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Carrizozo (New Mexico) July
Wichita (Kansas) July
Fish Lake (Utah) July
January-February 2007 reports here
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See August-September 2007 reports here
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Albuquerque Museum of Art and History Albuquerque, New Mexico
An exhibit at the Albuquerque Museum of Art and History through July 22, 2007 presents "the facts and myths that surround Billy the Kid" in Dreamscape Desperado: Billy the Kid and the Outlaw in America.
Rex Rideout and Mark L. Gardner took part in the exhibit's opening in May, 2007.The exhibit is curated by Paul Hutton, Professor of History at the University of New Mexico specializing in U.S. history, the American West, and U.S. military history. Hutton is also the Executive Director of the Western Writers of America.
Rex Rideout and Mark L. Gardner often perform together, playing period music on vintage instruments. Rex Rideout is a long-time student of the music and songs of the 19th-century American West. Mark L. Gardner is a professional historian, author, and musician with a broad range of publications—both popular and scholarly—focusing on the American West. Mark L. Gardner edited the acclaimed 2005 book, Jack Thorp's Songs of the Cowboys, which is accompanied by a CD recording performed by Mark L. Gardner and Rex Rideout. See our feature on the book and CD here.
Read more about the Dreamscape Desperado: Billy the Kid and the Outlaw in America exhibit and view a short video at the Albuquerque Museum of Art and History web site.
Following photo and report by Rex Rideout:
The opening of the Billy the Kid exhibit at the Albuquerque Museum took place May 13. Paul Hutton was the guest curator and he had rounded up an astonishing collection of firearms, original photographs, books and letters belonging to Billy the Kid and those who knew him. There was also another gallery of the folklore that followed. Books, dime novels, recordings and movies.
Paul presented a talk of Billy the Kid to an astonishing crowd of 450. Mark and I followed with a set of music popular at the time of Billy the Kid. Some were said to be his favorites. Then we finished with songs from the folklore that followed. The exhibit itself is amazing. There is the 1871 Colt that Pat Garrett used to shoot Billy the Kid. What single firearm could be more famous? Also the broken shotgun that the Kid used to shoot Olinger and Pat Garrett's sawed-off 1873 Winchester.
The exhibit is open until July 22nd. Much of it is from private collections and is not likely to be seen again.
21st Annual Dakota Cowboy Poetry Gathering Medora, North Dakota
Story and photos by Slim McNaught
[photo of Slim McNaught by Jen Dobrowski]
21st Annual Dakota Cowboy Poetry Gathering
"What is so fair (for a Cowboy Poet) as a day in May," especially when you're in the attractive town of Medora, North Dakota with abundant rain, beautiful green grass, gorgeous blue skies with the sun keeping the temperature in that "just about perfect range."
And when mentioning "just about perfect," that sure describes the Saturday and Sunday get together that took place in the Medora Community Center on May 26 and 27. We arrived in the area Friday night in a cold rain and wind. Saturday morning the weather had turned balmy and stayed that way through our trip home Monday.
This was the 21st Annual Dakota Cowboy Poetry Gathering in Medora, North Dakota, the nation's oldest regional cowboy gathering, and it's just like old home week when you pull into the parking lot. You park and set there a minute looking at all the rigs you recognize from years past. What a great feeling. Then when you step in the building the first people you see are JoAnn Lowman, manager; Sheila Marie, sales; Dawn Lowman, sales; and Lyle Glass, photographer. They are the folks manning the front desk, getting the performers checked in, arranging our books and CDs to be sold, and just being all-around helpful hosts.
JoAnn Lowman, Dawn Lowman, Sheila Marie
Rounding out the Gathering Staff is Bill Lowman, founder and director; Paula Harkins, public relations; Carolyn Sime, sales; and Helen Ostby, database. What awelcome and what a great bunch of folks.
