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(Some links may be out of date.)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

October - December

This is page 3. Below:

Albuquerque (New Mexico) November  separate page

Heber City (Utah) November

Clearfield (South Dakota) December


On page 2:

Visalia (California) October

Emmett (Idaho) October

Merriman (Nebraska) October

Loomis (California) November

Chadron (Nebraska) November


On page 1:

Valentine (Nebraska) October
Ruidoso Downs (New Mexico) October


See January-February 2007 reports here
See March-April 2007 reports here
See May-July 2007 reports here
See August-September 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 . . .


December, 2007
Western Writers Group   Clearfield, South Dakota

  report by Slim McNaught, photo by Yvonne Hollenbeck
[photo of Slim McNaught by Jen Dobrowski]


The Western Writers Group was hosted by Yvonne Hollenbeck on December 2, 2007, at Clearfield, South Dakota. We all gathered at the Clearfield Hall at 1:30 and attended the 16th Annual Clearfield Community Christmas Program. This event is always a lot of fun. For you folks who read these columns you will notice I am about to repeat myself, but I believe the community spirit that has breathed life into this Community Hall is a legacy the likes of which are fast disappearing in our country. This building was built in 1918, and the folks of this community have put countless hours of labor and materials into the upkeep. The end result is heartwarming. In this modern age when it seems most folks are tearing down the old and building fancy new facilities, it is a joy to see a piece of history preserved and utilized. The assortment of pictures they have put on display of the upkeep and care of the building is very interesting.

The program started with a welcome by Gary Fast, then the Pledge of Allegiance, followed by the audience singing God Bless America. After some Christmas songs by Wally Bazyn, Yvonne Hollenbeck and members of our writers group recited for the packed house. With a Christmas Special by Tammy, Rachel and Rhetta Tate followed by the duo Gary Fast and Don Covey, accompanied by Vicki Covey we were entertained with more poetry from our Western Writers Group. The crowd was treated to a new poet, 17-year-old Coy Goggins of Springview, Nebraska. This was Coy’s first time reciting his poem to an audience. The name of his poem was “Home Alone.” We’ll be watching this young cowboy poet.

A music selection by Vanessa Heese, a poem by Marilyn Herrmann, and more songs by Wally Bazyn with his guitar, kept the audience in the Christmas spirit. Then a very humorous skit “Ralph’s Christmas Shopping Adventure” with Babe Haskell, Tammy, Rachel and Rhetta Tate, had everyone laughing. Followed by a music selection by Vanessa Heese and another skit, “Thoughts of Christmas,” with Mary Williams and Kevin, Stephanie, and Kacey Castle, the final selection was presented by Gary Fast and the Coveys. Proceeds from the Clearfield Hall Ladies “Silent Basket Auction” went to the Clearfield Ball Park Renovation project. The hall was shoulder to shoulder with some of the most important people in the world: small community farmers and ranchers who are the backbone of our nation.

After a lunch at the Community Hall, the Western Writers Group met at the Yvonne Hollenbeck residence. In the absence of president Marty Blocker, Slim McNaught conducted the meeting. Yvonne had picked the theme “A Cowboy’s Christmas Gift” and members present gave their interpretation of that theme in prose and poetry. Slim McNaught mentioned the City of New Underwood inquiring about poets for their Centennial in September of 2008. Some discussion followed, but as this was mostly an informational note, no action was required. The group discussed forming a Western Music Awards local chapter. Yvonne will get us more information on that subject. Jo Nickel volunteered to host the June meeting. Yvonne will publish the location, theme, and time in her next newsletter.

Poets and prose writers attending with Yvonne Hollenbeck were: Ken Cook, Martin, South Dakota; Marci Broyhill, Dakota City, South Dakota; Willard Hollopeter, Wood Lake, Nebraska; MJ McMillan, Murdo, South Dakota; Slim McNaught and Troy McNaught Westby, New Underwood; Jo Nickel, Ainsworth, Nebraska; Marilyn Herrmann, Millboro, South Dakota; Bonnie Krogman, Wood, South Dakota; and Wally Bazyn, Valentine, Nebraska. Guests attending were: Nancy Cook, Mary Hollopeter, Darlene McNaught, Glenn Hollenbeck, and Leo Nickel.

