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News continued from page 2


  The Arizona Cowboy Poets Gathering has received the prestigious Arizona Governor's Arts Award, chosen from among many outstanding nominees. The organization was recognized during the 31st annual Governor's Arts Awards in Phoenix, March 27, 2012.

The Arizona Commission on the Arts describes the gathering in its news about the award:

The Arizona Cowboy Poets Gathering, the oldest in Arizona, will celebrate its 25th anniversary in August to support its mission to educate, promote and preserve cowboy poetry, music and western heritage culture and history. The Gathering not only provides entertainment, but an opportunity for poets and bearers of cowboy oral traditions to assemble in a spirit of mutual appreciation and support and to strengthen ties with the ranching community and general public. In recent years, the organization has brought poetry into fourth-grade classrooms in the Prescott area to introduce students to poetry, the ranching heritage of Yavapai County and the music of the cowboy.

An article by Nicholas DeMarino in the AZEdge quotes the gathering's president, Jim Buchanan; poet and musician Sally Bates; and others. It comments on the growth of event, "The Cowboy Poets Gathering launched in 1987, pulling crowds of about 300-400...Today it nets roughly 3,000 attendees."

The 25th annual Arizona Cowboy Poets Gathering takes place August 9-11, 2012 in Prescott. Find information at

Posted 3/30


Top poet Doris Daley is featured in the February/March issue of Ranch & Reata. An article by Montana writer Melissa Mylchreest, "For the Love of the West," profiles the popular Canadian poet and includes her comments "on language, landscape, and laughter." Doris Daley is quoted about what inspires her writing, saying it is, "...mostly instinct. When you grow up on a ranch, the line between your inner landscape and your outer landscape is so blurred that it almost doesn't exist."

The recipient of multiple awards and recognitions for her poetry, Doris Daley performs at events across the West. In recent months she has made return appearances to the National Cowboy Poetry Gathering and the Texas Cowboy Poetry Gathering. She has a recent book, West Word Ho! and recordings. Her work is included on each volume of The BAR-D Roundup. Find more about Doris Daley and some of her poetry in our feature here and at

Also among the highlights in the current issue: Songwriter and artist Tom Russell's wide-ranging article centered on Curley Fletcher's "The Strawberry Roan," which delves into "The Art of the Bucking Stock Lyric," the literacy of cowboy writers, the history of Curley Fletcher's work, and more; Kathy McRaine's cover story about rodeo photographer Bev Pettit, "Images Fueled by Light and Passion," accompanied by Pettit's stunning photography; an article and recipe featuring ranch hand, writer, and poet Amy Hale Auker's "Amy's Stew; award-winning Range Radio DJ Bruce Pollock's "Ten Best Rodeo Songs"; publisher Bill Reynolds' piece on young Utah poet Augusta "Gussie"  Keech; celebrated horseman Buck Brannaman's "What's the Rush"; an excerpt from Western writer and photographer Dane Coolidge's (1873-1940) Hidden Water, which is being serialized in the magazine; and much more.

The impressive print edition of Ranch & Reata is published in limited editions. Find some entries about Ranch & Reata at editor A.J. Mangum's blog and find more information here at, where you can also view on-line versions of the current and past issues.

Posted 3/22

 Poet and writer Rod Miller is the recipient of two Spur awards from the Western Writers of America. His poem "Tabula Rasa," from his recent book, Things a Cowboy Sees received the Best Western Poem Award, and his story, "The Death of Delgado," from The Traditional West; a Western Fictioneers Anthology, received the Best Short Fiction award.

Rod Miller has contributed a number of essays to about writing and reciting cowboy poetry. Find a list here in our feature that includes more about him, his publications, and some of his poetry. His poem, "The Beauty of Mountains," is included on the forthcoming edition of The BAR-D Roundup. Find more at

Western singer and songwriter Jon Chandler received the Best Western Song Spur Award for "Morning Star Moon" from his album, The Gang. He has previously received Spur awards for Best Novel and Best Song.

Cindy Meehl and Julie Goldman received the Spur Award for their documentary script for Buck, the widely acclaimed film about legendary horseman Buck Brannaman.

