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(Some links may go out of date.)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



24th Annual St. Anthony Cowboy Poetry Gathering, St. Anthony, Idaho, April

14th Annual Missouri Cowboy Poetry Festival Mountain View, Missouri, April

3rd Annual Songs of the Cowboys Cody, Wyoming, April

Cache Valley Cowboy Rendezvous, Hyrum, Utah, March

Benefit for Locke Hamilton, Arvada, Colorado, March


Find January-February 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


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April, 2011
24th Annual St. Anthony Cowboy Poetry Gathering St. Anthony, Idaho

  report and photos by Keven Inman

24th Annual St. Anthony Cowboy Poetry Gathering

The 24th Annual St. Anthony Cowboy Poetry Gathering on April 15th & 16th, 2001, was a great way to start off the eleventh annual Cowboy Poetry Week. The St. Anthony gathering is a great tradition and the site of the Cowboy Poets of Idaho annual general membership meeting. The entertainment was great, along with all the other activities that are a part of the St. Anthony Gathering.

Activities started off on Friday morning as over 100 students from a local school filed in and sat down. Layle Bagley had a planned program set up for them, with a mix of entertainment and education. A mix of poets and musicians were also sent out in the community to schools and care centers to entertain and educate.

Saddle Strings, (Brian Arnold, Laurie Morgan, Cindy and Curt Argyle)
Cowboy Poets of Idaho Golden Note award winners

The open mic sessions are always entertaining, as some well-known poets and musicians "try out" some new "stuff" on the audience. The sessions usually attract some new people to try their hand at performing. This year was no exception. Erika Nelson, a young lady from Kooskia, Idaho signed up for an open mic session and was then asked to wrap up our evening program with her musical talent.

There was a good crowd for the Friday evening show. Pre-show music was performed by Allan and Corean Romriell and Bad Water Cattle Company (Gene and Sandy Jones). After posting of the colors and reciting of the Pledge of Allegiance, our MCs, Layle Bagley and Sam DeLeeuw, took over and guided our audience and performers to a great show. Performers were: Linda Merrill, JB Barber, Ellie Corrigan, Wayne Nelson, Denise McRea, Bob Jackson, Don Shelman, Dave Corrigan, Vern Woodbury, Loyd Warnick, Arden Gailey, Tommie Patton, and Erika Nelson.

Bad Water Cattle Company (Sandy and Gene Jones)

The event is sponsored by the American Legion Post #22 and organized by the executive committee, including: Layle Bagley, Harry Halkar, Richard Huntsman, Cleve Rice, and Wes Robinson. The Roxy Theater was sold to new owners over the last year, and the new owners have reserved the theater on the third weekend in April to be used as a community event with the St. Anthony Cowboy Poetry Gathering as the centerpiece.

On Saturday morning the CPI general Membership meeting was held and agreed that we would put steps in place to move toward educating our youth about our Western Heritage, writing, and performing cowboy poetry and music. It was also confirmed that Gene Jones will continue as our Secretary/Treasurer until elections next year. Gene has agreed to fill the term that was held by Gordon Peterson, who passed away last fall.

Gordon Peterson was a great part of this gathering for many years. Layle and Gordon were best friends and worked together to organize the show and would share MC duty. He was missed very much. But the show went on....We were happy to see Gordon's wife, Marilyn, show up at the gathering on both days. There were a number of performers that had dedications to Gordon, and Sam Mattise put music with one of Gordon's original poems and performed it as a song.

Sam Mattise and Coyote Joe Sartin singing
 and strumming on the streets of St. Anthony

Saturday evening the pre-show music was provided by Dave and Jenny Anderson (Jenny is one of those youth to keep an eye on and watch her grow), and Saddle Strings (Brian Arnold, Laurie Morgan, and Curt and Cindy Argyle). Wes Robinson presided over the posting of the colors and the Pledge of Allegiance.

Sam DeLeeuw, winner of the Hall of Fame award presented
 from Cowboy Poets of Idaho at the St. Anthony gathering

As the Saturday evening show started, the Cowboy Poets of Idaho recognized some of their outstanding members. The Silver Quill award was presented to our president, Bobbie Hunter. The Golden Note award was presented to Saddle Strings (Brian Arnold, Laurie Morgan, and Curt and Cindy Argyle). The Hall of Fame award was presented to Sam DeLeeuw.

