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(Some links may be out of date.)

2008 Reports

January - March

Page Three

Cartersville (Georgia) March

Thatcher (Arizona) January

Mesquite (Nevada) March


On page 1:

Fort Worth (Texas) January
Lordsburg (New Mexico) February
Pigeon Forge (Tennessee) February
Martin (South Dakota) February

Elko (Nevada) January  separate page

On page 2:

Arvada (Colorado) January
Ellensburg (Washington) February
Moab (Utah) February
Lewiston (Idaho) February
Kamloops (British Columbia) March
Vinton (California) March


See April-May reports here

See reports from 2007 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 . . .


March, 2008
5th Annual Southeastern Cowboy Gathering  Cartersville, Georgia

report and photos by Karen DeCicco


Ice in Dallas, Snow in Atlanta

5th Annual Southeastern Cowboy Gathering
March 6-9, 2008
Booth Western Art Museum in Cartersville, Georgia


It was said many times during this gathering that the Booth Western Art Museum is a treasure for the Southeastern United States.  The truth is this museum is a treasure for those of us in the east and west of the Mississippi.

This is the 5th year that the Booth Museum has hosted the cowboy gathering and even though they had some weather woes, it went beautifully. 

The museum itself is a state of the art facility with western archives and western art that rival any museum in the country.  They are affiliated with the Smithsonian so they are able to have exhibits from DC as well.  Their interactive area for the children was especially impressive, combining history lessons and cultural lessons with fun!

Jim Dunham is the Museumís Director of Special Projects and his knowledge of western historical events and western movie trivia is astounding and entertaining.  As part of the gathering, Jimís trick gun show was not to be missed!

Doc Stovall has worked with the local schools and his work should be commended.  Keeping the art of cowboy poetry alive is critical and Docís efforts have really paid off.  There were several school kids that participated in the poetry contests and they did a great job.  The competition was stiff!   Jim Hawkins, Andy Hedges, Jim Dunham and Doc Stovall also performed at the schools during the days of the gathering and the children were very receptive and excited about the Gathering. 

In the cowboy hats: Jim Hawkins, Doc Stovall, Andy Hedges, Jim Dunham, with students

Throughout each day, although there was some snow and cold, the smell of the chuck wagons wafted through the air.  The competitors did not let the weather slow them down a bit. Kent Rollins was stuck in Dallas for about 16 hours because of the ice on the wings but he and his wife eventually arrived with no luggage!  Kent participated in all his shows and got to judge the cooking as planned!

The featured performers Friday night were Jim Hawkins, Andy Hedges, Kent Rollins, Doc Stovall and the Tumbleweed Cowboy Band, Jerry Warren  and Jim Dunham.  It was a great show in a wonderful theatre in the museum itself. 

Andy Hedges, Kent Rollins, Jerry Warren, and Jim Hawkins

Saturday nightís show featured Red Steagall, who brought along Rich OíBrien. They performed to a full house in the Grand Theatre in downtown Cartersville. Cartersville has a wonderful downtown area and being in this theatre was a neat experience. 

Redís arrival was touch-and-go for a while due to weather as well.  He was stuck in Atlanta due to snow on his arrival day.  But, just like Kent, Red made it and performed like the stand-up performer that he is!

Doc Stovall and the Tumbleweed Cowboy Band

Having the benefit of tagging along with one of the performers, a highlight was in the hotel lobby each night after the shows.  Each evening would find an impromptu jam session going on for a couple hours into the morning. Doc Stovall is a gifted musician and vocalist who can play and sing anything if you name that tune or start singing the words!  He knows every song ever written and has penned some great songs himself!  Billy Puckett can make "Twinkle Little Star" sound like a classical piece and fires up a stringed instrument like nothing you have ever heard!  Andy Hedges joined in with his guitar and Jim and I sang along with every song we knew the words to. Tom Kerlin and Don DeFoor pulled out guitars and did all the songs they knew.  We had a ladies church group stop and hang out with us at one point. 

For those of us who spend most of our time in the eastern half of the country, this gathering is like a drink of water!  Having the option of seeing top notch Cowboy performers in a great little town like Cartersville is a gift!  Doc Stovall, Jim Dunham, Cartersville itself and the Booth Western Art Museum have put together a gathering not to be missed no matter where you are from!

© 2008, Karen DeCicco


January, 2008
1st Annual Gila River Heritage Round-Up   Thatcher, Arizona

report and photos by Ralph Smith

The First Annual Gila River Heritage Round-Up was held in Thatcher, Arizona, January 23-24, 2008, sponsored by the Graham County Historical Society.

Activity began Friday afternoon with the Gila Valley Art Guild hosting an art show and open sessions for poetry, storytelling, and cowboy and Western music. Saturday morning and afternoon there was great cowboy poetry and music with well-known poets and musicians from Arizona, Idaho and New Mexico. An old-time Bar-B-Q and Dutch oven lunch was served at noon.


Jim Jones, Kip Calahan, Mayor Ron Green and Frank Fox

The main program was held Saturday night at Eastern Arizona Colleges Lees' Theater with the Gila Valley Wranglers, made up of Frank Fox, the Honorable Ron Green, Mayor of Safford and Ralph Smith providing the pre-show.

