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(Some links may go out of date.)

2011 Reports


Page 2


25th Annual Texas Cowboy Poetry Gathering, Alpine, Texas, February

3rd Annual Texas Crossroads Cowboy Gathering, Van Horn, Texas, February

19th Annual Cochise Cowboy Poetry and Music Gathering, Sierra Vista, Arizona, February


On Page 1

22nd Annual Colorado Cowboy Gathering, Denver, Colorado, January (two reports)
11th Annual Saddle Up! Celebration Pigeon Forge, Tennessee, February
7th Annual Spirit of the West Cowboy Gathering  Ellensburg, Washington, February

Find March-April reports here.
Find May-June-July reports here.
Find August-September reports here.

See reports from 2010 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 . . .


February, 2011
25th Annual Texas Cowboy Poetry Gathering   (Sul Ross) Alpine, Texas

 Report by Doris Daley; images by Barbara Richerson, Texas Cowboy Poetry Gathering photographer


Texas Cowboy Poetry Gathering
February 25-27, 2011


"In the lobby of a big hotel in New York town one day..."

It's a familiar line that not only conjures up a beloved cowboy ballad, it could now stand as the unofficial theme of the 25th anniversary of the Texas Cowboy Poetry Gathering in Alpine, Texas, February 25-27. Performers and fans alike were thrilled to be in Texas for the roundup in the spring: a roundup of memories, friends, poetry and music.

The Texas Cowboy Poetry Gathering is not the place to go for glitz, glamour, bling or bravado. But it is one of the best places to go if you love western landscape, cowboy culture, wonderful hospitality, and poetry and music for their own sake. So many special touches marked this hallmark anniversary celebration, beginning with the main stage set which was all decked out to replicate the lobby of a big hotel. On both the Friday and Saturday night shows, featured performers sat in the lounge chairs, at the piano bench, or under the potted plants, casually waiting their turn to saunter up to the "hotel lobby" microphone to share poetry and music with the sell-out crowds. (Tickets to both evening performances went on sale Thursday noon and both were sold out within 24 hours.)

 © 2011, Texas Cowboy Poetry Gathering, photographer Barbara Richerson
Cody, Chuck, and Hallie Milner

Apache Adams, Jerry Brooks, Ray Fitzgerald, Jill Jones and Three Hands High, Ross Knox, the Moon Family, and Jack Sammon comprised the Friday night line-up. Saturday's show featured the Chuck Milner Family, Elizabeth Ebert, R.P. Smith, Doris Daley, The Gillette Brothers (Pip and Guy Gillette), Andy Hedges, Andy Wilkinson and Joel Nelson.

 © 2011, Texas Cowboy Poetry Gathering, photographer Barbara Richerson
Australia's Jack Sammon

Hal Cannon, Founding Director of Elko, Nevada's Western Folklife Center and National Cowboy Poetry Gathering, gave an uplifting, heartfelt and very abbreviated opening address in a record-breaking seven minutes, leaving lots of time at the kick-off show for entertainers Michael Stevens, Eli Barsi, Bob Campbell and Jay Snider.

Friday afternoon began with a very moving tribute to poets, musicians and storytellers who are now deceased. "Thanks for the Memories" was hosted by Joel Nelson and while several beloved friends were remembered, five poets in particular were honored with renditions of their work. Don Cadden paid tribute to J.B. Allen; Andy Hedges recited a Larry McWhorter poem; Jack Sammon read a Sam Dawson poem; Lonnie and Brook Owens paid tribute to their father Ray Owens; Joel Nelson recited Buck Ramsey's "Anthem"; and Rod Taylor sang Buck's rendition of "Blue Mountain."

The reunion feeling of the Gathering spilled to every corner of Sul Ross University. It was standing room only as hundreds and hundreds of fans hustled to far-flung corners of the campus to hear their favorite entertainers. Ten different venues running concurrently—all of them full. What a tribute to dedicated audiences who love poetry and music! The only good way to start such a full day is to gather at Poets' Grove, under a stand of elm trees, with chuckwagon grub and camp coffee at the ready. And the only good way to end such a day (if it must end) is at one of the jam sessions that spring up in hotel lobbies around town.

 © 2011, Texas Cowboy Poetry Gathering, photographer Barbara Richerson
R.P. Smith

The Texas Cowboy Poetry Steering Committee is made up of folks who work tirelessly throughout the year for a wonderful event, and who in the process have become good friends to local Alpine merchants, to the throngs of fans who attend from across the U.S., and to performers from three countries (US, Canada, Australia.) Take a bow, Lynne Baldwin, Bill Brooks, Don Cadden, Pam Cook, Jane Garrett, Ida Hoelscher, Chuck Jividen, Paul Loeffler, Nelson Sager and Michael Stevens.

