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(Some links may be out of date.)

2009 Reports

April - June


Tyrone (New Mexico) April

 St. Anthony (Idaho) April

Cody (Wyoming) April

Mountain View (Missouri) April

Mineral Wells (Texas) May

Medora (North Dakota) May

Fiddletown (California) June


See January-February reports here.
See July-August reports here.
See September reports here.
See October reports here.
See November reports here.

See reports from 2008 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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April, 2009
Second Annual Tyrone Cowboy Poetry and Music Gathering  Tyrone, New Mexico ~ Celebrating Cowboy Poetry Week

report and photo by Pete Kennedy


The Second Annual Tyrone Cowboy Poetry and Music Gathering was held on April 25, 2009. The headline performers were The Desert Sons. They performed for a full hour and most of the audience said they could have listened to them all night. Other featured performers in our evening show were: Jim and Nancy Sober, Eddy Harrison, and Mike Dunn. They all were excellent. Mike Moutoux did a superb job as emcee.

During the day, from 11 AM until 5 PM, we had continuous performances on two stages. The main stage show was opened by the Marine Corps Reserve Honor Guard presenting the colors while Norman Ruebush recited "The Ragged Old Flag." Mike Moutoux, Ken Whitecotton, Dianne Kennedy and Pete Kennedy shared emcee duties and also performed on both stages. Other daytime performers were The Copper Creek Wranglers, James Michael, Mike White, Bill and Sue Jones, Earl Gleason, Ginny Robertson, Parker McCauley, Sandie Brito and "Hook" Hill.


June, 2009
Scofield's Cowboy Campfire at Red Mule Ranch  Fiddletown, California

report by Harold Roy Miller, photos by Diana Miller


The Scofield Cowboy Campfire event took place on the the 13th of June in Fiddletown. California at Ron and Marie Scofields' Red Mule Ranch. The featured performers were singer/songwriter Juni Fisher, Ron Scofield and Western poet Harold Roy Miller.

Juni Fisher and Harold Roy Miller

There was a large crowd there and everyone was in a fun mood. The evening started off with a Tri-tip dinner and fixings which everyone enjoyed. The folks mingled and talked for awhile, then the show began.

Ron Scofield, who is a very talented singer sang some traditional western songs. Then Harold Roy Miller did a few light-hearted humorous poems. Juni Fisher then took the stage and did a beautiful job of keeping the audience entertained with her lively songs.

Ron Scofield

There was an intermission for peach cobbler and cowboy coffee and then the same line-up did another set. Juni Fisher closed out the show. She got a standing ovation and had to do an encore. It was a great gathering and The Scofields were very gracious hosts. They even took the performers out to breakfast the next morning.



May, 2009
23rd Annual Dakota Cowboy Poetry Gathering  Medora, North Dakota

report and photos by Slim McNaught
photo of Slim McNaught by Jennifer Dobrowski


Medora, North Dakota! What a destination! Everything was fresh and green and we were looking forward to a few days of nothing but pure fun and entertainment. We are booked into the 23rd Annual Dakota Cowboy Poetry Gathering at the Medora Community Center. We pulled into town on a beautiful Friday afternoon and set up our booth for our leather items. The Big Hat lady, Lois Welch, and her husband, George, showed up not long after with their array of big straw hats and accessories. Pony Bill Engen, saddle maker from Belfield, North Dakota, will be in later with his wares. Also, there’s a brand new feature at this year’s gathering. Lyle Glass and Kriss and Paula Enzi are manning a Photo Contest display down the hall and it looks to be a great addition to this event.

Saturday morning check-in and it was just like old home week. These gatherings are like a big family reunion except that we all like each other at the gatherings. It is so good to see Bill and JoAnn Lowman again. They are registering performers, handing out name tags, and getting all our books and CDs logged in for sale at the performer’s table. For 22 years these folks have put on great entertainment and it looks like this 23rd one will be one of the best. The hugging and handshaking and conversation gets intense while everyone is showing up and checking in.

By 12 o’clock noon Saturday Bill Lowman has the schedule completed and we all get lined up for the 1 o’clock open mike session. The convention hall was nearly full as Jarle Kvale, emcee, from Belcourt, ND kicked off this first session. Jarle is a program director at KEYA Public Radio in Belcourt. He started by introducing Orv Alveshere, Fargo, ND, and continued on with Troy McNaught Westby, New Underwood, SD; Slim McNaught, New Underwood, SD; Gil Ost, Beulah, ND; Chris Burnside, Berthold, ND; Vic Mord; Birchdale, MN; Sally Young, Little Rock, IA; Ila Mae Prestangen, Watford City, ND; Mark Grothier, Bismarck, ND; Glenda Kreiman, Lindsay, MT; Jim Dalglish, Grand Forks, ND; Stacy Jenne, Douglas, WY; Billy Faier, Marathon, TX; Chris Sand, Dunn Center, ND; and Celia Yates, Hammond, MT. This crew was mostly return performers with the exception of Sally Young and Stacy Jenne, who made their first appearance reciting to an audience. They were very entertaining. We’ll look forward to hearing them again.

