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(Some links may be out of date.)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

August - September


Creswell (Oregon) August


Alpine (Arizona) August


Palouse (Washington) August


Valentine (Nebraska) August


Grass Valley (California) August


Reno (Nevada) September


Conifer (Colorado) September


Devils Tower National Park (Wyoming) September



On page two:

Truckee (California) August

Safford (Arizona) September

Westcliffe (Colorado) September

Vinton (California) September



Separate pages:


Prescott (Arizona) August


Kanab (Utah) August



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


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


August, 2007
3rd Annual Coast Fork Cowboy Festival  Creswell, Oregon

  report by Van Criddle, photos by Smoke Wade


Once again the quiet little town of Creswell, Oregon was over taken by a band of wild hombres on August 3, 4 and 5, 2007. The gang of cowboy poets and Western musicians, led by silver-tongued Smoke Wade, were seen wanderin’ the High School and accosting the good citizens with song or verse. Dallas and PJ McCord planned this event and with the help of Kathy and Van Criddle this gang of entertainers was brought together to delight the hearts of old and young admirers of all things cowboy and to raise funds for the Creswell Schools art, drama and music programs. Guitar virtuoso, Billy Rose, also masterfully handled sound duty for the weekend. Ably assisted by young Tony Cooper they helped everyone sound their very best.  

Wayne Nelson, Steve Taylor, David Anderson, Terri Taylor, Billy Rose, and Sam Mattise.

Friday night at 6:30 pm sharp the melodic strains of Northfork filled the air with traditional and contemporary western music as the pre-show warm-up began. Silver Glenn accompanied by sidekick George Thompson got the feet a tapin’ and put smiles on unsuspecting faces. The incomparable Wayne Nelson followed with songs inspired by his life on the Snake River plains in south western Idaho. The crowd trickled in and by show time there was a good audience.

Sharon "Silver" Glenn, Sam Mattise, and Billy Rose

The award winning Smoke Wade handled the emcee duties Friday night as only Smoke can do. He had the locals eating out of his hand. He loosened ‘em up and got ‘em cheering and committed them to show their appreciation through their applause. One by one he then brought these desperados on to the stage to attempt to steal the hearts of the crowd. By all accounts they were very successful.

Local poetry contest winner, 14 year old Julie Jones, was honored for and performed her original poem “The Cowboy.” She is a real cowgirl and it shows in her poetry. She received a championship belt buckle to go with the one she won last year.

Champion cowgirl poet, Sam Deleeuw, a top-5 contender two years in a row for WMA Female Poet of the year, had ‘em rockin’ and reelin’ in their seats with her antics. Sam Matisse and his mellow jazzy western sound accompanied  by the versatile Billy Rose (who played with almost every group that performed) grabbed heart strings and prepared hearts and minds for the wonderful music and verse yet to come. STAMPEDE! The high energy cowboy trio from Harrisville, Utah who are the 2006 Western Music Association Crescendo Award winners featuring yodeling champ Terri Taylor, her husband Steve Taylor and David Anderson rocked the hall with a crowd pleasing performance. This versatile trio is fast becoming one of the most sought after groups in the west. They filled the room with exuberance and electricity with their foot stomping cowboy repertoire.

STAMPEDE!:  Steve Taylor, David Anderson, and Terri Taylor

Dallas and PJ McCord and Kathy and Van Criddle presented a medley of western music and cowboy poetry. The crowd enjoyed duets by Dallas and PJ, PJ and Kathy, Dallas and Kathy and Van and Kathy. As always, the house rocked in side-splitting laughter to Dallas and PJ’s "I Just Don’t Look Good Naked Anymore." Local crooner, Jim Webb was invited to make his Gathering debut and received much applause at the end of his performance on self written music. He received encouragement from the cowboys and cowgirls to share his wonderful talent with the world of Western Music. The Cove Oregon, Reddington Family, better known as the High Strung Band, brought the house down with the fantastic flat pickin’ of 14 year old son Landon and magical twin fiddles of  11 year old son, Hunter and 9 year old daughter Morgan. Mom, Jennifer and Dad, Shawn, are the book ends, playing stand-up base and rhythm guitar and mandolin. Their fast paced exciting Blue Grass style has made them one of the most requested family groups in the NW. The crowd was finally released to go home, rest and return Saturday night for another great show. One person was heard remarking, “Boy, you sure get your money’s worth at one of these cowboy shows.”

