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The Current Newsletter:

(See an index of all pages here)



  News Special: The 22nd National Cowboy Poetry Gathering


News Special: The 22nd National Cowboy Poetry Gathering


See our reports and photos here. (posted 2/21)

View audio and video cybercasts from the Gathering here at the Western Folklife Center site.

Poets and musicians: Apply for the next Gathering (deadline April 15, 2006)



Some news coverage of the Gathering  (including PBS coverage, March, 2006)

Experience the Artistry of the West at  (January 20, 2006 e-news)

National Cowboy Poetry Gathering information:

Gauchos from Brazil and Argentina to Share "Cowboy" Traditions (January 12, 2006 media release)

Texas Party!  Be a part of it. Get your state involved in 2007   from Bette Ramsey

Gear Up for National Cowboy Poetry Gathering Education Programs  (December 15, 2005 media release)

Don't Miss the 22nd National Cowboy Poetry Gathering  (November 30, 2005 media release)

2006 Participants



Some News Coverage of the 2006 Gathering


Wayne Nelson has a report and photos from the 2006 Gathering at Cowboy Entertainer Magazine.

  The Tuesday, March 14, 2006 PBS television broadcast of The News Hour with Jim Lehrer  included a segment recorded at the recent Western Folklife Center's National Cowboy Poetry Gathering. Those interviewed included Virginia Bennett, Wallace McRae, Paul Zarzyski, and Professor David Stanley. The segment also included footage of Don Edwards, Glenn Ohrlin, Baxter Black, Rodney Nelson, Pat Richardson, Teresa Jordan, John Dofflemyer, the audiences, area ranches, and more.  You can listen to an archive of the broadcast here and read more about the poets in features here.

[pictured: Virginia Bennett]

  Toronto Star book editor Philip Marchand has columns from his trip to the National Cowboy Gathering in Elko, including At Home on the Range, with quotes from Curly Musgrave and Tammy Gislason; other stories that feature Doris Daley and others; and additional articles that include "A Poem on the Range" and "Cowboys pay homage to Tyson."

  An article by Marianne Kobak of the Elko Daily Free Press and run in the Twin Falls Times News, "Cowboy poetry finds sea legs at this year's event," focuses on the fisher poets who pleased the Gathering crowds.

The Elko Daily Free Press reports on the National Cowboy Poetry Gathering throughout the festivities (January 28-February 3, 2006). A January 31, 2006 article by Jared Duback, "Cowboy Poetry Gathering: Musicians tour ranches" tells about the visiting South American musicians' excursions to area ranches. Visit the Elko Daily Free Press web site for their Gathering coverage.

January 20, 2006 media release:

Experience the Artistry of the West at

Visit the Western Folklife Center’s new website and experience the rich diversity of the American West through its people and their traditional expressive art forms. Our new site showcases the traditional culture of the West and invites you to participate by exploring, listening, watching, learning and connecting.

The site features stories, music, poetry, gear, photography, film – all by and about the West and its people. You can listen to the Western Folklife Center’s radio programs and watch short videos made by rural westerners. The Back at the Ranch online exhibit showcases the work of contemporary gearmakers, cowboy poets and musicians through online audio and video, and features work by some of the West’s most celebrated photographers.

Deep West, our virtual community, features online journals by western writers and photographers, and story forums where you can participate in conversations on topics of importance to the rural West. And, as always, you will find lots of information about the National Cowboy Poetry Gathering.

If you visit the site before February 20, 2006 and complete our brief online survey, your name will be entered in drawing for a very special print by western artist William Matthews.

Some of the special features on the site are:

Online Exhibit: Back at the Ranch: An Artful Life

In our first online exhibit, we showcase the arts of the contemporary ranching community in the West. Learn about master craftsmen and craftswomen and their work, watch films made by rural and ranch people, read their stories, and listen to their poetry and music. Come explore Back at the Ranch and learn a bit about these art forms as they are practiced today.

Deep West
Radio and Video

Now you can listen to Western Folklife Center radio programs directly on our website. The entire What’s in a Song series is available as are several of our Deep West Radio programs, including the recent Sagebrush to Steppe feature about our Mongolian Cultural Exchange. And, you can watch short films produced by rural people across the West. We are in our sixth year of helping people produce these videos and their screenings are always a favorite at the National Cowboy Poetry Gathering.