The 2:45 PM Saturday session opened with Paula Harkins as emcee. Paula is an Ekalaka, MT native, now living in Billings, MT. Her and her husband just started a new trucking company they call “Acorn Trucking” because you “gotta be a little nuts.” This round started off with Dean Johnson, Beach, ND; Jim Lowman, Grassy Butte, ND; Donelda Oberlander, New England, ND; Gale Drewry, Sidney, MT; Dale Nystrom, New Rockford, ND; the Hegland Family singers, Hettinger, ND; Kim Shade, Medora, ND; Brent Voigt, Rhame, ND; Jody Strand, Baker, MT; Polly VanderVorst, Trail City, SD; and Wayne W. Wipf, Spearfish, SD. What a great bunch of entertainers, they had the audience grinning and applauding at both sessions. At the end of this performance the visiting and catching up got down right serious. Some of these folks only see each other once a year at this gathering so there’s always a crowd gathered getting the latest news spread around. These groups spilled over into the eating establishments as everyone looks forward to the evening performances.

Featured poets at this year’s event are Sally Young, raised on a ranch northeast of Rapid City, South Dakota, now living in northwest Iowa, where she raises registered Quarter horses, writes poetry and paints pictures. Stacy Jenne, born and raised 75 miles from the nearest town of Douglas, Wyoming, says, “I’m proud to say I’m a country girl through and through.” She went to a country school with 3 other people until she was in the 9th grade. Her parents own the historic AU7 ranch in north eastern Wyoming. Gil Ost, now retired from a life involved in farming and ranching, lives in Beulah, North Dakota. “I’ve been writing “Stuff” all my life but never did anything with it”. He said it was a real pleasure attending and taking part in the cowboy Poetry Gathering. Kim Shade has been blest with living his whole life in the west. Raised in Utah and owning and operating ranches in South Dakota, Idaho and North Dakota, he has had the privilege of riding and working with some great cowboy ranchers. Slim McNaught of New Underwood, South Dakota, was raised on a ranch in southwest South Dakota, operated a boot and saddle shop for nearly 40 years, now downsized to hand made and hand carved leather items. Writing poetry since high school, he first recited to an audience in 2004. This is his sixth year at this gathering. (My sincere apologies to Sally Young, Stacy Jenne and Gil Ost, pictures of these featured poets did not turn out good enough to reproduce.)

The Saturday night entertainment was emceed by Bill Lowman. He is the founder and director of this Dakota Cowboy Poetry Gathering, and a charter member poet of the National Cowboy Poetry Gathering in Elko, Nevada. He has ranched and cowboy’d his entire life on the ranch north of Sentinel Butte, North Dakota, and has five books published.

Performers for this evening entertainment are:

Ken Cook of Martin, South Dakota, a rancher and writer, says his wife has a real job in town at the bank. It’s a marriage made in Heaven…Ken gets to kiss his banker every morning. Ken’s poetry cuts a wide path—from the humorous “who’d a thunk it” mishaps involving kids, cattle, and horses, right down an emotional trail reliving the years spent horseback with his grandpa Frank Buckles. He writes what he knows; punchin’ cows and livin’ life. He has entertained in several states, including the 23rd National Cowboy Poetry Gathering in Elko, Nevada, as a featured performer. Ken has recorded two CD’s of original poetry, Dad, We’ll Rope Today and I’m Gonna Be a Cowboy. His latest CD, Cowboys Are Like That includes the work of Buck Ramsey, Badger Clark and Ralph Garnier Coole, as well as his own.

Paul Harris was raised in Arkansas, near Little Rock. He grew up on bluegrass and the first song he ever sang to an audience was “Rocky Top,” a bluegrass tune, when he was six years old. He went to Nashville when he was in his early twenties and it didn’t take long to figure out that a guy with horses and cattle on the brain and in his songs wasn’t going to go very far, so he followed his heart and headed for, as he likes to say, “Somewhere out West.” He spent the next 12 years chasin’ around workin’ any job he could find horseback, or at least where he got to look at a cow every day. All along never letting his guitar go idle while writing songs and even a few poems about what he saw and experienced. Among all the things he learned, he started making boots, and now has a shop in Sallisaw, Oklahoma. That is his trade, but it still allows him to day work here and there and to perform whenever he gets the chance.

Nikki McAlpin, lead singer for Pony Express Delivering God’s Mail to You, entertains and inspires audiences with up-beat Country Christian music and the stories behind the songs. She spent her years training horses, rodeoing, and ranching before the Lord moved her into music. At the age of 40, the Lord used her horse, Ticket, to bring Jesus into her life. Having no background in music, God is her sole source of direction in this arena. Any song she sings or writes has the quality of delivering a message from God to someone who does not know Him. She and her family enjoy their ranch life in the wide open Grasslands and magnificent Badlands of Western North Dakota. Signed with HMG Nashville in 2007, she released her second single, “A Saddle Horse by Grace” in March 2008.

