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(Some links may be out of date.)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


Page 2


Townsend (Montana) June

Bickleton (Washington) June

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Pincher Creek (Alberta) June
Stavely (Alberta) July
Salinas (California) July 
Creswell (Oregon) July
Pinetop-Lakeside (Arizona) July



See January-March reports here
See April-May reports here
See August-September reports here
See October-December 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


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June, 2008
7th Annual Townsend Cowboy Entertainer Gathering   Townsend, Montana

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


7th Annual Townsend
Cowboy Entertainer Gathering

Despite soaring gas and diesel prices and early June snow storms, cowboy poets and musicians once again gathered near the headwaters of the Missouri river to celebrate the 7th Annual Cowboy Entertainer Gathering in Townsend, Montana on June 6–8, 2008.

Larry Gibson and Joan Shindoll, along with Ed and Tom Shindoll, organized the weekend’s festivities. The event was an annual fundraiser for the Broadwater County Volunteer Fire Department.

Things got underway on Friday June 6, with daytime open mic sessions held in the auditorium of the Townsend High School. Cowboy poets and western musicians from six western states straggled in during the day and took their turns on the stage. Food concessions along with western art and gear vendors set up shop in the lobby, and the gathering was under way.

After the daytime open mic sessions ended at 5:00 p.m., the cowboy entertainers gathered at the local firehouse for a hamburger barbecue along with salad and corn on the cob. Members of the fire department prepared the meal for the performers.

The Friday night evening show got under way back at the auditorium at 6:30 p.m. with pre-show entertainment presented by musicians, Orville Riley and Jamie Baker, both of Montana. At 7:00 p.m., the event organizer, Larry Gibson, welcomed the near capacity audience to sit back and enjoy the show. The emcee for the evening was Smoke Wade of Nevada. The six headline performers for the evening included musicians, Jim Aasen, Washington; Larry Gibson, Montana; Jamie Parker-Frank, Wyoming; Wayne Nelson, Idaho; and special guest, Jason Deshaw of Tennessee. The cowboy poets for the evening were Mike Logan, Montana; and emcee, Smoke Wade. Soundman John Westbrook, Montana, accompanied Larry Gibson on stage. Each performer brought to the stage their special brand of quality entertainment.

Dallas McCord

Balladeer, Jim "Awesome" Aasen dominated with his Marty Robbins and Jim Reeves style of singing. Larry Gibson and John Westbrook were a team to be reckoned with. Gibson sang his original "Cash on the Light," while Westbrook was an absolute wizard on the guitar. Wayne Nelson shared many of his original Idaho songs and poems that displayed his progressive writing abilities. Mike Logan’s poetry was superb, and it was easy to see why he is a past Academy of Western Artists Male Poet of the year. Jamie Parker-Frank’s Wyoming songs proved once again that when it comes to cowgirl singers, she is the "Real Deal."

Mike Logan

Perhaps the highlight of the evening was the performance by Jason Deshaw. He had been spending time playing both in Nashville as well as on the road performing at fairs and rodeos. Deshaw portrayed an uncanny resemblance to Johnny Cash on the stage which greatly delighted the audience.

After the evening show was over, the performers gathered at the Mint Café & Casino for a late night jam session that never seemed to end. The facility was large enough to allow for two simultaneous jam sessions to be going on at the same time.

Saturday morning started out early with a pancake breakfast at 8:00 a.m. The volunteer fire department personnel once again prepared the meal. The daytime open mic sessions began right away and ended at 5:00 p.m. Following the day show, the fire department crew served up a pit-barbecued pig with all the trimmings including rhubarb cheesecake for dessert. Following the dinner, the Saturday night show got under way with pre-show entertainment by Gary Ferguson and John Westbrook, both of Montana.

Smoke Wade served as emcee for the evening’s event and he continued to interject his own brand of cowboy humor by changing wardrobes between each performer as he had done on Friday night. His costumes drifted from traditional cowboy wear to aloha shirts and sandals, to Captain Jack Sparrow dreadlocks.

Sam Mattise

Cowboy musicians for Saturday night included Dallas McCord, Oregon; Colt Angel, Idaho; Sam Mattise, Idaho; Hank Cramer, Washington; and the musical group, Stampede! featuring Steve & Terri Taylor, Utah. The cowboy poets were Smoke Wade and Sam DeLeeuw, Utah.