The organization notes, "Since 1953, Western Writers of America has promoted and honored the best in Western literature with the annual Spur Awards, selected by panels of judges. Awards, for material published last year, are given for works whose inspiration, image, and literary excellence best represent the reality and spirit of the American West...
Winners and finalists will be honored June 12-16, 2012 at the WWA Convention in Albuquerque, New Mexico."

Find the winners in all 17 categories in our Awards News here.

Posted 3/26


  Senior editor Jennifer Denison offers an insightful look at horseman, singer, and songwriter Mike Beck in "Roaming Troubadour" in the April, 2012 issue of Western Horseman magazine. The illustrated feature article delves into his cowboying history, his time spent with the legendary horseman Bill Dorrance, and how his experiences influence his music.

Mike Beck is quoted Bill Dorrance, "Bill taught me that to do something well, you have to live it, breathe it, never stop thinking about it, and then start over the next day. If I'm learning a new melody, I remind myself to go slow, take my time and put it all together. That's the same thing Bill taught me to do with horses."

Mike Beck's songs, "Don't Tell Me" and "In Old California" (written with Ian Tyson) were cited as among the "top 13 songs for the trail" in the April, 2009 issue of Western Horseman. In this issue, "Beck's Picks" include his favorite ten albums in a range of genres.

See our feature about Mike Beck here.

The April issue also includes a review of R.J. Vandygriff's ( "The Cowboy Ain't Dead Yet." R.J. Vandygriff's "Keep the Campfire A Burnin',” recently received the Western Heritage Wrangler Award for Outstanding Original Composition from the National Cowboy & Western Heritage Museum.

The issue's cover is Tim Cox' painting, "The New Foal," and the work is featured in a "concept to completion" article about the painting. ("At His Own Pace" by Tim Cox was the image selected for the 2007 Cowboy Poetry Week poster. See our feature about Tim Cox here.)

Other interesting articles include contributing editor Ryan T. Bell's cover story, "Wide Open," about a three-day horse drive through western Idaho, accompanied by his striking photos; Assistant editor Kate Bradley's "Time Stands Still," about California's Gabilan Ranch, with photographs by Western Horseman publisher Darrell Dodds; and the third and final part of "Moon & Mozaun," about the training of a 2-year-old gelding, written by Susan Morrison, with photographs by Western Horseman editor Ross Hecox.

Baxter Black's commentary, "New Horses, Rough Country," is in his regular On the Edge of Common Sense column and there is an audio version of the column here on the Western Horseman web site.

Many additional articles on cowboy culture, ranching, horsemanship, and rodeo are included in the magazine's Cowboy Style, Ranchlands, Hands-on Horseman, and Inside the Arena sections.

Visit for more about the current issue and web-only features, including many audio pieces by Baxter Black and a slide show of top Western artist Bill Owen's 30 Western Horseman covers, with his commentary.

[image of Mike Beck at the Dorrance Ranch by John McCleary]

Posted 3/12

  Legendary songwriter Ian Tyson's words have become public art in Calgary. A March 28, 2012 article in the Calgary Herald quotes a local official, "We wanted to embed poetry...and the thought was cowboy poetry," and the reporter comments, "And only words from the West's consummate cowboy poet would do."

The words etched into the large limestone sculpture are from Ian Tyson's song "Land of Shining Mountains," from his 2005 Songs from the Gravel Road album.

See the article here.

A separate March 28, 2012 article by CBC-Canada includes a video of the song, which is also here on YouTube.

Ian Tyson has been named the Parade Marshall for the Calgary Stampede, which celebrates its centennial July 6-15, 2012. Read more in an article here.

Find more about Ian Tyson at his site,

Updated 3/30

  With the deepest sadness, we have learned of the death of Doc Stovall, popular singer (Georgia's Official Balladeer), songwriter, radio host, poet, and Entertainment and Sponsorship Manager for the Booth Western Art Museum. He died in an auto accident on Wednesday, March 21.

Doc was the organizer of the Booth Museum's two annual cowboy gatherings and was an important force in their educational outreach.

