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 page. 

(Some links may be out of date.)

2004 Reports

April - July

see January-March reports here
see August-September reports here
see October-December reports here


Prince George (BC) April

Oklahoma City (Oklahoma) April

Kennewick (Washington) April

Marshall (Texas) May

Winthrop (Washington) June

Salinas (Calfornia) July

AWA Cowboy Poetry/Songwriting Team Roping Challenge (Texas) July  separate page

AWA "Ranchwife Fashion Show" (Texas) July separate page

Big Bear (California) July


See reports from 2005 here

See reports from 2003 here
See reports for 2002 here
Reports from 2000- 2001 are here


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


April 2004
Prince George BC Ranch and Country Show   Prince George, B. C.

story and photos by Mike Puhallo

The Prince George, BC, Canada "Ranch 'N Country Show" may prove to be an important milestone in western music. It was the first time ever that Matt Johnston, Tammy Gislason and Frank Galbraith performed together as a trio on stage. It was an incredible show. Between the three of them, they have a huge repertoire of original material and old time western and country songs. Each is a great lead vocalist who is also capable of singing good harmony, and between the three they manage to  create a pretty big sound out of one mandolin, a guitar and an acoustic bass. 

Tammy Gislason is from Innisfail Alberta and was last years winner of the AWA Will Rogers Rising Star Award. She is nominated in several categories again in 2004. Matt Johnston is from Clearwater BC and is nominated for AWA Will Rogers Award for Rising Star in 2004 as well as Western Male Vocals, Western CD and Western Song of the Year. Frank Galbraith has played guitar in studio sessions and bands for some of the best in country music for about 30 years.  They way they combine their talents on stage is nothin' short of magic!

The Prince George Ranch and Country show also included the cowboy poetry of
Mike Puhallo  and the wonderful harmonies of  "4-Up" the McKelvie Family band. Mike Puhallo has been nominated for Cowboy Poet of The year again in 2004 (That makes 6 times in that category)

"Four Up," Al and Jean McKelvie and their daughters Lacey and Sheena  sure impressed the crowd at the Prince George Ranch and Country Show with their beautiful voices and spine tingling harmonies. The McKelvies live just outside of Prince George BC. Their stage shows include a mix of western songs, bluegrass and gospel.

The entertainment for the Prince George and Kamloops  Ranch 'N Country Shows,  was coordinated and produced by Mike Puhallo, Twilight Ranch Productions

April 2004
Western Heritage Awards
National Cowboy and Western Heritage Museum Oklahoma City, Oklahoma


story and photos by Sandra Herl of the Academy of Western Artists and


The Western Heritage Awards were held at the National Cowboy and Western Heritage Museum on April 17, 2004. Last year we went and spent a couple of days in OKC, this year we decided to just go up for the day and come home after the Awards since we are only about 2 hours away (depending on who's driving).

uck Taylor, Waddie Mitchell, Barry Corbin, Don Edwards, Dean Smith, Red
Steagall, Robert Carradine, Tom Selleck, Clint Walker and Peter O'Meara

We went to the Marriott to visit before the Awards. Had a chance to visit with Dean Smith, Barry Corbin, Greg Henry, Caruth Byrd and Buck and Goldie Taylor for a few minutes before we headed over to the Museum. The Round Robin before the Awards gives us a chance to get pictures and meet new people and visit with old friends. Red Steagall, Lisa and Waddie Mitchell, Dean and Debbie Smith, Buck and Goldie Taylor, Bob Funk, Joe and Tony Joyer. Joe and I always have fun talking about when we were kids out in California; we grew up in the same neighborhood. Talk about a small world.

Tony Joyer, Debbie Smith, Robert Carradine, Joe Joyer

I don't know about any of you but I had a huge crush on Clint Walker when I was a kid. Cheyenne Bodie was it as far as I was concerned back then and I was thrilled to be able to meet him. Clint was inducted into the Hall of Great Western Performers. Tom Selleck, another crush, what a room to be in. I had a chance to visit with Tom about his gun collection that he had AWA Engraver Johnny Weyerts ( engrave for him. Tom was there to accept his award for Monte Walsh in the Outstanding Television Feature Film, along with Michael Brandman, Steven Brandman, Simon Wincer, Keith Carradine, Rex Linn, Robert Carradine and Barry Corbin.

Robert Carradine, Tom Selleck, Clint Walker

Don Edwards was present to take home his award for Outstanding Original Western Composition, "Chant of the Night Songs," from his album Last of the Troubadours.

It was a joy to see Bette Ramsey again, I had not visited with Bette since the 90's and we had a chance to have a short visit. She accepted the Outstanding Western Music Album Award for Buck Ramsey: Hittin' The Trail, from Smithsonian Folkways Recordings. 

Peter O'Meara was present to accept for the award for Outstanding Factual or Fictional Drama, "Peacemakers: 29 Seconds Episode."

It was soon time to go in for the Awards Dinner and I was surprised to find Ken Overcast at our table. It was great to finally meet Ken. The dinner was great as always. Keith Carradine was the Master of Ceremonies, along with co-hosts, William Arrington, Robert Carradine, Barry Corbin, Bill Kurtis, Waddie Mitchell, Red Steagall, Dean Smith and Buck Taylor.

