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(Some links may go out of date.)

2010 Reports




"Not JUST Cowboy Poetry" at Emandal near Willits, California, September

13th Annual National Cowboy Poetry Rodeo, Montrose, Colorado, September 
separate page

19th Annual Nebraska Cowboy Poetry Gathering and Old West Days, Valentine, Nebraska, September

Missouri Cowboy Poets meeting near Louisberg, Missouri, September

"This One's for the Cowboys," Martin, South Dakota, October

Heritage of the American West Performance Series, Spearfish, South Dakota, October

On page two:

13th Annual Badger Clark Hometown Cowboy Poetry and Music Gathering, Hot Springs, South Dakota, September

Third Annual Six Rivers Western Festival, Fruitland, Idaho, October

The NILE Stock Show, Pro Rodeo and Western Expo, Billings, Montana, October


Find January-February reports here.
Find March-April reports here.
Find May-August reports here.
Find November-December reports here.

See reports from 2009 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


Back to Events page . . .
Back on home . . .


September, 2010
"Not JUST Cowboy Poetry" at Emandal near Willits, California

  photos courtesy of Jessica Brandi Lifland,
photograph of Jessica Lifland by Vasna Wilson



Emanadal, a veritable piece of paradise, is nestled along the Eel River in California's Mendocino County. The site of annual (and sometimes-more-frequent) cowboy poetry and music events, it's a place where all seems right with the world, 16 miles down a dirt road, safe from "civilization."

photo © Jessica Brandi Lifland,; reproduction without permission prohibited
Tamara Adams of Emandal

Emandal, "a farm on the river," is described as "…a place to unwind, breathe deeply and connect...," and it lives up to those words. The serene surroundings, cozy vintage cabins, wildflowers, gardens, livestock—most of the wonderful food served is raised right there or nearbymake for a great setting for Western music and cowboy poetry and for a real getaway. No cell phone service, no television, no radio. It couldn't be more civilized.

Shows are generally in the afternoon or early evening, and cabins are available for overnight stays. Those who stay are treated to meals of epicurean excellence, prepared under the direction of Tamara Adams, the proprietor, with the cheerful help of employees, interns, and family. Tamara started as a teenage intern at Emandal, and married the son of its founders. Read more about Emandal and its activities and history at  

photo © Jessica Brandi Lifland,; reproduction without permission prohibited

The September, 2010 event, called "Not Just Cowboy Poetry," was a benefit for the Western Folklife Center and included a Silent Auction.

photo © Jessica Brandi Lifland,; reproduction without permission prohibited
The Saddle Cats: Gordon Glegg, Bing Nathan, Richard Chon, Bobby Black
and Doris Daley and Stephanie Davis

The open air show featured Doris Daley, Stephanie Davis, and Richard Chon and the Saddle Cats (Bobby Black, Gordon Glegg, and Bing Nathan)

photo © Jessica Brandi Lifland,; reproduction without permission prohibited
Doris Daley opens the show

Top cowboy poet Doris Daley opened the show with her usual grace and wit. Known for her intricate wordsmithing, she shared her crowd-pleasing poems of humor and dazzling turns of phrase. Visit for more about her publications and recordings.

© Jessica Brandi Lifland,; reproduction without permission prohibited
Doris Daley

Popular songwriter, singer, musician, poet, and "limerick lyricist" Stephanie Davis took the audience from her fun "Harvest Time" (and she was in the perfect setting for it) through heartbreakers such as "Ikey," peppered with her inventive limericks. Find more about her and her always-interesting "Ranch News" and more at

photo © Jessica Brandi Lifland,; reproduction without permission prohibited
Stephanie Davis

The talents of the Saddle Cats are enormous and their unique presentation of Western Swing left the crowd begging for more. Classically-trained fiddler and vocalist, bandleader Richard Chon (Dan Hicks and the Hot Licks and sometimes-still performer with the Sons of the San Joaquin) brings together other impressive players:  legendary steel guitarist Bobby Black, guitarist Gordon Clegg, and bassist Bing Nathan. Read more about them and their hot new album at

photo © Jessica Brandi Lifland,; reproduction without permission prohibited
Richard Chon

photo © Jessica Brandi Lifland,; reproduction without permission prohibited
The Saddle Cats

Those who stayed for a generous harvest dinner were treated to a fun jam session by all of the performers; Doris Daley even chimed in with a previously-hidden talent: the spoons. And, after a warm summer's night stay in Emandal cabins (each complete sweet wildflower arrangements, down comforters, and individual hammocks), all got together again at an exceptional brunch, prepared out of doors. It's a hard place to leave behind.

Past events at Emandal have featured Paul Zarzyski, Dave Stamey, The Gillette Brothers, Jerry Brooks, Susan Parker, Jim Cardwell, and others. Visit to get on the mailing list for the next event.

photograph of Jessica Lifland by Vasna Wilson

Special thanks to professional photographer Jessica Brandi Lifland for her photographs for the above story; she is the official photographer for the Western Folklife Center's National Cowboy Poetry Gathering. She has been working on a project documenting the lives of cowboy poets. Read more here and see some of her images at her web site and visit her photoblog.


