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Bringing The West To The World

The annual Lewis Clark Cowboy Entertainment and Western Arts Festival in Lewiston, Idaho, includes an active Youth Program.  Organizers Kathy and Charlie Camden say that their "school program was initiated to give our children a reason to look at history through various art forms."  The program's slogan is "Bringing the West to the World."

With the guidance of Program Director Lee Earl, the program had  over 500 participants in 2003.  Dr. David Rustabake, the local veterinarian, is also an active and important part of the program.  In 2003, President of the Western Music Association, Mickey Dawes entertained and educated students and took part in the program. 

Students with winning entries in art, music, and poetry take part in the annual festival.

(The last festival was held in 2005.)

Below you'll find:

Information About the School Program

Participation Guidelines

Program Rules for Art, Music, and Poetry


The annual Lewis Clark Cowboy Entertainment and Western Arts Festival is held each winter in Lewiston, Idaho. You can read more about past and future events by following the links on our Events calendar, here.

You can read some of Charlie Camden's prose and poetry here at the BAR-D, in his continuing column. Just Beyond the Ridge.

You can read some of Lee Earl's poetry here at the BAR-D.

Learn more about the Western Music Association at their web site.


About the School Program

The school program was initiated to give our children a reason to look at history through various art forms.

This may take the form of a musical composition, it may be written, or it could be a painting in any medium.

We approach intermediate-level school systems and talk with the Superintendent.  We propose a program where the students would take part by writing, painting, or music, and we would send a panel of Cowboy Poets, and musicians, to the schools judge the entries.  This is done with no expense to the school system.  

The winners have their work displayed in a prominent place at the Festival, and they appear at 12:00 PM on the Main Stage to recite, sing, or display their work and to receive a Winner's Certificate.  

This is a prize certificate with stamped gold seals, signed by their School Superintendent, Mr. Lee Earl who is in charge of the project, and organizers Kathy and Charlie Camden. All of the students who participate, regardless of outcome, receive certificates.  There were 300 participants in 2002.  Some students first participated when they were in the fourth grade, and they are now in High School and continue to participate.

At both Jennifer Junior High in Lewiston, Idaho, and in Asotin, Washington school system (where the program began) the program is an official part of the schools' curriculum. The program is expected to grow to other school systems and to have about 600 participants by 2004.

One comment often received as a result of the program is that kids take an interest in history: they and ask their parents and grandparents about "the old days," in questions such as "What was it like?," "What did you do?," and the most frequent one: "Were you ever a Cowboy?"  

Charlie Camden says "All of this results in a positive way because the kids see a side of their family that was the norm 35-60 years ago.  Most of the younger kids can't imagine 60 years ago.  They learn about times before school buses, Walkman radios, school lunches; and about times when milk entered the house in a bucket and when chores had to be done early before they walked to school -- back when the Cowboy was king.  (And Dale was Queen of course).  It thrusts them into a time when "Respect for your Elders" was the norm, and they knew this without being told.  

"We are so proud of the fact that when Mr. Lee Earl drives down the street, every kid in town knows his name.  They see his old pickup, his cowboy hat, and his weathered face, and they all wave and say "HI MR. EARL" Of course he waves back with a big toothy smile, and goes down the road.  No one laughs at a Cowboy Hat in Asotin, Wash.  We cover a very large geographic Area with our Festival.  With our outlying areas we cover many mountain ranges, and literally many thousands of square miles.  We welcome everyone, and are dedicated to introducing as many people as we can to the true meaning of Western Life.  Our kids are the key to this being a continuing legacy.  Our older people are disappearing daily, and who is left to fill their place?"

Participation Guidelines

We make every effort to make it easy for the students from the Rural School Districts of Washington and Idaho to participate in our Festival.

It shall be our goal to promote educational excellence, self esteem, stage presence, and to instill in young people a personal sense of pride in their Heritage.

We will send a representative to each school district to meet with the teacher, principal, or superintendent, and explain our program.  If need be we will be glad to appear before the School Board.

Our Representative will explain how our writing, songwriting, storytelling, or art competitions are held, and how the finalists are selected.

The representatives of our organization, and the school district shall agree on the location, and when and how the finalists shall appear before the final judging panel of poets, songwriters, and artists.

There is never any cost to the school systems for our people to travel, judge, or compensation for time spent.  The schools shall cover only the expense of supplies and possible transportation of students to an agreed-upon location, and meals for students while on said trip.

All these details can be worked out beforehand by representatives of both parties.

If this is in agreement to both parties, a representative will call upon the school and instruct them on how we conduct the program


Rules for Art, Music and Poetry


The aesthetic focus must be the Cowboy or the Western Life

The size must be no larger than 11x14

Works may be in pencil, ink, or watercolor

Works must be original.

Work must be done at school; students may receive help from teachers, only.


The aesthetic focus must be the Cowboy or Western Life

The piece must be no more than three (3) minutes long

Works must be original

Works must be written at school; students practice at home; students may receive help from teachers, only.


The aesthetic focus must be the Cowboy or Western Life

Poems may be no more than 100 words, or three (3) minutes long when recited

Works must be original

Work must be done at school; students may receive help from teachers, only.

Certificates are given for all who participate. Winners will perform on stage at the Elks Lodge, Lewiston, Idaho at the annual
Lewis Clark Cowboy Entertainment and Western Arts Festival. Artworks are displayed at the Elks Lodge.

Teachers choose the final 10 participants in each category; the finalists are chosen by professional performers, who also perform for the student body, at an arranged assembly.






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