As usual, when the meeting adjourned, Yvonne hosted us to an excellent chili supper with lots of food and deserts. And once again, it was a chore getting ourselves convinced we had to leave and go home. These meetings can sure get addictive.


November, 2007
13th Annual Cowboy Poetry Gathering and Buckaroo Fair  Heber City, Utah


  story by Yvonne Hollenbeck with photos by Smoke Wade


Heber City Cowboy Poetry Gathering and Buckaroo Fair

The number thirteen is certainly not an unlucky number as evidenced by the 13th annual Heber City Cowboy Poetry Gathering and Buckaroo Fair held November 6-11, 2007 at Heber City, Utah. Under the direction of Tom and Linda Whitaker as well as Mary Kelly, an outstanding committee and volunteers, this gathering is second to none in production, entertainment and attendance, and the Heber community provides the perfect backdrop for this event.

photo by Smoke Wade
Yvonne Hollenbeck and Chris Isaacs

To kick off the lineup of events, a cowboy steak dinner and concert is held at the nearby Midway Town Hall and this has become a big event in its own.  This year’s entertainment was Waddie Mitchell, Dave Stamey, Adrian Brannan, Gary McMahan, Jeff Carson, Curly Musgrave and Belinda Gail, Root Beer Reunion and Brooke Turner. The balance of the week is filled with western movies, a horseshow extravaganza, dances, the popular “Cowboy Express,” which provides a train ride through the beautiful countryside on the historic Heber Valley Railroad with entertainment by many of the western entertainers; a first class western trade show; mountain man trader’s camp; world famous Eddie Deen Bar-b-que; concerts and jam sessions. If that is not enough, there was also a colt starting clinic by nationally renowned trainer, Jim Hicks, and fiddle and guitar workshops by Rich and Valerie O’Brien. Capping off the gathering is a cowboy brunch with entertainment and a nondenominational cowboy church with gospel music provided by the Bar J Wranglers, Curly Musgrave and Belinda Gail, and other popular entertainers.

photo by Smoke Wade
Kenny Hall and Curly Musgrave

photo by Smoke Wade
Kent Rollins

Featured Performers at Heber City’s 2007 Gathering were Waddie Mitchell, Riders in the Sky, Bar J Wranglers, Curly Musgrave & Belinda Gail, Sons of the San Joaquin, Michael Martin Murphey, Baxter Black, Kip Calahan, Dave Stamey, Gary McMahan, Ramblin’ Jack Elliott, Rich & Valerie O’Brien, Sons and Brothers, Yvonne Hollenbeck, Stampede, Andy Nelson, Chris Isaacs, Saddle Strings, Jess Howard, Kent Rollins, Jeff Carson, Adrian Brannan, Jim Bone, In Cahoots, Root Beer Reunion, Latigo, Steve Moulton, Carin Mari Lechner & Pony Express, Gary Russell, Brooke Turner, Highway 40, and Richard Espinoza.  Another ongoing stage featured a great lineup of members of the Cowboy Poets of Utah. Sorely missed at this year’s gathering was the late Colen Sweeten, who was scheduled to have performed. He was always a popular cowboy poet at gatherings throughout the nation. 

photo by Smoke Wade
Andy Nelson

photo by Smoke Wade
Jo Lynne Kirkwood

photo by Smoke Wade
Stampede! (David Anderson, Terri Taylor, and Steve Taylor)

It is always interesting to hear comments from the many fans as well as the entertainers.  One couple from Texas, who attend many large gatherings throughout the country, commented that they felt the gathering at Heber City is the “most fun” of any they have attended.  Fans and entertainers alike commented on how well the gathering was organized. One entertainer summed it up by saying, “The gathering at Heber City has personality!" If you would like to attend a large, well organized gathering featuring top entertainers, don’t miss the 14th annual event to be held in November 2008.  Check out for information.




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



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