From a March 21st Booth Museum media release:

It is with great sadness Booth Western Art Museum shares the news of the sudden passing of Entertainment & Sponsorship Manager Doc Stovall.

Executive Director Seth Hopkins states, "Booth Western Art Museum is so sorry to have lost our long-time friend and employee, Doc Stovall, in a tragic accident this morning. He will be sorely missed."

A native Virginian, Doc was well known as a Western singer and cowboy poet throughout America, having performed in twenty-five of the fifty states. Honored in 2002 as Georgia's Official Cowboy Balladeer by the Georgia State Legislature, he entertained audiences both young and old as he strived to keep alive the history of the West in music and song. In November of 2004, Doc was inducted into the Atlanta Country Music Hall of Fame, the first cowboy singer so honored, and in October of 2009 he received the Cowboy Keeper Award from the National Day of the Cowboy Association for his contributions to the preservation of Western heritage and cowboy culture. He had been employed as the Entertainment and Sponsorship Manager for Booth Western Art Museum since 2004.

Continued Hopkins, "We are appreciative of the condolences and kind words received throughout the day. We will let people know of arrangements as they become available.

Find a March 24, 2012 article from the Atlanta Constitution here.

Doc Stovall has several recordings and was working on a book of his cowboy poetry and a recording.

Mike McLean/
Mike McLean/ 

Photographer Mike McLean ( was working with Doc Stovall on an album project. He has shared selected images from the project here and commented on the one above, "He was a special man who touched so many lives. Of all the images I shot last year this was the one we all agreed captured his spirit most."

Doc Stovall and his Tumbleweed Band in a video here. Find some of his poetry and lyrics in our feature here.

Find services information in our post here.

[photo at top by
Jeri L. Dobrowski]

Updated 3/22

 Wylie Gustafson, Wylie & the Wild West, and "rodeo poet" Paul Zarzyski perform in Russia, March 21-31, 2012, at the American Traditional Music Festival, part of "American Seasons in Russia," under the auspices of the U.S.-Russia Bilateral Presidential Commission. From the program's description:

CEC ArtsLink, in collaboration with the American Folklife Center of the Library of Congress, brings to Russia American performing groups that have made a significant contribution to the preservation and awareness of cultural heritage. With support from the U.S. Embassy in Moscow, the exciting concert series Festival of Traditional American Music as part of the "American Seasons in Russia" program will present a view of American cultural life that makes a distinct statement about the diversity of our artists and the vitality of our communities. The performers are true masters of their genres, dedicated to sharing their knowledge and ensuring endurance of these art forms for generations to come.

A March 16, 2012 article by Kristen Inbody in the Great Falls Tribune, "Montanans in Russia are ambassadors for cowboy culture," reports on the tour and quotes both Wylie Gustafson and Paul Zarzyski.

Wylie & the Wild West and Paul Zarzyski just finished a tour of the West coast, sponsored by the National Council for the Traditional Arts, Don't Fence Me In; Songs, Music, and Poetry of the American West.

See more about Wylie Gustafson in our feature here, and more about Paul Zarzyski here.

[photo  by Jeri Dobrowski; see her gallery of western performers and others here.]

Updated 3/16

Wickenburg, Arizona's Desert Caballeros Western Museum hosts "Cowgirls with a Camera," March 10-May 27, 2012.

From their description:

Featuring the work of some of the most talented women photographers in the nation working in the Western genre, this first annual invitational Cowgirls with a Camera exhibition will thrill fine art photography lovers. The subject matter ranges from mustangs to working horses, ranch life to rodeo, and the stunning landscapes of the American West.

Lori Faith Merritt, noted equine photographer and an official photographer for the Western Music Association, is among the invited photographers. She shared the image above, "One Day," which will be included in the exhibit.

Lori Faith Merritt's photograph, "Heading Out," was featured in a special National Day of the Cowboy Art Spur in 2009. See the image and the resulting poems here.

Find more about Lori Faith Merritt and her galleries at

Find more about the exhibit at the Desert Caballeros Western Museum web site.

[image: "One Day" © 2012, Lori Faith Merritt,]

Posted 3/6

    Respected cowboy balladeer Don Edwards is featured in an interview in the April/May, 2012 issue of American Cowboy magazine by Deputy Editor Tom Wilmes.