 Bobbie Hunter, Cowboy Poets of Idaho Silver Quill award winner for 2010;
award presented at St. Anthony gathering April, 2011

Sam DeLeeuw
and Layle Bagley again took the reins as MC's and guided another great show. Performers were: Mike Hurwitz, Dave Tingey, Garde Bowman, Sam DeLeeuw, Gary Ferguson, Ken Wellard, Fall River Boys (Rand Hillman and Mark Seeley), Keven Inman, Rees Butikofer, Bobbie Hunter, Sam Mattise, Layle Bagley, and Colt Angell.

After the show, we all hung around the theater thanking Les Merrill, the sound man for making us sound so good, hugging old friends, and not really wanting to leave the feelings and the friendships that we always have at St. Anthony. As we drove away that night we had the warm feeling of friendships renewed, new direction and challenges for this next year, and we are all looking forward to the 25th annual St. Antony Cowboy Poetry Gathering on April 20-21, 2012.



April, 2011
13th Annual Missouri Cowboy Poetry Festival Mountain View, Missouri
~ Celebrating Cowboy Poetry Week

report and photos by Jerry Schleicher

Whoopin' it up in Mountain View

A wagonload of talent came to Mountain View, Missouri for the 13th annual Mountain View Cowboy Poetry and Music Festival, April 15-17, 2011—an all-time record 23 performers from eight states. Since I'd been asked to emcee three big 3-hour shows, I was more than a little concerned that we could give every performer a fair share of time on stage, and still bring each show in on schedule.

Back row: Abe Reddekopp, John Beltz, Royce Smithey, Jennie Cummings, D.J. Fry, Francine Robison, Bette Duncan, Harold Carpenter, Wanda Williams, Jim Wenzel, and Connie Butler.

Front row: Neal Torrey, Jim Smith, Gail Burton, Ken Lorton, Calvin Wilkins, Buzz Keiper,
Harold Williams, Mike Butler, Jake White, and Hoss Kirgan

But thanks to each performer's cooperation, we got the job done. This year's gathering featured cowboy musicians and poets from Texas, Oklahoma, Kansas, Arkansas, Missouri, Iowa, Illinois and Minnesota, as well as five of the eight winners of the Mountain View 4th Grade Elementary Cowboy Poetry Competition, who recited their poems during the Friday evening show. What's more, nearly every chair was filled in the Mountain View Community Center, with guests from as far away as California, Illinois and Minnesota attending the event.

Richard Dunlap and D.J. Fry

Many of the performers were regulars who have appeared at most or all of the previous Mountain View gatherings. Cowboy musician, singer and rancher Richard Dunlap, from Louisburg, Mo., and musician and singer D.J. Fry, from Oronogo, Mo., teamed up to perform several popular cowboy ballads. Cowboy poet, humorist and rope spinner Harold Carpenter, from Sedan, Ks., performed at all three shows, as well as a special show for Mountain View Elementary students. And Francine Robison, Oklahoma's Cowboy Poet Laureate from Tecumseh, Ok., shared some of the poems from her new CD, Prairie Tales from the Heart.

Gail T. Burton and his wife, Barbara

From Benton, Ark., we had cowboy poet Gail T. Burton, author of the Randy Jones and Booger Red stories that have run for years in the
Tombstone Epitaph. John Beltz, a rancher, cowboy poet and past-president of the Missouri Cattlemen's Association, kept the audience in stitches with his funny but true tales. Buzz Keiper, from Columbia, Mo., is a talented guitarist and singer who performs cowboy, Celtic and bluegrass music. Ken Lorton, a reciter and leather braider from Venita, Ok., took the stage dressed in furs to recite the famous Robert Service poem, "The Cremation of Sam McGee."