Sam DeLeeuw

Each performer brought to the stage entertainment uniquely different from the other performers. Dallas McCord played a mixture of traditional cowboy music along with humorous songs. Sam DeLeeuw rocked the house with her own brand of cowgal poetry and western humor. Colt Angel displayed his broad talents by playing several different musical instruments. Sam Mattise lent his "cowboy blues" to the evening, while Hank Cramer wowed the audience with his deep rich voice. Stampede! really livened up the crowd with their high-energy performance. While all of their songs seemed to get the audience tapping their feet, perhaps the most entertaining was the closing song of the show, "The Yellowstone Song" written by Terri Taylor. They invited other performers to join them on stage to pantomime the actions of the song.

Hank Cramer

After the close of the Saturday night show the performers once again gathered along with western entertainment fans at the Mint Café and Casino for a very late night jam session. Several local musicians that we not a part of the gathering brought their instruments to join in the jam session.

Sunday morning, the bleary-eyed cowboy performers gathered for coffee outside the local motel. While some of the entertainers made plans to attend cowboy church, others were busy packing for their long drive home—but not before they all promised to meet again soon, somewhere along the cowboy poetry trail. 

Jam session

June, 2008
First Annual Whispering Pines Cowboy Gathering   Bickleton, Washington

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



First Annual Whispering Pines
Cowboy Gathering

When Ron Maines, Bickleton, Washington, decided he would like to start up a cowboy gathering in his small town, he first asked a lot of questions from other event coordinators. Then he went to work. He established a budget to cover the expenses, raised the money and planned in advance. He decided to start small and make the event a financial success. If it was a success, then he would make it grow next year. In this manner, the First Annual Whispering Pines Cowboy Gathering was born.

Ron Maines

The event was scheduled to coincide with the 98th Pioneer Picnic and Rodeo, an event organized by the Alder Creek Pioneer Association. Bickleton is a small town virtually located in the middle of nowhere in south central Washington. The town boasts a population of 90 folks; they claim to be the Bluebird Capital of the World due to the thousands of bluebirds that spend most of the year there; they have the state’s oldest tavern with perhaps the state’s oldest pool table inside; and the state’s oldest rodeo. In addition, they have the 4th largest privately owned landfill in the United States that harvests methane gas and generates over 8 megawatts of electrical power. Not far from town is the state’s first large wind power electrical generating station with 133 wind turbines. They boast to be a very "green" community, and, on June 13th, 2008, they had the state’s newest cowboy gathering.

The event took place at the rodeo grounds several miles out of town. Though Bickleton is very small, even lacking a gas station, many folks attend the Pioneer Picnic and Rodeo. The forested area around the rodeo grounds was alive with RV campers, food vendors, fair games and food booths. It seemed that people came from everywhere for this long running event. A central attraction in this remote locality was one of the west’s oldest carousels—a 1905 Herschell-Spillman fully operational attraction. The show got under way on Friday with a 3:00 p.m. jam session that local musicians attended along with the invited performers.

Bodie Dominguez

The main show got under way at 7:00 p.m. at the rodeo grounds’ outdoor dance hall. Smoke Wade emceed the evening. The featured musicians were "Awesome" Jim Aasen, Washington; Bodie Dominguez, Washington; and "Coyote" Joe Sartin, Oregon. The dance hall was standing room only. After the show was over, the musicians conducted a well-attended cowboy dance. Later, the performers gathered around a campfire and entertained the RV crowd until well past midnight with an informal jam session.

Jim Aasen

"Coyote" Joe Sartin

On Saturday morning, the invited performers played music and recited poetry for the crowd that gathered for an early cowboy breakfast. Later, they entertained the grandstand crowd as a pre-show for the rodeo. And then, as fast as it all started, the gathering was over. The event was small while the crowds were large, but more importantly, the organizers declared the gathering a financial success, and they immediately began planning on how to expand it for next year. Normally, this type of a small gathering would slip under the radar, yet it is with this example of proper organization that cowboy gatherings have a chance to grow and expand. And in this manner, the First Annual Whispering Pines Cowboy Gathering joined the ranks of the plethora of other cowboy gatherings in the United States and Canada. Next year’s gathering will be held on June 12, 2009 at the 99th Annual Pioneer Picnic and Rodeo.



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



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