Cowboy Poetry and Western Life

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Lewiston (Idaho) February


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February, 2005
Seventh Annual Lewis and Clark Cowboy Poetry Entertainment & Western Arts Festival  Lewiston, Idaho 

reports by Smoke Wade, Donna Hatton, and A. K. Moss,  with photos by A. K. MossBodie Dominguez (courtesy of Jinny Lowe of Happy Trails) and Teddie Daley


Smoke Wade's gathering report

Donna Hatton's gathering report

A. K. Moss' report on the Women of the Range session


7th Annual Lewis-Clark
Cowboy Entertainment and Western Arts Festival
by Smoke Wade......a legend in his own mind

Lewiston, ID - In 1805, a group of thirty explorers along with William Clark and Meriwether Lewis gathered for the evening at the confluence of the Clearwater and Snake Rivers in northern Idaho. Two hundred years later, less than a mile from the original campsite, fifty-five western entertainers gathered on February 3-6, 2005 at the Red Lion Hotel in Lewiston, ID for the 7th Annual Lewis-Clark Cowboy Entertainment and Western Arts Festival hosted by Kathy and Charlie Camden.

photo by Bodie Dominguez
Tom and Donna Hatton on stage

The festival kicked off with workshops on Thursday that were free to all children. The informative workshops covered a wide range of western entertainment. Some of the workshops were Cowboy Poetry by Jake White, MO; Writing & Publishing by Robyn Andersen, CA; Wild Horse Program by Sam Mattise, ID; and an exceptional program titled Women of the Range, presented Billie Flick, and cowboy poet, A. K. Moss, both of Oregon.

photo by Bodie Dominguez
A. K. Moss

The evening events included a western fashion show followed by a Band Scramble where performer's names were drawn from a hat in small groups and given fifteen minutes to prepare a performance. The winners were The Last Band with Sam Mattise, Lisa Stubblefield of Coyote Moon, and Mike Burns. Later, a night show of poetry and music was emceed by Dallas McCord, OR. There were jam sessions each night at the Drover's Camp in the main lobby of the Red Lion Hotel.

photo by Bodie Dominguez
Dallas McCord

On Friday, the performers entertained at local schools while scheduled sessions ran through out the day at the Red Lion Hotel. There was a Western Art and Craft Show that included woodwork, antler art, saddle makers, silversmiths, hats, and a bronze exhibit by notable sculptor, John Geis, ID.

photos by Teddie Daley
John Geis and Jeff Camden

The Friday night show played to a capacity crowd and was emceed by Charlie Camden and Toe Tappin' Tommy Tucker of KRLC 1350AM radio. Twenty-five performers participated in the show. Some of the performers were: Tom & Donna Hatton, CO; Rusty Feathers, MT; Steve and Terri Taylor along with Dave Anderson of Stampede, UT; Jim Aasen, WA; Wayne Nelson, ID; A. K. Moss; J. D. Baker, MO; and other fine performers. 

photo by Teddie Daley
Rusty Feathers

photo by Bodie Dominguez
Jim Aasen 

photo by Bodie Dominguez
John Westbrook and Eli Barsi

photo by Bodie Dominguez
J. D. (Joe) Baker

Two exceptional performances were given to the delight of the audience. Lauralee Northcott, Nadine Van Hess, and Emele Clothier of the high energy group, Horse Crazy dazzled the audience with their Rockin' Cowgirl style. Lauralee hosts the weekly Dollar Watch Cowboy Show on KVLR 106.3FM & 95.3FM in Winthrop, WA. A second highlight was a special Native American flute, drum and song performance by Andre Picard, ID, a Nez Perce Indian.

photos by Teddie Daley
Andre Picard

photo by Teddie Daley
Horse Crazy

On Saturday the day sessions continued with a special midday hour for the youth of the area. Five hundred school children participated in a cowboy poetry and western art competition. The winning poets presented their work on the main stage. Several young performers deserve special mention. Six year old Pate Earl, WA, grandson of the late cowboy poet, Lee Earl, read a poem he had written. Donna Peer, Lee's daughter, read a poem titled "Grandpa Lee," written by two of Earl's grandchildren, Bandy Earl and Chad Peer. Lee was instrumental in developing the school children's poetry and art program in the area. Another delightful performance was by ten year old singer, Natalie Wren, ID. The children's hour concluded with a mini-concert by twelve year old singer and musician, Shiloh Sherrard.

