite was "Buck Me Down Easy."
The Legion Post announced the fundraiser was a success, and will use the funds to help finance several of their projects. They announced plans to schedule a third annual event in 2007. Naturally, when the word "fundraiser" was mentioned, the western entertainers volunteered their services for next year. But not before they took their pay in coffee and cookies at the end of the show.
The 17th Annual Colorado Cowboy Poetry Gathering Arvada, Colorado
story and photos by Yvonne Hollenbeck
The western way of life was well represented January 12-15, 2006, as the 17th Annual Colorado Cowboy Poetry Gathering was held at the beautiful Arvada Center for Arts and Humanities. In conjunction with the gathering, was the kick-off weekend of the National Western Stock Show and Rodeo, which is celebrating its 100th Anniversary. Featured performers at the gathering were Brenn Hill, Leslie Keltner, Kip Calahan, Peggy Godfrey, Bill Barwick, Buffalo Bill Boycott, Ray Owens, Juni Fisher, DW Groethe, Pop Wagner, Barry Ward, Milton Taylor, Skip Gorman, Yvonne Hollenbeck, Andy Nelson, John Nelson, Gwen Petersen, Richard Elloyan, Buckshot Dot (Dee Strickland Johnson), Jon Chandler, Elizabeth Ebert, Liz Masterson, Dick Warwick, Doris Daley and the new and outstanding group called "Sons and Brothers." Hosting the five theatre performances were Andy Nelson, Yvonne Hollenbeck, Doris Daley, Bill Barwick and Pop Wagner.
Skip Gorman, Liz Masterson, and Pop Wagner
Pop Wagner, Ray Owens, Yvonne Hollenbeck, D. W. Groethe & Juni Fisher
International Favorites, Doris Daley of Canada and Milton Taylor of Australia
The 2006 Gathering, which was dedicated to the memory of Sean Blackburn, a key figure in the gathering since its inception, played host to large slate of other outstanding performers filling in the various other venues Those performing were Vic Anderson, Floyd Beard, Jerry "Brooksie" Brooks, Zeb Dennis, Duane Dickinson, Larry Glenn, Johnny Kendrick, Linda Kirkpatrick, Gary Knighting, Al Mehl, Tim Nolting, John Schaffner, and the popular Yampa Valley Boys.
Without a doubt, this is one of the best organized and produced cowboy poetry gatherings in America. Five day sessions were held each hour to standing room only crowds, and the five theatre performances were sold out, indicating the popularity of this annual event. The Arvada Center will be celebrating its 30th Anniversary this year, and will be completing a new 200 seat cabaret style theatre which will add yet another session facility to next year's Gathering.
Hoedown at the Hall Clearfield, South Dakota
story and photo by Yvonne Hollenbeck
Hoedown at the Hall
The Clearfield Hall was built in 1917 by area pioneers as a gathering place for members of the community. It is one of the remaining buildings in the ghost town of Clearfield, South Dakota, which was once a bustling little hub. A committee was formed several years ago to save the hall from demise, due to years of neglect. Since that time, a new roof, windows and doors, siding, kitchen, running water, indoor bathrooms and a new stage area has been added and the hall is once again the center for community activities. The Hall Committee recently decided a new heating system was needed and air conditioning would be a wonderful amenity, and the ball began rolling to raise money for this project.
Because Jean Prescott was planning to spend a few days with her friends, Glen and Yvonne Hollenbeck at their ranch near Clearfield, Yvonne suggested that Jean's talent be showcased at a little program at the hall. Word spread, and a "hoedown" was planned. In addition to Jean, Yvonne agreed to do some poetry and also enlisted the help of her friend, cowgirl poet Bonnie Krogman of Wood, South Dakota, who brought along her friend, Cheryl Vomacka of Carter, a gospel singer. The evening of February 7 found the hall filled to the brim with folks. A free-will offering was the only admission charged, and folks were treated to some great talent followed by an incredible lunch provided by the good cooks of the area. What had hoped to raise a couple hundred dollars for the benefit turned out to be over twenty-five hundred dollars! Needless to say, the committee was more than delighted and folks are still asking "when is Jean coming back?" and "when
are you going to do this again?"
Yvonne Hollenbeck, Cheryl Vomacka, Gary Fast (Clearfield
Hall Board Chairman) and emcee, Bonnie Krogman, and Jean Prescott.
