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(Some links may be out of date.)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

August - September

see January-March reports here
see April-July reports here
see October-December reports here


Kanab "Ranchwife Fashion Show" (Utah) August separate page

Sevier Valley Roundup (Utah) August separate page

Winthrop (Washington) September

Cheyenne (Wyoming) September

Safford (Arizona) September

Vinton (California) September

Durango (Colorado) September/October

Baker City (Oregon) September

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 . . .


September, 2004
Dollar Watch Cowboy Jamboree  
Winthrop, Washington

lauraleesm.jpg (15901 bytes)

story by Lauralee Northcott

The Dollar Watch Jamboree came off once again to a standing ovation, headlined by Brenn Hill.  The old time variety show got audiences laughing with tears running down their cheeks as the Elbow Coulee Cast of Characters did a hilarious skit and goofy commercials.  Horse Crazy, the terrific cowgirl band, thrilled audiences with their harmony and musical talent.  It
was a great evening.  Be sure to watch for the two shows next year!

September  2004
Cheyenne Cowboy Symposium and Celebration

Cheyenne, Wyoming

story and photos by
Yvonne Hollenbeck

Labor Day Weekend found a large turn-out in Cheyenne for its annual Cowboy Symposium and Celebration, and featured workshops and special presentations and many cowboy poets and musical talents.  A great emphasis was on family groups and featured the Carr Family, Wallace Family; and Prairie Rose & The Homegrown Sidekicks.  Groups such as The New Pioneers & The Yampa Valley Boys were on hand, as were singers Otto Rosfeld, Vic Anderson and Rudy Grant. Poets included Gail Burton, Ross Diercks, Jane Morton, John Ray Shreve, Lynn Messersmith, Nona Kelly Carver, Angel Vigil, Larry Glen, Rhonda Stearns, Terry Henderson, Monty Hopkins, Dick Hart, Tim Nolting, Dick Morton, Bill Stearns, Carlos Barrios, Monty Teel, Al Mehl, George Russell, and Robyn Schuppan. Bill May of Kearney, Nebraska, added his special blend of cowboy poetry to the Friday night show, and the Saturday night performance featured poet Yvonne Hollenbeck, and singers Jon Chandler, Barry Ward, Eli Barsi and Bill Barwick.


Washtub Jerry, Nona Kelly Carver,Yvonne Hollenbeck, Eli Barsi and Angel Vigil

Otto Rosfeld and Emcee John Buttram

September  2004
Annual Gila Valley Cowboy Poetry & Music Roundup
Safford, Arizona

story and photos by
Yvonne Hollenbeck

The Gila Valley Arts Council is to be commended for sponsoring one of the finest cowboy poetry gatherings in the West! This year's theme, "Tunes 'n Tales" was fitting for the many special presentations of just that. Featured night show entertainers were Roughstring, Bud Strom, Patty Clayton, Dennis Gaines, Jim & Nancy Sober, Ron Brinegar, Sabrina Sochier, Rolf Flake, Ann Sochat, Andy Hedges and Yvonne Hollenbeck.  The council also sponsored many of these fine entertainers at area school presentations throughout the day on Friday.

Safford Mayor Ron Green and Andy Hedges

 Patty Clayton and Organizer Linda Schell-Curtis


Double Trouble from Texas, Andy Hedges and Dennis Gaines

Bud Strom and Rolf Flake

 Patty Clayton and Ann Sochat

September 2004
Vinton Cowboy Poetry Show   
Vinton, California

janerichardson.jpg (8153 bytes)

Report by Jane Richardson (drawing by Pat Richardson from Pat Richardson, Unhobbled, which he describes as "This is a picture I drew of my Jane from a photo I took of her up in a Eucalyptus tree just before she was captured.")

Just got back from Vinton where Betty Ramelli put on her first Fall Gathering at the Sierra Valley Grange, where they have held a March gathering for many years and is billed as "California's Oldest and Best" Cowboy Poetry Show. I am happy to report that though the attendance wasn't as good as the March Venue (where they had to turn away over 100 people) it was well attended by what I believe are some of the most appreciative fans of Cowboy Poetry and Cowboy Music I have ever attended.

The very talented Liz Masterson and Sean Blackburn from Denver, Colorado (they put on the Arvada, Colorado Annual Colorado Cowboy Poetry Gathering  extravaganza each January) were there with their crowd pleasing songs and harmony, and were joined by California's gracious, and lovely Kay Hanson. Kay and Liz did some of the best harmony anyone could ask for. They were outstanding.