Several exhibitors were set up including Lois Welsch of Medora, North Dakota with the Big Hat Society; Dakotaland Art Show; and saddlemaker Bill Engen of Belfied, North Dakota. Trent Loos also put on a Horse Clinic at the Medora Arena at 1 p.m., Sunday and
Monday. Darlene and I bring some of our hand tooled, hand made leather items with us each year so we spend the morning getting our booth set up. Then it's visit and mingle until dinner time (lunch to the city folk) and then back for the afternoon performances. There
were poets and musicians from seven states in attendance, which made for some of the best talent that can be gathered under one roof. There are folks who attend this get-together who are every bit as entertaining and professional as any of the national figures performing today.
The featured poets for the weekend afternoon performances were: Lynn Bueling of Mandan, North Dakota; Linda Lee "Tesky" Elhard, Jamestown, North Dakota; Mark Grothier, Bismarck, North Dakota; and Jarle Kvale, Dunseith, North Dakota. The first session on Saturday consisted of fifteen performers, of which I was number eight in the line up. Paula Harkins was our emcee and this year she was sporting a stock whip and Bill Lowman's wrist watch. Last year she had a sortin' stick and a stop watch. That gal sure knows
how to run a loadin' chute and keep everybody in their allotted time frames. Lots of good humor goin' on here.
After all this great entertainment the audience was given a few minutes to stretch and mingle before the next session got underway. This next session consisted of eighteen performers, all geared up and ready to go. This round was emceed by Rhonda Sedgwick Stearns, and as usual, she did a great job. She is a very talented lady. The hall was near maximum capacity and what an audience. They really made the performers welcome and were very attentive. That makes for lots of enjoyment for both entertainers and audience.
When the afternoon performances were over, the audience visited with the poets and musicians and checked over the books, CDs, and items on display in the lobby. Standing back and surveying the scene, you could say, "The place was buzzin' with good times." My
mother, Troy McNaught Westby, came with us on this trip, so the three of us went to supper (dinner to the city folk) and enjoyed a good visit with Rhonda and Will Stearns, Georgie Sicking, Sybil Brown, and others.
The evening performance started at seven thirty and the place was full. On tap was Bethany Zill of Laramie, Wyoming; Abe Reddekopp of Kansas City, Missouri; Paula Harkins of Billings, Montana; Ron Crowley of Hazen, North Dakota; and Georgie Sicking of Kaycee, Wyoming. Bill Lowman was there doing his usual good job as the evening emcee. These performers kept the audience totally engrossed in the program and gave a spectacular evening's entertainment. I heard some great comments while the crowd was dispersing after
After a good nights sleep we showed up at the Community Center for the Sunday Gathering events. The Sunday Morning Cowboy Gospel Singing (the Charlie Hunt Memorial) started at 9:00 a.m. and went to 12:00. It was emceed by Rhonda Sedgwick Stearns and any musician interested was invited to do some gospel singing. Some great talent performed there.
The first session of the afternoon was emceed by Bob Petermann of Wibaux, Montana. Bob was sure having a lot of fun doing that job. This session had fifteen performers and they kept the audience 'settin' up listenin'. When this session was over the audience was given a few minutes to stretch and get refreshments, etc., and we went into the second session for the afternoon.
This second session was emceed by Bud Comly of Sheperd, Montana. Bud is one of those emcees that are easy and fun to work with. This group consisted of sixteen performers, of which I was number ten on the list. My mother, Troy McNaught Westby , had written a
poem for this gathering and I gave the audience a little background before I read it to them. She called the poem "The Gathering." She has been writing poetry since about the eighth grade and she was born in 1916. The oldest poem she has recorded was published in
Ranch Romances magazine in 1933. She has three books published, working on two more. Yvonne Hollenbeck has enjoyed mother's poetry for quite some time and helped interest CowboyPoetry.com in featuring her work. A feature about her was launched there on Mother's Day.
The audience was great, the performers had a good time, and we all had lots of fun. That's what it's all about. After another good supper at the Cowboy Café we came back for the last evening performance. Again, Bill Lowman emceed while Bethany Zill and Abe Reddekopp led the action with Bud Comly, who ranches twenty five miles north of Billings, Montana; Marlene Norris of Wilton, North Dakota; and Rusty Thetan of Wisconsin, stepping up and giving the audience a very entertaining evening.