Heart City Bull Bash Valentine, Nebraska
story and photo by Yvonne Hollenbeck
Valentine's Heart City Bull Bash
When the cow town of Valentine, Nebraska, decides to have an event the whole community really puts their heart into it. Besides the successful Nebraska Cowboy Poetry Gathering held there each fall, another annual event that draws folks from many a mile is the Heart City Bull Bash. The bull bash is held on the Saturday before Valentine's Day and is just one
of the many events surrounding that holiday. The entire business district on Main Street is blocked off and at least sixty pens are set up which are home for the day to many top bulls. Each pen is filled with several prize specimens of various bloodlines from some of cattle country's top breeders, and the streets are soon filled with onlookers. Many other activities are held throughout the community and the final event for the day is a concert at the Valentine Rural High School Auditorium. This year's concert was termed "The Best of the West" which consisted of a performance by Jean Prescott, Yvonne Hollenbeck, Dave Stamey and R. P. Smith, hosted by the ever popular Wally Bazyn of Valentine. These four entertainers had previously been featured at the Nebraska Cowboy Poetry Gathering and are favorites among the folks who packed the theatre for their presentation.
Jean Prescott, R. P. Smith, Wally Bazyn, Yvonne Hollenbeck, and Dave Stamey
Cowboy Poetry Gathering and Baxter Black Chadron, Nebraska
stories and photos by Yvonne Hollenbeck and Diane Tribitt
from Yvonne Hollenbeck:photo courtesy of Yvonne Hollenbeck
If there was an award for "Best New Event" it would have to go, hands down, to the gathering held on February 18 at Chadron, Nebraska. As I drove to Chadron, the temperature hovered around 30 degrees below zero, being one of the coldest snaps in a long while, supplemented with approximately 8 inches of fresh snow. I thought that we would be literally preaching to the choir as I could not imagine anyone going out in this type of weather to hear cowboy poets and musicians they had never heard of. Was I ever wrong!
The beautiful Chadron State College Campus was the host facility and the large room in the Student Union was full of enthusiastic folks. The committee, under the direction of Loree MacNeill and Danielle Hencey, pulled out all the stops when treating the entertainers to one of the best organized gatherings I have ever attended.
Although this was the first year and what one would consider a small gathering, the committee chose several up-and-coming entertainers who have not had a lot of experience, however, these folks certainly proved themselves worthy of gracing the stage of any gathering no matter how large.
Those participating were Diane Tribitt of Minnesota; Jerry Schleicher of Missouri; Tim Nolting and Liz Masterson of Colorado; Lyn Messersmith, Deb Carpenter, Willard Hollopeter, Rick Buoy, and Richard Haag of Nebraska; South Dakota's Yvonne Hollenbeck, Bonnie Krogman, Ken Cook and Slim McNaught; Diana Miller and Harold Roy Miller of Nevada; and Mike Moutoux of New Mexico.
BACK: Rick Buoy, Slim McNaught, Harold Roy Miller, Jerry Schleicher, Willard
Hollopeter, Richard Haag, Tim Nolting, Mike Moutoux, and Ken Cook
FRONT: Baxter Black, Diane Miller, Lyn Messersmith, Yvonne Hollenbeck, Liz
Masterson, Bonnie Krogman, Diane Tribitt, and Deb Carpenter
After treating the folks to a great cowboy supper, the day was capped off with the appearance of Baxter Black
at Memorial Hall, which was a sold-out performance with additional rooms set up housing closed circuit big screen TV's for the overflow crowd.
The folks at Chadron certainly deserve praise for their efforts in bring forth a new Cowboy Poetry Gathering and we look forward to this becoming an annual event.
photo by Yvonne Hollenbeck
more from Diane Tribitt:
Chadron was absolutely wonderful. It was very cold outside (-29 degrees), but the atmosphere was "hot" as the poets and musicians entertained a wonderful crowd. It was topped off by a great stew and cornbread supper, and a delightful performance by Baxter Black. Loree MacNeill and Danielle Hencey did a wonderful job putting it all together. Kudos to both of them! Hopefully this will become an annual event. I'd love to go back!
It was great to meet other poets and entertainers. It became obvious to me right off the bat that there is a "family" type bond between all of the entertainers, and as a newcomer I was proud to become a part of it. I also thought it was cool that Baxter came around to get OUR autographs!
photos by Diane Tribitt
From left, Bonnie Krogman, Slim McNaught, and Yvonne Hollenbeck
20th Annual Texas Cowboy Poetry Gathering (Sul Ross) Alpine, Texas
story and photos by Linda
Alpine, Texas: Thursday afternoon, February 23, 2006 at the pavilion of the Ramada Inn, was not your typical kick off for a gathering. All performers, committee members and promoters gathered to meet, greet and celebrate the kick off for the 20th Annual Texas Cowboy Gathering. What an exciting time for everyone! This years Gathering was dedicated to the memory of J. B. Allen and in memory of Clay Lindley. These two poets added so much to the genre of cowboy poetry and they will be greatly missed.