Almeda Terry was born and bred a town girl, but her heart’s desire was to be a cowgirl. By the age of three, she was hitting the leather on her first rocking horse. Born out of place and time, Almeda was the only one in her family to be comfortable walking the beaches of the Oregon coast in her beloved red cowgirl boots and hat with stampede string. She spent hours riding the range of her imagination in a swing set saddle and when she grew tall enough, she threw a leg up on the propane tank upon which she rode off into many a sunset. And now that she’s all “growed up,” Almeda is blest to be living her western dream along the Yellowstone River in Huntley, Montana. She has written poetry and songs, based on her life experiences, and is currently working on her first CD. A multi-instrumentalist, Almeda has played stringed instruments since childhood and studied the piano and cello through college. She is self-taught on the guitar and mandolin. She has a BA in Elementary Education and has taught in both public and private schools. Most recently she has taught dozens of students music lessons through her private studio, A Room For Music, in Big Sandy, MT. She is active in Old Time Fiddlers and performs at poet gatherings, clubs, restaurants and churches.

Laurie Wood was born and raised in Southern New Mexico, and began playing guitar when she was sixteen. After playing in “at least a dozen” different country bands over as many years, she grew disillusioned with the music and the lifestyle, finally quitting music altogether. A few years ago Laurie felt the call to dust off her guitar, and is playing the music that she really loves. She played “Top Forty” Country for money, but it was always Western music and Cowboy songs that she played for friends, family, and herself. She calls Wyoming home these day, along with husband, Duane, who is the cow/calf manager on a university owned research ranch near Encampment. They have two children, Cora Rose, 7, and Bonner, 4.

Cora Rose Wood, who you will often see on stage with her mother, Laurie, is a tiny ranch cowgirl who sings a few cowboy songs, yodels, and writes a little poetry about her favorite things: her horses and helping her Dad work cows. She also loves fishing. Cora will jump at any chance to share her poems or her music. This talented first grader recently was named the 2008 Youth Yodeler of the Year by the Western Music Association at Albuquerque, New Mexico. Cora has performed at a number of Cowboy Gatherings in Arizona, Colorado and Wyoming and she has sung the National Anthem at the Wyoming Encampment Jamboree Rodeo, the Never Summer Rodeo in Walden, Colorado, and for the Saratoga, Wyoming Town Council. She is a member of the Cowboy Poets of the Wind River and the Western Music Association Youth Chapter.

Sunday morning found us in Cowboy Church, organized by Rhonda Stearns and husband, Will. For Rhonda, representing the fourth generation of a ranching family is a proud privilege for this working Wyoming cowgirl. “Those days in the saddle inspire most of my poems,” she says. In 2000 she became the first woman to receive the All Around Cowboy Culture Award at the National Cowboy Symposium & Celebration at Lubbock, Texas. In 2003 the Academy of Western Artists named her Top Cowgirl Poet of the year. Will Stearns, born and bred a horseman along the Wyoming side of South Dakota’s borderland Black Hills, has covered more country on horseback than most men of his era. More than six decades spent working with cattle and horses gives him rare authenticity in the telling of cowboy stories or reading of cowboy poems. The buckle on his belt might say, “World Champion Saddle Bronc Rider,” designating his 1995 win in the 50 plus age division of the National Senior Pro Rodeo Association, or the Canadian Championship he won in that group in both 1995 and 1996. Or it might be an All Around Cowboy buckle from South Dakota High School rodeo in 1958. From 9 o’clock in the morning until noon, the audience enjoyed some great gospel poetry and music by the performers attending the gathering. This service was very will attended and appreciated by many out-of-towners. We look forward to this service every year.

The Sunday open mike first session started at 1 o’clock. Jarle Kvale, emcee, kicked it off with Troy McNaught Westby of New Underwood, SD, followed by Slim McNaught, New Underwood, SD; Hegland Family Singers, Hettinger, ND; Dean Johnson, Beach, ND; Jim Dalglish, Grand Forks, ND; Kim Shade, Medora, ND; Bob Petermann, Wibaux, MT; Stacy Jenne, Douglas, WY; Polly VanderVorst, Trail City, SD; and Wayne Wipf, Spearfish, SD.

After a few minutes break the second session with Paula Harkins emceeing, started at 2:45 PM with a good crowd still in attendance. First up was Ila Mae Prestangen, Watford City, ND; Sally Young, Little Rock, IA; Glenda Kreiman, Lindsay, MT; Chris Burnside, Berthold, ND; Donelda Oberlander, New England, ND; Chris Sand, Dunn Center, ND; Billy Faier, Marathon, TX; Bill Lowman, Sentinel Butte, ND; Sheila Clemens, Dickinson, ND; and Gil Ost, Beulah, ND. What an array of talent! And they just get better every year.