Morgan & Landen Reddington, Steve Taylor, Terri Taylor, David Anderson, and Sam DeLeeuw.

Saturday night Sam Matisse and Billy Rose warmed up the crowd during pre-show. Their music was so inviting that those partaking of the BBQ dinner provided by the Chamber of Commerce wanted to come inside. They didn’t want to miss a thing. A great crowd was present and 3 additional rows of chairs had to be brought out to accommodate the raucous crowd. 

Sam Mattise and Van Criddle shared emcee duties bringing all of the Friday performers back to the stage for the Saturday night show. Northfork once again shared their talents as they sang western music and shared poetry to a very accepting crowd. The High Strung Band was once again a real crowd pleaser and Hunter’s rendition of "Orange Blossom Special" had feet stomping, hands clapping and people yelling and cheering at the same time. They do light up a crowd. The crowd showed their appreciation by giving them 2 standing ovations.

Saturday night the poets were at their very best. The "legend in his own mind,Smoke Wade, shared his great poetry in that clear and distinct manner he has perfected and the crowd showed him their appreciation, of course Smoke had a huge family contingency there that may have contributed somewhat to the mayhem. Sam Deleeuw again worked the crowd into a cacophony while she was “Spreadin’ Sunshine” and Wayne Nelson silenced the crowd for 8 minutes with a masterful recitation of Banjo Patterson’s "The Man From Snowy River." 

Van Criddle

Once again Jim Webb displayed his “John Denver”-like vocal talent and received a hearty applause from the appreciative crowd. He’s destined to become a crowd favorite for sure. Kathy and Van Criddle presented Dallas and PJ McCord with a bronze statuette as a token of thanks for all they have done to promote Western Music and Cowboy Poetry by founding and hosting the Coast Fork Cowboy Festival. Then Dallas and PJ pleased the crowd with their new hit, "Dead Horse Trampoline." Headliners STAMPEDE!, adorned with red, yellow and green straw cowboy hats, brought the show to a reluctant end. Their high spirited music and great vocal mix wowed the crowd who would have listened to them for hours. Terri’s yodeling brought cheers and applause as it always does. All of the musicians were invited back onto the stage to play while those who just couldn’t bring themselves to leave listened and danced late into the night.

Despite the late night, Cowboy Church was well attended and a great spirit of harmony prevailed. After the crowd dispersed the gang of cowboys and cowgirls were seen giving hugs, shaking hands and promising to meet again soon to foist their talents on another unsuspecting town located somewhere in the wild, wild west.

August, 2007
2nd Annual Cowboy Poets Gathering   Alpine, Arizona

  story by Greg Scott
[photo by Kevin-Martini Fuller]

Who doesn't enjoy going up to the mountains for Labor Day? Oh sure, the beach is nice, but we really don't have a beach in Arizona. What we do have is beautiful mountains!

On August 30th the little town of Alpine, Arizona hosted its second annual Cowboy Poetry Gathering, Music and Dinner. What an excellent evening it was. Appropriately named Alpine is a beautiful, small, mountain community in East Central Arizona, nearly on the New Mexico line. Probably one of the reasons it is extra nice is that it is pretty far from the major population centers of those two states. The folks really love their library there and turned out in great numbers on a Thursday evening to support the Alpine Library with an evening of song and verse.

Following a great dinner, the entertainment began. Greg Scott from Elgin, Arizona, began the program and included some songs and poems from the Alpine area, "Trail to Mexico" and "Billy Veniro" among them. Next, from California, Jim Cardwell did some nice original poetry and a couple of his own songs. He was followed by Mike Moutoux, a cowboy from Pinos Altos, New Mexico, who did original songs and poetry along with some other favorites.

