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  Cowboy, filmmaker, poet, and songwriter Gail Steiger appeared on A Prairie Home Companion with Garrison Keillor on January 19, 2013. The show was broadcast from Tempe, Arizona.

Gail Steiger has been the foreman of remote Spider Ranch in Yavapai County, Arizona since 1995. His acclaimed Ranch Album film, released in 1988, is recognized as one of the best portrayals of modern cowboy and ranching life on film. A CD of his music, The Romance of Western Life, earned praise from Cowboy Magazine editor Darrell Arnold, who wrote his music is "... like listening to Bob Dylan if Dylan had been a working cowboy...the lyrics are so beautifully descriptive of daily cowboy life...These are cowboy feelings, simple and profound."  Find information about his forthcoming recording here.

Gail Steiger is the grandson of Delia Gist Gardner and Gail I. Gardner. His recitation of Delia Gist Gardner's poem, "Hail and Farewell," is included on The BAR-D Roundup: Volume Two. His recitation of Gail Gardner's poem, "The Dude Wrangler," is included on The BAR-D Roundup: Volume Four.

Find more in our feature about Gail Steiger here.

A Prairie Home Companion is "...heard by 4 million listeners each week on more than 600 public radio stations, and abroad on America One and the Armed Forces Networks in Europe and the Far East." Find listening information, including archived shows, here.

Other cowboy poets and musicians who have appeared on A Prairie Home Companion include Wallace McRae, Stephanie Davis, Paul Zarzyski, Wylie Gustafson, Glenn Ohrlin, The Quebe Sisters, Hot Club of Cowtown, Pop Wagner, and Skip Gorman.

[photo by Jeri L. Dobrowski; see her gallery of Western performers and personalities here]

Updated 1/20

 True West magazine announces its Best of the West 2013 winners in a wide variety of categories. The magazine has open nominations and cites the readers' favorites along with the magazine's picks.

Baxter Black is named as the Best Cowboy Poet, both by the magazine and as the readers' choice. The Heber Valley Cowboy Cowboy Poetry Gathering and Buckaroo Fair is noted as the Best Cowboy Poetry Gathering (with the Spirit of the West as the readers' choice). The Santa Clarita Cowboy Festival is the Best Cowboy Music Gathering, according to the magazine and readers. Riders in the Sky are cited as the Best Western Music Group and Mary Kaye as the Best Western Soloist (Dave Stamey was the readers' choice).

Other categories include movies, books, music, art and collectibles, firearms, Western wear, and heritage travel.

The magazine states its mission: "True West captures the spirit of the American West with authenticity, personality and humor by linking our history to our present. Whether you call it the Wild West, the Old West or the Far West, America's frontier history comes to life in True West, the world's oldest, continuously published Western Americana magazine."

See the entire list here at the True West web site.

Posted 1/14

  The National Cowboy & Western Heritage Museum presents "Born to This Land: A Visual and Musical Journey through the Rangelands of the West," described as "a spectacular musical and visual concert showcasing some of todayís best in Western music with a group performance by Jean Prescott, Don Edwards, Dan Roberts, and Red Steagall. Visual elements include spectacular photographs by Bob Moorhouse and David Stoecklein." The event takes place Friday, February 22, 2013. Find more information here at the museum's web site.

One of Red Steagall's best-known poems is "Born to This Land." His friend, top Western artist Bill Owen chose the title for a painting that was the 2010 Cowboy Poetry Week poster and an Art Spur subject.

See our feature about Red Steagall here and a feature about Bill Owen here.

Posted 1/9

  NPR broadcast "The Joy Of Salt Licking: Contest Turns Farm Animals Into Fine Artists," a story by Taki Telonidis of the Western Folklife Center on December 22, 2012. The amusing and uplifting story tells of Oregonian Whit Deschner's "Great Salt Lick Contest," where the works of art for a charity auction are "created" by cattle and other animals.

You can listen to and read the story here.

Whit Deschner made a 2010 Deep West Video about the contest, which you can see on the Western Folklife Center's YouTube channel here. He's also made other fun and intriguing Deep West Videos.