Then comes the hard part: pack it up, say goodbyes, hug the girls, and head off into the night, filled with good feelings, new goals, and determined (Lord willing) to get back here next year so we can all get together and "Cowboy Up"!
4th Annual Christian Cowboy Balladeers Awards Show Lewistown, Idaho
Report and photos by Smoke Wade
The Christian Cowboy Balladeers held their 4th Annual Awards Show on May 19, 2007, at the Lewiston, Idaho, Community Center. Howard Norskog hosted the show, and an evening of western music and cowboy poetry was presented to an appreciative audience.
The performance included poets, Dolly Reed, Washington; Smoke Wade, Nevada; and Howard Norskog, Idaho. The musicians included Bodie Dominguez, Eric Larson, and Marlene Pederson, all of Washington; Doug Reed and Maxine Larson, Idaho; with a special presentation by youth performer, Amanda Colton.
Noted performances include a wonderful presentation of an original song, "The Horse and the Healer" by Marlene Pederson. Bodie Dominguez sang Spanish cowboy songs while Eric Larson sang several of the old cowboy favorites. Howard Norskog held the audience spellbound with his original " Woman Who Walks With The Wind."
During the intermission, the audience participated in a silent auction, and every one was treated to coffee and cookies. The proceeds from the auction will help fund various charity projects presented by the Christian Cowboy Balladeers during the year.
The award winners for 2007 were: Rising Star—Amanda Colton; Award of Excellence — Bodie Dominguez; Musician of the Year — Eric Larson; Hall of Fame — Janice Groseclose; and the Poet of the Year Award went to Larry Palmer. The recipients of the awards are nominated and voted upon by the general membership of the organization.
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 several retirement homes each month, as well as providing Cowboy Churches on a regular basis, dinner shows and community entertainment.
Cal Farley's Boys Ranch Youth Cowboy Poetry Gathering Amarillo, Texas
report and photos by "Hardtwist Ike"
Cal Farley's Boys Ranch Youth Cowboy Poetry Gathering
The folks at Cal Farley's Boys Ranch have done it again. The 6th Annual Youth Cowboy Poetry Gathering was, by all accounts, a smashing success. Held in the same grove of trees that shaded the historical cowboy town of Tascosa, the staff and student body of the ranch put on what is fast becoming one of the premiere gatherings in the country.
The event started Friday morning with a good ol' chuckwagon breakfast followed by a Celebrity Team Roping made up of performers roping with students from the ranch. After the roping the Dipple center opened to a great Western Art & Trade Show.
The Friday evening show this year was held in the beautiful new Globe-News Center for the Performing Arts in downtown Amarillo. With a line up featuring Jean Prescott, Dan Roberts, Dave Stamey, Chris Isaacs, Red Steagall and the Cal Farley Poetry Team, it was a stellar performance.
JW Beeson and Chris Isaacs
Saturday everything was moved back to the ranch with the Arts and Trade show, Chuckwagon Meals and Workshops throughout the day.
Joel Nelson putting on a horsemanship clinic
Dave Stamey teaching a workshop
The Saturday night show was up to the great standards set by Boys Ranch with Jean Prescott , Joel Nelson, Dave Stamey, Chris Isaacs , the Gillette Brothers and more great recitations by the Ranch Poetry Team.
The performance was followed by a dance at the Dining Hall. Sunday morning was started with a Christian Poetry Session headed up by Lanny Joe Burnett and the worship service led by Jeff Gore. The event closed with a great lunch at the Museum and lots of hand shakes and hugs as folks said goodbye.
The Gathering at Cal Farley's is not one of the biggest around and it is out of the way, but it is fast becoming one of the best in the country. This year's crowd was made up of folks from Texas, Colorado, Arizona, California, Nebraska, Tennessee, and those are just the ones we know about.
Dan Adams and his staff are making sure that the Gathering at Boys Ranch is like everything else at Boys Ranch....FIRST CLASS.
Tim Jobe, Sandi Snider, Dennis Flynn, Jay Snider, Jeff Gore, Chris Isaacs, Jean Prescott, Melissa Stamey, Dave Stamey and Lila Wilson
Each year the Cal Farley's Boys Ranch awards a cowboy poet at their Youth Cowboy Poetry Gathering. This year, the recipient was Riley Tillman. Read more about Riley Tillman and the award in our feature here.
