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 Calendar. 

(Some links may be out of date.)

2007 Reports

March - April



Alamo (California) March

Wood (South Dakota) March

Bryson-Hesperia (California) March

Kamloops (British Columbia) March  separate page

Lewiston (Idaho) March  separate page

Cedar City (Utah) March  separate page

Mesquite (Nevada) April

Winner (South Dakota) April

Kennewick (Washington) April

Cowboy Poetry Week Events

St. Anthony (Idaho) April  separate page

Kanab (Utah) April separate page

  Cowboy Poetry Week Wrap-ups; Reports on Activities  separate page

See more about Cowboy Poetry Week here.


See January-February 2007 reports here
See May-July 2007 reports here

See August-September 2007 reports here
See October-December reports here

See reports from 2006 here
See reports 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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March, 2007
San Ramon Valley Horsemen's Association Cowboy Poetry  
Alamo, California

ftSanRamonb.jpg (24601 bytes)  story and photos by Frank Thornburgh



The Alamo Woman's Club rang with the sounds of cowboy stories and poetry on March 9, last Friday evening.  Heidi Koch, a long time member of the San Ramon Valley Horsemen's Association, introduced two invited specialists of the art form, Ms.
Susan Parker and Mr. Lynn Owens, who wowed the audience of over a hundred members and friends.

photo by Frank Thornburgh
Susan Parker

The two poets performed in front of a backdrop of western memorabilia and collectables which Mr. Owens brought in.  There were wonderful saddles, holsters, branding irons, photos, chaps and antique firearms all dating from the 1800's.

Ms. Parker and Mr. Owens each in turn eloquently recited over ten long story poems while dressed in beautiful western attire. And they did it all from memory. Two of Susan's pieces were "Ranch Mother" by S. Omar Barker and "Cowboy Kinda Girl" written by Susan.  Stories about lost loves, hard times, favorite horses, disagreeable horses, and tough men and woman overcoming adversity are just a few subjects of their poetry.  An occasional funny tale mixed in kept the audience smiling. It should be mentioned that a few others in the audience were dressed in their colorful B-Western duds but none compared to Lynn Owens' blindingly turquoise boots.

photo by Frank Thornburgh
Lynn Owens

During intervals between the poets, and at the end of the evening, photographer Andreas Koch presented slide shows set to artistically-selected musical recordings.  Photos that blended with the evening's western theme were from the few ranch areas still remaining in our area.  Photo subjects showed old wagon wheels, open space vistas, round ups, brandings, wood structures with character, and horse riders herding cattle. The photo/music programs are something Mr. Koch is obviously good at although he said, "It's a lot of work."

photo by Frank Thornburgh
Andreas Koch

The evening was billed as a "Social/Potluck Dinner." The San Ramon Valley Horsemen's Association is definitely social, as people were friendly and easy to talk to.

The potluck dinner part is difficult to describe, but an old lover of potlucks will try. Think about your best bottomless-pit-stomach memories of church potlucks and you're getting close.  There were six long tables of food with about any kind of main entrée imaginable plus many salads, breads and rolls, and for desserts--two long tables full of desserts. (A few people stopped by Safeway or Costco on the way.)

Each table seated about eight people and held a small potted cactus plant centerpiece on a western neckerchief contributing to the western theme.

photo by Frank Thornburgh

Lynn Owens closed the evening entertainment by doing a famous John Wayne poem written by Jim Mitchum called "Why I Love America" followed by another Andreas Koch slide/music production, "God Bless America." That brought a grand conclusion to a heartfelt evening among horse lovers and western culture enthusiasts.  San Ramon Valley Horsemen's President Gayle Jones, presented the featured poets with bouquets of flowers and bottles of wine as tokens of appreciation.

Check out the SRVHA website for upcoming events:


photo by Frank Thornburgh

March, 2007
Western Writers Guild Poets   Wood, South Dakota

    report by Slim McNaught  



Tucked away under a butte in good hard grass rangeland lies the ranch home of Bonnie and Ken Krogman. The home is cozy, with a hospitable atmosphere and shows the artistic touch of the lady of the house. Bonnie is a very talented gal, dividing her time between homemaker, full time ranch hand, community involvements, cowboy poet, painter of western scenes extraordinaire, and (just to keep her occupied in her spare time) holds an outside job. Whew! Makes me tired just thinking about that busy gal.

We arrived at the Krogman ranch March 11, 2007, at one o'clock on a beautiful afternoon to attend a
writers group meeting. Seven poets and three visitors showed up to participate in this Western Writers
Group. Poets attending were: Bonnie Krogman, Wood; Burdena Weidner, Winner; Don Hilmer, New Underwood; Troy McNaught Westby, New Underwood; Rosie Glynn, White River; Yvonne Hollenbeck, Clearfield; and me, Slim McNaught , New Underwood. Visitors attending were Fred Weidner, Carol Philips of Owanka, Derrill Glynn, and Darlene McNaught. All in attendance were from South Dakota.

A number of items were discussed. Yvonne Hollenbeck gave several tips on writing poetry in regards to
punctuation, correct spelling, etc., with emphasis on rhyme and meter. At each meeting the host picks a
subject for the members to write a poem about. Bonnie had picked "Calving Time," and all presented their
poems on that subject. 

Membership dues were discussed and it was voted to collect yearly dues to cover postage and supplies. Locations for the next two meetings were suggested and after some discussion it was decided the next meeting will be held April 29, 2007, and hosted by Burdena and Fred Weidner of Winner. The following
meeting will be held on June 30, 2007, at the home of Slim and Darlene McNaught in New Underwood, South

After the meeting, Bonnie served a delicious supper (dinner to the city folk) of Indian Tacos and all the trimmings including some tasty desserts. What a finish to a very enjoyable day. We all lingered, not wanting to leave, but like all good things it came time to go on. The good byes are always the hardest part of these gatherings.

As author of this report, and being a new member, I feel that Yvonne Hollenbeck should be commended for
keeping the records of the past writers group and getting it revived again. These gatherings are not only lots of fun as a social get-together, but very beneficial to any one interested in writing cowboy poetry. Many good ideas are presented at these group sessions. I feel we are very fortunate to have Yvonne as a part of our group.

March, 2007
Cowboy Music and Poetry  Bryson-Hesperia, California

report and photo by Janice Gilbertson

Award-winning poet and storyteller Chris Isaacs warmed up the room at the old Hesperia country hall on the evening of March 16th. His warm cowboy humor kept us entertained and he was generous in giving us an extra long show. We all enjoyed the potluck supper and the chance to get to know Chris. Jay and Anne Brown sponsor "Cowboy Poetry Night" at the hall and they get credit for luring Chris all the way from his home in eastern Arizona.

Janice Gilbertson and Chris Isaacs


(Janice Gilbertson emceed the event and performed her own poetry.)

March, 2007
Cowboy Poetry Hootenanny  Mesquite, Nevada


Report and photos by Smoke Wade 

Cowboy Poetry Hootenanny

Organized cowboy poetry came to Mesquite, Nevada on April 7, 2007. Billed as a Cowboy Poetry Hootenanny, the event took place as a fund-raiser for the Virgin Valley Artists Association, and it was held at the Community Campus Theater. The restoration of the interior of the community owned theater is a project of the V.V. Artist Association.

The purpose of the refurbishment is to provide an up-to-date performance venue with leading edge theatrical equipment that would be available to all groups and organizations that rent the theater for their performances.

Butch Burkholder

Local cowboy poet, Butch Burkholder, and Linda Faas of the V.V. Artists Association spawned the concept of the Cowboy Poetry Hootenanny. They formed a cowboy poetry workshop in October 2006, and held bi-monthly meetings at the Mesquite Fine Arts Center to coach budding poets on intricacies of cowboy poetry. In early 2007, Smoke Wade joined the group to coach on presentation of cowboy poetry.

Linda Faas

The Cowboy Poetry Hootenanny played to a sold-out audience. Many of the poets were "snowbirds" wintering in Mesquite. Collectively, the beginning poets came from Colorado, Wyoming, Montana and Nevada. Poetry was presented by Don Sims, Diana Coonradt, Joe Klasen, Barbara King, Chad McBurney, Sharon Young, Lee Kimberlin, Sid Hysell, Harlo Birkholz and Shem Teerlink. Also featured were poetry presentations by Butch Burkholder and Smoke Wade.

Highlights of the evening included an exceptional performance by local beginning cowboy poet, Shem Teerlink. Shem is a working cowboy, born and raised in the Virgin River Valley of Mesquite.

Shem Teerlink

Cowboy musicians Doris Haws and Gerry Hopkins performed pre-show entertainment. Cathy Petrus accompanied by Doris Points on the piano led musicals sing-a-longs. Joe Klasen and Butch Burkholder played harmonica during "Home on the Range." The members of "Boot Scoot Mesquite" presented a special western line dance revue.