 © 2011, Texas Cowboy Poetry Gathering, photographer Barbara Richerson
Guy and Pip Gillette

Honored to help the Texas Cowboy Poetry Gathering celebrate its 25th anniversary were poets and pickers Mary Abbott, Apache Adams, Eli Barsi, Sally Bates, Jerry Brooks, Tibb Burnett, Don Cadden, Bob Campbell, Hal Cannon, Craig Carter, Ivan Cates, Robert Chaison, Charlie Chambers, Allan Chapman, Doris Daley, The Desert Sons, Elizabeth Ebert, Ray Fitzgerald, Rolf Flake, Gillette Brothers (Pip and Guy Gillette), Jeff Gore, Audrey Hankins, Andy Hedges, Don and Sug Hedgpeth, Randy and Hannah Huston, Jill Jones, Suzi Killman, Ross Knox, Deanna Dickinson McCall, Pat Meade, The Milner Family (Chuck, Hallie and Cody), Michael and Dawn Moon, Glenn Moreland, Joel Nelson, Sam Noble, Nika Nordbrock, Kay Nowell, Biscuits O'Bryan, Mike Querner, Jack Sammon, Matt Skinner, R.P. Smith, Jay Snider, Gail Steiger, Michael Stevens, Rod Taylor, Washtub Jerry, Andy Wilkinson and Jim Wilson. All of the above brought a bit of Texas, Arizona, Utah, New Mexico, Kansas, South Dakota, Iowa, Oklahoma, Colorado, Nebraska, Queensland, Saskatchewan and Alberta with them to make this gathering a Texas celebration to remember.

For at least two of those performers (Saskatchewan and Alberta), there were 110 degrees difference in temperature between Alpine and home. No wonder we like Texas so much!

 © 2011, Texas Cowboy Poetry Gathering, photographer Barbara Richerson
Gary Dunshee of Big Bend Saddlery receives the 2011 Heritage Award for his support of the
gathering since its beginning. The award was presented by last year's recipient, Red Steagall

Thanks to Michael Stevens for providing photographs by gathering photographer Barbara Richerson.



February, 2011
3rd Annual Texas Crossroads Cowboy Gathering  Van Horn, Texas

Report by Patricia Golden

Short version: “Through rain and wind and weather, hell bent for leather...” The cowboys and girls who turned up in Van Horn February 2nd thru 6th are of “True Grit,” that means guts, nerves, tenacity, and spirit. Eighteen of the toughest bunch of poets, storytellers, musicians, and judges I have ever met in my 20 years of art performance showed up for the 3-day event. Despite one of the worst storms in recorded history, 22 out of town entertainers made it to Van Horn, Texas.

Artists started coming in on Wednesday evening. At sunrise on Thursday in a windy, snowy 4 degrees, Bob Kinford, Evelyn Roper (CO), Bob Atkin (Canada), and Tony Argento (NV) with his wife Marci and mother Laura, drove to Marfa for a live interview with Rachel Lindley at the Marfa Public Radio Station. Evelyn opened with a song she wrote called, “Sonoran Queen,” which fully depicted our beautiful west Texas landscape. Our guests talked about how they support Kinford’s efforts. Atkin, who is a successful poet, likes the idea of giving support to the lesser known artists. Atkin and Argento also make it a point to promote and educate the public regarding American history and especially Western culture. Afterward they took a quick look around Marfa. Then it was off to Valentine ISD. In spite of the bad weather, the lucky students there were able to enjoy Bob Atkin, Evelyn, and Tony perform. Tony started with the Pledge of Allegiance, and afterward he gave a touching explanation of the poem. Often we don’t realize poetry is in our everyday life and poetry is in the music we listen too. Unfortunately, Van Horn and Sierra Blanca had to cancel their shows due to schools closing. It was a long day of fun, finally back to Van Horn for some lunch and an evening jam session at the El Capitan.

One performer sang, “Oh, the weather outside is frightful, but the poetry is so delightful.” Between rolling blackouts,  Friday and Saturday were filled with a heavy schedule of 18 performers sharing their talent before 3 judges: Evelyn Roper, Gary Fuentes (Van Horn, TX), and Dave P. Fisher (Sea Tac, WA) who brought his wife, Kathy, who served as bailiff collecting the scores from the judges, and posting them.

Other performers included Buck Helton (MC from Dallas, TX), Kenny Phipps (Ardmore, OK), Bob Atkin, Evelyn Roper, Dave P. Fisher, Tony Argento, Harold Roy Miller (Stagecoach, NV), John & Cindy Kingsbury (Bemidji, MN and tourists from last year), Pete Kennedy (and wife, Diane, from Tyrone, NM), Lyn Stokes (TX), Terry Holder (MS), Rusty Battenfield (Odessa, TX), Debbie Garrett–bluegrass (Odessa, TX), Mary Merecek-bluegrass (Midkiff, TX), Cactus Mike Mossman (San Angelo, TX), and Bill Watson (Monahans, TX).