Deep West

Online Journals ~ Enter the Deep West through the section called Connect to find the online journals of artists sharing their writing, photography, visual art and film. You are invited to respond to the work posted by these artists – you can share your impressions or tell your own stories. For the next several months you will find the work of photographer Linda Dufurrena and writer Carolyn Dufurrena, writer John Dofflemyer and photographer Robbin Dofflemyer, and saddlemaker Jeremiah Watt.

Story Forums ~ Our story forums are like a virtual living room -- places to go for conversations on topics related to traditional western culture. The forums offer several different threads related to our work here at the Western Folklife Center, so take your pick. At any given time there may be a lively discussion of foodways, gearmaking, poetry, the sheep ranching occupation, radio programs and more.

The new Western Folklife Center website is intended to be a tool to bridge the miles of dirt roads, highways and interstates that separate us during most of the year. We hope it will help build connections by giving you a way to experience our programs and an avenue for you to share those experiences with us, with our artists and with each other. If you need help learning how to use the site, particularly the journals and forums in the Deep West Community, please call us or e-mail us– we are ready to help you. Contact Darcy Minter at or 775-738-7508 ext. 233.

Please visit our site at, tell us what you think in our online survey, and enter the drawing for a special William Matthews print.

January 12, 2006 media release:

Gauchos from Brazil and Argentina to Share "Cowboy" Traditions
at 22nd National Cowboy Poetry Gathering

Elko – The Western Folklife Center continues its South American cultural exchange by bringing cowboys from Brazil and Argentina - called gauchos - to participate in the 22nd National Cowboy Poetry Gathering. Throughout transcontinental America, cowboys are called by different names: cowboys and buckaroos in the United States and Canada; llaneros in Colombia and Venezuela; vaqueiros in northern Brazil; vaqueros in Mexico; huasos in Chile; and gauchos in Argentina and Uruguay and gaśchos in southern Brazil. The vast, open land of the Americas has made it possible to raise cattle on a grand scale and, at the same time, it has helped shape the cowboy, whatever he is called and wherever he is. The gaucho is celebrated within the cultures of southern Brazil, Uruguay and Argentina. Gaucho traditions are reflected in the food, dress, speech, music, poetry, art and ways of life in these countries.

The Western Folklife Center will welcome Brazilian gaścho musicians Renato Borghetti and his quartet and Luis Carlos Borges, who will perform traditional Brazilian music featuring the button accordion, saxophone, flute and guitar. Master rawhide braiders Armando Deferrari and Pablo Lozano are traveling from their native Argentina to teach traditional gaucho skills to American braiders in two braiding workshops. Their work will also be on display at the Western Folklife Center as part of the Trappings of the Gaucho.

Brazilian Gaścho Musicians
Renato Borghetti has played traditional Brazilian gaścho music from the state of Rio Grande do Sul from the time he was a young boy. At the age of 10 he received his first gaita-ponto (8 buttoned accordion) from his father and Renato quickly mastered the instrumental folk music of his region. The Renato Borghetti quartet includes Renato on button accordion, Pedro Fiquero on saxophone and flute, Daniel Sį on guitar and Hilton Vaccari on acoustic guitar.

Luiz Carlos Borges grew up in the lush rangelands known as the Brazilian pampas. He is a true gaścho and learned the traditional songs and customs of the herdsmen at a young age. Luiz Carlos began his musical career at the age of seven, playing traditional dance music with his brothers in a family band. He will be accompanied at the Gathering by Maurķcio Marques, one of the region's top guitar players.

Renato Borghetti and Luiz Carlos Borges will perform several times during the National Cowboy Poetry Gathering, including Monday, January 30 at 7:00 pm at the Western Folklife Center, Wednesday, February 1 at 7:00 pm at the Elko Convention Center, Thursday, February 1 at 11:00 am at the Elko Convention Center, and several more times during the Gathering.

Argentine Gaucho Master Rawhide Braiders
Armando Deferrari is one of Argentina's most respected rawhide braiders and is a recognized ambassador of gaucho culture. Deferrari spent summers working on his father's cattle ranch where he experienced first hand the gaucho way of life, being especially drawn to horses and horsemanship. Retired from his career as a veterinarian, Deferrari now lives on a small ranch near Pergamino, Argentina where he maintains a rawhide and silversmithing workshop.