Don Edwards tells about his latest project, "a forthcoming album that explores the crossroads of cowboy music and the blues," his cowboy music roots and interest in the history of cowboy songs, and more about his work and life.

Update 3/8: Find the entire article and a video here.

Find more about Don Edwards in our feature here and visit his web site,

The magazine's fold-out cover features the work of master photographer of David Stoecklein ( and inside, a feature includes his images of cowboys, from Texas to Montana.

Top cowboy singer and songwriter Dave Stamey's recent CD, Twelve Mile Road, is a featured review, in a piece written by Charley Engel of Calling All Cowboys radio. Dave Stamey is quoted, "It's the best thing I've done...It's more about my experiences in the ranching world and my history." Charley Engel also has a capsule review of Jean Prescott's America, Home Sweet Home ("moving songs about those who have answered the call to duty"), and Tom Wilmes has a brief review of Wylie & the Wild West's Rocketbuster ("Every note...echoes with joy").

There are many additional articles and features in this issue, which includes a cover feature, "Homes on the Range; the 20 Best Rural Towns in the West." Regular departments include Frontiers, Cowboys, Travel, Gear, KnowHow, and Then & Now. The American Cowboy web site has additional features.

[photo by Donald Kallaus]

Updated 3/8

 Rancher and Wyoming Poet Laureate Patricia Frolander's recent poetry collection, Married Into It, is the recipient of the 2012 Western Heritage Wrangler Award for Outstanding Poetry Book from the National Cowboy & Western Heritage Museum

South Dakota rancher, poet, writer and editor Linda M. Hasselstrom has commented about the book, "Patricia Frolander’s tough and tender poems introduce us to the history of a community and a loving family. She portrays the labors of ranch life in exquisite and sometimes bone-chilling detail, explaining why both 'Commitment' and 'Denial' mean so much. Her 'Attitude' makes the difference between success and failure, and she finds joy in every day.”

Find more about Patricia Frolander and read some of her poetry in our feature here.

Some previous recipients of the Outstanding Poetry Book Western Heritage Wrangler Award include Paul Zarzyski, J.B. Allen, Andy Wilkinson, Linda Hasselstrom, Linda Hussa, Bruce Roseland, and John Dofflemyer.

Recipients of 2012 music awards are R.J. Vandygriff (Outstanding Original Composition) and Dan Roberts (Outstanding Traditional Western Music Album). Find all 2012 Wrangler Award recipients in all other categories in our news here and at the Museum's site here.

Awards will be presented at the 51st Anniversary Western Heritage Awards at the National Cowboy & Western Heritage Museum, April 21, 2012.

[photo of Patricia Frolander by Francie Ganje; a
ward photo courtesy of the National Western and Cowboy Heritage Museum: "The coveted Wrangler, a stunning bronze sculpture of a cowboy on horseback, is presented by the National Cowboy & Western Heritage Museum in 15 categories of Western music, film, television and literature in the Western genre." ]

Posted 2/29

  Montana ranch hand, poet, picker and songwriter DW Groethe is featured on NPR's Weekend Edition Sunday's "What's in a Song," broadcast February 26, 2012. He tells about the inspiration for his song, "One for the Workin' Cowboy," and performs it. You can listen to the broadcast here.

DW Groethe has performed many times at the National Cowboy Poetry Gathering and at other events, including the National Folk Festival in Richmond, Virginia, and Butte, Montana. In 2005, he was invited to Washington, D.C., by the American Folklife Center and the Library of Congress, with performances at the Library and on the Kennedy Center Millennium Stage. Find more about DW Groethe in our feature here.

"What's in a Song" is an occasional series from the Western Folklife Center "that weaves together a tapestry of American music, one song and one story at a time..." Previous programs have included Baxter Black, Mike Beck, Stephanie Davis, Connie Dover, Stan Howe, Tom Russell, and others. Find many of the broadcasts here at NPR and also here at the Western Folklife Center.

[photo © 2009, Jessica Brandi Lifland, ]

Posted 2/27