How about this: everyone was a winner. All participants were invited to Campfire Tales at the Fort Worth Stock Show and Rodeo. Tony Argento got a special invite to the North Fork Longbeard banquet a chapter of the National Wild Turkey Federation. Tony, Evelyn, and Rusty received invitations to Cross Ties Cowboy Gathering, Lexington, MO and Longhorn Cowboy Gathering, Laquey, MO. And Lyn Stokes won an invite to Tyrone Cowboy Poetry and Music Gathering.

I want to close with something special that poet/storyteller Kenny Phipps wrote in the introduction in his book called Just A Cowboy. He quoted the dictionary with the definition of a cowboy to see if he qualified, and he did so…he took a step further saying;…”I believe that a cowboy is anyone who had a stick horse when they were a kid, who watched Roy Rogers, Matt Dillon, or Ben Cartwright, thought about antelope and buffalo wandering on the vast high plains and dreamed of the Old West. If you fit any of these categories welcome aboard, Pardner…”

Thank you Bob Kinford for another great event. No thanks to the weather. From the proceeds the 4-H received $175 and the Christian Shelter received $185. Thanks to the dance band: Evelyn Roper, Ted Scanlon, Clay Mac, and Scooter Bullard. Thanks to those who participated as audience, sponsors and volunteers, 4-H for the good food, vendors, the Chamber and the City of Van Horn who helped make it all happen. We thank God that everyone traveled safely to and fro.


February, 2011
19th Annual Cochise Cowboy Poetry and Music Gathering  Sierra Vista, Arizona

Report by Les Buffham
Photographs by Pauline Fredericks, PAULINE FREDERICKS PHOTOGRAPHY, 


A dust devil danced down the street scattering tumbleweeds in its wake casting them aside where they piled against a weathered picket fence. The westward setting sun cast a rosy glow over the town as the footfalls of heavy boots resounded from her ancient board sidewalks. Actually the sound was of many footfalls as a large crowd of fans and performers there for the Cochise Cowboy Poetry and Music Gathering descended upon the swinging doors of Big Nose Kate's in Tombstone, Arizona.

Traditionally this is where this annual event actually begins when performers slated to appear at area schools the following day take a turn on the stage at this famous old tavern. They gave a very appreciative audience a preview of what was to come over the next three days at the Buena Performing Arts Center in the Buena high school in Sierra Vista, Arizona.

The Tumbling Tumbleweeds

Friday evening the Arts center was host to an evening performance by featured performers: Randy Huston, Sam DeLeeuw and student poetry contest winners, Ayden Springer, Brianna Averett and Nick Phillips. The student poetry winners were selected from nearly 1500 submissions coming from students at 21 participating schools.

New Mexico's own Syd Masters & the Swing Riders took it to intermission. The last half followed with Steve Lindsey, Peggy Godfrey and Eli Barsi.

Jane Morton

Each of the weekends headline stage performances was opened with a well-presented, thought-provoking skit by local rancher and talent Bud Strom and western Washington's, Hank Cramer, highlighting this year's theme "Cowboys in Blue," allowing the audiences to reflect upon the importance of the military presence on our frontier as well as today. The gathering this year was dedicated to our military men and women stationed at Ft. Huachuca as well as all over the world.

Saturday had the usual day sessions in the many rooms and the theater with an offering of over fifty performers to choose from. Saturdays headliners were Juni Fisher and Jay Snider followed by student poetry contest winners; London Silvers, Makaiyla Reed, and Francis Lennartz.

That melodramatic act from Southern California, Tumbling Tumbleweeds, took it to intermission after which everyone was treated to stellar performances by Dave Stamey, Jo Lynne Kirkwood, and Call Of The West.

Sunday afternoon's headliners were: Richard Elloyan and Ross Knox followed by student poetry winners, Dana Mueller, Emily Campbell and Taylor Billington.

Vince and Mindi, Judy Coder, Yvonne Hollenbeck and The Tumbling Tumbleweeds rounded out the weekend.

Katy Creek

When I asked some of the performers what they thought was outstanding about this event many answered, "The way we performers have been treated. From the VIP meetings to the generosity of the host families we have been made to
feel special and welcome."

A great deal of gratitude was also expressed as to the Gathering's Western Heritage program encouraging students from area schools to become involved in writing cowboy poetry. Each year the Gathering publishes a book, Saddlebag of Poems of these young people's work, which is offered for sale throughout the weekend.

Jim Dalglish

Hats off to the Gathering's "Educator of the year" Jacque Barwick, teacher at All Saints Catholic School in Sierra Vista.

And once again, kudos to Co-Chairs Mike Barker and Steve Conroy for holdin' the driving lines on another good'un!



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



 What's New | Poems | Search

 Features | Events  

The BAR-D Roundup | Cowboy Poetry Week

Poetry Submissions 

Subscribe | Newsletter | Contact Us

  Join Us!


Authors retain copyright to their work; obtain an author's
permission before using a poem in any form. is a project of the Center for Western and Cowboy Poetry, Inc., a Federal and California tax-exempt non-profit 501 (c) (3) organization.  


Site copyright information