Kennewick (Washington) April
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2nd Annual Columbia River Cowboy Gathering Kennewick, Washington
Report and photos by Smoke Wade
2nd Annual Columbia River Cowboy Gathering
Organizers of western entertainment events often dream of the perfect gathering. Maybe they could organize a show where most of the performers had received nominations from the Academy of Western Artists, and to make it better, they could bring in some of the best cowboy poets and musicians from the Pacific Northwest. And maybe they could add some of the best swing music from Texas. Maybe they could bring in some of the best cowboy poetry and music from Canada and sweeten the pot with some talent with Nashville and Hollywood experience. Perhaps they could top it off with the cream of the western artists, sculptors and vendors, add open mic time for local cowboy poets, throw in a cowboy poetry contest, serve up hot meals for the crowd and provide a weekend audience of several thousand spectators, not to mention live radio and television broadcasts. That is exactly what Ed & Angie Dailey, Budd & Judy Massengale and the Benton-Franklin Mounted Sheriff's Posse managed to pull together April 15-17, 2005 at the 2nd Annual Columbia River Cowboy Gathering in Kennewick, Washington.
Ed and Angie Daley
Benton-Franklin Mounted Sheriff's Posse
The show at the Benton County Fairgrounds got under way on Friday at noon with showcase performances by Nevada Slim & Cimarron Sue along with George Thomsen and Sharon "Silver" Glenn of the musical duo, Northfork. Both groups presented a wonderful blend of traditional cowboy songs and classic country. An open mic session occupied the rest of the afternoon.
Nevada Slim and Cimarron Sue
The performers moseyed into camp in the afternoon and the impressive group of entertainers took their turns for live television interviews. The poets included: A. K. Moss and Leon Flick from Oregon; Charlie Camden, Howard Norskog and Smoke Wade from Idaho; and Mike Puhallo from Canada. Washington musicians included: the musical duo, Northfork; Bodie Dominguez; Jim Aasen; Nevada Slim & Cimarron Sue; Eddie Collins; Rod Bachman, and Mended Heart with band members Tony Reed, Randy Dreyer, Joshua Dreyer, Stacy Dreyer, Stan Remick and Marty Dahlgren. The Oregon musicians were Dick Kendall and Zac Grooms. Matt Johnston and Tammy Gislason came from Canada with band members
Riley Tubbs and Allen Christie of Western Skies. And from Texas came "Miss Devon" Dawson, also known as Jessie the Yodeling Cowgirl; and Ginny Mac, with her swing band.
Matt Johnston, Smoke Wade, Tammy Gislason, Mike Puhallo
The group presented three "razzle-dazzle" shows over the weekend. A Friday night dinner show, a Saturday morning breakfast show, and a Saturday evening of cowboy entertainment capped off with a spectacular performance by Rex Allen, Jr. Event organizer, Ed Dailey, emceed the night shows and the breakfast show was hosted by Charlie Camden. Eddie & Jenny Collins provided sound for the weekend.
After the Friday night show and Mexican dinner, the crowd moved next door into the pavilion hall to dance the night away. Eddie Collins, Zac Grooms and Dick Kendall provided dance music. When the dance was over, the musicians and poets held a late night roundup in the lobby of the Clover Island Inn where they jammed until daylight. (Don't the musicians ever
The performers were soon back on the job at the Saturday morning breakfast show followed by showcase performances and open mic sessions in the Art and Vendor building. There was a children's hour for the lil' cowpokes and a cowboy poetry contest consisting of many members of the local Columbia River Cowboy Heritage Society. Winning poets were Tony Zilar and Jason Barton, both of Washington.
Devon Dawson as "Jessie the Yodeling cowgirl - Toy Story II," presented a special afternoon performance for the children. Devon is an amazing performer with an unlimited supply of energy. She has the ability to delight young and old alike - both as Jessie the Cowgirl and with her outstanding musical talents.
Jim Aasen and Devon Dawson
Devon Dawson and Smoke Wade
A. K. Moss and Billie Flick presented Women of the Range, a salute to the working cowgirl. This video and poetry demonstration has been presented at several shows around the northwest and was well worth watching.
The art and vendor show was also spectacular. Bronze artist, John Geis was on hand along with western artist, Leon Laucirica and Indian blanket artist, Terry "Tuka" Hartman, along with many other fine artists and vendors. Paul Mantz-Powers presented one of his well-known Dutch oven demonstrations.
On the Saturday night show, the performers played to a near capacity crowd that enjoyed a wonderful western BBQ dinner. The poets Leon Flick, A. K. Moss, Mike Puhallo, Howard Norskog and Smoke Wade held the audience spellbound with their cowboy tales. Ginny Mac was absolutely amazing as she danced her way across the stage with her accordion, and her special brand of Texas swing had the crowd tapping their feet. Tammy Gislason and Western Skies were a crowd favorite, especially when joined by well-known songwriter, Pete Graves - "Bumming Around." Tammy and Western Skies were extremely entertaining and versatile with their performance.
Tammy Gislason and Pete Graves
Another crowd favorite was the musical group, Mended Heart. Poet/musician Matt Johnston brought a thunderous applause from the audience with his authentic cowboy songs. Bodie Dominguez and Charlie Camden delighted the crowd with their cowboy songs. Jim Aasen crooned western ballads, and to complete the "razzle-dazzle", Rex Allen Jr. took the stage for an hour with an act that could not be followed. Rex has written fifty-five songs that have made the top fifty charts, and he has had an impressive television and movie career.
Once again the crowd moved into the dance pavilion to dance the evening away to the sounds of Ginny Mac, Devon Dawson and Tammy Gislason. And once again the musicians and poets retired to the Clover Island Inn for an all night jam session. (When do the musicians sleep?)
Early Sunday morning, the group of entertainers performed on "Around the Campfire", a live radio show hosted by Ed Dailey on KORD 102.7 FM. After the radio broadcast, Waymaker Ministries hosted a Cowboy Church with performances by Mended Heart, Ed Dailey and Howard Norskog. Following the church, a Cowboy Country Gospel open mic session was hosted by Smoke Wade.
As the event came to an end, the western performers said their good-byes and the organizers promised a 2006 event with even more "razzle-dazzle", while the poets drifted towards the home ranch silently wondering - "When do the musicians sleep?"
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