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The Big Roundup

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First held in 2002, the Annual Sevier Valley Roundup bills itself as "A Cowboy Gathering" that is "A celebration of the Western Heritage and Culture of Sevier County, Utah."

The annual event, organized by Michael and Jo Lynne Kirkwood, attracts top national and area poets and musicians, and enjoys enthusiastic community involvement.

They welcome participants. Jo Lynne Kirkwood says "We're always looking for new talent, especially someone who is willing to come for the 'open mic' spots; our invited poets and musicians performed on both stages."  Contact Jo Lynne Kirkwood at (435)896-1856 or by email.

Below are photos and reports from 2005, and Page 2 has reports from 2003 and 2004. 

Visit the Annual Sevier Valley Roundup web site for more information.



The 2005 Event

Page 2:

The 2004 Event

The 2003 Event

Co-organizer Jo Lynne Kirkwood  

 "... The Sevier Valley Roundup is meant to be a celebration of who we are, what we believe in, and where our values lie...." 


August 11-14, 2005

report by Jo Lynne Kirkwood with photos by Jo Lynne Kirkwood and by Linda Kirkpatrick where noted


The 2005 Sevier Valley Roundup mustered up on the evening of August 11th, with a campfire dinner on beautiful Johnson Ranch.  This historic ranch dates back to the days of the Old Spanish Trail, and in modern times has been owned for generations by the Johnson Family.  Stuart and Carma Johnson and their son Jared and daughter-in-law Ginger graciously hosted the dinner and subsequent trail ride Thursday.

Wednesday's fun started early, with entertainers such as Dave Stamey, Andy Nelson, Paul Bliss, and roundup organizers Mike and Jo Lynne Kirkwood joining roundup sponsors and guests around the fire, on the old tire swing, and on the bunkhouse porch for good conversation and shenanigans.  As evening approached other folks arrived, including Colen Sweeten, Kenny Hall, Todd Nail, and many more friends and almost-family.  Ribs were dished up, with plenty of sauce and napkins, and folks sat around the campfire long into night eating, reciting poetry, playing music, and generally having a great time. Last on the scene was Stephanie Davis, whose luggage was delayed at the Las Vegas airport. She finally wandered onto the ranch at about three AM, and was welcomed and immediately tucked into bed by Colen Sweeten and Stacy Bliss, Paul's wife.

Andy Nelson, his son, and Colen Sweeten

Thursday morning no one was inclined to sleep in, and everyone gathered in the ranch house kitchen for a huge ranch-hand breakfast. About thirty-five riders, including musicians and poets, hit the trail that morning, stopping for lunch and fun at the corrals at noon.  The ride continued through the early afternoon, bringing folks back to the ranch just in time to make the pioneer social in Salina that evening.  Folks who participated with the trail ride all agreed it just couldn't have been any more fun, but that was just the beginning for the 2005 Sevier Valley Roundup.  Things just kept getting better and better.

The main festival of the Sevier Valley Roundup for 2005 was two days of continuous entertainment at three separate venues in Richfield, Utah.  Events started simultaneously on six stages at 10 AM, with poets and musicians entertaining audiences at the county fairgrounds, at the Richfield City Park, and at three locations on Snow College Richfield Campus.  Hal Cannon was in town with both his Why the Cowboy Sings and Deep West videos, and Joel Frandsen from the Utah Humanities Council entertained an appreciative audience on Saturday with his tales of Butch Cassidy and other local outlaws.

Judy Busk, from Richfield, shared her book and lectured on the lives of pioneer women, and young Native American dancers from the Piute tribe entertained folks at the park in turn with poets and western musicians.  The Roundup featured Gerald Hasty, a wet-plate photographer, and impressive displays of cowboy collectibles with Ron Gillette and Chris Christopher, as well as hat makers, a boot maker, Mulee Pete, a cowboy quick-draw artist, a mountain men encampment, and dozens of high-quality western artists and vendors. The amazing Diamond Z English Shires were in town again, with driver Chris Hone, and again were a favorite for everyone able to get close to them.  Horse or mule drawn wagons transported folks between the venues continuously both days, and they were so popular folks were willing to wait sometimes as long as forty-five minutes to take these rides.

