Cowboy Poetry and Western Life

Events and Festivals

Gathering Reports
2005

 

Monterey (California) December

 

Back to 2005 reports...
Back to Events page . . .
Back on home . . .

 


December, 2005
Monterey Cowboy Poetry and Music Festival
 Monterey, California

Report by Voleta Hummel
Photos by Henry Benson
and by Heidi McGurrin


 

Early this last December cowboy poetry and music performers, artists, craftsmen, and aficionados turned toward the west heading to Monterey, California, for the seventh annual Monterey Cowboy Poetry and Music Festival. What a way to finish up festival-going for the year!

It is very difficult to say that this year’s event was even more magnificent than the last (or the others before that for that matter) because at some point all the superlatives have been used, but it is still true. This festival strives to be one of the premiere western events each year and it achieved that lofty goal with class once again this year.  


photo © 2005, Henry Benson
Festival Director Mick Vernon

The publicity for the show said, “Once again we have nine great shows over three days, our first rate western art and gear sale, Cowboy Church, a Saturday night western dance, our super silent auction, and the Members-Only show. Plus, this year we’re adding poetry workshops with Paul Zarzyski and Charley Hendren!” This is certainly a good summation of this year’s activities, but it does not even begin to tell the story.  


photo © 2005, Henry Benson
Paul Zarzyski

Paul Zarzyski’s workshop, “How Words Grow Wild” was held on Thursday afternoon, with Charley Hendren’s “Fine Tunin’ & Recitin’ ” following on Friday afternoon. If ever a poet aspired to improve his craft he could do no better than to turn to these two professionals.  


photo © 2005, Henry Benson
Bruce Forman, of Cowbop (www.cowbop.com)

“Campfire Waltzes,” the Friday evening show, included Chris Isaacs as poet and emcee with a tale of bankers and mules as only Chris can link them. CowBop (www.cowbop.com), billing themselves as the best in jazz and western swing, added a new and interesting twist to the usual music mix. The band was overflowing with exceptional talent including Bruce Forman, Pinto Pammy, Mike McKinley, and a couple of others who looked and played amazingly like Dave Jackson and Richard Chon. What fun! Paul Zarzyski (www.paulzarzyski.com) was simply Zarzyski at his best. Dave Stamey closed the show with some of his beautiful and romantic songs after receiving the challenge, “everything you sing about smells bad.”


© 2005,  Heidi McGurrin, one-time usage permission
These photos may not be reproduced without the photographer's permission
Richard Chon


© 2005,  Heidi McGurrin, one-time usage permission
These photos may not be reproduced without the photographer's permission
Chris Isaacs

Saturday morning festivities got off to a great start (even if it was at 9:00 am in the morning) with the “Women of the West” show featuring Virginia Bennett, Buckshot Dot (Dee Strickland Johnson), Locke Hamilton and Valerie O’Brien. There was plenty of fiddling, singing, poetry, and stories from the western woman’s point of view. The men of Prickly Pair joined Locke with her music and Rich O’Brien accompanied Valerie. 


photo © 2005, Henry Benson
Virginia Bennett


© 2005,  Heidi McGurrin, one-time usage permission
These photos may not be reproduced without the photographer's permission
Buckshot Dot (Dee Strickland Johnson), Jim Brooks, and John Johnson

“Nature’s Song” turned out to be a round robin directed by Paul Zarzyski and featuring Dave Stamey, Virginia Bennett and Henry Real Bird. It was an hour and a half of some very poignant, thought provoking, and sometimes funny words in story, poem, and song. The “Rhymes of the Masters” show later in the day included: Charley Hendren, Chris Isaacs, Waddie Mitchell, and Paul Zarzyski. This show certainly left no one in doubt as to who the “masters” are. Where else but at Monterey would you have the opportunity to experience a lineup like this.  


photo © 2005, Henry Benson
R. W. Hampton

R.W. Hampton (www.rwhampton.com), accompanied by Rich O’Brien, presented his one man show, “The Last Cowboy.” It has been a while since I had seen R.W. in this role and it was like meeting an old friend. If you have never had the privilege to experience “The Last Cowboy” make sure you do when you have the chance. The afternoon programs ended with the Members-Only show starring Dave Stamey, Paul Zarzyski and Henry Real Bird. The only thing to say here is, you should be a member. 