Next was the Annual Tall Tales contest. Last year's champion liar, Smoke Wade, won the first place trophy with his windy tale, "Wind, and what causes it to blow."

photo by Bodie Dominguez
Smoke Wade

There was standing room only for the Saturday evening show emceed by Ed Dailey of the syndicated radio show, Legends of Country. Twenty-one performers kept the crowd glued to their seats through out the evening. The crowd was especially delighted by the musical talents of Eli Barsi, MO, and Jason DeShaw, MT. Cheers rang out for John Westbrook and Larry Gibson, MT, as they picked out "Ghost Riders in the Sky." A few of the other performers included: Mike Logan, poet, MT; Jim Reader, musician, BC; Ellie Corrigan Johnson, poet, ID; and Jake White, poet, MO.

photo by Teddie Daley
Mike Logan and Ellie Corrigan Johnson

photo by Bodie Dominguez
Marlene Pederson, Howard Norskog, Bev Crozier

photo by Teddie Daley
Jim Reader

After a well attended Cowboy Church hosted by
Howard Norskog, ID, on Sunday, the festival concluded with a special concert by western singer and musician, Don Edwards

photo by Bodie Dominguez
Don Edwards and Tommy Tucker

photo by Bodie Dominguez
Don Edwards (center) with 
Steve Lewis and Lisa Stubblefield of Coyote Moon


Reluctantly, the cowboy entertainers said their good-byes, promising to meet again here by the Clearwater River, next year... as did Lewis and Clark on their homeward journey in 1806.

2005, Smoke Wade

Bodie and Richette Dominguez


Lewiston, Idaho...The Lewis and Clark Western Heritage Festival
by Donna Hatton

It is always quite a trip home after a festival and this one was two and a half days full of talk of the memories made and of the bittersweet goodbyes between old friends and new friends like, JB Barber. We were tired or is sated a better word, from a weekend full of poetry and music, no sleep and  food or no food, it all becomes one great montage of color after a while, whirling around as each moment creates its own sense of beauty. Our trip home was about it all and we loved it, all of it.

Seeing old friends, who as you came through the door would drop whatever they were doing to run over to grab you up in a bear hug,  jam sessions that went to the wee hours of the morning, those magic moments when the audience and
you were so in tune that the air around you was hard to breathe. It was all there in Lewiston.

Charlie and Cathy Camden and their family have always worked hard at anything they do and this is just another of their projects that has become a  "have to do" festival. Besides, the Camden kids have adopted us and we were spoiled
with a whole lot of lovin and there's no way we couldn't now enjoy ourselves!

Thanks to you and your crew and to all of the folks in Lewiston, Clarkston and Asotin and beyond who welcomed all of us for the week-end. We enjoyed being taken to the schools and sharing our time with the young people in the area. What a treat! You have never experienced anything until you have been in a gymnasium with several hundred kids who just poured out their appreciation on YOU. All of us who were there decided that we needed  to stick these children in our vans and take them home with us and actually I almost did. I met the sweetest little girl, named Keely Kibbee and her Grandfather
who I will never forget. Someday, I believe Keely will be a  household name! Keely writes poetry, plays a little guitar, sings and  loves with her whole heart. Keely came with me upon on stage  Saturday night as I sang the National Anthem and it is Keely and all the  children like her and her family who are the reason we have our men and  women overseas they can stand their beneath the flag in freedom.  Keely gave me the privilege of sharing that moment with her and let me tell  you...I was humbled. 

To each and every friend old and was so great to be with you again. The talent that poured off the stages made many people laugh and weep  with you and you can't ask for more than that. I will always see Wayne Nelson as he
starts winding up for the home stretch with "Snowville" and have any of us ever been so infused with more excitement by an instrumental rendition of "Ghost Riders" with John Westbrook and Larry Gibson, Tony Reed, the man with the
greatest laugh and such a mellow voice, the haunting strains of the Native American flute played by Andre Picard.  Some of us are just plain "Horse Crazy" with those gals from the great Northwest, and how bout our friends from Canada, Jim Reader, Mike Burns, Eli Barsi, and THESE are just a few of the wonderfully talented folks that entertained THERE WERE OVER FIFTY PERFORMERS and they were all superb. 

