Cowboy Poetry and Western Life

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Pullman (Washington) September


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September, 2006
11th Annual Palouse Country Cowboy Poetry & Western Music Festival   Pullman, Washington


Report and photos by Smoke Wade


11th Annual Palouse Country 

Cowboy Poetry & Western Music Festival


Cowboy poets and western musicians gathered to participate at the 11th Annual Palouse Country Cowboy Poetry & Western Music Festival on September 30 - October 1, 2006, in Pullman, Washington. The gathering got under way with open mic sessions on Saturday from 12:00 noon - 4:00 p.m. at the Gladish Community Center in Pullman. The performers trickled in slowly at first, from Oregon, Washington and Idaho, then the floodgates opened and they came in droves.

The Palouse Poets were pleasantly surprised when eight members of the Columbia River Cowboy Heritage Society (CRCHS) walked into the venue to sign up for the open mic sessions. The CRCHS is based in the Tri-Cities area of Washington and attending members included poets
Keith Anderson, Bill Douglas, Larry Price, Star Roestel and Carol O'Connor, all of Washington. The CRCHS also brought musician members with them including Coyote Joe Sartin and Ron Brooks of Oregon, and Charlie Root, Washington.

Charlie Root

Charlie Root entertained with an excellent mix of traditional cowboy music presented with an authentic cowboy sound. Hilma Volk, Idaho and Don Johnson, Washington gave noted poetry presentations. Micheal Barry played Native American flute music and Kathy Criddle strummed her guitar and sang traditional cowboy songs. Many other poets and musicians performed as well.

Hilma Volk

Don Johnson

A tall tales contest took place at 4:00 p.m. with windy tales from Van Criddle, Oregon; Washington yarn spinners, Eric Larson and Larry Price; and Idaho prevaricators, Howard Norskog and Smoke Wade. Poet Dave Nordquist of Washington, hosted the event. When the hot air ceased blowing, last years champion tall taleteller, Larry Price, handed over the crown to the 2007 Champion Teller of Tall Tales, Van Criddle.

Van Criddle

After the day sessions ended, the performers gathered at a local Mexican restaurant for an hour of friendship and socializing.

The evening show got under way at 7:00 p.m. Dave Nordquist emceed the show. Palouse Cowboy Poetry Association president, Eric Larson, sang the National Anthem. Performers included poets
Smoke Wade, Howard Norskog and Van Criddle. Music was presented by Eric Larson, Jim Aasen, Bodie Dominquez, all of Washington, and 14-year old Shiloh Sharrard of Idaho. Shiloh gave a noted performance much to the audience's delight.

Shiloh Sharrard

A Cowboy Church took place on Sunday at 9:00 a.m. and was hosted by Howard Norskog of the Christian Cowboy Balladeers. Those participating included poets Dave Nordquist, Keith Anderson, Smoke Wade, Bill Douglas, Don Johnson, and Dolly Reed. The participating musicians were Eric Larson, Shiloh Sharrard, Mitch Espy, and Doug Reed.


Howard Norskog

Eric Larson

During the Cowboy Church, the Christian Cowboy Balladeers and the Palouse Cowboy Poetry Association presented Smoke Wade with a plaque inscribed "Lifetime Achievement Award" for his contributions to those organizations.

Following the Cowboy Church, the performing artists gathered for an open mic session 10:30 a.m. - 1:00 p.m. along with pastry and coffee. All too quickly, it was once again time to say good-bye, and promises were exchanged to meet again somewhere along the cowboy poetry trail.

Shiloh Sharrard and Smoke Wade


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