While all this great entertainment was going on, the Photo Contest has been keeping up the pace. Voting by the public has been steady and at the closing of the display the winners of the Dakota Cowboy Poetry Gathering Photo Contest were identified. Lyle Glass of Medora, ND, walked away with three awards; Best of Show, People’s Choice, and Wildlife, for his photograph, “Kicking up Dust.” Larry Golembiewski, Medora, ND, won Farm and Ranch category for his photograph, “Praying Cowboys.” Paula Enzi won the Animal Antics category for her photograph, “Scratch My Back,” and Laura Feldman, Beach, ND took home the Landscapes category award with “God’s Country.” These folks worked hard to get this contest set up and they all deserve a round of applause. Glass told me they would like to expand this contest for the 2010 gathering, and plan to include this event in the coming years. For more information about this contest contact; Lyle Glass, 701-623-4599, or Kriss Enzi, 701-260-3634.

The Sunday evening performance got off to a great start at 7:30 with emcee Bob Petermann handling the lineup. Bob makes his home at Wibaux, Montana, with his wife, Kay. He has two CD recordings and has been busy performing all over the country. This year he has been to Elko, Nevada, and did three shows for the North Dakota History Society, one for Western Heritage Center in Billings, Montana, a Poetry Gathering in White Sulfur Springs and will be featured this year in Valentine, Nebraska. Bob says he needs a clone so one of him can stay home and ride colts and run the ranch. This program has the same performers as last night, in different order and with a whole new line of entertainment. It is a toss-up, which night was the best performance, because these folks gave the audience their money’s worth both evenings. These professionals delivered quality entertainment found only in the top venues in the country. When they all lined up on stage at the end of the program and sang, “God Bless America,” they had the audience on their feet singing along. What a moving climax to a week-end of great entertainment.

Troy McNaught Westby (93) and Anna Lowman (91) with their sons, Slim McNaught and Bill Lowman taken at Medora gathering 2009. Slim writes, "We were actually sitting on their laps. "


May, 2009
11th Annual Cowtown Society Of Western Music Swingfest  Mineral Wells, Texas

  report by Totsie Slover, photos by Totsie Slover and courtesy of Joe Baker, Backforty Bunkhouse

On May 2, 2009, the following were inducted at the 11th Annual Cowtown Society Of Western Music Swingfest in Mineral Wells, Texas

 Official 2009 Heroes Induction List


Gene Niven
Buddy Hrabel
Clint Cozart
Chuck Cusimano
Chuck Jones
Jack Brown
Johnny Boatright
Rick Langford
Jimmy Young
Buddy Emmons
Jerry Tatum
Howard Higgins
Jay Riley
Dayna Wills
Dugg Collins
Hugo Chambers

Presidents Choice Award – Brady Bowen
Disc Jockey Of The Year: Tracy Pitcock, KNEL, Brady, Texas Howard Staub, KOTS, Deming, NM (Posthumous)
Publication Of The Year: Joe Baker’s Backforty Bunkhouse Newsletter
Venue Of The Year: Church Of Western Swing, Turkey, Texas
Rising Star Of The Year: Jess Meadors
Fans Of The Year: Buddy & Darlene Thornton
Lifetime Achievement Award For Western Music Promoter: Lynn Carter-Morgan
(New Category) Creative Achievement Award Of The Year: Etienne (A-10) Etcheverry

photo courtesy of Joe Baker
Dr. Tom Houston (Tuxedo Country), Debbie Young (Texas County,
Bobby Koefer (Texas Playboy, Bend, OR), and Joe Baker (Backforty Bunkhouse Productions)

photo courtesy of Totsie Slover
Chuck Cuisimano


Totsie Slover, host of the Real West from the Old West radio show and widow of Howard Staub, who was honored at the event, sends her report:

From a newcomer's point of view:

Attending the Cowtown Society of Western Music Swingfest was an exhilarating and emotional experience for me. The main reason I attended was to accept an award on behalf of my husband, Howard G. Staub. He was inducted into the CSWM Hall of Fame as Disc Jockey of the Year (Posthumous). It was indeed an honor for me to do this and I am grateful to the Society for honoring Howard in this way. Watching the remainder of the inductions of the "Heros" into  the Hall of Fame and the heartfelt tribute to one of the original Texas Playboys legend, Bobby Boatright, made me realize how special it truly was. I was also very proud of the fact that four of the Heroes honored were from New Mexico: Joe Baker, Etienne (A-10) Etcheverry, Lynn Carter-Morgan and
Howard Staub. Howard was indeed standing in "tall cotton"!