With luck, you were one of the lucky ones that made the trek to Alpine, Texas to take part in this historic event. This year more entertainers and more sessions were added in celebration of the 20th.
The open mic sessions, held at the beginning of each day, were packed with entertainers and audience members. So many performers signed up that two rooms were opened up to give everyone a chance to perform.
Regular sessions began at 10:00am each day and continued until 5:00pm. The stage shows began at 7:00 to packed houses each night. To give all performers time on the main stage, each poet or musician was ask to perform one poem or song.
Dale Burson, Ann Sochat, and Randy Huston
Mike Querner, Jim Jones, Linda Kirkpatrick, Jim Wilson
The Friday night featured performers were the Gillette Brothers from Crockett, Texas. These two brothers have roots in the ranching industry and in the music business as well. Their show is an entertaining blending of Celtic music into traditional western and cowboy music. The awards that they have won back up the work that they do whether it is on the stage, cooking at their chuck wagon or on their ranch.
The Saturday night show featured the fantastic duo of Gary and Jean Prescott. These two bring an abundance of talent every time they step onto the stage. Gary penned the words to “Fair Blows the Wind” while Jean added her beautiful voice to the recording. “Fair Blows the Wind” won the Song of the Year at the Academy of Western Artists Awards Show last year. Jean has also won many other awards from Album of the Year to Female Vocalist with the Academy of Western Artists.
Jean Prescott, with Suzi Killman and her daughter
Linda Kirkpatrick and Ray Owens
The winner of this year’s Heritage Award was chuckwagon cook and fiddle player, Glenn Moreland of Ft. Davis, Texas. Glenn has done what ever it takes to keep the ranching heritage and western life alive. He is a great entertainer and greatly deserves the Heritage Award. Following the Heritage Award was the drawing for the Gene Klein commemorative spurs. The spurs, engraved with TCPG and 20th in silver and the logo carved into the spur straps, were valued at $750.00. The lucky winner was Wade Fitzgerald of Sonora, Texas. Wade is the son of cowboy poet, Ray Fitzgerald. All of us were proud of Wade and then we were moved to tears. Backstage, Wade felt that he just really didn’t need the spurs and wanted them presented to someone very special. So Joel Nelson came back on stage, stopped the show and called Margaret Allen to the stage. Wade felt that the spurs just needed to go to the widow of J. B. Allen. Everyone was very touched by Wade’s act of kindness and consideration.
Rod Taylor, Linda Kirkpatrick, Washtub Jerry, and Rolf Flake
Approximately fifty individuals and groups entertained to packed rooms for the Friday and Saturday day sessions. The entertainers came to Alpine from many areas of Texas and the world. Jack Sammon, New South Wales, Australia, brought poems and stories from the stock camps in Australia. Others were from Arizona, California, New Mexico, Oklahoma, Oregon and Utah. Everyone agreed that it was a real pleasure to see so many folks in the audiences. Many audience members come back year after year and admit that they wouldn’t miss the Gathering at Alpine for anything!
Randy Huston, Andy Hedges, and Biscuits O'Bryan
It was hard for this writer to catch very many shows and do my own but I did manage to catch a few and have included some photos. If you missed this years gathering make sure and check the web site for next years dates and plan your trip! www.cowboy-poetry.org
A big hat’s off to the Committee Members and the people of Alpine, Texas for their hospitality and success of the 20th Annual Texas Cowboy Poetry Gathering.
[Ed note: A partial list of the poets and musicians appearing at Alpine in 2006 includes: Mary Abbott, Oscar Auker, Leon Autrey, Sally Bates, Mike Beck, Jerry Brooks, Don Cadden, Kip Calahan, Bob Campbell, John Campbell, Craig Carter, Sam Dawson, Ray Fitzgerald, Rolf Flake, Leon Flick, Jeff Gore, Audrey Hankins, Andy Hedges, Fran Hedrick, Randy Huston, Jayson Jones, Jill Jones, Kay Kelley, Suzi Killman, Linda Kirkpatrick, Chuck Milner and Family, Glenn Moreland, Joel Nelson, Biscuits O'Bryan, Ray Owens, Gary Prescott, Jean Prescott, Mike Querner, Bunni Roach, Nessye Mae Roach, Jack Sammon, Matt Skinner, Ann Sochat, Gail Steiger, Michael Stevens, Rod Taylor, Texas Sand (Jackie and Valerie Greene), Washtub Jerry, and Jim Wilson.]