The poets were Larry Maurice from Truckee, California and Pat Richardson from Merced. All the artists reported great sales of their CD's and books. This has long been one of the greatest venue's for performers to sell their work. I hope Betty continues to put on a fall show in addition to her March Gathering. Great Work Betty!!

September/October 2004
Durango Cowboy Gathering

Durango, Colorado

story and photos by
Yvonne Hollenbeck


No words have ever been written that better describe the West than a visit to Durango, Colorado, and the annual Cowboy Poetry Gathering.  The downtown area was abuzz with shoppers and tourists, the vintage train and rail system, unique shops and beautiful buildings decked out in Western decor; and cowboy poets!  

Ahh...the scenery in and around Durango is breathtaking.

The fabulous Strater Hotel was the scene of one of the finest gatherings in the land as some of America's best entertained standing-room only crowds. The Premier Performance on Thursday night was hosted by Andy Nelson of Pinedale, Wyoming; Featured performers were Kip Calahan, Yvonne Hollenbeck, and Glenn Moreland & Washtub Jerry.  Friday and Saturday evening performances featured Bill Barwick, Jean Prescott, R. P. Smith, John Schaffner, Ann Sochat, Andy Nelson and host, Joe Bruce.  Adding to this lineup for day Saturday's theme sessions, were Lindy Simmons, Steve Lindsey, Lynne & Perry Lewis; Mike Dunn; Sandi Walker; Larry Glenn; Gary KnightingLarry Harmer; Tony Brooks; Bill May; Junior Gomez; Hook Hill; Willard Hollopeter; Slim McWilliams; Tony Norris; the hard working committeeman and great cowboy poet, Sam Noble, as well as various youth and open-session performers.  

R. P. Smith and Ann Sochat after a great performance on an
evening show

Willard Hollopeter, Tony Cano,  Ann Sochat, and Andy Nelson

Jean Prescott and Andy Nelson

The only bad thing about the entire weekend was when Sam and Tanna Noble, who were giving Yvonne Hollenbeck a tour of their
beautiful ranch, discovered a dandy two-year old gelding that appeared to be very sick.  A vet was immediately called and it was soon learned that the horse had the dreaded West Nile virus.  The horse had to be put down, and not only was this the first case in the area where the horses had been properly vaccinated, but a second horse, a yearling colt, also showed signs of West Nile in its early stages.  It was a very sad situation, however, the last report is that the yearling is getting better by the hour, still receiving treatment, and is going to be fine.

Sam Noble (committeeman and cowboy poet) and his vet treating a yearling
colt on Sam's ranch, which had West Nile in its early stages.

Dates have been set for the 2005 Durango Cowboy Gathering, their 17th annual, which will be October 6-9, 2005.  You might want to mark this on your calendar as one to not miss!

Tony Brooks and his wife are the proud parents of a beautiful baby girl,
whose middle name "Kiley" was selected in honor of Kip Calahan's daughter,
Kiley.  The Brooks family are great fans of Kip.  Tony told his audience
that Kip's latest CD was playing during the entire 29 hours of labor and the
first music baby Kiley heard after her birth.

Kip and Kiley Brooks


September 2004
Elkhorn Western Arts Gathering  
Baker City, Oregon

story by Smoke Wade, photos by Tracy Moss

by... Smoke Wade, a legend in his own mind

Near the banks of the Powder River in Eastern Oregon, where the wagon tracks of the Oregon Trail quietly await the coming of the first winter snow, and cattle graze by the thousands across the valley floor, they gathered. From Oregon, Washington, Idaho, Nevada, Missouri and Utah, they gathered.

In Historic Baker City, Oregon, under warm, blue skies, twenty cowboy poets and western musicians gathered on September 23, 24, 25 and 26, 2004 for the second annual Elkhorn Western Gathering. The gathering was organized by well known cowboy poet, A.K. Moss and crew. The event ran in conjunction with the Baker City Fall Fest, complimented by a Farmer's Market, Dutch Oven cookoff, and a Taste of Baker City where fourteen eateries offered special sidewalk menus that included appetizers, entrees, desserts and beverages in exchange for wooden tokens.

A. K. Moss and her father, Roy Saul
(photo by Tracy Moss)

The festival kicked off on Thursday night with a jam session around a campfire at the horse ranch of Roy and Alice Saul in Haines, Oregon. A potluck dinner was served along with toasted marshmallows as musicians and poets entertained the local residents.