After the induction ceremony I then put on my hat as disc jockey and started touting my radio show, "The Real West from the Old West." The rest of the day turned out to be fun, educational, enlightening and I met a bunch of wonderful people in the process. The western swing musicians and singers are indeed a talented, fun loving, friendly group and accepted me as part of the group. I feel I have a large addition to my Western Music family. It was a thrill to meet the artists whose music I have been playing and as much a thrill to meet new artists who were, until then, unknown to me.

We were entertained by Larry Lange and the Lone Star Troubadours, Country Night Live, Bob Bone and the All Star Band and Brady Bowen! To quote Howard, "it was sort of like trying to drink from a fire hose." So much talent in such a short time!

What a weekend!

photo courtesy of Totsie Slover
Joe Baker and Howard Higgins of the Backforty Bunkhouse

Joe Baker provided the text read at Howard Staub's induction into the Cowtown Society of Western Music Society Hall of Fame as a Disc Jockey. Following is his introduction and the biography of Howard Staub:

Cowboy Music, Western Swing music and Cowboy poetry, all three work in harmony and complement each other. Howard Staub was a complement to all three. He had a ways to go but every day of his radio career he excelled to unlimited heights. In 2007 he became a lifetime member of the CSWM. At the time of his passing he served on the board of directors with the Western Music Association. Totsie, please accept this posthumous honor in remembrance of Howard Staub in recognition as the CSWM Disc Jockey Of The Year.


Howard G. Staub
December 18th, 1940 - May 7th, 2008

Howard Staub was born in Harlan, Iowa and spent most of his grow up years in South Dakota and Nebraska. Even as a young child he was infatuated with history of the old west and its cowboys. He graduated from O'Neill High School in Nebraska in 1959 and joined the Air Force, retiring in 1979.

After retirement he worked in Southern California until 1985 when he moved to Deming, New Mexico. He worked as a MAC Tool salesman, for Desert Winds Magazine as a sales rep and even ran the Great American Duck Races for three years. He also promoted antique shows and the Old West Gun Show in
the area.

Howard loved western music and started collecting CD's of Ian Tyson and R.W. Hampton, then with the aid of the internet found more artists. In September 2006 he approached KOTS Radio and convinced Candie Sweetzer to let him do a Western Music show, "The Real West From The Old West," playing western music, cowboy poetry and western swing music. It was a hit and Howard was truly on his way in making a name for himself in the western music industry. He made many friends with performers, songwriters and promoters and was a music promoter himself.

In 2006, Howard purchased a lifetime membership with the Cowtown Society Of Western Music. Also in November, 2006 the membership of the Western Music Association voted Howard in for a three year term with a seat on the Board Of Directors. Shortly after, he began to have some health issues and never made his first board meeting. On May 7th, 2008 just one week after the 10th Annual CSWM
Swing Fest, Howard passed away.

Howard Staub was well on his way in becoming one of the most sought after disc jockey in the nation in just a short time in his western radio career.

Totsie Slover and Howard Staub at the Western Music Association Festival, 2007


April, 2009
22nd Annual St. Anthony Cowboy Poetry Gathering   St. Anthony, Idaho

  report and photos by Bobbie Hunter

April 17th and 18th, 2009, found cowboys and cowgirls lined up and anxiously eager to participate in the festivities that marked the 22nd annual St. Anthony Gathering.

Traditionally held the third weekend in April, this gathering is of particular interest to the Cowboy Poets of Idaho (CPI) due to the general membership meeting held there each year. Linda Merrill (Idaho) is currently serving her second term as president of the organization.

Linda Merrill, Cowboy Poets of Idaho President, and her granddaughter,  MaKayle Hunting

A new addition has been added to the Board of Directors: Arden Gailey from Ovid, Idaho. Among other items of business the group also discussed a fall picnic, details of which will be announced in an up-coming newsletter—cowboy poets and musicians look forward to any and every opportunity to get together!

The St. Anthony gathering is also note-worthy because the recipients of the Hall of Fame, the Silver Quill and the Golden Note awards are announced just prior to the Saturday night show. Sam Mattise (Idaho) and Garde Bowman (Idaho) can bask in the glory of being named CPI's newest Hall of Fame members. Ken Wellard (Utah) received the Silver Quill award, and the Golden Note was given to Allan and Corean Romriell (Idaho). Congratulations, everyone!

Sam Mattise

The executive committee, those most responsible for organizing the event, included Layle Bagley, Harry Halkar, Richard Huntsman, Gordon Peterson, Cleve Rice, and Wes Robinson. And not to be over-looked, the American Legion Post #22 once again lent their support.

Gordon Peterson

As per custom, the Roxy Theater housed the event. The people of St. Anthony and surrounding areas truly appreciate Western entertainment and show their support by filling nearly every seat in the theater.

Friday night's pre-show was done by STAMPEDE! (Terri and Steve Taylor, and Dave Anderson from Utah), and Colt Angell (Idaho). Gordon Peterson acted as emcee for the evening, and after the colors were posted under the direction of Wes Robinson, the show began.