11th Annual Echoes of the Trail Cowboy Gathering Fort Scott, Kansas
report by Judy Howser
The 11th annual Echoes of the Trail Cowboy Gathering was a rousing success June 8-10! About 650 fans came from Kansas, Missouri, Arkansas, Oklahoma, and as far away as South Dakota.
A touching highlight of the weekend came Friday night when co-founder and cowboy musician/composer Johnny Kendrick, Richards, Mo., brought his two sons, Jackson and Sam, on stage with him. Sam played fiddle, and Jackson rivaled his Dad's singing talent. Kendrick told the audience that he and his sons sit around at home, "jamming," and they decided to take it on the road —the Echoes trail, that is.
Another emotional performance was by Donna "Dee" Penley of Haysville, Kan. An ex barrel racer, Dee still rides and cares for her 31-year-old horse, and volunteers for a horse therapy program in Wichita. Dee recited her poem about an autistic child who had never spoken. She said when the child was placed on a horse, she sang! One of the workers asked what she was singing, and Dee said, "Why, it's "I'm an old cowhand on the Rio Grande."
This year on Friday night, Flint Hills folklorist Jim Hoy of Emporia State University explained the origins and history of cowboy poetry, playing examples of the first cowboy music on his guitar. Hoy's performance was financed in part by the Kansas Humanities Council. Following his show, Donna Penley introduced herself and her granddaughter to him, saying "I have someone I think you'll want to meet." She then introduced Hoy to a beautiful young woman who is the great, great, great, great granddaughter of Jesse Chisolm of Chisolm Trail fame.
During Friday night's show, founder Arnold Schofield honored silversmith Shirley Willis of Colcord, Okla. with a rose, telling the audience that Shirley has been with Echoes for many years, selling her silver and turquoise jewelry. Due to health problems, this is the first year she attended as a guest. We look forward to having Shirley back with her jewelry next year.
About 150 people lined up for a chuck wagon meal at noon Saturday. They chose between ham and beans of beef stew, with sourdough biscuits and cherry or apple cobbler cooked by Denny and Donna Williams of Neosho, Mo., Don and Evelyn Collop of Rutledge, Mo., and Lynn and Judy Doughty of Jay, Okla. Those attending also enjoyed Jeanne Rowland's "Chili Diablo Taste of the West" and the FSCC Relay for Life Team's chili. Although fans looked forward to another great chuck wagon meal Sunday morning, Mother Nature had other ideas. Due to the storm and the prospect of wet wood and soggy ground, the wagons rolled out.
At 3 p.m. on Saturday, the winners of the first Echoes of the Trail student Cowboy Poetry Contest read or recited their entries and received cash awards. The microphone was then opened to all, and Aiden and Craig Wilkinson, children of Echoes committee member Gwen Wilkinson, wowed the audience with their fiddle playing. Others who performed on the open mic were deerhide braiders Ken Lorton and Donna Carruthers of Warsaw, Mo.; cowboy poet and preacher Phil Rexwinkle of Welch, Ok.; cowboy poet/singer
John VanLeeuwen of Walnut, Kan.; cowboy poet Sam Keifer of Lebo, Kan.; cowboy poet/singer Jim John of Wichita, Kan.; cowboy poet/singer Del Shields of Humboldt, Kan, and 10-year-old Cara Comstock of Deerfield, MO., daughter of our blacksmith, Charlie Comstock. Master of Ceremonies Gary Wimmer told Cara to be sure and enter the student cowboy poetry contest next year.
On Saturday night, Fans went wild over Western Kansas native Barry "Bear" Ward's booming baritone and he and Tony McGee's superb guitar playing. Ward talked to the audience about personal experiences that inspired his music, such as the loss of his father last year. His rollicking rendition of "Swing Low, Sweet Chariot" made it hard to sit still! Ward is a fourth generation Kansas farmer and stockman and has several CDs available from his web site, barrywardmusic.com. He sings everything from western swing to Christian cowboy, and composes his own music.
