Townsend (Montana) June
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5th Annual Cowboy Entertainer Gathering Townsend, Montana
Report and photos by Smoke Wade
The 5th Annual Townsend Cowboy Entertainer Gathering
For the fifth consecutive year, cowboy poets and musicians gathered along the banks of the Missouri River in Townsend, Montana, on June 2 – 4, 2006, for the 5th Annual Townsend Cowboy Entertainer Gathering. The event was held as an annual fund-raiser for the Broadwater County Rural Fire Department.
Over forty western performers gathered from Idaho, Washington, Montana, Wyoming, Utah, Nevada and Alberta, Canada. The event got underway on Friday with open mic sessions from 11:00 a.m. – 5:00 p.m. After the day sessions came to an end, a wonderful pig barbecue was served by the Broadwater County Rural Fire Department. Special guests for the barbecue and evening show were 55 members of the Summit Club from Helena, MT.
Musician Gary Ferguson, Montana, presented pre-show entertainment after the barbecue. As the near capacity crowd settled into their seats, and the colors were posted by American Legion Post 42 along with Boy Scout Troop 231, Smoke Wade, Idaho, took the stage as the emcee for the evening. The featured cowboy poets were Mike Logan and Rusty Feathers, both of Montana; and Gordon Peterson of Idaho. Peterson is the secretary/treasure of the Cowboy Poets of Idaho. The featured musicians included Valerie and Laurel White, Montana; and Wayne Nelson and Bill Chiles both of Idaho.
After the Friday night show came to an end, the performers gathered at the Mint Café for a late night jam session to the delight of a standing room only audience.
The Saturday events began early with a pancake and sausage breakfast at 7:30 a.m. followed by open mic day sessions from 9:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m.
Wyoming Red with Smoke Wade
The Saturday crowds were once again treated to a pig barbecue with all the trimmings. Following dinner, a pre-show took place featuring John Westbrook, Montana, and Jim Aasen, Washington. The colors were posted and the show got under way with event organizer, Larry Gibson, Montana, as emcee for the evening. The featured musicians included Mike Burns, Alberta; Billy Rose and Doc Quam, Nevada; Rusty Endicott and Susan Park of the musical duo, Wyoming Red, Wyoming; the High Strung Band with family band members, Shawn, Jennifer, Landen, Hunter and Morgan Reddington, Oregon; and special guest, folk singer, Hank Cramer, Washington. A. K. Moss, Oregon; Smoke Wade and Larry Gibson presented cowboy poetry.
Highlights of the Saturday night show included a special presentation by Larry Gibson of the Million Miles in the Saddle award to three local cowboys. The recipients were Hubert Plymale, Boyd Iverson and Jack Smith, all of Broadwater County. Billy Rose and Doc Quam displayed their usual high-energy talents with Doc on the fiddle and Billy on the guitar. