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(Some links may be out of date.)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


This is page two.


Enterprise (Oregon) September

Cochrane (Alberta) September

Maple Creek (Saskatchewan) September 

Hot Springs (South Dakota) September


On Page 1:

Shingletown (California) August
Stony Plain (Alberta) August
Prescott (Arizona) August
Reno (Nevada) August
Ketchum (Idaho) August
Alpine (Arizona) August
New Underwood (South Dakota) September

See January-March reports here
See April-May reports here
See June-July 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 . . .


September, 2008
4th Annual Max Walker Memorial Cowboy Poetry & Western Music Gathering  Enterprise, Oregon

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


4th Annual Max Walker Scholarship Cowboy Poetry Gathering


The 4th Annual Max Walker Scholarship Cowboy Poetry Gathering took place on September 5, 2008 at the Wallowa County Fairgrounds in Enterprise, Oregon. The memorial gathering was held in conjunction with the 28th Annual Hells Canyon Mule Days with the intent to raise scholarship money for a college bound senior. Max Walker was the first chairman of Hells Canyon Mule Days, and the gathering was held in his memory. During 2008, the organizers presented $3000.00 in scholarships to students bound for college.

The entertainment got under way with an open mic session from 2:00 to 5:00 p.m. hosted by cowboy poet and musician, Andy Bales, Washington. The open mic venue was held outdoors in a gazebo surrounded by western art and gear vendors. The aroma of hamburgers and kettle corn filled the air. Behind the open mic stage, mules and their riders competed in a variety of arena events. With warm weather and sunny skies, the outdoors open mic session was a welcome expansion to the gathering.

Allen Schnetzky

The main show got under way at 6:30 p.m. The stage was a flat bed trailer, while the event center was an indoor arena. The horse barn was a fitting venue for cowboy poets and western musicians, and by the time the main show started, there was standing room only. The gathering coordinator, Allen Schnetzky opened the show with a welcome to the audience and an introduction of the dignitaries including Hells Canyon Mule Days president, Sondra Lozier.

Smoke Wade

The entertainment got under way at 6:45 with Smoke Wade, Nevada, as emcee for the evening’s event. The cast of poets selected for the show included local poet, Bill Henke, Oregon; David Rustebakke, Washington; Charlie Edwards, Nevada; Randy Cox, Washington; and the president of the Palouse Country Cowboy Poetry Association, J. B. Barber of Idaho.

Charlie Edwards

Rustebakke, a large animal veterinarian, draws from his experience with animals as he related these stories in humorous poems. Edwards made the trip to northeast Oregon from Mesquite, Nevada, where he has been a participant of the Mesquite Cowboy Poetry Workshop hosted by Harlo Birkholtz. He felt it was time to spread his wings and experience a few gatherings about the west. Local author and columnist, Janie Tippett, Oregon, recited poetry and shared stories. Tippett has enjoyed a long running column in Agri-Times Northwest as author of "Janie’s Journal." And, Randy Cox, a Methodist minister, was clearly the crowd favorite of the poets. His delivery was superb and his material was quite entertaining.

"Awesome" Jim Aasen

The featured musicians included "Awesome" Jim Aasen, Washington; Andy Bales, Washington; and The HighStrung Band of Oregon. Both Aasen and Bales played a mixture of traditional cowboy songs. Aasen is noted for his renditions of songs by Jim Reeves, Johnny Cash and Marty Robbins. The HighStrung Band, the five-member Reddington family, showcased the three children, Landen on the guitar, while Morgan and Hunter played the fiddle. The father, Shawn, played stand up bass while the mother, Jennifer, played guitar and mandolin. The group was highly entertaining and after two standing ovations and a curtain call, they appeared to be the crowd favorite.

The gathering was deemed a success as a fund-raiser, and plans for the 2009 event began immediately at the end of the show.

After a late night get together at the Range Rider Saloon, the poets and musicians gathered for the non-motorized parade the next morning. Highlights of the parade included a team of European oxen, as well as many horses, buggies, wagons and show mules. Following the parade, once again it was time for the performers to say good-bye as they promised to meet again, somewhere along the cowboy poetry trail.


September, 2008
11th Annual Badger Clark Hometown Cowboy Poetry and Music Gathering  Hot Springs, South Dakota

report and photos Slim McNaught

[photo of Slim McNaught by Jen Dobrowski]



Finally!! We have been waiting for this event for months and here we are. All spruced up for the 11th Annual Badger Clark Poetry & Music Gathering in Hot Springs, South Dakota, presented by the Hot Springs Area Chamber of Commerce. And what a full weekend it turned out to be.

Ken Cook

MaryJo Grill, Program Director, is turning this event into one of the more popular gatherings in this area. Anyone who didn’t get the chance to take in the gathering should start making plans for next year. MaryJo came up with the idea of having a jam session and calling it “Bunkhouse Tales.” Then to make it even better, she had Robert "Jinglebob" Dennis emcee the whole shebang. This event was held Friday evening at 7 o’clock in the Woolly’s Mammoth Family Fun Convention Center. We started out in the first room of the convention center but soon had to roll back the partition and ended up nearly filling the whole center with over seventy five in the audience. What a crowd. We had about a dozen poets and musicians show up for the jam, and we had talent like you can’t believe. We entertained the crowd with KG & the Ranger from Wisconsin, Andy Wiesenhofer of Illinois, Kip Sorlie of South Dakota, Gale Patzlaff of South Dakota, Slim McNaught of South Dakota, Yvonne Hollenbeck of South Dakota, Ken Cook of South Dakota, Scott Mead of Minnesota, Jim and Lynn Messersmith of Nebraska. The crowd was fantastic, the facility the most comfortable and friendly I’ve been in for a long time, and the camaraderie among performers really great.

Yvonne Hollenbeck

But we didn’t get to sleep in Saturday morning. "Jinglebob" said "‘Breakfast 7 to 8" so we rolled out and joined the crowd. Sure a great start to a busy day. By 9 o’clock we were in one of the meeting rooms at the Mueller Civic Center at 801 S. 6th Street in Hot Springs where Yvonne Hollenbeck and Slim McNaught hosted a poetry writing seminar. We had around over forty interested folks attending plus some of the other poets like Ken Cook and Robert Dennis sitting in the back to help us out with pointers and suggestions. Yvonne did an excellent job of getting ideas across and getting feed back from the audience. Many good comments were heard by all of us regarding the folks enjoying the seminar. I believe this could turn into a very worthwhile addition to the gathering. I sure enjoyed being a part of it.

George Kotti, executive director of the Chamber, had this great idea of holding a poetry contest, with judges and pay offs in the form of Hot Springs Chamber Bucks. By starting time at 1 o’clock Saturday afternoon we had six poets signed up to compete in front of a packed house. MaryJo rounded up judges Robert Dennis, Ken Cook, Ruth Birrell (a retired English teacher from Hot Springs), and Phyllis Mead. Poets competing were Kip Sorlie, Andy Wiesenhofer, Bernice Lannders, Scott Mead, Gale Patzlaff, and Slim McNaught. Places won were: Andy Wiesenhofer, first place, $75 in Chamber Bucks; Gale Patzlaff, second place, $50 in Chamber Bucks; Slim McNaught, third place, $25 in Chamber Bucks. Those Chamber Bucks are really appreciated by the performers and give us all a chance to shop downtown. This is another new event here that sure looks to me like it could go places. Everyone seemed to really enjoy it.

Robert "Jinglebob" Dennis

After a supper break and a lot of visiting, we got ready to be entertained at the evening performance. All one had to do was look at the lineup of performers to know that this was going to be a ‘second-to-none’ performance. Once again MaryJo made an excellent choice by having "Jinglebob" emcee this performance again. He has emceed this evening show since it started eleven years ago. He started it off with some light hearted banter that got the crowd into a good mood, then showed us some of that talent he is famous for by performing poetry and song. Then Ken Cook came on with some of his great poetry followed by KG & the Ranger with their music and rope tricks.