Performing this year on two stages were Missouri Cowboy Poets Association (MCPA) members Gail Burton, Benton, Ark., Harold Carpenter, Sedan, Kan., Wanda Cothren, Claremore, Okla., Richard Dunlap, Louisburg, Mo., D. J. Fry, Oronogo, Mo., Jay Jones, Columbia, MO., Joe Lester, Kansas, Okla., Donna Penley, Haysville, Kan., Ron Ratliff, Gilman City, Mo., Cliff Sexton, Uniontown, Kan., Del Shields, Humboldt, Kan., Jake White, Springfield, Mo., and Ron Wilson, Manhattan, Kan. MCPA co-founder and veteran cowboy poet Leroy Watts of Verona, Mo. said the 11 a.m. performance by Harold Carpenter, Richard Dunlap, and Jake White was the best he had ever heard. Indian wood flute player Duane Feighner played his melodies near the entrance, as he has for many years.
Cliff Sexton was Master of Ceremonies of the Gordon Parks Center stage, and Gary Wimmer of Fulton, Kan. presided over the Round Room performances.
The Echoes of the Trail Steering Committee is grateful to all the donors who made the silent auction a success. All proceeds go toward next year's gathering. Artist Don Dane of Olathe, Kan. donated seven signed posters depicting various western and bluegrass events. Artist Jack Wells donated a signed print, as did artist Marilyn Cujkati. Frances Colvin donated an original oil painting. Artist JoAnn Henning donated two of her hand drawn maps of historic trails, rails, and Indian encampments in Bourbon County, Kansas. Duane "Threa Feather" Feighner donated his Indian Flute CD. Shirley Willis donated silver jewelry and bones used for playing rhythm. Deerhide braiders Ken Lorton and Donna Carruthers donated a braided hat band and key ring thongs. Bar Broken Heart Saddlery donated a Winchester tin tray. Echoes committee members provided many other auction items.
The sellers of Western art, tack, and hundreds of other items told Echoes organizers they were pleased with sales. There were plenty of cowboys getting their boots shined by Judy Johnston of LaCygne, Kan., and cookie Don Collop was seen bringing her a heaping plate of chuck wagon grub to make up for the extra hard work she had to do on his old boots! The Lesters of Bar Broken Heart Saddlery in Kansas, Okla. said this was there best year at Echoes for sales of their period clothing, leather work, tack and more. Buck Rowland of Buckaroo's Saddle and Tack in Arma, Kan. presented a wide array of tack, and plans to return next year.
To end a wonderful weekend, at least 45 people came to Cowboy Church in spite of the storm. The service was held in the Gordon Parks Center in the Academic Building. The sounds of old traditional hymns and Richard Dunlap's guitar echoed through the halls. At least two of the cowboys are ordained ministers. Gail Burton recited a poem for the children that explained Creation. As sky pilot and cowboy poet Jim John said, it didn't matter if we were in a church, out under the Sycamore tree, or in a classroom; wherever two or more or gathered in His Name, He is there. For more information about Echoes of the Trail, see http://echoesofthetrail.com or call 620-223-0736.
See our feature on Echoes of the Trail here.
Cowboy Poets and Western Writers Group New Underwood, South Dakota
Story and photos by Slim McNaught
[photo of Slim McNaught by Jen Dobrowski]
Writers Group Meets at New Underwood
The best laid plans, etc., etc. With the regular meeting of the Cowboy Poets and Western Writers Group scheduled to meet at our place, we had planned to entertain the group in our back yard. With green lawn, comfortable lawn chairs, swing seats, and large trees that canopy nearly the whole back yard with shade, it is a very relaxing area to gather in on a pleasant summer day. Then enter triple digit temperatures where the only thing that was comfortable in the back yard were the gold fish in the pond. They have a continuous waterfall and adequate shade. So we left the back yard to the heat and gold fish and sojourned to the comfort of the central air in the house.