Hook Hill at the mic and seated: Judith Smotts, Mike Dunn, Jim Jones, Kip Calahan,
Ralph Smith, Ron Green, Frank Fox (Mayor Ron Green is a base player)

Ron Green and Frank Fox with Jim Jones in back

Rolf Flake at the mic and seated: Hook Hill, Judith Smotts, Jim Jones,
Kip Calahan, Ralph Smith, Ron Green and Frank Fox

Tom Weathers was an outstanding emcee. Idaho poet Larry Shiflet started things off, followed by local poet Bunny Dryden, Rolf Flake from Gilbert, Arizona, and Judith Smotts from New Mexico as the other first-half poets. Jan Chaote-Richins performed her great cowboy and trail songs.

Larry Shiflet at the mic and seated: Mike Dunn, Tom Weathers
 and Jan Choate-Richins

Jan Choate-Richins at the mic and Tom Weathers

A special presentation by the Historical Society to local rancher Ross Bryce and his wife Melba took place after intermission as they were inducted into the cowboy Hall Of fame. Mike Dunn from Mesa, Arizona kicked off the second half of the program, followed by "Hook" Hill, Kip Calahan and Jim Jones finished off the program with several of their great songs leaving the audience wanting more.

Mike Dunn at the mic and seated: Larry Shiflet,
Tom Weathers and Jan Choate- Richins

Tom Weathers with Jim Hones and Kip Calahan in back

The Historical Society thanks all the performers for a job well done as well all who helped make this a successful event. We look forward to the 2009 Round-Up next January 23-24, 2009.

Posted 4/17

March, 2008
2nd Annual Cowboy Poetry Hootenanny  Mesquite, Nevada

  report and photos by Smoke Wade
photo of Smoke Wade by Jeri L. Dobrowski; see her gallery of western performers and others here.


Cowboy Poetry Hootenanny

The 2nd Annual Cowboy Poetry Hootenanny took place on March 22, 2008 at the Community Theater in Mesquite, Nevada. The 2-hour show was a producerís dream, for the venue was sold out for the second year in a row.

The performing cast comprised aspiring poets who had attended a cowboy poetry workshop presented by the Virgin Valley Artist Association and conducted by Harlo Birkholtz of Mesquite. Many of the poets had completed their second year with the workshop. The poets presenting material represented retired or semi-retired cowboys and ranchers from various western states that now make Mesquite their home, be it full time or just a winter headquarters.

As the full house settled in their seats, The Hootenanny Wranglers presented pre-show entertainment with Doris Haws on guitar and vocals, Jerry Hopkins on bass guitar, and Dorsey Kays on banjo. The group of "snowbirds" winter in Mesquite and migrate to southern Idaho for the summer.

The Hootenanny Wranglers:  Jerry Hopkins, Doris Haws and Dorsey Kays

Emcee Smoke Wade got the show under way at 7:00 p.m. The contributing poets included Joe Klasen, Lee Kimberlin, Charlie Edwards, Sharon Young, Sid Hysell, Diana Coonradt, Barbara King and Jim Lupher, all of the Mesquite area. The poetry occasionally was broken up by music from The Hootenanny Wranglers and a singalong led by Barbara King. Bill Taylor of Mesquite highlighted the evening with a special presentation of "The Talking Frog" during the Tall Tales portion of the venue.

Other noted events of the evening included an appearance by cowboy poet, Sam Jackson of Kanab, Utah. Jackson is the producer of the National Cowboy Poetry Rodeo. Along with Sam Jackson, Smoke Wade and Diana Coonradt dedicated the evening to Butch Burkholder who passed away in 2007. Jackson presented his original poem, "Ode to a Cowboy" written in memory of Butch, while Coonradt recited Burkholderís original poem, "The Wannabe Cowboy." Wade introduced the family and friends of Butch that had contributed funds to have a memorial lectern built for continued use by the Mesquite Cowboy Poetry Workshop. Burkholder, a cowboy poet and past judge of the National Cowboy Poetry Rodeo, was instrumental in starting the cowboy poetry workshop in Mesquite in 2006. In addition, Burkholder, along with Linda Faas and Harlo Birkholtz, both of Mesquite, organized the first Cowboy Poetry Hootenanny in 2006.

Event organizers, Harlo Birkholtz and Linda Faas

After the show ended, and the energetic audience had left the theater, the poets joined for a backstage cast party with cake and ice cream. During the "wrap party," Diana Coonradt, a known local artist, presented Smoke Wade with an original acrylic cowboy painting, "Early Start to a Long Day," in recognition of his contributions to the show and workshop.

"Early Start to a Long Day" acrylic painting by Diana Coonradt as presented to Smoke Wade

Harlo Birkholtz did an excellent job of managing the lights and sound system, while Linda Faas deserves special Kudos as producer of the show. Birkholtz has announced that he will expand the Mesquite Cowboy Poetry Workshop into a year round workshop. The 3rd Annual Mesquite Cowboy Poetry Hootenanny has been schedule for Easter Weekend, 2009.


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



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