Denise McRea

Performers were: Allan and Corean Romriell; Bob Jackson; Orvile Sears; Linda Merrill; Les Merrill; MaKayle Hunting; Sam Mattise; Layle Bagley; and Wayne Nelson (all from Idaho). Representing other states were: Denise McRea; Gary (Ferg) Ferguson; Val Prophet (all from Montana); Keven Inman (Washington); Lonnie Shurtleff (Oregon); and Laurie Tye (Utah).

Keven Inman

Saturday night warm-up was done by Saddle Strings (Brian Arnold, Laurie Morgan, Bud Brown, Kurt and Cindy Argyle, all from Utah). As on the previous night, the posting of the colors was directed by Wes Robinson which marked the beginning of the show. Layle Bagley (in one zany disguise or another) acted as emcee.

Ken Wellard

The evening proceeded with the following performers: Garde Bowman; Bobbie Hunter; Ellie Corrigan; Vern Woodbury; Arden Gailey; Gordon Peterson; and Bill Chiles (all from Idaho). From neighboring states were: Kay Kiel (Montana); Don Kennington; Ken Wellard; Larry and Bonnie Slade (all from Utah); Rees Butikofer (Nevada); and Mike Hurwitz (Wyoming).

J.B. Barber, Bruce "Loose Lip" Pinson, and Orvile Sears

Other performers were: Sherese Anderson; Nita Arnold; J.B. Barber; Ben Clark; Betty Clark; John Howell; Destiny Hunzaker; Tommie Patton; Connie Patton; Bruce "Loose Lip" Pinson; Don Shelman; Loyd Warnick; Eunice Wellard (all from Idaho); and John Westbrook; Larry Gibson; Billy McRae (all from Montana).

Billy McRae

Willa Bagley was present with camera in hand, ready to capture photos she will add to scrapbooks she meticulously creates as a picture history of St. Anthony gatherings. She also lent a hand to help Glenna Bagley bake confections so that the performers would not languish for lack of goodies. CPI members were well fed during lunch breaks, and everyone was abuzz about the vast array of sweet treats; much thanks to all those who provided such a bounty of good food!

South Eastern Idaho has enjoyed a gathering in St. Anthony for well over two decades, and Layle Bagley has fulfilled a vital role for eighteen of those years. Not only has he been actively involve in the gathering's organization, but year after year he has thrilled and captivated audiences with his timeless wit and humor. An over-due acknowledgement for his contribution brought a standing ovation in his honor.

Reserve the third Friday and Saturday in April 16-17, 2010, for the 23rd annual St. Anthony gathering, and plan to be there; for those two days no better diversion will be found. The quality of entertainment will be topped only by the friendship and camaraderie that continually self-generate at St. Anthony.

Contact: Layle Bagley 208-356-3524



April, 2009
Songs of the Cowboys Cody, Wyoming

report and photos by Gwen Petersen

additional report below by Rex Rideout

From Gwen Petersen's "In a Sow's Ear" column:

This is a brag column.  And a thank you.  This past weekend, my brag is that I was privileged to perform poetry and songs in the first Runumuk Cowboy Productions event called:  SONGS OF THE COWBOYS.  Allow me to explain. 

For over twenty-five years, in Cody, Wyoming, the annual Cowboy Songs & Range Ballads has taken place in that glorious institution:  The Buffalo Bill Historical Center.  This year, the BBHC put the Cowboy Songs event on hiatus.   

Rueful cries of cowboy pickers and poets could be heard across the land.  Wails of “Oh, no” rose to the heavens, rebounded off a cloud or two, fell back to earth  and bounced off Lulubelle’s head. 

This cannot be,” she declared.  “We must continue this great western tradition.”  Lulubelle pulled her hat down, bowed her neck, took a deep breath and shouted out, “WE’LL MAKE OUR OWN COWBOY FESTIVAL!”

Thus was born, Runumuk Cowgal Productions.   Lulubelle spread the news in the Cody community.  She contacted cowboy and cowgal performers across the land.  She appealed to Cody businesses and private persons.  What happened you ask? 

Close to a hundred Cody businesses and individuals donated services and funds.  Lulubelle went after available public funding.  Posters went up everywhere.  Radio and newspaper ads blared the news. Phone lines sizzled as folks responded. 

“Hell, yeah, I’ll come.” 

“You can count on me.” 

“You betcha, I’ll be there.”  