Folks attending were: Leo and Jo Nickel of Ainsworth, Nebraska; Kent and Marci Broyhill of Dakota City, Nebraska; Yvonne Hollenbeck of Clearfield, South Dakota; Juni Fisher of Franklin, Tennessee; Robert "Jinglebob" Dennis and nephew Tristin Dennis of Red Owl, South Dakota; Troy McNaught Westby, Darlene and Slim McNaught of New Underwood, South Dakota; Don Hilmer of rural New Underwood, South Dakota; and Carol Phillips of Wicksville, South Dakota.
The meeting began with reports by Yvonne Hollenbeck, secretary/treasurer. Yvonne brought Juni Fisher with her to the meeting. We were delighted to have Juni in our home again; she is such a talented lady. We hadn't visited with her for a year and it was great. She entertained us with one of her songs that will be on her new album. It's easy to see why the Western Music Association voted her the Female Singer of the Year.
A lively discussion was held on the subjects of what constitutes off color language, props, and offensive body movements, things not appreciated in cowboy poetry programs by many people. Discussed were personal preferences of emcees when conducting a performance and how it affects different individuals. It was pointed out that we are all different with varying views and beliefs, and we need to be able to fuse these together when more than one performer is entertaining. The differences in professional and amateur performers on stage and what the professional learns about stance and attire as they gain experience was talked about. Juni gave us some pointers from her
professional experiences as a singer/song writer. Her article in the Western Way magazine regarding foods and liquids to avoid before a performance were discussed. Yvonne spoke of conduct and manners on the stage, and recalled some less-than-professional performances she has witnessed in her years as a professional performer to show what not to do before an audience. Yvonne was voted the Female Poet of the Year by the Western Music Association, and her poem "What Would Martha Do" is the most requested poem on Western radio.
Being the host for this meeting, I had the honor of selecting the theme. I chose "Barb Wire," so Yvonne recited her poem by that name. It is a humorous tale of a cowboy on a romantic trek getting tangled up in barb wire and winding up a bachelor.
Robert "Jinglebob" Dennis shared several things of interest from his years as a cowboy poet/singer and emcee. He gave us a short recital of one of his poems and then read a short story from his book, Ranchers Rounders & Ropers. The story titled "Good Fences?" is about "poor fences make good cowboys."
Jo Nickel, retired teacher and acting coach, writes short stories of her childhood in western Nebraska. She read us one of her stories about fixing fence with her father and siblings and how her little brother cried when they spoke of burying the 'dead man' (the
anchor) at the corner post.
Don Hilmer read his poem about how he dislikes working with rusty barb wire and how several jobs make fixing fence look appealing unless it's rusty barb wire. I think we have Don hooked on reciting his good poetry.
The final proof for Troy McNaught Westby's recent book, They Say...in rhyme 2, was examined by the group. This is another book of her paintings and poems that Troy has put together for her great-great grandchildren (soon to number 10). This book is published by Slim's Leather & Publishing Co., and various ways of handling book publications were discussed. Troy read her poem, "Fencing", about growing up in Kansas where thorny Osage Orange hedge was used for fencing before barb wire was available.
Marci Broyhill recited her poem for the day's theme using the patent numbers for Joseph Glidden's invention of barb wire as the title for her poem. You could tell she put a lot of research into the history of this good poem.
For this gathering I had put together a nonsensical rhyme about a number of things one could do with barb wire, like patch up the old Model A and how it can hold a WalMart bag through a hurricane.
The poems, stories, and discussions that were presented at this meeting were not only entertaining, but very informative. I believe everyone came away with some ideas that will be helpful. And that is what these meetings are all about.
After a very enjoyable three hours that went by way too fast, Darlene lined us up like she used to do the branding crews and fed us. This woman started learning to cook in farm country for threshing crews when she was barely big enough to help her mother. Then I
married her and she started cooking for branding and haying crews. And she sure hasn't lost the touch.