Buck Taylor, Clint Walker, Red Steagall, Dean Smith

Herb Jeffries was inducted into the Hall of Great Western Performers, Herb was known as the Bronze Buckaroo and is still go strong and making music at 92.

The late Wina Mae Calhoon of Oklahoma was inducted into the Hall of Great Westerners. What a women she was, she inspires us all by the life she led.

Phil Stadtler, California rancher, received the Chester A. Reynolds Award. Phil gave a great speech and I wish I had a recorder going to capture it, he received a standing ovation.

Keith Carradine and Tom Selleck performed the song from Monte Walsh, Tom has a great voice for Cowboy Music. 

After the Awards we headed back over to the Marriott for the Party and had a great time visiting some more with Royal Wade Kimes, Cathy Van Der Linden, Ken Overcast and more. It was a great time and I hope to see ya all there next year.

April 2004
Columbia River Cowboy Gathering  Kennewick, Washington

Clarkcrouch04p.jpg (17830 bytes)

report by Clark Crouch

The First Annual Columbia River Cowboy Gathering in Kennewick, Washington on April 17, 2004 was a tremendous success according to Ed Dailey, chairman of the event. More than 1,000 attended at various times during the daytime and evening events and plans are now underway to expand the event to three days in 2005. The winner of the Cowboy Amateur Poetry Contest was Tim Jenne of
Mattawa, Washington and runner-up was Glenn Buxton of Pasco, Washington. The BAR-D's old pards who participated during the day were A.K. (Kathy) Moss and
Clark Crouch who were joined by Leon Flick as contest judges. Featured musicians included: Johnny Western, Mended Heart in Concert, Nevada Slim, and Rod Erickson.

May, 2004
Words and Voices  Marshall, Texas 

story by Linda Kirkpatrick
photo by Ron


Grady Lee, Linda Kirkpatrick, and Lloyd Shelby
photo 2004 by Ron Munden


Words and Voices

Grady Lee, AWA-Lone Star Chapter member, and Christi Wright of Marshall, Texas have been bringing singer-songwriters, poets and storytellers from around Texas and Nashville to the Weisman Center to participate in their entertainment series called Words and Voices.  The series began in April of 2003 with Dennis Gaines as the first performer.  And I am quite sure that there are still people in Marshall wondering, "who was that man?"  Dennis never fails to "bring the house down" and I am still trying to figure out how the Weisman Center is still standing!.

In May of 2004, Grady Lee invited
Linda Kirkpatrick and Lloyd Shelby to join him in paying tribute to cowboy songs and cowboy poetry.  Lloyd and Grady dubbed the show, "Three fools on three stools."  Now I was able to figure Lloyd and Grady in on the fools but have not been able to figure out who the third fool was yet?!?!?

The first half of the set was more on the serious side.  The audience was very receptive and began to realize the difficult times that the cowboys and women of yesteryear withstood.  The second half was livened up with poems more on the humorous side and upbeat songs.  Everyone had a really great time, myself included!

Ron Munden of Marshall took some great shots and has loaned the photo of Grady, Lloyd, and me to post with this story.  His web site is  Thanks to Ron for the use of the photo!

Lloyd and I look forward to returning to Marshall and the Weisman Center!

June, 2004
Dollar Watch Cowboy Jamboree  Winthrop, Washington

lauraleesm.jpg (15901 bytes)

story by Lauralee Northcott


The Dollar Watch Cowboy Jamboree made another hit with audiences in the Methow Valley in North Central Washington.  Ficticional Radio station KMOO no bull radio did it once again with the help of the Elbow Coulee Cast of Characters.  This cowboy variety show filled the house with laughter and a trip down the memory trail from the opening song to the final sing along it was a special night of laughter, warmth and joy.  Keep posted about the coming events by checking these web sites,
or and all the best to our friends.

Cowgirl band Horse Crazy with Pat Richardson, at the Dollar Watch Cowboy Jamboree, from left to right,  Emele Clothier, Pat Richardson, Lauralee Northcott, Nadine Van Hees, and Dee Christensen.

July, 2004
California Rodeo Cowboy Poetry Gathering  
Salinas, California 

They do it right in Salinas. The 17th Annual Cowboy Poetry Gathering, which took place in conjunction with the 94th Annual California Rodeo in mid-July, drew an enthusiastic crowd. Chairman Frank Pinney and his Cowboy Poetry Committee know how to put on a great show, and they garner an enormous amount of community support and involvement.

Organizer Frank Pinney

At the Salinas gathering, there is always a first-rate balance of top national talent and outstanding local performers. Along with a star-studded main show, two regular events add to the core of this popular event: a pre-show open-mike session and the appearance of the young winners of the Monterey County Free Library Cowboy & Cowgirl Poetry Contest.