Hour long sessions ran simultaneously Friday and Saturday at both the Oregon Trail Interpretive Center and the Oregon Trail Regional Museum. The sessions were well attended by appreciative audiences. Tourists that had pulled off the freeway to check out the Oregon Trail history were treated to some of the best entertainment in the Northwest. Many tourists checked into
local motels and spent the weekend attending the sessions and shows. The Interpretive Center hosted the performers in an acoustically perfect auditorium surrounded by Oregon Trail artifacts. The Regional museum provided a interesting venue as poets and musicians performed in the Natatorium which once was an indoor swimming pool in the early part of the last century. The pool had been filled in long ago and the two story museum became stuffed to the rafters with local history.

Sam Mattise  at the Oregon Trail Regional Museum
photo by Tracy Moss

The Friday night event at the Baker City High School opened with a pre-show by Jinny Lowe, publisher of Happy Trails. The show was emceed by Steve Taylor, president of the Western Music Association, and member of the musical group, Stampede!  The show opened with Desert Breeze of Elko, Nevada, with group members Billy Rose, Debbie Moreno, Doc Quam and John Tierney. Other performers included poets Smoke Wade, Marty Campbell, Fay Briscoe and musicians Steve Blanchard and yodeling Rod Erickson.

There were two shows Saturday night. Both shows were emceed by "Keep Out of the Wire" Dallas McCord. Performers on the matinee included  pre-show entertainment by Steve Blanchard followed by  poets Sam DeLeeuw, Vern Woodbury and musicians Sam Mattise, Don Rice and Wayne Nelson.

The audience at the evening show enjoyed a cast of performers that read like a Who's Who of Western Entertainment. The audience was treated to a pre-show by Wayne Nelson followed by poets A.K. Moss, Leon Flick, Bill Ramsey, Don Kennington and musicians Dallas McCord P. J. Palmer, Nancy Galt, "Awesome" Jim Assen and Steve Taylor, Terry Taylor and David Anderson of Stampede!.

Don Kennington on stage
photo by Tracy Moss

Each of the evening performances were concluded with a heart moving rendition by Jim Assen of "The Ragged Old Flag," with the entire performer cast humming "America the Beautiful" in the background while an American flag was displayed on stage by horse rancher Roy Saul and his grandson, Stephen Brock.

Downtown Historic Baker City came alive Saturday afternoon as poets and musicians performed at local coffee houses and shops. One could stroll the sidewalk and listen to the antics of Vern Woodbury, Sam Matise and Don Kennington behaving like San Francisco street performers, then move a few doors along the avenue and catch the acts of Stampede! and Desert Breeze playing their hearts out to a passing audience caught up in the festivities. Reminiscent of New Orleans' Bourbon Street, the progressive sound of Wayne Nelson wafted from the doorway of a coffee shop. Local folks sat on straw bales along the curb and were mesmerized by the sidewalk talents of Jim Assen and Steve Blanchard.

A special treat for the performers was the hospitality provided by the Baer House B&B. The Victorian mansion's owner, Linda, provided the performers with refreshments as well as sleeping quarters and a parlor for jam sessions that lasted until the wee hours of the morning. A wonderful breakfast was served at the Baer House on Sunday morning for the performers prior to Cowboy Church.

Sunday was bittersweet as the cast of players said their good-byes after a well attended Cowboy Church hosted by Smoke Wade and accompanied by Jinny Lowe on the piano. Church performers included the very talented Rod Erickson, A.K. Moss, Vern Woodbury, Steve Blanchard and a moving heartfelt song by Billy Rose and Doc Quam.

The performers left the peaceful valley that graces the eastern slope of the Elkhorn Mountains taking home more than they came with. They left with the warm memories of new friendships and renewed acquaintances. They journeyed towards their homes knowing that they had the good fortune of participating in one of life's special moments.

On those warm autumn days in September, 2004, they had gathered briefly, on the banks of the Powder River where the Oregon Trail waits quietly at it's place by the hill, alone at night, quiet in the winter, standing a forgotten post, weary, like those that once passed along its way... waiting for the cowboy poets to once again gather in 2005.

Grand Finale.........A.K. Moss, Roy Saul, and performers 
photo by Tracy Moss


We invite you to send in reports about gatherings.



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