Program Director MaryJo Grill

George Kotti then took the stage and welcomed everyone on behalf of the Hot Springs Area Chamber of Commerce. He brought MaryJo Grill to center stage and presented her with a bouquet and words of praise for her efforts in the production of this event. At that time Yvonne Hollenbeck entertained with her poems from a ranch wife’s perspective. She then told us she had a surprise and brought out Joyce Woodson of San Juan Capistrano, California, an award-winning western singer. She awed the folks with her musical and songwriting talent.

Joyce Woodson

Another surprise! Gale Patzlaff of Alexandria, South Dakota, was asked to come on stage and give his version of the historical bank robbery by Jesse James in Minnesota. Gale’s poem tells it like it could have been reported by some of the Norwegian folks involved. Hilarious! (As an aside, Gale does “Gabby Hayes” about as good as Gabby himself). Jean Prescott then brought us her beautiful voice and excited the crowd with her music and song. She then brought Joyce Woodson out again and they performed some numbers together. Great entertainment.

Jean Prescott

When they ended their segment and the show was over, all of the performers came out on stage to sing the final song. The crowd got on their feet and called, “More, more,” until several more (I lost count) songs were performed. What an ending to a fabulous weekend.

Anyone who would like to receive more information about this event can call the Hot Springs Chamber at 605-745-4140 or see them at

The busy artists' table


September, 2008
Trail's End Gathering
  Cochrane, Alberta

report and photos by Mag Mawhinney



At Cochrane, Alberta

September 26-28, 2008


Where do most cowboys go when they hit the end of the trail? Well, they head back to the ranch house to swap stories, maybe sing a few songs, rekindle old friendships and perhaps make new ones. And that’s just what many of them did at the Alberta Cowboy Poetry Association’s annual windup gathering in The Cochrane RancheHouse.

This wonderful venue was ideal for the event as it sits in the heart of ranching country in the beautiful foothills of the Rockies and the life-size "Hall Of Horses" greets everyone as soon as they walk through the door. Ten talented artisans were able to display their fine workmanship in the circle hallway, leading to the large, comfortable seating room and stage area.

The Hall of Horses

The entertainment was almost non-stop. Thirty-two performers sang or talked about mud in your hair, eight second riders, snubbin’ posts, cow chips, cowboy logic, boxes full of memories, horses and men, wagon treks, pack horses, re-ride pens, tack room pickles, prairie homesteads, red rock places, donkeys, empty corrals and a myriad of other western themes. There were poems and songs to make you ponder, laugh or cry. I especially enjoyed the dramatic tale of "The Woman Who Walks On the Wind," recited by Vic Stuckey and Rob Osberg’s historical saga about the blizzard of 1906-7 as told by an old-timer.

The camaraderie between performers was definitely high. As well as playing their own songs, many musicians, such as Al Owchar, Abe Zacharias, Latigo, Jesse Fowler, Sharky Shauer, Perry Jacobson and Ed Brown, played backup for poets or other singers. Poet Buddy Gale’s name was mentioned many times throughout the weekend. At least five singers had set melodies to some of his insightful poems and sang them to an enthusiastic crowd. Three world-class yodelers, Shirley Field, Rod Erickson and Miriam Dreher, received much applause for their amazing talents. Rod sang duets with both of these great ladies and it was awesome!

There were many other special moments on the weekend’s agenda. Sixteen-year-old, Shiloh Sharrard from Idaho, sang "Jackson" with nineteen-year-old Alberta singer, Jesse Fowler and folks loved it! Alison Demeter got everyone involved with her cheerful sing-along songs.

Shiloh Sharrard and Jesse Fowler

Up and comer Lloyd Dolen sang "Chopo," a 1901 Jack Thorp tune, with his six-year-old son Jamie, who is now the fourth generation of performers in the Dolen family. Lloyd’s grandfather (also Lloyd) was known as Alberta’s Grand Daddy of Cowboy Poetry.