And every single person said, “Lemme know how I can help.”       

photo by Gwen Petersen
Susan Park

Did the cowboys and gals show up?  Did they ever!  From Lame Deer came poet, Larry Thompson; from Kemmerer, WY—mellow-voiced singer, Susan Park; from Great Falls, MT—extraordinary picker, Ike Hall; from Steamboat Springs, CO—melodious musicians, Yampa Valley Boys (Steve Jones and John Fisher); from Conifer, CO—violinist, guitarist, banjo picker and musical historian, Rex Rideout; from Edgewater, CO—beautiful and gifted musician, Patty Clayton; from Idaho Falls, ID—the incredible Idaho crooner, Bill Chiles

photo by Gwen Petersen
Yampa Valley Boys, Steve Jones and John Fisher

photo by Gwen Petersen
Bill Chiles

From Mountain View, AR—wryest wit in the country, Glenn Ohrlin; from Valentine, NE—big-grinnin’ Otto Rosfeld; from Rapid City, SD—tall and tickled, Bob Lantis; from Sheridan, WY—droll John Ray Shreve; from Crow Heart, WY—seriously unserious Joe Bain.  From St. Paul, MN—that sensational performer, Pop Wagner brought down the house; and from Livingston, MT—those stunning musicians, Open Range (Ric Steinke and Linda Hausler).

photo by Gwen Petersen
Patty Clayton and Otto Rosfeld

As auctioneer flyers often say, there were more, but too numerous to mention. Was the weather a factor?  Yes, indeed.  A whole cavvy of performers raced ahead of a nasty storm or if they couldn’t beat it, they kept a-comin’ anyway, arriving late but they got there and participated. 

Performers showcased their talents at several all day “Open Mic” and “Spotlight” locations around town (free to the public). Two paid concerts—one in the afternoon, one in the evening—of selected poets and pickers offered stirring entertainment in the high school auditorium. Did the audiences show up?  You bet. Not only the Cody community, but surrounding area folks attended in droves. 

Who is Lulubelle you’re wondering?  Did I make her up?  Nope.  Her real moniker is Leslie Keltner and if the creek don’t rise and all goes well, Runumuk Cowgirl Productions will field the second annual Songs of the Cowboys in early April, 2010. 

photo by Gwen Petersen
Pop Wagner, Leslie Keltner, and Ross Keltner

Lulubelle’s  credo:  Keepin’ Things Western the Cowboy Way.  



photo by Gwen Petersen
Patty Clayton and Rex Rideout

From Rex Rideout:

There was quite the event in Cody over the weekend. Runumuk Cowgirl Productions offered up "Songs of the Cowboys.

For Friday there was a “sing for your supper” at the VFW hall followed by a jam at the Irma Hotel. Open mike sessions were held all Friday and Saturday at Cassie's Supper Club. For Saturday, Spotlight presentations were offered at several locations downtown.

There were afternoon and evening concerts at the Wynona Thompson Auditorium. The afternoon concert was well attended and the evening concert was packed. There was plenty of talent that dropped in. Patty Clayton, Bill Chiles, Gwen Petersen, Pop Wagner, Open Range, Larry Thompson, Susan Park, Yampa Valley Boys, Glenn "Ike" Hall, Leslie Keltner, me, and The Bunkhouse Corral.

"The Bunkhouse Corral" has become a great tradition in several locales. Ably and hilariously directed by Glenn Ohrlin, he was joined by Otto Rosfeld, Bob Lantis and John Ray Shreve. Both concerts were warmly hosted by Jim Garry.

It seemed like there was something in the air, every performer seemed to put a little more of themselves into the show. We were all feeling a bit shiny afterward when we retired for another late night jam at the Irma.

There was a Cowboy Gospel session, "Trail to Glory" at the VFW Sunday morning to wrap up the event.

Leslie Keltner and her partners are to be congratulated for putting this event together in a matter of weeks and keeping this gathering alive in Cody.

April, 2009
11th Annual Missouri Cowboy Poets Association Festival  Mountain View, Missouri  ~ Celebrating Cowboy Poetry Week

  report and photos by Jerry Schleicher


Missouri Cowboy Poets Association
Celebrates 11th Annual Gathering

The Ozark dogwoods and redbud trees were in full bloom and the pastures filled with spring calves and colts, as cowboy musicians, singers, poets and humorists from five states gathered in Mountain View, Missouri, on April 24-26, 2009, for the 11th annual Missouri Cowboy Poets Association Festival (you might not know that Missouri ranks second in the nation in beef cow operations, and third in equine production).

This year's event-packed gathering kicked off with a Friday afternoon performance for Mountain View Elementary students, followed that evening by "Supper with the Cowboys," and performances by each of the cowboy poets and musicians on hand. That evening's audience was also treated to presentations of original cowboy poetry by students from the 4th Grade class of Mountain View Elementary, including poets Kyleigh Noble, Savannah Williams and Zachary Brooks.

Jake White with student poets

On Saturday morning, many of the artists performed at the Mountain View Health Care Center, then returned to the Mountain View Community Center for an afternoon show. That evening, eighteen performers staged a "grande finale" show for an appreciative audience that included performers and visitors from throughout Missouri, Texas, Oklahoma, Arkansas, Kansas, Illinois and California. The gathering concluded Sunday morning with Cowboy Church at the Mountain View Methodist Church.