October, 2010
Heritage of the American West Performance Series  Spearfish, South Dakota  

report and photos by Linda Lou Crosby

Cowboy poet Owen Badgett and western ballad singer Bob Petermann wowed the Spearfish, South Dakota High Plains Western Heritage Center crowd with music and verse in their tales of the West.

Host Francie Gange (in the photo with Owen and Bob) also entertained the crowd and the performers with her commentary and wit. The first hour was for the radio, and the second part of the show was just for the audience

Badgett and Petermann performed solo poetry and songs and mixed music and verse together with selections like "The Streets of Laredo." Owen Badgett is featured in the documentary The Gypsy Cowman, with three books to his credit: Made of Iron, Rawhide and Velvet, and A Deep Seat and a Faraway Look, with another book scheduled for release soon. Petermann's music is available on CD: Thanks for the Rain and Taking up Slack.

It was a grand evening.

See our feature about the Heritage of the American West here.

Linda Lou Crosby is the producer and director of The Gypsy Cowman. Find more information here in our new releases news, see Rick Huff's review here, and Jeri Dobrowski's review here.

September, 2010
19th Annual Nebraska Cowboy Poetry Gathering and Old West Days  Valentine, Nebraska

  report by Willard Hollopeter; photos by Bob Stetter


The weather was as perfect as it could be for the 19th annual Nebraska Cowboy Poetry Gathering and Old West Days.

The Thursday night Melodrama had the audience roaring with laughter. There were quite a few venders at the trade show, with some interesting and useful merchandise. The day poetry and music sessions were well attended and there was a good attendance for the featured performances.

Friday evening featured Elizabeth Ebert, Suzi Killman, Ken Cook, and Prickly Pair & the Cactus Chorale.

photo by Bob Stetter
Elizabeth Ebert

photo by Bob Stetter
Suzi Killman

photo by Bob Stetter
Ken Cook

photo by Bob Stetter
Prickly Pair & the Cactus Chorale

Saturday morning, there was a “Writing the West” work shop, Hosted by Duane Gudgel of the Plains Trading Company and Book Store, on writing and publishing. Dr. Browder gave some helpful tips along those lines, injecting some humor in his talk.

photo by Bob Stetter
Dr. Browder, DVM

In a later storytelling session, Dr. Browder brought the house down relating things that has happened in his long veterinary practice.

The afternoon show contained all of the featured performers. The Saturday evening performance featured singer
Kevin Davis, poet Jay Snider, humorist and poet Andy Nelson, and Prickly Pair & the Cactus Chorale.


photo by Bob Stetter
Kevin Davis

photo by Bob Stetter
Jay Snider

photo by Bob Stetter
Andy Nelson

In summing up the Old West weekend I would say it was very successful. I had planned on going on the Sunday morning trail ride. My son and my daughter in law and my great grandson were going and Kenny was going to find a horse for me. He couldn’t find one and that morning, in the motel room, I started the saddest poem I have ever written, titled “A Cowboy Without A Horse.”


October, 2011
"This One's for the Cowboys" Martin, South Dakota

report and photos by Nancy Cook

The 4th Annual PEO Chapter CV Cowboy Poetry and Music Show, "This One's for the Cowboys," was held on Sunday, Oct. 3, 2010, in Philip, South Dakota. PEO is a Philanthropic Educational Organization dedicated to providing higher education to young women around the world. The Martin Chapter sponsors scholarships for high school seniors with this fundraiser.

Ken Cook, Kevin Davis, Jay Snider, and Jim Thompson

This much-anticipated cowboy show featuring Jim Thompson, Jay Snider, Kevin Davis, and Ken Cook was a huge success.

Jim's talent as emcee and passion for cowboy music and poetry complimented every song and poem performed for the near-sell-out crowd.

Folks were held spellbound as Kevin sang from a cowboy's heart.

Jay and Ken had them laughing one minute and hanging on every word the next as poem after poem was brought to life.

We were so fortunate to have such talent on stage for our show.

September, 2010
Missouri Cowboy Poets meeting  near Louisberg, Missouri

  report and photos by Jerry Schleicher


About 40 members, spouses, and guests attended the Fall gathering of the Missouri Cowboy Poets Association in September, 2010, held on Richard and Laurel Dunlap's Turtle Ranch near Louisberg, Missouri. Located in south-central Missouri's Ozark Mountains, the ranch is home to a herd of purebred Saler cattle.

Hungry MCPA members and guests line up for hotdogs, ham and beans, cornbread baked in the campfire coals, salads and deserts.

MCPA member Ken Lorton, from Vinita, Oklahoma, kicked off a round-robin of cowboy music and poetry with a bullwhip demonstration and his recitation of Robert Service's famous poem, "The Ballad of Blasphemous Bill." More than a dozen performers took turns entertaining the audience as the sun slowly set over the Ozarks hills.

Here's another view of the Turtle Ranch and some of the Saler cattle grazing in the background.

Last year I asked Richard Dunlap how they came to name their ranch the Turtle Ranch. He said when he and Laurel first bought the ranch, their turtle herd was considerably larger than their cattle herd. And, sure enough, it's not uncommon to see box turtles slowly migrating across the roads there.


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



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