The event was deemed a success as it raised over $1300.00 for the theater restoration project.

The cast joined in a "wrap" party after the show. Then as the "snowbird" poets discussed travel plans back to their respective home states for the summer, all agreed to meet again next fall in Mesquite, and once again take part in a cowboy poetry workshop with hopes of a 2nd annual Cowboy Poetry Hootenanny in the spring of 2008.


April, 2007
Western Writers Guild Poets   Winner, South Dakota

    report and photo by Slim McNaught  



The April 29th meeting of the combined Western Writers Guild and the Dakota Cowboy Poets was held at the Fred and Burdena Weidner ranch southwest of Winner, South Dakota. In a valley setting that only the Sandhills can provide, is located the Weidner Ranch. When you top the hill and start down into the ranch headquarters you are impressed with the location.
Amidst the trees, barns, corrals, and green lawns sets the very comfortable Weidner ranch home. This meeting proved to be a most interesting gathering, with the hosts providing a two part program.

There were eighteen people in attendance at this meeting: Fred and Burdena Weidner (hosts); Leo and Jo Nickel - Ainsworth, NE; Mary Scott - White River, SD; Bonnie Krogman - Wood, SD; John and Ruth Burton - Merriman, NE; Bob Moreland - Merriman, NE; Marci Broyhill - Dakota City, NE; Valora Waller - Winner, SD; Marilyn Herrmann - Millboro, SD; Marty & Donna Blocker - Merriman, NE; Troy McNaught Westby and Darlene and Slim McNaught   - New Underwood, SD; and Yvonne Hollenbeck - Clearfield, SD.

Marty Blocker presided at the meeting which Yvonne describes as a "very loosely organized' group," (my favorite description of a good time). Poems and stories were presented with the theme "Branding Time" having been previously selected by the hosts.

Some timely comments and suggestions were brought up and thoroughly discussed. Yvonne gave many tips on getting
books and CDs published, with some dos and don'ts from her first hand experience. One important piece of information she gave is to make sure you get an ISBN (International Standard Book Number). Your publisher can get that number for you.  This puts your book in an international registry that proves it is your production. Many outlets won't sell or display your book without that code number.

Ruth Burton also gave some interesting information about publishing a book. Ruth and her husband, John, have published a western novel, Call Me Mac. Some of the problems they encountered gave us all good pointers to watch for when getting our books published. I showed the group some poem books that I have written and also a couple written by my mother, Troy McNaught Westby. These are small saddle stitched books that I stack in my computer (with pictures and illustrations), print, assemble, staple, trim, and distribute myself. The advantage is reduced cost; the disadvantage is the extra work of keeping up an inventory.

Publishing CDs was discussed. I presented my CD and explained how I print my own case inserts and assemble them and the CDs into jewel cases and wrap each one by hand. I have the labels burned on the CD by a professional company as the self-adhesive labels can peel off and jam up a player. As Yvonne pointed out, that is a lot of work and it can be done quite
reasonably by commercial businesses. She gave the group some good tips on getting a CD published from start to finish. She mentioned several companies that can be used to get a good end result.

After a very informative and interesting meeting, our hosts treated us to the second part of the program. We loaded up into two vehicles and, with Fred Weidner driving the lead vehicle and doing an outstanding job of "tour guide", and Marty Blocker
doing the honors of opening gates, were treated to a tour of the Weidner Paint Horse Ranch.This deserves a column of its own, as space here does not permit doing justice to this tour. Several newborn colts added to the tour.

With over one hundred head of horses, of which thirty are brood mares, the Weidners have been breeding for the homozygous Tobiano and black genes. Their breeding program is aimed at smart, gentle, quiet dispositioned horses for the working ranch horse and trail ride enthusiasts. On their web site,, they advertise, "Well bred, all-around South Dakota Ranch raised Paint Horses, bred for Performance, Pleasure, Cattle Work, Roping or Trail Riding". This tour was immensely enjoyed by all.

Then comes the part that everyone comments on for days. Burdena treated us to a delicious feed of baked beans, barbequed beef sandwiches, several salads, and strawberry shortcake. When you have no will power (like me) and with all that great food available, you are bound to eat way too much, which I did. But it was worth every satisfied groan. Since I was old enough to enjoy good food it has amazed me how these ranch wives can whip up the most delicious spread to accommodate
any size crowd. That is one thing about ranch folk that hasn't changed.