Pablo Lozano is a master rawhide braider in the Argentine style. Like his friend Armando, Lozano is dedicated to preserving the cultural traditions of the gaucho. At the invitation of the Traditional Cowboy Arts Association, both Lozano and Deferrari traveled to Oklahoma City to the National Cowboy & Western Heritage Museum in September 2004 to exhibit and teach the Argentine gaucho style of rawhide braiding.

Armando and Pablo will teach two workshops with Texas master braider Leland Hensley, and will be available in the Western Folklife Center exhibit gallery to talk about their work featured in the exhibit Trappings of the Gaucho. They will also present a slide show and video on gaucho culture, Friday, February 3, at 10:30 am in the Western Folklife Center's G Three Bar Theater.

Western Folklife Center Exhibit: Trappings of the Gaucho
This exhibit gathers together examples of South American working gear to explore how these horsemen put their unique stamp on the craft. Fine braided rawhide work from Argentina and selected examples from the National Cowboy and Western Heritage Museum's collection will be among the work featured, including braided rawhide and silverwork by our Argentine guests, Armando Deferrari and Pablo Lozano. An opening reception will be held Thursday, February 2, 2006, starting at 3:30 pm for Western Folklife Center members, donors, sponsor and stakeholders, and at 4:30 pm for the general public.

Humanities Lecture: Gaucho Poetry
Dr. Maria Rosa Olivera-Williams, associate professor at the College of Arts and Letters at the University of Notre Dame, will give the 2006 Humanities Lecture on Friday, February 3, at 1:00 pm in the Turquoise Room of the Elko Convention Center. Ms. Olivera-Williams will speak on the significance of gaucho poetry in the pampas of Uruguay, Argentina and southern Brazil

For more information and to purchase tickets to these events, contact the Western Folklife Center at 738-7508 or toll-free 888-880-5885. You can also visit our website at

The mission of the Western Folklife Center is to enhance the vitality of American life through the experience, understanding, and appreciation of the diverse cultural heritage of the American West.

From Bette Ramsey (December 19, 2005):

All you Texans -- we need your help!

The Western Folklife Center (WFC) is beginning a new tradition at the Elko Gathering in January 2006 -- a state themed party hosted by a different state each year.  Texas will host the first party in 2006.  We want to make sure we have a great party so these are some things you can do to help: 

  • If you are a Cowboy/cowgirl Texas performer/artist - send us one of your CD's, books, art works, handicrafts and an easy trivia question about yourself.

  • Send small prizes from your part of the state (Texas-made items or Texas-shaped items or things with Texas, about Texas, and so on).

  • Send Texas special edibles from your part of Texas to serve as snacks at the party.  Things that can be easily shipped and served that are tasty and show off "Texas Tastes."  Suggested items include chips, dips, salsas, summer sausages, cheeses, jerky, crackers, sauces, relishes or jams that are good with cream cheeses and crackers, nuts, candies, Texas wines, trail mixes, party mixes, popcorn, and so on.  Anything that is smoked, canned, packaged, bottled so that it doesn't require refrigeration.    

All the donated items (except the edibles) will be given away as prizes and in drawings.

Send everything to the Western Folklife Center in care of Darcy Minter and labeled "For the Texas Party" by January 20, 2006. Include information on who we give credit to for all the donations and send to:

Darcy Minter
For the Texas Party
Western Folklife Center
501 Railroad St.
Elko, NV  89801

Also: Plan to wear your Texas clothes to the party so you can be easily identified as a Texan.  We will have people from everywhere attending so Texans will need to be easily recognized as hosts.

We plan to make the party a wonderful, memorable event.  Please join us and help us make that happen. 

                                                                                                                         Bette Ramsey

The party will start at 5:00 pm on Friday, February 3, 2006 in the Sage Lounge at the Convention Center, and all are invited.

The Western Folklife Center encourages other states to host parties in 2007 and future years. Contact Darcy Minter at 775-738-7508 ext. 233 or by email.