Royce Smithey and Abe Reddekopp

Royce Smithey, a very talented musician and singer from Bonham, Tx., entertained the crowd with his memorable style of cowboy music. Neal Torrey, a cowboy poet from Bolivar, Mo., recited historically accurate tales of gunfighters and Old West characters. The members of a cowboy band called "Sagebrush," featuring Harold and Wanda Williams, from Joplin, Mo., and Mike Butler and his wife, from Neosho, Mo., entertained with several cowboy songs and ballads. Jake White, from Brookline, Mo., shared his cowboy poetry, as did Calvin Wilkins, a cowboy poet from Vinita, Ok. MaryEtta Coomes, a poet and member of the country gospel group, "All God's Children," from Lynchburg, Mo., presented a humorous story about living in the Missouri Ozarks, and emcee Jerry Schleicher had just enough time to squeeze in one of his humorous tales at the conclusion of each show.

Hoss Kirgan and Bette Wolf Duncan

This year's event also featured several first-timers to the Mountain View gathering. Bette Wolf Duncan, a well-known cowboy poet and author from Runnels, Ia., shared poems and stories about the frontier days in the Dakotas and Montana, and sold several copies of her latest book,
Dakota. Eric "Hoss" Kirgan, the newest member of the Missouri Cowboy Poets Association, came to his first-ever cowboy gathering from Pleasant Hill, Ill. Mike Todd, a goat rancher from Warsaw, Mo., gave the audience plenty to laugh at with his songs. Keith Winger, a musician and retired sheriff from Bemidji, Minn., entertained the audience with cowboy and gospel music, and Jim and Judy Wenzel, from Summersville, Mo., completed the Saturday afternoon show.

Sunday morning, many of the performers and guests attended cowboy church, with Abe Reddekopp leading the service. Afterwards, departing performers enjoyed their drive home through colorful stands of flowering redbud and dogwood trees adorning the surrounding Ozark Mountains.

The annual Mountain View Cowboy Poetry & Music Festival is organized by Jennie Cummings, and is underwritten by a grant from the Missouri Arts Council, the Mountain View Arts Council, and donations from many local businesses and individuals. This year's event was dedicated to the memory of three late friends: Leroy Watts, co-founder of the Missouri Cowboy Poets Association; Sarah "Eulalia" Polk, for 13 years a co-organizer of the gathering' and Lucky Glasscock, a fine cowboy poet who helped get this annual event out of the chute.



April, 2011
3rd Annual Songs of the Cowboys  Cody, Wyoming

 Report by Gwen Petersen, photos by Bob Kisken

(See an additional report by Rex Rideout below.)

Songs of the Cowboys: That’s the moniker for the best little pickin’ ‘n poetry gathering in the west. Held annually in April in the cowboy state of Wyoming in the cowboy town of Cody, it’s the real deal. You won’t find “Hollywood” there. You won’t find “stars” so big, you have to climb a ladder to kiss their hems.

What you will find is a gathering together of cowboys and cowgirls who share their stories in song and poetry.

As one who was privileged to be a part of the weekend, I can say that the experience felt like being a part of a big, friendly family. The laughter bubbled, the tall tales and the short tales rolled off wry tongues; tunes floated and danced off guitars accompanying singin’ and dancin’.

photo by Bob Kisken
Rex Rideout

This year’s Songs of the Cowboys hosted thirty assorted pickers and poets from eight states: Arkansas, Colorado, Minnesota, Wyoming, Montana, Dakota, Nebraska and Idaho. Why did they come? Because Trail Boss, Leslie Keltner (Runumuck Cowgirl Productions), knows how to put together a rip-roarin’ gathering.

photo by Bob Kisken
Leslie Keltner

If you’re fortunate enough to be one of the invited performers, your lodging is donated. You start the weekend on Thursday evening with a spaghetti feed at Leslie and Ross Keltner’s place. Friday begins with registration in the historic Buffalo Bill’s Irma Hotel where you pick up your name tag and scheduling. After you register, don’t go away. Stick around for the free feed in the hotel’s Governor’s room.

Then mosey on down to the Holiday Inn Bandana Room at 7:00 where if you’re scheduled as a concert performer you’ll be part of the two hour presentation of down-home honest entertainment. While the public pays to attend, your poet or picker name tag is a pass to all sessions and concerts.

Wait! It’s not over yet! Following the concert, there’s some boot-stompin’ jam sessions at the Irma. In the Governor’s room, songs are kept strictly “cowboy”. Another jam lifts the rafters in the Irma’s lounge area.

photo by Bob Kisken
Almeda Bradshaw

Purt-near half the population of Cody crowds into the rooms. Do people dance? You bet. Is there a dance floor? Naaa. Folks just partner up and shake a leg amongst the tables.