Leo Nickel; Jo Nickel, story writer; Don Hilmer, poet; Carol Phillips; Troy McNaught Westby, poet; Darlene McNaught, hostess; Robert "Jinglebob" Dennis, poet, singer/songwriter; Tristin Dennis (Jinglebob's nephew); Slim McNaught, poet; Juni Fisher, singer/songwriter; Yvonne Hollenbeck, poet; Marci Broyhill, poet; Kent Broyhill
5th Annual Grand Encampment Cowboy Gathering Encampment, Wyoming
story and photos by Yvonne Hollenbeck
5th Annual Grand Encampment Cowboy Gathering
Wagons on the museum grounds
When the folks in Carbon County, Wyoming host a “Cowboy Gathering,” there could be no better title to describe this event. The historic town of Encampment was once a bustling copper mining town, which like so many, was destined to die when the mines closed. However, there is a “never die” spirit among those living in this area. The community now thrives on many outdoor recreational activities available in this beautiful area on the foothills of the Snowy Range and Sierra Madre Mountains, and there is a vast ranching community. Although the townsite has a number of pre-1900 structures, the Grand Encampment Museum and its numerous historic buildings are like a walk through history. Although the miners and trappers of old days are long gone, cowboys are still in abundance and the cowboy way of life is alive and well in this area today. as was evidenced by the 5th Annual Grand Encampment Cowboy Gathering held July 13, 14 and 15, 2007.
Bonner Wood riding in for a win in the keyhole race!
Kicking off the events on Friday evening was a Gunslinger Shootout followed by an outstanding Melodrama in the old community opera house. Saturday’s activities included a stick horse rodeo, western entertainment roundup featuring cowboy poetry and music by Laurie and Cora Wood, Ken Kreusel, Sam Platts, Erin Rempel, Steve Moulton, Yvonne Hollenbeck , Encampment Community Choir, and night show stars.
Dick Perue, long-time Saratoga, Wyoming newspaper editor, showing showing Devaney Halley of Scottsbluff, Nebraska, the ins and outs of printing programs and advertising items for the cowboy gathering on vintage presses at the print shop on the museum grounds.
There was an all-star cast of entertainers on the Saturday night show, including Chuck Larsen as emcee, Dave Stamey, Chris Isaacs, Carin Mari & Pony Express, and the afternoon’s favorites, Paul Harris and Jason Carter. A number of standing ovations occurred as a packed crowd enjoyed the work of these fine artists. Each night a campfire jam session was held at the Grand View Park, which also was enjoyed by many. In addition to these activities, members of the Western Writers of America were on hand for book signings.
Night Show Entertainers: Paul Harris, Jason Carter, Chris Isaacs, Evan Lechner, Chuck Larsen, Carin Mari Lechner, Dave Stamey, Colin Lechner and Lee Lechner.
Cowboy breakfast, cowboy church and a chuck wagon lunch was on the agenda for Sunday morning, followed by many old west demonstrations and re-enactments. A songwriting workshop was held by Dave Stamey and Yvonne Hollenbeck ’s “Weave of the West” program was featured on Sunday afternoon, co-sponsored by the Grand Encampment Museum, Grand Encampment Cowboy Gathering and with a Folk Arts Grant from the Wyoming Arts Council.
The Grand Encampment Cowboy Gathering has seen increased growth in interest and attendance each year and judging by the large amount of folks attending this years event, this gathering is here to stay. Plan to attend the 6th annual event next July. For more information, visit www.grandencampmentgathering.org.
National Day of the Cowboy Fish Lake, Utah
Report and photos by Jo Lynne Kirkwood:
The Cowboy Poets of Utah (CPU) celebrated National Day of the Cowboy event with our annual summer party, this year at Fish Lake. We got together Friday night, grilled burgers and hot dogs, plus Dutch oven cakes and s'mores, then told yarns and tales well into the night.
Tye and Braden Brian
On Saturday morning, we cooked a huge breakfast with pancakes, eggs, bacon, potatoes and whatever would fit into a Dutch oven, then either lounged around or rode the trails until early afternoon.
Casey Woods and Val Carter
About 4 PM on Saturday we pulled together yet another feast with contributions for members who seemed to be arriving hourly, then frittered away the daylight eating, visiting, or doing a little more riding. We again sat around the campfire until well after dark, sharing music and poetry, then finally disbanded and most headed off the mountain.