Just to make sure the audience was well fed, there was a break for homemade fresh fruit, cobblers and pies. Local merchants and artists had donated many wonderful items for a silent auction and an excellent hand made quilt was the raffle prize.

The program then moved along with Ken Whitecotton, from Tucson who shared plenty of his original poems and stories about his luck on the area fishing lakes. Chris Isaacs, from up the road in Springerville, Arizona, ended the evening with some hilarious stories and several of his award winning poems and some by his cowboy poetry pals. Chris' ability to include the humorous and serious has made him a favorite at Gatherings throughout the Grand Canyon State and beyond.

As anyone who attends Gatherings knows, the events would be pretty sorry if it were not for the efforts of many community volunteers. In Alpine the friends of the library provided a delicious dinner and dessert as well as a comfortable place to stay. The performers enjoyed a colorfully decorated stage in a perfect venue (an old stone church, and later school, building and now a community center) and an engaged and appreciative audience.

There was no doubt that a good time was had by everyone and plans are already underway for the third annual event next year.


August, 2007
Twelfth Annual Palouse County Cowboy Poetry and Music Festival  Pullman, Washington


   Report and photos by Bodie Dominquez


The Palouse Cowboy Poets Association's 12th Annual Gathering (Saturday Aug 18, 2007) was great.

Eric Larson, President of Palouse Cowboy Poets Association

We feel lucky to have been contacted by the High Strung Band (The Reddingtons) and feel that they inspired us to work harder  in putting this show together. It made for a fantastic night show line up. As usual they put on a great performance and the audience responded in kind.

The Reddingtons from Cove, Oregon: Dad Shawn-Bull Bass, Mom Jennifer-Guitar & Mandolin,
14 yr old Landen-guitar-Mandolin,12 yr old Hunter- fiddle, 10 yr old Morgan Fiddle

CD and book sales were good we would like to thank the people that buy our product and merchandize. For some of these musicians it's all the pay they receive and it makes it worthwhile to know that they are appreciated. We would like to thank the ladies for their hard work and great cookies, cakes and refreshments as well as the sandwich and condiments that they made for the performers and audience members.

Tom Prior & Bodie Dominquez-KRLC's Gopel Favorites radio show

Shiloh Sharrard-Performer

The hall was full for the night show and we wondered there for a while if we would have enough room. The Gladish Hall was great in encouraging us to have the gathering there. At first we were just going to have a get together with just our members and a few
guests, but it turned out to be a full-fledged gathering. Thank you to all involved. A special thanks to Dave Nordquist for his last minute advertisingcampaign and all his hard work.

Dave Nordquist, emcee

Cowboy Church was a special event Sunday morning thanks to Howard Norskog and the Christian Cowboy Balladeers.

Howard Norskog  from Christian Cowboy Balladeers


August, 2007
Western Writers Group  Valentine, Nebraska

Story and photos by Slim McNaught
[photo of Slim McNaught by Jen Dobrowski]




Western Writers Group entertaining at Girl Scout cabin, Valentine, Nebraska City Park

What a peaceful and inspiring location for a writer’s group meeting. Marci Broyhill, as hostess, planned and conducted and excellent get-together. This was the regular meeting of the Western Writers Group held on August 11, 2007 at five o’clock in the evening. There were twenty two poets and guests attending. The meeting took place in the Girl Scout cabin in the City Park at Valentine, Nebraska. Nestled in the trees on a very warm afternoon of sunshine and little breeze, the shade was welcomed by all. Pot luck was the first thing on the agenda and the ladies really went all out. From a roaster full of Swiss steak to salads, cakes, fruits and drinks, it was well received. The place was buzzing with good conversation.