December 15, 2005 media release:


Gear Up for National Cowboy Poetry Gathering
Education Programs

Elko – Each year, the Western Folklife Center serves an average of 4,000 school children through its education programs during the National Cowboy Poetry Gathering. The fun continues this year with youth workshops, the Youth Festival and Cow Kids' Stampede, the Student Art Show and the Young Buckaroo Poetry Session. For information about education programs contact Christina Barr at 775-738-7508 ext. 236; to register for workshops, contact the Western Folklife Center ticket office at 888-880-5885 or 775-738-7508 ext. 239.

Workshops for Area Youth
The youth workshops initiated for the first time at last year's Poetry Gathering are back. These workshops are designed for kids ages 10 to 18 and provide rich, hands-on learning opportunities. Participants will have fun gaining practical skills under the direction of master poets and artists. The following workshops will be offered during the Gathering:

Young Buckaroo Poetry Session
The Young Buckaroo Poetry Sessions are always one of the most popular events at the Gathering every year. All youth under age 18 are encouraged to perform original or classic poetry and western music. This session takes place on Saturday, February 4 at the Elko Jr. High Auxiliary Building. Registration is from 8:30 am - 9:00 am and the performances run from 9:00 am to 11:00 am.

National Cowboy Poetry Gathering School Programs
Students from throughout northeastern Nevada will gather in January to write and recite poetry, create and show artwork, visit exhibits, listen to music, and participate in hands-on activities through the National Cowboy Poetry Gathering's education programs. The goal of the education programs is to familiarize students with the traditions of ranching culture and to teach them these crafts through hands-on participation. This year, students will be introduced to the ranching cultures of Brazil and Argentina by gaucho musicians and rawhide braiders from those South American countries. With the exception of the Rural and Home School Program, these opportunities are only available through the schools. Teachers who have not already signed up should contact Jan Petersen at 775-738-5668 or

Teachers may also sign up for individual assemblies at their schools. For more information, contact Jan Petersen at 738-5668 or The 2006 National Cowboy Poetry Gathering education programs are supported in part by The Bretzlaff Foundation, International Game Technology, Barrick Gold Strike Mines, Inc., Newmont, Nevada Arts Council, National Endowment for the Arts and Wrangler.

The mission of the Western Folklife Center is to enhance the vitality of American life through the experience, understanding, and appreciation of the diverse cultural heritage of the American West


November 30, 2005 media release:


Don't Miss the 22nd National Cowboy Poetry Gathering

Tickets still available to performances and workshops

Elko – When the snow starts to fly in Elko, you know that the National Cowboy Poetry Gathering is just around the corner. And, at the end of January, when you are sick and tired of the white stuff and the cold temperatures, the cowboy poets and musicians come to town to take the edge off and entertain you with their words and songs in celebration of all things West. This year's Gathering takes place from January 28 to February 4 and marks the 22nd year for Elko's own National Cowboy Poetry Gathering. Tickets and guest passes are still available and make terrific holiday gifts. For information and tickets call 775-738-7508 or toll free 888-880-5885.

Don't miss Grammy award winners Riders in the Sky
For the first time in 7 years, the multi Grammy award-winning Riders in the Sky are coming back to entertain you. Since they were last in Elko, Ranger Doug, Too Slim, Woody Paul, and Joey "the Cowpolka King" have recorded companion music for the Disney/Pixar animated features Toy Story 2 and Monsters, Inc. and starred in their own Saturday morning TV series on CBS. Always entertaining and fun for the whole family, Riders in the Sky will perform songs, poetry and comedy including music from the golden days of the movie Western on Friday, February 3 at 6:30 and 8:30 pm in the Elko Convention Center Auditorium.

Beat the crowds at early week shows
If you want to beat the crowds and experience a more intimate setting, come early in the week to performances at the G Three Bar Theater at the Western Folklife Center. Local buckaroo poet Waddie Mitchell will kick off the Gathering on Saturday, January 28 with Bards of the Great Basin, which also features local and Nevada performers Bimbo Cheney, Larry Shutte, and Fiddlin' Pete Watercott.

Sunday, January 29 the Western Folklife Center will screen the 1952 film Way of the Gaucho in honor of our special gaucho guests from Argentina and Brazil. You can hear the Renato Borghetti Band play traditional Brazilian gaścho music alongside U.S. national fiddle and guitar champions Joey and Sherry McKenzie and writer and poet Nancy McLelland during Gaśchos Night Out, Monday, January 30.