© 2005,  Heidi McGurrin, one-time usage permission
These photos may not be reproduced without the photographer's permission
Jim Brooks and Henry Real Bird


© 2005,  Heidi McGurrin, one-time usage permission
These photos may not be reproduced without the photographer's permission
Paul Zarzyski

The Saturday evening spectacular (and it was spectacular) introduced the fourteen-year-old poet, Oscar Auker to the Monterey audience for the first time. The future of cowboy poetry is in good hands as long as there are ranch hands like Oscar. Prickly Pair, all the way from 25-degree-below-zero-Wyoming, were a big hit for their first appearance at this festival. It was especially fun for me to get to hear them perform and visit with them since several years had gone by since the last time I had seen them. The crowd got one more chance for Waddie Mitchell to entertain them before the day came to a close. He certainly did exactly that! Don Edwards finished out the evening with his wonderful voice and distinctive songs with Rich O’Brien along for the ride. How could a Saturday night show be any better?


photo © 2005, Henry Benson
Waddie Mitchell


© 2005,  Heidi McGurrin, one-time usage permission
These photos may not be reproduced without the photographer's permission
The Monterey Amigos

The Hay Boys, a local western swing dance band, played for those cowgirls and cowboys who were still on their feet. The rest of us more mature (read that "worn out") hands just enjoyed listening to the music.

Sunday began with “Cowboy Church,” then on to “Yodelicious,” “Rich O’Brien’s Fiddler’s Fandango,” and finished with “Saddle Up & Ride” starring the Riders In The Sky. Cowboy gospel music, yodeling by the best in western music, a herd of fiddlers gone wild on stage, and cowboy Christmas songs all made Sunday a standout memory.


© 2005,  Heidi McGurrin, one-time usage permission
These photos may not be reproduced without the photographer's permission
Dixie and Daniel Dixon

Yvonne and Marty Mayer from Hereford, Arizona, won the raffle this year which included front row seats for all the performances next year and a suite at the Marriott Hotel. They said they had been coming to the festival for five years and were very excited about returning next year as guests of the MCPM. 


© 2005,  Heidi McGurrin, one-time usage permission
These photos may not be reproduced without the photographer's permission
Steve Durham and Jim Brooks at a jam session


© 2005,  Heidi McGurrin, one-time usage permission
These photos may not be reproduced without the photographer's permission
  Mick Vernon at a jam session

Mick Vernon, President and Festival Director, along with the amazing Monterey Cowboy Poetry & Music Festival Committee are to be commended for the excellent festival they produced. I do not know how they will top this one next year, but I am sure they will. It is so easy to just tell you about all the special moments, the songs, the poems, the people, and events that took place throughout the weekend but better yet, why not plan on being there next year yourself.  

Article © 2006, Voleta Hummel
A version of this article appeared in the January/February 2006 issue of Rope Burns


© 2005,  Heidi McGurrin, one-time usage permission
These photos may not be reproduced without the photographer's permission
Dave Stamey


© 2005,  Heidi McGurrin, one-time usage permission
These photos may not be reproduced without the photographer's permission
Jim Brooks

See our feature about the Monterey Cowboy Poetry and Music Festival here.  


Back to 2005 reports...

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

 

www.cowboypoetry.com

 

HOME

 What's New | Poems

 Features | Events  

Poetry Submissions | Lariat Laureate Competition

Subscribe | Newsletter | Contact Us

  Join Us!

 

Authors retain copyright to their work; obtain an author's
permission before using a poem in any form.

 

CowboyPoetry.com is a project of the Center for Western and Cowboy Poetry, Inc., a Federal and California tax-exempt non-profit 501 (c) (3) organization.  

Site copyright information