As usual, a lot of useful information came from the group. It was discussed that the group welcomes writers of all genres, not limited to cowboy poetry. This makes for an interesting mix of talent and brings out ideas and styles that can be quite educational for all attending. A wide range of subjects were presented, with some lively discussions developing. The upcoming National Cowboy Poetry Rodeo was discussed at length. It was held in Kanab, Utah, last year and will be held in Hot Springs, South Dakota, September 28 and 29 this year. Poets will draw for their contestant number Thursday evening, with the rodeo starting at seven o’clock Friday morning.

Poets and writers attending were: Yvonne Hollenbeck, Clearfield, South Dakota; Slim McNaught, New Underwood, South Dakota; Ken Cook, Martin, South Dakota; Willard Hollopeter, Wood Lake, Nebraska; Jo Nickel, Ainsworth, Nebraska; Marty Blocker, Merriman, Nebraska; Marilyn Herrmann, Millboro, South Dakota; Bonnie Krogman, Wood, South Dakota; Marci Broyhill, Dakota City, Nebraska; Troy McNaught Westby, New Underwood, South Dakota; MJ McMillan, Murdo, South Dakota; John and Ruth Burton, Merriman, Nebraska; Don Hilmer, New Underwood, South Dakota.

Poets at work: Troy McNaught Westby with John Burton listening, Bonnie Krogman, Don Hilmer, Jo Nickel, Willard Hollopeter, Ruth Burton

Marcie Broyhill, Marty Blocker, Yvonne Hollenbeck, Otto Rosfeld, Ken Cook, Marilyn Herrmann, MJ McMillan. Photos by Slim McNaught"

Guests attending and preparing the pot luck with Marci and the members were: Darlene McNaught, Nancy Cook, Mary Hollopeter, Leo Nickel, Donna Blocker, Kenny Krogman, Kent Broyhill, and Carol Philips.

The always popular pot luck and great conversation 

After a very enjoyable pot luck and a good meeting, we adjourned and moved outside to the bleachers by the campfire circle for the public program, as advertised, at seven o’clock. With the fires that have been burning all around and the high fire danger, it was opted to do without the campfire.

The host of each of the regular meetings picks a theme for the poets and writers to write about. Marci picked the theme  “Moisture”  for this meeting. It had been decided to wait until the public performance for the members to recite their renditions of the theme. There were an interesting variety of poems and stories depicting each writer’s idea for moisture. Otto Rosfeld honored us with his presence and performed some of his poetry and a couple songs, accompanying himself on his guitar.

The good news is all the fun and information we had at this writer’s group meeting, and reciting at the public performance. More good news is, the next meeting to be at Merriman with the Burtons as hosts. It seems like these meetings are more enjoyable every time.


August, 2007
Nevada County Poetry Series  Grass Valley, California

  report by Harold Roy Miller, photos by Denise Schubert


The August Nevada County Poetry Series took place August 18, 2007 at the Nevada Center For the Arts in downtown Grass Valley. Bill Gainer was the host and he is quite entertaining. He started off with a few poems he had written.

Bill Gainer

Then Harold Roy Miller recited some light-hearted poems about cowboys and horses. Willis Lamm was next, a genuine Western singer. He sang some original songs, did a nice job and everyone enjoyed his singing. Ken Gardner kept everyone laughing with his sense of humor his jokes and some funny poems. He is a great entertainer. The show went well, and we all enjoyed it.

Harold and Diana Miller

Tony Argento

At the open mic, performers were Tony Argento, Diana Miller, and a newcomer, Pat Buero, who did some horse poetry. It turned out to be a whole lot of fun.


September, 2007
Second Annual Reno Cowboy Poetry and Music Gathering  Reno, Nevada

story by Lee Cody

The Soroptimist International of Reno has been providing volunteer services and financial aid to the women and families of Northern Nevada since 1942. SIR has founded step two which is Reno's first substance abuse treatment for women with children. They also scholarships, funding and services to deserving individuals. Cheryl Park and all the volunteers worked like quarry slaves and put on a bang up show.

2006 photo
Cheryl Park, event coordinator and local news personality and emcee John Tyson.