Deep West Videos "...tell first-hand stories from the rural West that are rooted in the values of life on the land." Poet Jane Morton has created two Deep West Videos and singer and songwriter Patty Clayton has also made a film.

Each year, new videos are shown at the National Cowboy Poetry Gathering. Find more about them here at the Western Folklife Center and here on YouTube.

Posted 1/4

  The 21st annual Cochise Cowboy Poetry and Music Gathering takes place February 8-10 in Sierra Vista, Arizona. The 2012 theme is "Water...Cool Water."

The gathering's poster, designed by Sierra Vista photographer Pauline Aiello Fredericks, depicts the late Bud Strom, who helped start the event.

Featured artists include Teresa Burleson, Walt "Bimbo" Cheney, Judy Coder, Ken Cook, Peggy Godfrey, Yvonne Hollenbeck, Mary Kaye, Jon Messenger, Terry Nash, Chuck Pyle, Saddle Strings, Jay Snider, Dave Stamey, Syd Masters & The Swing Riders, Morales Brothers, The Red Hot Rhythm Rustlers, and Vince Crofts & Mindi Reid.

Participating artists include Gary Allegretto, William Boycott, Almeda Bradshaw, Broken Chair Band, Marci Broyhill, Buckshot Dot, Call Of The West, Allan Chapman, Sam DeLeeuw, Mike Dunn, Doug Figgs, Rolf Flake, Kerry Grombacher, Kristyn Harris, Sue Harris, Carol Heuchan, Allen "Hook" Hill, Jim Jones, Kay Kelley Nowell, Jo Lynne Kirkwood, Susie Knight, Carol Markstrom, Slim McWilliams, Al Mehl, Miss "V" The Gypsy Cowbelle, Miss Devon and The Outlaw, Mike Moutoux, Dale Page, Steve Porter, Nancy Ruybal, Ann Sochat, Barry Ward, and the Yampa Valley Boys

Find more at

Posted 1/29

  The 29th National Cowboy Poetry Gathering (January 28-February 2, 2013) will broadcast auditorium performances live on YouTube. From their announcement:

We are broadcasting the 29th Gathering live on YouTube! The YouTube broadcast will replace the cybercast, but you still get to see all your favorite poets and musicians performing from the Convention Center Auditorium. Most of the performances will have a permanent home on the Western Folklife Centerís YouTube channel, and we will also have a page on our website where we will feature the current yearís performances. So if you can't make it to Elko this year, you will still get to watch many hours of wonderful performances! We are very excited that this technology is available to us because it means millions more people will experience cowboy poetry, music and the Gathering! You can tune in starting Wednesday, January 30 at 7:00 pm (Pacific Time) for Max Baca & Los Texmaniacs and The Quebe Sisters Band. All of the Auditorium shows will be filmed this year. The address for our YouTube channel is

Find more news about the event here at and visit the National Cowboy Poetry Gathering web site for complete information.

[poster image: "Al Fontanile" (The Water Tank), 1864, by Giuseppe Raggio (1823-1916)]

Posted 1/22

We were saddened to receive news (via Smoke Wade) of the death of popular Idaho poet and songwriter Howard Norskog, on January 18, 2013.

Howard Norskog's Lost River Tales book tells:

Howard Norskog was born in Gebo, Wyoming in 1933.  He was raised in Cody, Wyoming.  He served in the Korean War at age sixteen, made the rodeo circuits as a bull rider for eleven years, raced motorcycles for twelve years, and coached amateur boxing most of his life.

Howard started writing cowboy poetry in 1948, and Christian cowboy poetry in 1994.

Howard has ballads in these books as well as others. Cowboy Poetry, a Gathering, Cowboy Poets of Idaho, and New Cowboy Poets, A Gathering.  He has been featured several times in Elko, Nevada, representing both Wyoming and Idaho. He has been on radio coast-to-coast and featured in newspapers, magazines, and TV both in the United States and Canada. He has published four books and made four recordings.

His research into frontier lore and legend is the basis for his unique blend of history and fiction.

He was the recipient of the Cowboy Poets of Idaho Silver Quill Award in 1997 and was inducted into their Hall of Fame in 1999.

Find more in our notice here and more about Howard Norskog in our feature here.

Updated 1/28