The Great American Cowboy China Tour
Photo by Jeff Hildebrandt
Jeff Hildebrandt and Johnny Western at the Great Wall
Additional photo and information below from
Prairie Rose Entertainment (www.prairierosechuckwagon.com)
April 4, 2006 media release:
Having entertained thousands across China, the Prairie Rose Wranglers and the Children of the Independent School of Wichita along with television and radio personalities, Johnny Western returned late Monday night to Wichita’s Mid-Continent Airport from the 10-day China concert tour.
The "Great American Cowboy In China" tour included performances in San Francisco, the Great Wall of China, Beijing and Shanghai. An additional stop on the tour was Xian. One of the many highlights was the historic performance on the Great Wall of China, which was believed to be the first concert to ever have been performed on the Great Wall. China officials were present with the estimated thousands in attendance. Susie Schainost, Principle of the Independent Middle School of Wichita presented along with the Independent children, a Kansas State flag to the People’s Republic of China. Chinese authorities presented to the school children a welcoming gift.
At a special State Dinner, Sedgwick County Commissioner Lucy Burtnett presented to Director Bu of China Arts and Entertainment Group an official Proclamation of Greeting from the Sedgwick County Commissioners to the Peoples Republic of China.
On March 30th, excerpts of the Beijing concert were broadcast on CCTV, China's national television network, around the world. After the concert performers met with Chinese officials at a special VIP reception. At the reception Director Bu announced the formal invitation asking the Prairie Rose Wranglers to return to China in 2007, 2008 and 2009 for additional concerts.
Approximately 250 Kansans traveled with the Wranglers on this historic China tour. Thought to be one of the largest delegations of Americans to travel to China at one time, Jeff Arensdorf of Village Tour and Travel of Wichita coordinated all travel for this historic tour.
For the Beijing concert, approximately 100 were in attendance from the American Embassy in Beijing. The State of Kansas Trade office was also present with a delegation of approximately 10, lead by Mr. Karl Zhao, Kansas Department of Commerce China Trade office Director.
The Prairie Rose Wranglers performed the traditional western music of Kansas around the world while promoting the State of Kansas to China. The children of the Independent School, directed by Dianne Rapp performed a number of choreographed numbers with the Wranglers at each concert. Special guest stars were Johnny Western of KFDI, recording artist Rex Allen Jr., Starz Encore’s Jeff Hildebrandt and Joe "Hoppy" Sullivan.
The Great American Cowboy Concert Tour across China was created to build bridges of friendship between Kansas and China while promoting Kansas’s tourism and trade said Thomas Etheredge, CEO of the Prairie Rose Chuckwagon Supper and Wild West World Theme Park.
For more information contact:
Prairie Rose Entertainment
3rd Annual Christian Cowboy Balladeers Awards Show Lewiston, Idaho
photos by Smoke Wade
The Christian Cowboy Balladeers held their 3rd Annual Awards Show on March 4, 2006, at the Lewiston, Idaho, Community Center.
Howard Norskog of Idaho, hosted the show, and an evening of western music and cowboy poetry was presented to an appreciative audience. The performers included poets, Dolly Reed and Wendy Crozier, both of Washington; and Smoke Wade, Virgil Ruckdashel and Larry Palmer, all of Idaho. The musicians included Bodie Dominguez, Eric Larson, and Marlene Pederson, all of Washington; and country gospel singer, Jim Bullard, Idaho.
During the intermission, the audience participated in a silent auction, and every one was treated to coffee and Danish pastry. The proceeds from the auction will help fund various charity projects presented by the Christian Cowboy Balladeers during the year.
The award winners for 2005 were: Rising Star – Larry Palmer; Award of Excellence – Eric Larson; Musician of the Year – Bodie Dominguez; and Hall of Fame – Jim Bullard. Dolly Reed and Virgil Ruckdashel tied in votes for Poet of the Year, and each was presented with the award. The recipients of the awards are nominated and voted upon by the general membership of the organization.
Jim Bullard and Bodie Dominguez
The Christian Cowboy Balladeers is a grassroots organization comprised of cowboy poets and western musicians that provide beginning performers an opportunity to present and polish their talents by participating in a variety of local venues. The group entertains at three retirement homes each month, as well as providing Cowboy Churches on a regular basis, dinner shows and community entertainment.
The following morning, the group presented a Cowboy Church at the Asotin County Fairgrounds in Asotin, Washington.