On the 7th & 8th of September they presented their second annual Reno Cowboy Poetry & Music Gathering fundraiser. The talented John Tyson, a reporter for KOLO News Channel 8, singer, poet, cowboy, and more, did a fine job as Master of Ceremonies both days. On Friday, Richard Elloyan treated the crowd to some of his great singing and guitar playing and was joined by Jim Parsons from Alpine County, California, who performed his original Cowboy Poetry, followed by my old friend David John & the Comstock Cowboys who always leave crowds gasping for more.

 publicity photo
Richard Elloyan

Jack Hursh, a Reno native, put on a great slide show of old barn photographs he has taken. A good share of these photos are in his book Truckee Meadows Remembered. He had a hand in moving a number of old barns and outbuildings to the Bartley Ranch State Park and with volunteers have restored many to their original condition. A great book and a wonderful endeavor.

Jim Cardwell

On Saturday, there was an open mike performance by cowboy poets and singers who all did a good job, including Tony Argento, Diana Miller, Harold Roy Miller
Dave P. Fisher, Jim Parsons, and Jim Cardwell, who treated the crowd to some cowboy poetry and good cowboy singing in an impressive set. Jack Hursh gave another slide show of the barns in their original and restored conditions and I might add did a great narration of the whole procedure.

There were two shows on the Bartley Ranch Amphitheater stage Saturday 8th, both emceed by John Tyson. The four o'clock show was lead off by Jim Parsons with several of his crowd-pleasing original poems, followed by Pat Richardson from Merced, California who did thirty minutes of poetry. I can't remark much on that, you'd think I was exaggerating. Then after a twenty minute break, the one and only (that I know of) Lacy J. Dalton and the Dalton Gang did an hour's worth of fine music and it was good to see Lacy is still as good as ever and left them wanting more.

2004 photo by Yvonne Hollenbeck

The eight o'clock show was once again emceed by John Tyson with a little of his fine guitar playing, singing, jokes and more. John was followed by Pat Richardson who did another thirty minutes of poetry, stories and humor. I still can't expand on Pat's performance without sounding like I was paid. Then, after a short intermission, Lacy J. Dalton and her great band did another hours worth of great tunes. It was a wonderful show, if you missed it, don't miss it next year.

September, 2007
Conifer Tales and Trails  Conifer, Colorado


  report by Rex Rideout, photos by Howie Grapek/Grapek Photography Online


photo by Howie Grapek/Grapek Photography Online
Jon Chandler, Rex Rideout, Rick Charbenneau

Mountain Area Land Trust pulled off a fine event Saturday, September 8. This was their first venture into Cowboy music and Western culture, Conifer Tales and Trails. They rounded up the top award-winning entertainers in the business, Brenn Hill, Kip Calahan, Jon Chandler, Bill Barwick, along with Carin Mari and Pony Express. Cowboy poet Royce Hodge was on hand spinning yarns with the wit and humor he is known for. It was sure great to be performing with so many of my friends right here in Conifer.

photo by Howie Grapek/Grapek Photography Online

Brenn Hill

We were fortunate to have top sound man and multi-instrumentalist, Butch Hause handling sound. His wizardry was easy to hear. The voices in particular sounded so rich. He also doubled up on bass to accompany Jon Chandler during his sets. We were all surprised when Patty Clayton came by for part of the afternoon. She treated us to some lovely songs before she had to leave for an event in Denver.

photo by Howie Grapek/Grapek Photography Online

Royce Hodge

There were open mic sessions, Western Swing and square dancing exhibitions, and  plenty of Cowboy doins going on at Diamond Sky Ranch. A great idea that tied the event to the area was inviting the keepers of our history. Folks from the Conifer Historical Society,
Beaver Ranch, Pleasant Park Grange, Yellow Barn and Idaho Springs Historical Society were all there with artifacts and information displaying our rich ranching heritage. In addition to that, Norman Meyer, Bob Kuehster and others were there to tell stories of
Conifer. If that wasn't enough, there were fine eats offered by Cabin Creek BBQ. Who could ask for more?

photo by Howie Grapek/Grapek Photography Online

Kip Calahan and Carin Mari of Pony Express

My hat goes off to MALT and their sponsors for having the vision to create Conifer Tales and Trails. It has proven to be a great way to celebrate Conifer's past. May there be many more of them in the future.