Lloyd Dolen (center), son Jamie and Latigo

Retired RCMP officer, Robbie Robertson, dressed in the uniform of the North West Mounted Police, presented a series of historical poems about the role the Force played in the taming of the west, back in 1873. Jill Stewart’s daughter, Kelly, who used to sing regularly with her mother, treated everyone with a wonderful rendition of a Patty Loveless tune, "That Ain’t the Grampa That I Know." Three of Abe Zacharias’ sisters, who had come out from nearby Calgary, did some great harmony vocals with Abe and they certainly wowed the crowd. And I was thrilled to hear Abe sing three of my songs as well.

Al Owchar and Abe Zacharias (right) with his sisters

Poet/storyteller/packer B.J. Smith and poet/packer Bob Silverthorne gave horse packing and roping demonstrations in the courtyard. Both Friday and Saturday saw many learning from this knowledgeable pair who presented their talks with a good deal of humor thrown in. Seems old "Earl" (the man-made packhorse) stood about 18 hands and B.J. had to stand on a stool to throw that diamond hitch.

B.J. Smith and "Earl"

The Saturday night roast beef dinner was fork tender and the daytime soup and sandwich bar had steady lineups…especially for those bacon and cheese biscuits that Sharky raved about several times during the weekend.

Chris and Sharky Shauer opened Cowboy Church on Sunday morning with a lively medley of gospel favorites. Many of the other performers took part in the service, showing their spiritual side and poet/rancher/preacher Bryn Thiessen gave the message. I learned Bryn officiates church services at the RancheHouse every Tuesday evening. It is one of many Cowboy Trail Churches that have sprung up along Highway 22 (The Cowboy Trail) and in other parts of Alberta. After church, open mic music and poetry continued till 2 p.m. Then everyone hit the trails again, but I’m sure all those trails will cross somewhere and one of them will lead back to the Cochrane RancheHouse next fall.


September, 2008
19th Annual Maple Creek Cowboy Poetry Gathering  Maple Creek, Saskatchewan


story by David Dance

19th Annual Maple Creek Cowboy Poetry Gathering
Western Art and Gear Show
September 19-21, 2008

The weekend could not have been more favorable, sunny, warm and very little wind. Great combining weather and that's where some entertainers and fans were. There were two dozen RV units parked near the arena. The curling rink was a beehive of activity on Thursday evening and Friday morning, open for business by 10am. The arts, crafts and trades people came from points in Alberta, British Columbia and Saskatchewan. Twelve booths were leather products from harness, saddles, tack and crafts. Other booths had clothing, jewelry, silversmiths,
paintings, photography, woodcrafts and other products relating to western lifestyles. Throughout the weekend some entertainers took time to wander through trade show, they stopped to entertain at various booths, enjoyed by crafts people and customers alike.

The weekend's entertainment started at 10am in the skating rink. Cowboy poet and songwriter Buddy Gale of Calgary was the opening performer, followed by the students of the Sydney Street School. Next came the singing duo of Bud and Jill Stewart of Fort McLeod, Alberta. Poet Jeff Strandquist of Camrose, Alberta and the vocal styling of Laura Hayes to finish the set. At 11am the second venue in the Elks hall also opened for the weekend's entertainment. Musical groups and singles the likes of Marshal Veal, The Moncriefs, Conrad Sandberg, Ted McHolm, Silver Sage, Ed Brown, Lloyd Dolen, Al Owchar, Shirley Field, Chris and Sharkey Schauer, Perry Jacobson, and Larry Krause joined by poets and storytellers Brian Anderson, Harley Uruquhart, Anne Slade, Bill Michie, Dave Dance, Morley Thorpe, Ken McConaghie, Ken Blacklock, Bernie Christiansen, Barry Heath, Mag Mawhinney, Doris Bircham, and Hazel Rust. Entertainers who hailed from points in Alberta, British Columbia, and Saskatchewan alternated venues throughout the weekend.