Not only can you bask in the excitement in the Irma, you can also lope on down to Cassie’s nightclub where Norine Linderman, the Outlaw Queen and her band hold sway.

Saturday morning for performers starts with breakfast—a huge pancake and eggs feed at the Jim and Lynda Covert residence. They’ll keep flippin’ flapjacks and crackin’ eggs till all are fed.

photo by Bob Kisken
Bob Lantis

After that waddle on down to the Holiday Inn for a full day of forty-five minute sessions starting at nine a.m. in Holiday Inn’s Bandana Room and in the Pitchfork Room. As a performer you’ll have fifteen minutes to belt out songs or say poems or both.

The day sessions are open to the public at no charge. Traditional Tunes kicks off the first go-round followed by a session of “Open Mic” (non-scheduled performers can sign up). Cowboy Humor, The Old Time Cowhand, and Women of the West round out the programs in the Bandana Room. The Pitchfork Room and Two Dot room hosts Saddle Up!, Roads to Colorado, Ranch Romance and another Open Mic. The afternoon finishes with Good Horses, Bad Rides and Montana Range.

photo by Bob Kisken
Otto Rosfeld

Things keep on getting better. As a performer you get to partake of a another delectable feed at the Coverts followed by the splendid Saturday night concert in the Bandana Room. And of course, the Saturday night jammin’—oh, my. The Irma Governor’s room, the Lounge, the dining room. Music floods the building and reverberates off its walls.

Sunday morning means The Glory Trail Cowboy Gospel session begins at 9:00 a.m. in the Holiday Bandana Room. Open to the public at no charge; this session is always popular.

As one of the thirty performers, are you done? Nope. There’s another free chili feed at Bill and Dale Delph’s B & B, The Mayor’s Inn. Bill’s chili is awesome!

At times during the weekend, some Songs of the Cowboys singers entertain the elderly in nursing homes and senior centers as well as singing-for-supper at a local café. Performers’ products (CD’s, books, etc) are on display and for sale all weekend. The table is clerked, but you get entire proceeds of any sales.

This year, a professional photographer, Bob Kisken, took pictures all weekend. So it’s possible you’ll see yourself on or in Rope Burns. And frosting on the cake: the Saturday night concert was filmed. Anyone interested in an outstanding keepsake DVD can order one from Runumuck Cowgirl Productions, Box 2652, Cody, Wyoming, 82414. 307-250-5241. Cost: $20 (includes shipping).

Want information about next year’s Songs of the Cowboys? Contact Runumuck Productions.

photo by Bob Kisken
Gwen Petersen


 Report by Rex Rideout

(see an additional report by Gwen Petersen above)

I am feeling warmed by the good folks in Cody and my friends that gathered there as I write this. Leslie, the Runumuk Cowgirl and the good folks of Cody pulled off another Songs of the Cowboys through sheer determination.

There was quite a range of performers to suit your liking. Vic Anderson, Almeda Bradshaw, Bill Chiles, Bill Delph & Harry Hagen, Ike Hall, Ray & Shirley Jacobs, Leslie Keltner, Norrine Lindermann, Bob Loper, Liz Masterson, Bruce & Lyn Messersmith, Open Range, Susan Park, Gwen Petersen, Rex Rideout, John Sidle, Bruce South, Vince and Mindi, and Pop Wagner livened up the stage for the Friday show, Saturday matinee and day sessions such as Women of the West, The Old Time Cowhand, and Good Horses/Bad Rides.

The always popular Bunkhouse Corral was on hand to offer up good songs and plenty of humor for the Saturday evening show. The Bunkhouse Corral was ably manned by Bob Lantis, Joe Bain, Otto Rosfeld, John Shreve and Larry Thompson.

Pop Wagner was called upon to fill in for Glenn Ohrlin who could not be there. Glenn was sorely missed in Cody and we all hope he will be back in the saddle and joining us next year.

The shows were kept flowing by M.C., Jim Garry, gracing us with his wit and wisdom. We all met Sunday morning for a Cowboy Gospel Hour, sharing service and songs about the trail to glory. All events were hosted by the Holiday Inn Cody at Buffalo Bill Village and sponsored by the Wyoming Arts Council.

