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(Some links may go out of date.)

2013 Reports



A Cowboy's Thank You, Junction City, Kansas, November

27th Annual Dakota Cowboy Poetry Gathering  Medora, North Dakota, May

See January-April, 2013 reports here

See reports from 2012 here
See reports from 2011 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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November, 2013
A Cowboy's Thank You, Junction City, Kansas

  report by Geff Dawson with photos by Dawn Dawson (

A Cowboy's Thank You


Trey Allen, Shandee Allen, Geff Dawson, and RJ Vandygriff were all excited to present an evening of poetry and entertainment at the C.L.Hover opera house on November 9th in Junction City, Kansas. What followed was no less than expected when the performers all took their turns on stage to a great crowd of enthusiastic friends and fans.

© 2013, Dawn Dawson,
Trey Allen

© 2013, Dawn Dawson,
Geff Dawson and Trey Allen

The concert was scheduled as a thank you from Trey Allen for the great support and turn out for his fundraiser ranch rodeo to help him with his medical bills, from his recent and ongoing bout with cancer. He was so overwhelmed with the love and support, he could only give back by doing what he does best, telling stories of cowboy life in rhyme. He asked his daughter Shandee to be on the show along with fellow rancher and entertainer Geff Dawson, along with another great entertainer RJ Vandygriff the evening was set for a night of magic.

Trey opened the show and then was joined by his daughter for a couple of numbers. Next up was Geff Dawson who filled the room with laughter and then asked Trey to join him to do the famous 9-minute duet, a song and poem in one that the duo love to do around the campfire (the last 9-minute song played by Johnny Western on a major market AM radio station, Johnny Western sang "Cowpoke," by Geff Dawson).

A brief intermission was enjoyed with open bar at the opera house and lots of friends and fans meeting and greeting the entertainers until the lights dimmed for the second half of the show.

© 2013, Dawn Dawson,
Center: Shandee Allen

Shandee Allen then took the stage to do a set of songs that captivated the audience so much that when she concluded she received a standing ovation from the crowd and her fellow entertainers. What a great voice she has and will someday go viral.

© 2013, Dawn Dawson,
RJ Vandygriff

RJ Vandygriff then was introduced and sang a set of the best cowboy songs and kept the crowd entertained for the rest of the evening, wow what a great cowboy singer.

If that wasn’t enough the crowd was treated to an impromptu gospel encore by RJ and the other acts, Trey, Geff and Shandee. Friends, fun, family, what else is there? Nothing else matters when cowboys gather for the cause.

© 2013, Dawn Dawson,
Geff Dawson, RJ Vandygriff, and Trey Allen


May, 2013
27th Annual Dakota Cowboy Poetry Gathering  Medora, North Dakota


report by Slim McNaught with photos by Slim McNaught and Bob Kisken


27th Annual Dakota Cowboy Poetry Gathering
May 25-26, 2013


“There’s a whole new world a’happinin’ when the grass comes green in spring.” That line from one of my poems just about describes our trip to Medora, North Dakota for the 27th Annual Cowboy Poetry Gathering. Green grass, running water, sunshine, rain, hail, and some wind, all kept us company on our trip up and back. We got to Medora about 10 am, set up our leather booth in the Medora Community Center, then got right to catching up on news from friends. Some of these folks we only see once a year at this gathering.

photo by Slim McNaught

The gals at the registration table had everything under control and Bill Lowman (the instigator of this gathering) was keeping the schedule on track. It’s just like a big family reunion, except we all like each other. Despite the muddy roads and the storms with rain, high winds, and hail that gave some folks problems, there was a full slate of performers for the Saturday and Sunday afternoon performances.

Bill and JoAnn Lowman dedicated this year’s gathering to the memory of Will Stearns, Newcastle, WY cowboy. Will passed away March 26, 2013.There was a big empty spot in the gathering without Rhonda and Will there. Rhonda has led the Sunday morning Cowboy Church for several years and we sure missed her there.

Bob Kisken of Glen Rock, WY spent his time at the gathering taking pictures and visiting with the folks. Bob is a professional photographer, furnishing photos for Rope Burns magazine and several other media outlets. His work is well known and appreciated around cowboy gatherings and rodeos.

photo by Bob Kisken,
Slim McNaught


The first performance for Saturday afternoon started at 1pm and was emceed by Jarle Kvale of Dunseith, North Dakota. Jarle is the program director at KEYA Public Radio in Belcourt, ND. Slim McNaught started the entertainment, followed by Orv Alveshere of Fargo, ND; Kim Shade of Medora, ND; Paula Wash of Broadus, MT; Steve DeMott of Idaho Falls, ID; Terry and Linda Schwartz of Jamestown, ND; Wayne Granfor of Wilton, ND; Kim Harrington of Grand Rapids, MN; Francie Berg of Hettinger, ND; and Barton Saylor of Bismarck, ND.

photo by Bob Kisken,
Fran Armstrong

The second performance started at 2:30pm and was emceed by Fran Armstrong. Fran owns and operates the Diamond Bar B&B north of Medora. The Hegland Family Singers led off with Dean Johnson of Beach, ND up next, followed by Gilbert Ost of Beulah, ND; Marleen Bussma of Dammeron Valley, UT; DW Groethe of Bainville, MT; Polly VanderVorst of Akaska, SD; Vern Bishop of Hill City, MN; Gloria Brown of Las Cruces, NM; and Bonnie Lee of Bismarck, ND. At the end of the Saturday afternoon performances the crowd mingled with the performers and a whole lot of visitin’ went on.