Performers, artisans, and crafters dined at the Jasper Cultural Centre 4:30 till 7pm. Good food, good times and great fellowship was enjoyed by all.

The Friday evening show started at 7:30 pm, on the main stage in the arena. Jeff Strandquist of Camrose, Alberta, was the emcee for the evening.

First up was Marshal Veal from B.C.'s sunshine coast, with smooth vocal stylings and guitar with some of his original works, easy listening. Next up was Ridgedale, Saskatchwan resident poet and wit Ken McConaghie, with well written material well received by the audience. Next were local favorites Linda Udal on keyboard and Ben Beberidge on fiddle and vocals. Toes were soon tapping to the upbeat tempos of the fiddle and some fine vocal renditions of old favorites. Dave Dance of Olds, Alberta entertained with his offerings of some original styled poetry and Perry Jacobson of Cochran, Alberta, offered some very original songs and music,very well delivered and true to our western roots. Next came a spinner of tall tales known as Old Ugly, always a favorite with his wild and outrageous stories of his imaginary family and friends. His ability to make people laugh is a great gift. Last but definitely not least, were the fine musical stylings of Chris and Sharkey Schauer. In my opinion, Christine's vocals are as fine as any I have ever heard. Sharkey's skill with guitar, banjo, dobro and resonator guitar are almost legendary; they really complement each other's skills. It was a very entertaining evening of some fine talents greatly enjoyed by all.

Saturday dawned another great day, with all venues up and running from 10am till 4:30 pm. Adding to the musical mix were Gary and Maria Bourdon, Pete Hanson and poet Marvin Auseth. We were off and running with entertainers hustling from venue to venue throughout the day, with a total of 13 hours of non-stop entertainment to very appreciative audiences.

From 4:30 till 7pm. a very delicious Beef Buffet dinner was served up at the Armouries, a time to relax and for performers and fans to have some informal contacts.

A well-attended benefit auction of products donated by the arts and crafts people was held between 6 and 7:30.

There were Saturday evening gala performances with local poets Anne Slade and Doris Bircham sharing the emcee duties. Lead off entertainer was storyteller and local favorite Morley Thorpe of Spy Hill, Saskatchewan, who, with his quick wit and ability to poke fun at politicos is always entertaining. A lady poet,Mag Mawhinney, of Cobble Hill, B.C, was up next with her offerings of unique and authentic poetry.well received by the audience. The man from up north by Prince Albert, Saskatchewan was next on stage: Larry Krause, a winner of several awards for his gospel and cowboy songs and music, his big rich voice and professional delivery are a great addition to any show.

Also on stage was a fine young poet, singer, and songwriter from Dunmore, Alberta, Lloyd Dolen. He has lots of talent, and was backed up by Jim Peace on guitar, Graham Allen on bass, and Sharkey on dobro. There were some really authentic words and music well delivered. Lynda Udal was on keyboard and Pete Hanson on guitar and vocals with full backup band. Pete's vocals were good to listen to, a mostly local group well appreciated. Finally featured was Canada's original yodeling cowboy sweetheart Shirley Field, backed up by Al Owchar on guitar and Sharkey on dobro, she wowed the audience. She is always a fan favorite with her great yodeling ability and more than sixty years of entertaining to her credit.

Sunday, 7 till 10am., pancake breakfast was served up by the Redmans High School Football Club. Gospel music was served up in the arena by local group, Heading Home and Friends, from 9 till 10am.

Cowboy Church, 10 till 11:30 am., was led by Chris and Sharkey Schauer with contributions of spiritual music, stories and poetry by many of the weekend's performers. The message was delivered by local rancher Ross Pollack.

Entertainment ran from 12 noon till 3pm, a great weekend of western and cowboy music and poetry to carry on some fine traditions and heritage.

And last but definitely not least, a very special thank you to the sound people, and to that very wonderful group of dedicated volunteers. From the entertainers and crafts people: thanks for a job well done


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



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