Lauri Tye, Joe and Emily Kirkwood
A few stalwart members stayed one more night, just to make sure the campfires were all put out safely. About thirty-five members of the group attended, some for the entire weekend but several coming just for Saturday. We had a great time, spent sometime in the back country on horseback, and ate hugely.
Jean and CR Wood
Mr. & Mrs. Terrill Staples
Next year's plans are already underway, and will be coordinated by Jean Wood. Thanks, Cathy Brian, for putting the 2007 party together.
The Brian Kids
National Day of the Cowboy Carrizozo, New Mexico
story and photo by Mike Moutoux
Recently I had a chance to perform at a celebration in Carrizozo, New Mexico and thought their town put on a great day. An early morning cattle round up was followed by a cowboy breakfast on nearby ranch. This was followed by a parade in town that included a Wells Fargo stage, horseback riders, even a couple of cowboys riding Longhorn cattle which were fun to see. Of course there were stage shows, a mustache contest and a kids rodeo, and more.
Rails and Trails Wichita, Kansas National Day of the Cowboy eventstory and photos by Rick Thorne
RAILS & TRAILS
WICHITA COWTOWN'S HISTORIC ADVENTUREOn July 28th and 29th a unique event took place within the confines of historic Cowtown. Texas Longhorn Steers slowly roamed the area along the Arkansas River. It was a fitting scene,considering a hundred and fifty years ago the same scenario was played out, not far away along the Chisholm Trail.
Around two hours west of Wichita near Bucklin, Kansas sits the Moore Texas Longhorn Ranch. These wonderful animals freely roam the vast prairie on nearly 10,000 acres of land in that area of Kansas. The Moore family were more than glad to bring their precious steers to Wichita that sunny weekend. Nearly a hundred head of cattle arrived at Cowtown, Friday July 27th. Housed on a large section of the farm, they freely roamed about with few cares that warm summer evening.
At 1 P.M. the following day, a realistic gunfight took place in the center of main street. The same scene was played out more than one hundred a fifty years ago. Rough and tumble wranglers settled their disputes with Colt 45's both then and now. The intense echoes of gunfire shook innocent by-standers a few seconds later. Suddenly three bodies fell dead in the dusty streets of historic Cowtown. A few moments later the whistle blew and another successful gunfight had been recorded for posterity.
Not long after, vibrant dance hall girls paraded their wears across the two foot high stage in the Fritz Snitzler's Saloon. Weather beaten cowboys gulped down Cowtown Sarsaparilla as poker chips were tossed on dark green felt. A few minutes later the director shouted out over loud speakers, "Come one, Come all. It's time for the great American cattle drive." A few minutes later folk from all walks of life traveled down the weathered wooden boardwalk. Townsfolk were dressed in 1800's style clothing and it was hard to imagine one being in the twenty-first century.
Hundreds of bystanders lined the dusty streets anxiously awaiting those awesome looking longhorns. A few minutes later the theme song from "How The West Was Won" echoed in the crowded streets. Little children were constantly jumping around trying to figure out what would come next. Suddenly three horseback riders appeared between the meat market and the weigh station. One stout cowboy gently whipped his thick brown rope as he slowly made his way through town.
A few moments later the longhorns poured into the dusty streets. They ranged in color combinations from black, white and various combinations of brown. All sizes and shapes of majestic steers played follow the leader as they walked behind the drovers on horseback. Baby calves closely followed their mothers as they hurried along the congested roadway. The weary steers gathered together from time to time feeling rather confused about the whole scene.
Suddenly a young wrangler shout out, "Ho there! Come on now and get along." It seemed the steers were more afraid of the people then could be expected. Swirls of thick brown dust tore through the humid air as everyone looked on in total amazement. About ten minutes later it was over. The longhorns were briskly steered back to the farm and the sheer joy of seeing these majestic steers had finally come to an end.
While these experiences are most enjoyable for those who appreciate Old West history. The fact remains that many such Old West towns are in deep financial trouble. In the past, pioneers of old paved the way for our comfortable lifestyles we so richly enjoy today. It would serve us well to help stimulate a renewed interest in the old west once again before its gone forever in a swirl of dust.
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