Tenth Annual Kamloops Cowboy Festival Kamloops, B. C.
report and photos from BC Cowboy Heritage Society President Mike Puhallo
2006 Kamloops Cowboy Festival, March 10-12 2006
Ten years old and growing like a weed!
The Tenth Annual Kamloops Cowboy Festival set new attendance records with close to 1,100 people on hand for the Saturday Night Performances and nearly 5,000 total admissions over the weekend.
Over half the folks attending the festival came from outside the Kamloops area.
Once again the majority of the out of town guests were from Alberta but the Frazer Valley, Vancouver Island, The Cariboo and Northern BC, were also well represented. There were a small number of folks from Saskatchewan, Manitoba, and Ontario in attendance as well as about two dozen fans from various points in the USA. This year's festival also drew some international media attention with a half dozen travel writers in attendance as well as TV a journalist from Atlanta Georgia and a lady filming a documentary on Cowboy Poetry for the BBC in England!
With entertainers from each of Canada's four Western Provinces and guest artists from as far away as Texas and Nashville this year's festival is drawing great reviews from Fans, Exhibitors, and Entertainers!
There were several standing ovations over the weekend as enthusiastic fans showed their appreciation for the quality of entertainment provided.
Our out of town entertainers were especially impressed with our local hospitality and the support our festival receives from the accommodation industry, the local business community and the fans. They all drank a lot of Cowboy Coffee and most of them went shopping at the Horsebarn while they were here!
The big change over the last two Festival has been the addition of Cowboy Cabaret style dinner shows at Forsters Convention Centre. Last year we set it up to handle 212 people and sold it out on Saturday night without significantly reducing attendance at the Main Concert. This Year we added a Friday night show and expanded the Saturday seating. We still had near capacity crowds at the evening feature shows in Calvary Community Church and the Dinner shows drew 175 on Friday Night and 260 on Saturday.
This year we increased the effectiveness our shuttle service. With the help of two more volunteers and an additional van courtesy of Dearborn Ford we were able move guests and entertainers back and forth to the airport, their hotels and even on shopping excursions. This example of Western Hospitality went over very well and will be expanded more in future. (it could also help ease the parking congestion.)
Another exciting new development at this year's cowboy festival was the addition of the Can-Can troupe. Les Folles Jambettes to the dinner theatre shows. Their high kicking, high energy performances were a great lead in to the evening, and showed every one why those dance hall girls of days gone by, haunted every cowboy's dreams.
The Tenth Anniversary of the Kamloops Cowboy Festival was an outstanding success and I want to thank all the Performers, Artists, and Fans for contributing to that success.
Above all I want to thank all the Sponsors and Volunteers who have put in so much over the last ten years.
Your unselfish effort has made this festival one of the best of its kind in the world.
Thank you for helping to keep our Western Heritage alive in Canada's Original Cowtown!
Every Cowboys Dream
We had a high old time,
At this years Kamloops Cowboy Fest,
With cowboy poets, pickers and artists
from every corner of the West!
But the ones who really stole the show,
with beauty style and grace,
Nine long-legged CanCan Girls,
In ruffled skirts and lace!
Them high kicking Paris Dancers,
Sure fit the Old West theme,
And we seen why, in days gone by,
They was every cowboys dream !
I tried not to smile in the picture, 'cause I knew my wife would see it eventually,
and I did not want her to think I was having too much fun!
on the late shift open mic sessions, Forsters Lounge
A rising star.
Fifteen year old Brett Kissel from St Paul Alberta received three standing
ovations at the Kamloops Cowboy Festival and set a new record for product
sales at our event selling just over $3,400 worth of CDs
Juni Fisher picking and singing on the late shift, Forsters Lounge.
The jam sessions in Forsters began right after our evening feature shows
and carried on until the wee hours of the morning.
Imagine my shock to find out I was not the only cowboy them dance hall girls
was flirtin' with. Les Folles Jambettes with Riley Tubbs and Allen Christie
[Ed note: A gathering announcement noted that some of the invited performers included "Alberta's sensational young rising stars, Brett Kissel & Jesse Fowler, Shirley Field, Doris Daley (AWA female poet of the year 2004), Juni Fisher (AWA female vocalist of the year 2005), Jean Prescott (who's won so many awards we'd need an extra page to list them), Hugh McLennan, Gord Collier, Don Wudel, Noel Burles, Butch Falk, Matt Johnston, Horse Crazy, Bud Webb, and a dozen other returning favourites and bright new stars from the Western Sky."]
We invite you to send in reports about gatherings and other events.
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