Richard Dunlap, a multi-talented guitarist and mandolin player, singer, co-founder of the Missouri Cowboy Poets Association (MCPA) and a cattle rancher from Louisburg, Missouri, kicked off both the Friday and Saturday evening shows with western ballads. Jake White, a poet and storyteller from Springfield, Missouri, shared his original poetry. Guitarist, singer and poet D.J. Fry, of Oronogo, Missouri, who recovered from a tractor accident last fall to return to the 2009 Mountain View gathering, entertained the crowd with his fine singing voice and guitar picking. Jerry Schleicher, a cowboy poet and country humorist from Parkville, Missouri, evoked laughter from the audience with his humorous tales about farm wives, a cowboy funeral, and a 4-H calf on the loose.

Richard Dunlap (left), from Louisburg, Missouri, and D.J. Fry, Oronogo, Missouri

The 2009 gathering marked the fourth year that singer/songwriter and guitarist Bob Miller has made the trip from his home in Denton, Texas, to perform at the MCPA annual gathering. Steven Spalding, a popular country gospel recording artist, cowboy poet and cowboy pastor from Lebanon, Missouri, performed original country gospel songs from his CDs, along with a new song that will be included in his next CD. Spalding is also an artist, and exhibited several of his western-themed water colors and acrylics.

Country gospel recording artist, writer and cowboy pastor Steven Spalding, who received three CMA award nominations during his recording career in Nashville, is also a western artist and woodcarver who raises horses on his ranch near Lebanon, Missouri.

John Beltz, a cattle rancher, cowboy poet and author from nearby Willow Springs, Missouri, claimed he was the only performer close enough to home to sleep in his own bed each night. Francine Robison, Oklahoma's Cowboy Poet Laureate from Shawnee, Oklahoma, says she's been taking guitar lessons, and allowed her guitar to watch from the stage while she performed her often comical poetry. Neal Torrey, a cowboy poet, novelist, ventriloquist and retired Wyoming lawman, entertained the audience with his tales of Old West gunfighters.

Ken Lorton, a storyteller and western historian from Warsaw, Missouri, recited popular cowboy poems and displayed examples of his fin braided leather goods. The audience also gave a warm welcome to Gail Burton, a highly respected poet and performer from Benton, Arkansas, who has authored numerous books and recordings of cowboy poetry, including his hilarious accounts of the Adventures of Randy Jones and Booger Red.

Hailing from Welch, Oklahoma, Phil Rexwinkle is a working cowboy whose poetry resounds with the reality of a lifetime spent with horses, cows and livestock. Harold Carpenter, an ever-popular cowboy poet, humorist and rope spinner from Sedan, Kansas, entertained audiences with his droll humor, and autographed copies of his new book, Where the Coyotes Howl and the Bobcats Prowl.

Abe Reddekopp, a cowboy musician and singer from Kansas City, is a bilingual performer who presents traditional cowboy songs in both English and Spanish. Abe brought along copies of his CDs, as well as his new book, Parr View, an account of early days on the Canadian frontier. The MCPA was also delighted to welcome for the first time Joe Green, a talented musician and cowboy poet from Seymour, Texas, who quickly had the audience whooping and singing along. He was followed by Harold Williams, from Joplin, Missouri, who performed original cowboy poetry about "his family, his friends, and his life."

Buzz Keiper, a cowboy musician and singer from Columbia, Missouri, was followed by Jay Jones, also from Columbia. Currently serving as president of the MCPA., Jay emceed the Saturday night show and concluded the event with a performance of his cowboy poetry.

Jay JonesJay Jones, Columbia, Missouri, president of the Missouri Cowboy Poets Association

Personal health problems and family illnesses kept some MCPA members from attending this year's gathering, including MCPA co-founder Hap Yeager, Peggy Coleman and Jim John. All the members of MCPA wish them well, and hope to see them at the next MCPA event. This event marked the 11th year that Jennie Cummings, Director of the Mountain View Arts Council, has organized the annual gathering of the Missouri Cowboy Poets Association. The event is partially funded by the Missouri Arts Council, and supported by numerous civic groups, volunteers and merchants.

Back row, l to r: D.J. Fry, Oronogo, MO; Neal Torrey, Bolivar, MO; Steven Spalding, Lebanon, MO; Phil Rexwinkle, Welch, OK; Joe Green, Seymour, TX; Jim Smith, Joplin, MO; Harold Carpenter, Sedan, KS; Richard Dunlap, Louisburg, MO; Jay Jones, Columbia, MO; Harold Williams, Joplin, MO; and Jake White, Springfield, MO.

Front row, l to r: Jerry Schleicher, Parkville, MO; Francine Robison, Shawnee, OK; Ken Lorton, Warsaw, MO; John Beltz, Willow Springs, MO; Jennie Cummings, Mountain View, MO; Buzz Keiper, Columbia, MO; Abe Reddekopp, Kansas City, MO; Bob Miller, Denton, TX; and Gail Burton, Benton, AR.



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