It didn't end without Cowboy Church on Sunday, Howard Norskog of the Christian Cowboy Balladeers made sure any who could, stayed and shared their faith Sunday morning. If you haven't heard Howard you have really missed  something
grand, he is a wonderfully talented man. Eli Barsi had a plane to catch and A. K. Moss had to get on down the road, but for just a few more minutes we all got to sing and recite and it was another moment that is  etched in my memory
and then it still wasn't over, we got to sit back and be fed again with a concert by Don Edwards

As always Don was perfect, I enjoy his warmth and he is easy to listen to no matter if it's the start of the day or the  very end, what a gentle, gentle man.

I also want to say a few words...about the artists...I walk around and am captivated by the offerings of these talented artisans and want you all to know that I stay broke when I come to these events. I buy for birthdays, anniversaries, Christmas, you name it I have to have it! This time we are fortunate to have had room in the van for FURNITURE.  We bought a beautiful table from David Smith of The Wood Smith and it made it home unscathed (our van  did not)
It will remind us of Lewiston everyday, our adopted son Jeff Camden sent us home with prints of his work...and a promise to take us to Glacier National Park to see the spots he has forever captured in his art. And then while I still  had some money I stopped to admire Will Beebee's wonderful sculptures and ended  up buying a flute. Whenever I play that flute I will remember his humor or his graciousness as he gave me a flute lesson and invited me to come back so that we can play the flutes together next year.

Looking forward to seeing you where the trails come together, Donna  Hatton

2005, reprinted with permission from the AWA Southwest Region Members Newsletter, by Donna Hatton, Secretary

Women of the Range
by A. K. Moss

photo by Tracy Moss
A. K. Moss and Billie Flick

From the western women of yesterday to the western women of today, was a topic that A. K. Moss and Billie Flick discussed at their workshop, Women of the Range. This workshop was in conjunction with Lewiston Idaho Gathering,
February 3 -5, 2005. The room was sprinkled with original photos of the today western women that Kathy (A.K.) had taken, from shoeing horses, to roping calves and all the subtleties in between. Billie brought the tack, from one of her working saddles, to different kinds of bridles, riata (rawhide rope) spurs, chinks, and several other pieces of tack to put on display so folks could get a hands-on feel, looking at craftsmanship, wear and usage.

Bringing western ranching life into a classroom setting is a little difficult, so to give the folks a better feel of the life style, Billie and Kathy put together photos they had taken over the years into a slide show to a few songs of Steve Blanchard's, "Dream of the San Joaquin" and "Just a Cowboy." When combined, it captured the moments of calving, roping, riding
and solitude one can feel out in the high desert when riding alone or gathering cattle.

Kathy shared a few poems she had written after the slide show such as "Wink, Nod and Sigh," inspired by a ranch women and poet, Georgie Sicking and "The Truth," which was inspired by Billie Flick. Giving a glimpse into the decisions and lifestyle of every day living, holding no boundaries or limitations of women on the range.

One of Billie's highlights in her discussion was comparing the past acceptance of ranch women with the today women and stating that she has no time to dwell on women's lib or women's rights. When a bull needs roped, her horse is just as fast and just as strong as the next, and the job needs done.

They talked of such women as Little Joe Monaghan who spent her entire adult life as a man in Ruby, Idaho to Kitty Wilkins who ran thousands of horses across Oregon, Idaho and Nevada, a lady in town, a buckaroo on the range. They discussed the more modern women who choose to live the range life, from the non-acceptance of yesterday to the accepted challenges of today.

The session finished with questions and answers and a final slide show put to music and song of Joni Harms' "Long Hard Ride."

All in all the session was fun, informative and inspiring, giving an outlook of the women on the range and a lifestyle not much seen in today's modern world.

Photo by A. K. Moss
Jeanie Rogers of Adel, Oregon, 2002

2005, A. K. Moss



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