The Songs of the Cowboys is doing well in Cody and we are all looking forward to meeting there next year.



March, 2011
Cache Valley Cowboy Rendezvous  Hyrum, Utah, March

 Report by Chris Mortensen, photos by Eddy Wilson, I 4 Photography,

See an additional report below by Ernie Sites


Cache Valley Cowboy Rendezvous
March 4-5, 2011

The first annual Cache Valley Cowboy Rendezvous was held March 4th and 5th at Mountain Crest High School in Hyrum, Utah. It was a HUGE success! Kudos to Dale and Dawna Major who organized this great event.

photo by Eddy Wilson, I 4 Photography,
Bar J Wranglers

We had many great poets and musicians participate. Headlining the evening concert on Friday and the matinee concert on Saturday were the Bar J Wranglers from Jackson Hole Wyoming. Other featured performers for the two concerts were Eli Barsi, Andy Nelson, and Larry Wilder. The two concerts were well attended, and the audiences were treated to some top-notch music, poetry, and humor.

photo by Eddy Wilson, I 4 Photography,
Andy Nelson

There was constant entertainment featuring invited poets and musicians during both days of the gathering. Invited poets included Andy Nelson, Sam DeLeeuw, C.R. Wood, Doug Keller, Jo Lynne Kirkwood, Andy Nelson, Terry Nash, Clive Romney, Braden and Caib Brian, Al Clark, Alan Chenworth, Rod Miller, Steve Porter, Marion Manwill, J.B. Barber, and Mark Kerr.

Invited musicians included Larry Wilder, his son, Nolan Bronson, Eli Barsi, Ernie Sites, Mary Kaye Knaphus, Saddle Strings ("Snoose" Argyle, Brian Arnold, Cindy Argyle, and Laurie Morgan), Latigo (Ken Stevens, Kevan Paul, and Ben Ashby), Manystrings (Tony and Carol Messerly), Coyote Moon (Lisa Stubblefield, Steve Lewis, and Terry Lewis), David and Jenny Anderson, J.C. Needham, Doug Figgs, Kenny Hall, Saddle Serenade (Mary Jo Hansen and Chris Mortensen), Tumbleweeds (Steve Fillmore and "Ugly Earl" Bradley), Troy Ross, Arden Gailey, and The Drifter and Miss Judy (Judy and Jan Erickson).


photo by Eddy Wilson, I 4 Photography,
Coyote Moon

We had top quality artisans displaying and selling western art, tack, clothing, boots and other items in two different locations. Blake and Jody Pulsipher provided delicious dutch oven fare near the Chuckwagon Stage, where musicians performed in 30 minute shifts. The Elkhorn stage featured poets and musicians. John and Pauline Kurek were our wonderful green room host and hostess. Many of us played private numbers for John and Pauline, much to their delight.

We had some hot jam sessions, especially when cowboy Ernie Sites joined in on guitar, banjo, and mandolin. The dance was enjoyed by many rendezvous patrons and performers as the rendezvous was winding down Saturday night. Latigo kicked off the dance at 7:00 p.m., followed by the Sagwich Basin Band at 8:00. Event organizer, Dale Major played guitar and sang, and put together a band of locals featuring his children, Jenny and Erin on fiddle and vocals, and Jake on the upright bass. The band also included Bret Bullock on drums, Nick Nielsen on keyboards, Shawn Potter on lead vocals and guitar, Corey Brown on fiddle and guitar, and Chris Mortensen on 5 string bass, guitar, and vocals. Eli Barsi joined in and sang a rousing rendition of "Rocky Top"; Ernie Sites sang a great "Amarillo By Morning", Mary Jo Hansen nailed "Eighteen Wheels", and Mary Kaye wowed the dancers and listeners with "Crazy."