The open mike session is full of talent and surprises, and a real warm up for the main show. This year Mike Horsley was the host, and there were notable performances by Janice Gilbertson of King City; Jim Cardwell of Oroville; Dolores Talbert of Paso Robles; John Silveira of Hilmar; young Abigail Jayne, whose older sister, 11-year old Alyssa Jayne was on the main show; and others.  Each year one performer from the open mike session is selected to perform on the next year's main stage.

On the main stage, Virginia Bennett, working cowgirl, poet, and editor of popular anthologies (Cowgirl Poetry and Cowboy Poetry: The Reunion) entertained and emceed at her usual high-energy pace.  When she takes the stage, it's hers.  She put the audience and other performers at ease with her friendly banter and jokes, and had the rapt attention of the full house when she recited her own poetry.

Janice Gilbertson and Virginia Bennett

Headliner Stephanie Davis wowed the crowd with her music and her humorous, complex poetry. Though her songs have been recorded by Garth Brooks and Waylon Jennings, this fourth-generation Montanan's heart is in the world of real Western music. As the program so well described, she "is also known for her earthy cowboy poetry and really making smoke rise from a fiddle."

Stephanie Davis and Jim Cardwell

Other featured perfomers were: Mick Vernon, President of the Monterey Music Association, farrier, and lawmen, who owned the stage with his performance that included poems from his Lyrical Lawman book and CD and a great recitation of Stephen Vincent Benet's "The Ballad of William Sycamore"; young Alyssa Jayne, with selections from her new book (her second); Salinas-born Miss Rodeo America, Darci Robertson, whose grace, beauty, and wit dazzled the audience, along with her perfect recitations of Baxter Black
poems; the newly formed Saddle Cats with their "California/West Coast" swing sound through the fabulous fiddle of Richard Chon (formerly of the Sons of the San Joaquin) and the steel guitar of Bobby Black (formerly with Asleep at the Wheel); and Scott Collins, a rancher from Gonzales, California. Collins, last year's open-mike standout,  took the stage with confidence and performed his "real deal" poetry, including selections from his new CD, "Cowboy Poetry."

Mick Vernon

Nonna and Scott Collins

The winners of the Sixth Annual Monterey County Free Libraries' poetry contest, who ranged in age from 6 to 12, stole the stage with performances of their poetry, which was also printed in the gathering program. They were accompanied on stage by Dee Maitland and Bob McElroy.  Alyssa Jayne, featured in the main show and now a star in her own right who appeared at Elko earlier this year, was "discovered" three years ago at age eight when she entered the library contest.

Alyssa Jayne

The audience couldn't get enough of  Stephanie Davis, who played a few pieces with the Saddle Cats and many selections from her newest recording, including "Somethin' About Montana," "Ikey," and  "Crocus in the Snow," the title track.  She kept everyone smiling with happy groaners of limericks, funny rhyming tales such as "Talkin' Harvest Time Blues" and her  hilarious windy,  "The Spotted Ass."  She told about her "bad old days" as a Nashville staff writer, and how her best known song, "Wolves," came about.  With a
magician's ease, she moved the hall into the somber mood of that touching song with its haunting lines about "'the ones the wolves pulled down."

At the end of the show, the audience was still under her spell when all of the committee, the other entertainers, and the young poets took to the stage and joined with the crowd in singing "Home on the Range."

Pete and Virginia Bennett

Everything about this venerable show is "just right."  There's a supportive community, strong audience, great national headliners, and quality local entertainers. Visit the official web site of the California Rodeo at to learn more about that event -- a continuing tradition for over 85 years -- and to keep track of the details about next year's 18th Annual Cowboy Poetry Gathering at Salinas.

July, 2004
Big Bear Annual Gathering

Big Bear City, California 

story and photos by
Yvonne Hollenbeck

Report on Big Bear Valley's 5th Annual Cowboy Poetry Gathering

The resort community of Big Bear City, California, played host to its 5th Annual Cowboy Poetry Gathering July 15-18, 2004, and if this event is any indication of the direction the Western Entertainment Movement is headed, we are all in for a great future.  In addition to the best of the best musicians and poets, the large crowds were treated to a cowboy cookin' seminar; trade show; cowboy workshops; western art show; demonstrations; and many other western activities.  The hard working committee was more than pleased, not only with the entertainment, but with the sold-out venues. 

Those featured this year were Dave Bourne who entertained with his great honky-tonk piano music prior to each show; Kip Calahan; T. J. Casey; George Dickey; Jim Dunham; Belinda Gail; Dennis GainesKen & Phee Graydon; Larry Harmer; Paul Hendel; Brenn Hill; Yvonne Hollenbeck; Justus and the Montanas; Suzi Killman; Darryl Knight; Curly Musgrave; The O'Brien Family Bank; Chuck Powell; Dan Roberts; Gary Robertson; Dave Stamey; Joe Sullivan; and Michael & Paulette TcherkasskyKen Bruner of Kerrville, Texas, was emcee.

Kip Calahan, Brenn Hill & Suzi Killman 

Co-Chairmen of the Big Bear Cowboy Poetry Gathering:  Richard Hillberg
and Joanne Dedge

Yvonne Hollenbeck and Gary Robertson



We invite you folks to send in reports about gatherings.



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