photo by Bob Kisken,
Merrill Piepkorn

After a break, folks started gathering for the evening performance which started at 7:30pm. The Saturday Evening Performance was emceed by Merrill Piepkorn of Fargo, North Dakota. Merrill is the host and Executive Producer of Dakota Air: The Radio Show, an old fashioned traveling radio variety show, performed in front of a live audience, recorded and played back on the radio.

photo by Bob Kisken,
Elizabeth Ebert

The entertainers were, Elizabeth Ebert of Thunder Hawk, SD; Pat Meade of Milo, IA; Greg Hager of Valley City, ND; and Ann Secrest Hanson of Bowman, ND; What a great show. The program was well attended and everyone had an enjoyable evening with some of the best entertainers in the business.

photo by Slim McNaught
Paula Wash and Bob Petermann

We woke Sunday morning to a wet world. There had been a quiet rain during the night and it was a beautiful morning. After a great breakfast at the Cowboy Café, we joined the audience at Cowboy Church. Many great performers put on an excellent service of worship music and the event was well attended. Emcees were Paula Wash and Bob Petermann. They dedicated a portion of the service to Anna Lowman (Bill Lowman’s mother) and Troy McNaught Westby (Slim McNaught’s mother). These two ladies have been the matriarchs of this gathering for several years. Unfortunately, neither was able to attend this year. Paula and Bob sang “In the Garden” and “The Old Rugged Cross”, favorites of Anna and Troy as a tribute to those two ladies.

The Sunday afternoon performances started at 1pm with DW Groethe of Bainville, Montana emceeing. DW is a working ranch hand, plays guitar and writes songs and poems. His book, West River Waltz, won the Will Rogers Medallion Award for excellence in cowboy poetry. This session featured Dean Johnson of Beach, ND; Kim Shade of Medora, ND; Fran Armstrong of Medora, ND; Gilbert Ost of Beulah, ND; Gloria Brown of Las Cruces, NM; Marleen Bussma of Dammeron Valley, UT; Bonnie Lee of Bismarck, ND; Polly VanderVorst of Akaska, SD; and Jarle Kvale of Dunseith, ND. The entertainment was thoroughly enjoyed by the audience.

The second performance for Sunday afternoon started at 2:30pm with Patti Burian Ingman of Killdeer, North Dakota as the emcee. In 1997 Patti was selected “Female Vocalist” winner at the Dickinson State University “Country Western Jamboree.” The entertainment started off with the Hegland Family Singers of ND; Steve DeMott of Idaho Falls, ID; Wayne Granfor of Wilton, ND; Barton Saylor of Bismarck, ND; Slim McNaught of New Underwood, SD; Francie Berg of Hettinger, ND; Kim Harrington of Grand Rapids, MN; Jim Lowman of Fairfield, ND; Jody Strand of Baker, MT; and Paula Wash of Broadus, MT. After the session was over it was another “mingle and visit” time in the lobby as folks made ready for the supper hour and another evening performance.

Sunday afternoon saw the judging of the 2013 DCPG Photo Contest. The results were: People’s Choice Award - Shayna Locken Rogalien of Plaza, ND with “I’ll Meet You at the Other End, Daddy.” Landscapes – Lyle K. Glass of Medora, ND with “Sunlight on the Butte”. General – Bob Kisken of Glen Rock, WY with “Jesse Howard.” Farm and Ranch - Shayna Locken Rogalien of Plaza, ND with “I’ll Meet You at the Other End, Daddy.” Animals - Lyle K. Glass of Medora, ND with “Down the Sunset Trail.” Sunsets and Sunrises - Lyle K. Glass of Medora, ND with “Red Sunrise.” Wild Life - Lyle K. Glass of Medora, ND with “Howling Coyote.” The photo display was enjoyed by many.

photo by Bob Kisken,
Wally McRae

The Sunday evening performance started at 7:30pm and was emceed by Bob Petermann of Wibaux, Montana. Bob has performed for crowds from Elko, NV to Lawler, IA and places in between. The lineup for the evening was Wally McRae of Forsyth, MT; Brent Voigt of Rhame, ND; Bill Lowman of Sentinel Butte, ND; and Ron Crowley of Hazen, ND. As with the Saturday evening performance, the show was very well attended and enjoyed by all. We heard many good comments after it was over and folks were mingling and visiting.

The staff responsible for this very successful gathering are: Bill Lowman, Founder/Director; JoAnn Lowman, Manager; Lyle Glass, Photographer; Sheila Marie, Sales; Helen Ostby, Database; Dawn Lowman, Sales; Paula Wash, Public Relations; Merrill Piepkorn, Publicity; Dorothy Stemm, Sales; and Wynona Foster, Sales. Our hats are off to these folks for the outstanding job they do.

Every year when the Sunday evening show is over, folks spend a lot of time saying goodbye to friends. “See you next year” is probably the most common phrase heard during this time. We said our goodbyes and left, looking forward to “next year.” Lord willing, we’ll be there.


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



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