Sunday's Cowboy Church at the American West Heritage Center in Wellsville was attended by 150 people, in spite of the rain and snow and the quarter mile horse drawn wagon ride. Marion Manwill was the chaplain of the non-denominational event. There was a special feeling present that day, especially when the audience hummed "Amazing Grace" to Lynn Hulme's poem, "Ridin' For the Brand." All guitar players present spread out among the congregation to provide surround sound for the song and poem. It was the bow and ribbon wrapping up a great package of poetry and music. Thanks to all of the performers, poets, musicians, volunteers, sound technicians (Lynn Hulme and Ed Durrant), vendors, host families, motels, advertisers, and especially to Dale and Dawna Major for making this 1st annual Cache Valley Cowboy Rendezvous, so successful.

photo by Eddy Wilson, I 4 Photography,
Youth poet contestants with Ernie Sites and Jo Lynne Kirkwood (left) and Rod Miller (far right)



 Report by Ernie Sites,;  photo by Eddy Wilson, I 4 Photography,

See an additional report above by Chris Mortensen.


Cache Valley Cowboy Rendezvous
March 4-5, 2011

The First Annual Cache Valley Cowboy Rendezvous brought the music and the poetry of the west to folks of Northern Utah. Those who came and enjoyed this first time Cowboy event held March 4-5, 2011 at Mountain Crest High School in Hyrum, Utah will be talking about this outstanding show all year.

With a cowboy gear and western art trade show the vendors offered gear for the working rancher and horseman. Artists with their crafts and paintings gave everyone who stopped by a new look at the West with its landscapes, adventures with big game, mountain men, Indians and cowboys, horse and rider, all captured on canvas.

The chuckwagon food was the real thing with the smell and taste of beef and beans and homemade bread. No one went away hungry.

The four stages were adorned in the finest western setting, life like western hand painted back drops, good old saddles, branding irons, hay bales, bits and bridles. The only things missing were the cattle and horses, though I swear that you could almost hear and smell them (most everything came right out of barns and tack rooms of local ranches).

Dale Major, with the help of his wonderful volunteers put on a top notch gathering together with new and seasoned poets and singers. I was proud to have been invited to be apart of this show.

photo by Eddy Wilson, I 4 Photography,
John Cunningham, Ernie Sites, and Eli Barsi



March, 2011
Benefit for Locke Hamilton  Arvada, Colorado

 Report by Jon Chandler ( ; photos by Bill Patterson

photo of Jon Chandler, detail from 2009 photo by Slim McNaught

(Additional report by Rex Rideout below)


It often takes dire circumstances for us to evidence our better natures. But every now and again, we show, even on a small level, that faith and empathy are giant human qualities. A hundred twenty or so great people gathered at the Olde Town Pickin’ Parlor in Arvada, Colorado Tuesday evening to celebrate the life of western singer-songwriter Locke Hamilton, from Dubois, Wyoming. Locke’s battle with cancer is going to end very soon, and her husband Les is pragmatic. I talked with him briefly this morning when he called to thank the Colorado Western Music community for being involved in staging last night’s benefit concert/event /silent auction for Locke. He’s remaining strong for her, and that he called at all during such an unthinkable time is beyond admirable.

Many of the people attending the show, and even some of the musicians themselves don’t know Locke personally, but they know of her music and jumped at the chance be part of such a fine event. The Colorado Cowboy Gathering’s (CCG) Diana Raven spearheaded the evening, enlisting her posse (Vicky, Jane, Pat and more) to help things run smoothly through three hours of picking, bad jokes, auctioneering and good will. Volunteers did everything from baking tons of the world’s finest cookies to setting up tables, from stacking chairs to contacting artists. Of course, Bill & Linda Patterson were there to document the event through Bill’s marvelous photographs, and Jeff Graves did his always fine (and physical) job of setting up the P.A., monitoring sound and playing bass.

Kit Simon’s generosity in hosting the show at the Pickin’ Parlor was above and beyond. Not only did he donate the use of his shop and facilities, he worked his tail off. Although this wasn’t an America’s Soul Live event, it sure seemed like it, and Kit was invaluable to its success.

photo by Bill Patterson
Liz Masterson


The musicians were, as usual, marvelous. CCG’s Liz Masterson (a close friend of Locke’s) and I hosted the show, which also featured Kit Simon, Barry Ward, Bill Barwick & Roz Brown, Mary Huckins & Don Pinella from Dakota Blonde, Al “Doc” Mehl, Rex Rideout, Pam Hawkins, Almeda Bradshaw, the inimitable Timothy P. Irvin and the incredible licks of Ernie Martinez and Johnny Neill. Exceptional cowboy poets John Schaffner and Zeb Dennis rounded out the group. Many of the songs that were performed were attached to Locke, with Bill & Roz’s "Old Double Diamond" and "Cowboy’s Prayer," and Ernie & Pam’s "Song of Wyoming" being particularly poignant.