Another special treat for the 22nd National Cowboy Poetry Gathering is the presentation of another occupational poetic tradition - that of the fisher poet. The Western Folklife Center welcomes deep sea fisherman from the Northwest coast whose Fisher Poetry Gathering in Astoria, Oregon is modeled after our Gathering. These fisher poets will perform in concert with Gathering favorites Sourdough Slim and Laurie Wagner Buyer Tuesday, January 31 at the G Three Bar Theater.

Learn new skills and make new friends at a hands-on workshop
Every year, the Western Folklife Center offers hands-on workshops for people who want to learn a traditional art form in an intimate and relaxed setting. These workshops take place early in the week so they are perfect for local folks who want to participate directly by learning and perpetuating the western traditions we all love and take for granted. This year's workshops include Rawhide Braiding, Argentine Style, an opportunity to hone your rawhide braiding skills with master Argentine braiders Armando Deferrari and Pablo Lozano and Texas master braider Leland Hensley. These braiders will teach their approaches to the art form and lead a discussion on the differences and similarities between American and Argentine braiding and what we can learn from each other.

In a Ranch Style Corral Roping workshop, local buckaroos Fred Garrett, Jerry Souza and Randy Everitt will share their techniques for making the job of corral roping easier for the roper, his or her partner, the ground crew and the cattle. And, in the ongoing effort to provide ranchers with new information on managing land and livestock, the Gathering welcomes Utah State University Professor Fred Provenza, whose research in the behavioral processes of domestic and wild herbivores has profound implications for improving the business of ranching. In a workshop entitled They Ate What? Provenza will explain how teaching animals to change their eating and habitat selection behaviors can improve the integrity of the land and the living we make from the land.

Other workshops focus on cooking traditions, writing memoir and poetry, drawing, painting, fiddling and dance. While adult workshops take place early in the week of the Gathering, youth workshops designed especially for kids ages 10 to 18 are offered Friday and Saturday, February 3 and 4. Sign your youngsters up for Rhyming on the Range: Poetry Writing with Virginia Bennett, Leather Tooling with Karla Jones, and Drawing the West with Walter Piehl, Jr.

For more information about these and many other opportunities at the 22nd National Cowboy Poetry Gathering, visit the Western Folklife Center website at To buy tickets to shows or workshops, contact our ticket office at 775-738-7508 or toll free at 888-880-5885.

The mission of the Western Folklife Center is to enhance the vitality of American life through the experience, understanding, and appreciation of the diverse cultural heritage of the American West.

Posted 12/1


   The Western Folklife Center has announced the poet and musician participants for the 22nd National Cowboy Poetry Gathering (January 28-February 4, 2006) in Elko, Nevada.  Among the invited participants are:  Mary Abbott, J.B. Allen, Virginia Bennett, Baxter Black, David Bourne, Jerry Brooks, Gail T. Burton, Laurie Wagner Buyer, Kip Calahan, Cowboy Celtic, Doris Daley, Don Edwards, Tammy Gislason, Frank Gleeson, Yvonne Hollenbeck, Hot Jazz Caravan, Jess Howard, Linda Hussa, Chuck Larsen, Wallace McRae, Waddie Mitchell, Michael Martin Murphey, Curly Jim Musgrave, Joel Nelson, Rodney Nelson, Glenn Ohrlin, Ray Owens, Jean Prescott, Pat Richardson, Randy Rieman, Quebe Sisters, Riders in the Sky, Tom Russell, Jesse Smith, Jay Snider, Sourdough Slim, Gail Steiger, Colen Sweeten, Brooke Ryan Turner, Ian Tyson, Dick Warwick, Wylie and the Wild West, Paul Zarzyski, and many others, all listed here on the Western Folklife Center site, where you'll also find program and workshop details, and ticket information.

Posted 8/22



More about the National Cowboy Poetry Gathering 
posted here at the BAR-D



With special thanks to Archivist Steve Green of Western Folklife Center, in a feature celebrating the 20th Annual National Cowboy Poetry Gathering, we have program information that includes program covers, information and lists of invited performers for each year's Gathering.  

Other features in that section include:

  • recollections from the performers and from the audience about their "first time" at the National Cowboy Poetry Gathering.
  • poems celebrating the Gathering

We also maintain an index of all of the invited performers to the National Cowboy Poetry Gathering, since its inception in 1985.  




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