Colen Sweeten with Monica Durfew and Ken Stevens of  Latigo

Janalee Martin came to perform and to conduct her pulled-wool saddle blanket workshop (the same one she conducted in Elko last winter) and Don Edwards hosted a saddle songs workshop that folks who attended claimed was worth ten times the small twenty-five dollar fee.  Other friends, poets and performers in town included Margo Metegrano, from CowboyPoetry.com, poets Linda Kirkpatrick, Jerry "Brooksie" Brooks, Tyrel Curtis, CR Wood, Val Carter, Al Clark, Marion Manwill, Bob Urry, Bill Gubler, Sam DeLeeuw, Barbara Hall, and Terrill Staples.  Musicians The Shiny Boot Boys, STAMPEDE!, Michael Robinson, The Paskins, Latigo, the Lindsays, and Fiddlers on the Road also shared their amazing talents, along with those performers already mentioned on the Wednesday night or Thursday events, and others who just kept showing up!


s by Linda Kirkpatrick
Barb Hall and Jerry Brooks in day sessions

DW Groethe accompanies Linda Kirkpatrick

Always a favorite event at the Sevier Valley Roundup, the youth poetry contest took place on Friday afternoon and was again an excellent proof that there is a new generation of young cowboy poets waiting to replace us old-timers.  The ages of contestants this year ranged from eighteen down to three years old, and winners were featured two weeks later on the Friday night headliner concert with Baxter Black at the Western Legends Roundup in Kanab. 

photo by Linda Kirkpatrick
Jo Lynne Kirkwood and the youths poets

The Sevier Valley Roundup Friday night concert took place at North Sevier High School in Salina.  Again, this was a fund-raiser for a local family in need, and CR Wood acted as auctioneer for the benefit auction prior to the concert.  At seven, the concert, which virtually everyone claimed was the best concert they'd ever attended, featured humorist, radio personality and poet Andy Nelson as MC, Phil Kennington, DW Groethe, Stephanie Davis, and Dave Stamey.

Stephanie Davis and Kenny Hall

Phil had the audience rolling in the aisles, DW as usual made us all perk up and pay attention, and Stephanie and Dave proved a perfect complement to each other with excellent shows and audience appeal. After the concert everyone met and mingled at the Tomato Vine restaurant for a heart stopping late-night jam> session, which we all hated to leave.  Redmond Minerals, a favorite roundup sponsor for performers, again provided natural salt gift packs for our out of town guests.

Mike Kirkwood and DW Groethe

Saturday's daytime events followed the pattern set on Friday, culminating in a VIP reception at the Sevier Valley Center for sponsors and performers.  The evening show began with our National Anthem sung by Denise and April, of the Lindsays music group.  This was followed by the annual heritage award ceremony, presented this year to long time area rancher Alma Thompson by Sevier County Commissioner Doug Peterson.  

Steve and Terri Taylor

Roger Fairbanks of Shiny Boot Boys, Todd Nail, and Don
Lindsay of Borderline and the Lindsays

Andy Nelson also hilariously acted as MC for the Saturday night concert, and everyone's favorite old horse-shoer, Don Kennington had the audience splitting their sides with laughter.  Prickly Pair was on the show, and DW Groethe again proved his newly discovered popularity is justly deserved with his excellent musicianship and humor.  World-class balladeer Don Edwards headlined this concert, and gave a truly outstanding performance earning his usual standing ovations.  He was even so gracious as to play all the favorite tunes requested before the concert by roundup director Mike Kirkwood.

Arlene and Don Kennington

The final event of the 2005 Sevier Valley Roundup was a quiet but well-attended cowboy church, at Producers livestock auction in Salina.  Poet Curly Syndergaard, newly appointed director of the Cedar City Cowboy Poetry Gathering, conducted this service.  Curly was joined with offerings shared by Marion Manwill, Al Clark, Jo Lynne Kirkwood, CR Wood, and Linda Patterson, who coordinated all the stage décor for the festival, and Linda's husband Ron Patterson, who strums a nice guitar.

Following the service the group congregated in the auction kitchen for donuts and departing hugs.  The Sevier Valley Roundup for 2005 hosted an amazing selection of talent and events, and was truly a gathering well worth attending.

Page 2 has reports from 2003 and 2004.





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