photo by Bill Patterson
Bill Barwick, Roz Brown, Ernie Martinez, and Johnny Neill

The silent auction was a major success, with donations from corporate entities like Providence Hospitality Partners and Wet Mountain Western Days joining those from individuals like Ralph & Barb Melfi and Victoria Ward. Dozens of donated items were sold ranging from books (Colleen Smith, Corinne Brown) to recordings (Juni Fisher), to fine photography (Catherine Lilbit Devine and Susan Sutherland), and each of the evening’s artists donated CDs toward the effort. Diana, Jane and Pat tallied the proceeds, with our very own Pat Chandler commandeering the stage to announce winners and letting the assemblage know exactly how much money was raised for Locke. I’ll get around to posting a full list of contributors in a subsequent missive.

The evening’s highlight came as a truly iconic banjo once owned by Denver folk music legend David Feretta (and dubbed by both Rex Rideout and Ernie Martinez as “priceless” ) was auctioned by John Schaffner who, wouldn’t you know it, is a genuine auctioneer. In two amazing instances of pure generosity, the banjo was donated by my new friend David Hard, and purchased by my old friend and banjo picker extraordinaire Hereford Percy. And it is a beauty.

The audience…so many of them America’s Soul Live regulars…was amazing. Any group of people who could put up with Ernie’s jokes and Toby the Dog’s questionable digestive system (a story for campfires and whisky-swapping, for sure) is surely worthy to ride the trail with.

I should mention that every item in the silent auction was donated, that every musician donated their time and products, as did the volunteers, that Kit donated both his store and his overhead, and that every dollar that was taken in is going directly to Locke and Les to help them fight this battle.

We ended the evening as we always seem to in such circumstances, with Timothy P. taking the stage to lead the performers and audience through a rousing and moving "Will the Circle Be Unbroken." The song’s title is an appropriate metaphor for the continuity of our little western and acoustic music community (both performers and audiences) that stretches throughout this country and beyond. It is indeed a circle, and it is filled with fine people. Last night, that circle sent its heartfelt blessings to Locke and Les.


 Report by Rex Rideout; photos by Bill Patterson

(Additional report by Jon Chandler above)

Sometimes many will put their efforts to one cause and it will take off on its own and become great. That's what took place Saturday evening at Kit Simon's Olde Town Pickin' Parlor as we all gathered for a benefit for Locke Hamilton. Locke has been fighting cancer and her time with us is diminishing. Diana Raven rounded up many friends and a stellar lineup of music and poetry to support Locke, Les and their family.

Liz Masterson and Jon Chandler hosted the show. Songs to celebrate the West and Locke in particular were provided by Bill Barwick & Roz Brown, Almeda Bradshaw, Pam Hawkins, Mary Huckins & Don Pinella, Timothy P. Irvin, Al “Doc” Mehl, Kit Simon, Barry Ward and me. As always, Jeff Graves, Ernie Martinez, and Johnny Neill supported us all as a top-notch band and offered up some music of their own. Cowboy poets John Schaffner and Zeb Dennis were on hand with sentimental and clever verse.

photo by Bill Patterson
Kit Simon and auctioneer John Schaffner

There was a silent auction generously provided by corporate and individual donations. A historic banjo once belonging to David Feretta was donated for the benefit and professionally auctioned by John Schaffner (What can't he do?).
The evening concluded with Timothy P. Irvin leading a sold-out house in singing "Will the Circle Be Unbroken." An appropriate notion for our scattered family of Western singers, poets and those who love the West.

photo by Bill Patterson
"Will the Circle Be Unbroken," the Grand Finale

Bill Patterson was on hand to skillfully capture the evening through his camera lens. A word of thanks must go out to Kit Simon for opening his place to the benefit and giving his all to make it happen.

For those of you who couldn't attend but would like to help. Go to the Prickly Pair website,, buy their CDs and contribute what you can.




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



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