The next meeting will be held on June 24, 2007 at 1 p.m. MST, at the home of Slim and Darlene McNaught at 110 South Madison Ave., New Underwood, South Dakota. The theme for the meeting will be "Barb Wire." These regular meetings are a tremendous asset to any cowboy poet or western writer. The ideas and camaraderie shared at these get-togethers is hard to describe unless you have been there. We all come away from these gatherings with new inspirations and goals. And, as always, time to say "goodbye" comes altogether too soon. I think I speak for all when I say, "Can't wait for the next meeting."

April, 2007
4th Annual Columbia River Cowboy Gathering, Kennewick, Washington


Report and photos by Smoke Wade 


The Kennewick Report
4th Annual Columbia River Cowboy Gathering

For the fourth consecutive year, cowboy poets and western musicians gathered in Kennewick, Washington on April 13 – 15, 2007, for the 4th Annual Columbia River Cowboy Gathering.

The event was organized by the Columbia River Cowboy Gathering Foundation under the direction of Ed & Angie Dailey and Budd & Judy Massengale, event coordinators. Ed Dailey is the host of the syndicated radio show, Legends of Country. Many local sponsors contributed to help make the gathering a success.

The talented cast of invited poets and musicians represented a broad cross section of the western entertainment industry-–Oklahoma, Missouri, Tennessee, Nevada, California, Oregon, Washington, Idaho and Utah. Attending western art and gear vendors included: award winning bronze sculptor, John X. Geis, Idaho; Sagebrush Old West period clothing, Washington; Mallory Silversmith, Oregon, and many others.

The gathering got under way on Friday at high noon. Daytime showcase performances ran in twenty-minute segments, interspersed with several open mike sessions. A local cowboy poets group, the Columbia River Cowboy Heritage Society (CRCHS), sponsored one of the open mike sessions for local poets including CRCHS members: Keith Anderson, President; Larry Price, Vice President, Programs; Bill Douglas; and Clark Crouch, all of Washington. Crouch recently was successful in requesting the Governor of the State of Washington to issue a Proclamation proclaiming April 15 – 21, 2007 as Cowboy Poetry Week in Washington State.

Entertainers that presented showcase performances, among others, included musicians: Bodie Dominguez, Washington; Eli Barsi, Missouri; Wayne Nelson, Idaho; Sharon Glenn and George Thomsen of the musical duo Northfork, Washington; Kathy Criddle, Oregon; the western music trio, STAMPEDE! of Utah comprising band members Steve & Terri Taylor and Dave Anderson; Billy Rose and Doc Quam of Desert Breeze, Nevada; Shiloh Sharrard, Idaho; Coyote Joe, Oregon; The High Strung Band, Oregon; and Rod Erickson of Idaho. The sound system for the showcase was provided and operated by Bodie Dominguez.

Bodie Dominguez


The poetry showcase included Smoke Wade , Nevada and Van Criddle, Oregon. Both Wade and Criddle were Silver Buckle recipients in the poetry competition at the 2006 National Cowboy Poetry Rodeo in Kanab, Utah.

After a delightful dinner catered by, Rhonda’s Old Town Restaurant of Oregon, the evening performance got under way with Ed Dailey acting as emcee.

The Friday evening show featured Northfork, Smoke Wade, Eli Barsi, STAMPEDE!, Billy Rose and Doc Quam. The headline acts were county singer, Pake McEntire, Oklahoma, and Rich Hoag, California, as "Will Rogers."

Eli Barsi, award winning songwriter and yodeler, presented a crowd-pleasing performance. Originally from Canada, Eli is fast becoming one of America’s favorite singing cowgirls. She performed with ambitious passion, drawing the audience into her music with the extended range of her voice. Her "million-dollar" smile added grace and pleasure to her wonderful music. Eli was the AWA 2002 and 2006 Female Vocalist of the year, as well as the 2006 WMA Crescendo Award recipient.

Eli and John Barsi

Headliner Pake McEntire shared his stories of life growing up with his sisters, Reba and Susie, as well as delighting the audience with his exceptional fiddle playing and cowboy songs while performing the "Pake McEntire Show." Pake is a former RCA recording artist who has toured the United States and parts of Canada since the early 1980’s, landing three top twenty hits on the Billboard’s Country Charts. Pake has performed with entertainers such as Garth Brooks, George Strait, Reba McEntire, Vince Gill, The Judds, Alabama, Ronnie Milsap and many more. He has made numerous television appearances on Hee Haw, Nashville Now and A&E Biography.