September, 2007
Cowboy Poetry and Music    Devils Tower National Park, Wyoming

Story by Slim McNaught with photos by Darlene McNaught
[photo of Slim McNaught by Jen Dobrowski]


With Devils Tower "towering" over the campground shelter, the sunshine and light breeze mingled with the guitars and poetry and had the
audience toe tapping and knee slapping right off the bat. It was a perfect day to enjoy some good cowboy music and poetry. This was the tenth annual public event held at Devils Tower, Wyoming, and this year it was held on September 2, 2007. This event is put on each year by the Devils Tower Natural History Association.

The seating in the shelter area was nearly full and quite a few folks were sitting outside the area on lawn chairs. And what a great
audience. When the audience is enjoying themselves it makes it fun for the performers. We started at one o'clock in the afternoon and ran until four, with a short break in the middle. Four of us took turns entertaining. Hank Harris, Robert "Jinglebob" Dennis, Jim Hamilton, and me, Slim McNaught.

Hank Harris plays in three different musical configurations about 150 nights a year. He does weddings and bars and has opened for Merle Haggard, Alice Cooper, and The Temptations. Hank and Bay Area producer Jimmy Goings, with a small army of musicians, has recorded three solo CDs. He also produced another (Christy Lee Anderson's Awakening), scored and recorded  two documentaries for South Dakota Public Television, and continues to write music. He calls the Black Hills of South Dakota home and this beautiful area is a constant source of inspiration. Hank gave us a sampling of his songs from his Deadwood Songbook, a program he researched and produced.

Robert "Jinglebob" Dennis, Red Owl, South Dakota, is a fourth generation rancher on the ranch started by Henry Dennis at the turn of the century. Robert and Cindy's children and grandchildren are the fifth and sixth generations, respectively. When he's not busy with ranch work, Robert builds saddles and leather gear for cowboys, ranchers and horsemen around the country. He also performs cowboy poetry and songs and is a seasoned emcee. He has been contributing to Cowboy Magazine for several years and has a new book out with some of his stories and poems. Robert entertained us with some of his songs and poems as well as material from other writers.

Jim Hamilton is a rancher from Decker, Montana. Jim has been  writing good cowboy poetry for many years. His years as a rancher, cowboy, and pilot of his own plane, have given him an endless amount of material for his poems. Ranging from very humorous to sad, his works keep an audience right up there with him. As always, Jim gave us some of his good old fashioned cowboy poetry that keeps an audience 'sittin' up and listenin'.

As the fourth member of the entertainment group, I was raised on a ranch in the Buzzard Basin area of southwest South Dakota. I started writing poetry in high school but never got nerve enough to get up in front of a crowd and recite until I was almost seventy years old. I write mostly about things that happened to me or someone I know, and in the ranching business there are lots of wrecks and happenings to keep the poetry coming. With my wife, Darlene, I have owned and operated "Slim's Custom Leather" in New Underwood, South Dakota, a saddle and boot repair outfit, for many years. We are now downsizing and trying to retire, just doing hand tooled leather items and cowboy poetry gatherings.

To be a successful entertainment spot year after year there are certain things needed. Jinglebob has been putting together the entertainment personalities for the last nine years, starting after attending the first one ten years ago. His selection of performers keep the local folks coming back and keeps the tourists who happen to be in the area entertained like they've not seen before.

After an afternoon of good entertainment and some enjoyable conversations with the audience after the performance, we packed up and said our good-byes. Two of the pleasant aspects of this trip was the drive up and  back. What beautiful scenery, and how peaceful it was to just be able to  relax and travel through such great country. The folks of the Devils Tower Natural History Association need to be commended for making this yearly entertainment event possible. They sure 'cowboy'd up and got 'er done'!


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



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