After the Friday night concert, a Cowboy Dance was presented featuring the music of Desert Breeze and Stampede!

The Saturday Showcase sessions ran through out the day including open mike sessions hosted by the Columbia River Cowboy Heritage Society. The daytime sessions both days were emceed by Smoke Wade and Budd Massengale.

Several performers presented notable showcase performances. Sharon Glenn and George Thomsen of Northfork presented delightful cowboy songs. Van Criddle, poet, and his cowgirl singer wife, Kathy Criddle, presented popular performances. Van Criddle recently was successful in obtaining a proclamation from the Governor of Oregon, proclaiming April 15-21, 2007 as Cowboy Poetry Week in Oregon.

Van and Kathy Criddle


Rich Hoag presented a special early show performance, Will Rogers America.

Those that were familiar with Will Rogers, as most cowboy poets are, found his exceptional portrayal of Will Rogers to be a visit to the past. His show included a video presentation depicting various aspects of Will Rogers’ life. Rich has performed in over 40 musical comedies, both amateur and professional, including The Music Man, Oklahoma, 1776, Cabaret, Company, Camelot, Hello Dolly, Carousel, The Sound of Music, I Do, I Do, and more. For more information on Rich Hoag and Will Rogers America, visit the web site

The Saturday night show got underway at 7:00 p.m. hosted by Ed Dailey. The featured poets included Van Criddle, Wayne Nelson and Smoke Wade. The featured musicians included STAMPEDE!, Desert Breeze, Rod Erickson, Eli Barsi, The High Strung Band, and Horse Crazy (Lauralee Northcott, Nadine Van Hess and Emele Clothier).

Highlights of the evening included a special presentation by Ed Dailey and Smoke Wade to cowboy poet, Wayne Nelson, recognizing his poem, Snowville, as the most requested cowboy poem on Dailey’s Legends of Country radio program.

Wayne Nelson

Van Criddle wowed the full auditorium with his presentation of his original poem, "Sixteen Horses." Rod Erickson once again proved to be a perennial favorite as he yodeled his way into the hearts of all in attendance. And Billy Rose and Doc Quam provided an authentic cowboy sound with Rose’s vocals and Doc Quam’s fiddle music.

Horse Crazy, with Lauralee Northcott, Nadine Van Hess and Emele Clothier, bill themselves as a "kickin' cowgirl band." One thing was for sure; they rocked the house with their high-energy brand of cowgirl music.

STAMPEDE! was another crowd favorite. They mixed a blend of cowboy favorites, humorous material and their original songs. Having won many awards including Terri Taylor’s "Colors " as the WMA 2005 song of the Year, STAMPEDE! certainly put together an award winning performance.

In the midst of all the high-talent performances of the evening’s show, one group stood out with their own unique style. The show stealers were the Reddington Family, Oregon, also known as the High Strung Band. The mother, Jennifer, played guitar, while the father, Shawn, played stand up bass. But the energy of the group came from the children. With precision and perfection, the three youngsters managed to take the audience to the next level. Nine year-old, Megan and eleven year-old, Hunter, played exception fiddle music, while fourteen year-old Landen on guitar was a flat picking wizard. After three standing ovations, the High Strung Band proceeded to the product sales table where they sold every CD they had brought with them. This group has earned the respect of many gathering organizers, and their name will soon be on the "must book" list for many major western events.

Immediately following the Saturday evening show, a special concert was present by Oregon western gospel band, Faithful Heart. Most of the audience stayed in their seats as this highly professional band provided an energetic performance. The group has performed for 33 years in the music ministry.

Once again, a cowboy dance took place with music provided by Eddie Collins, STAMPEDE! and Desert Breeze. After the dance, many of the musicians started a late night jam session at the Crow’s Nest Lounge in the Clover Island Hotel that went until the wee hours of the morning.

At 7:00 a.m. Sunday morning, the cowboy entertainers performed on a recorded radio show hosted by Ed Dailey. Following the radio broadcast, Ed Dailey hosted a cowboy church featuring Eli Barsi and Faithful Heart. In addition to the weekend’s cast of performers, gospel singer, Ed Dailey gave a special presentation.

After the church was over, the cowboy poets and musicians said good-bye to each other, promising to meet again at a gathering somewhere along the cowboy poetry trail. Or perhaps, next year, again, for the 5th Annual Columbia River Cowboy Gathering to be held April 11 – 13, 2008 at the Benton county Fairgrounds in Kennewick, Washington.



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



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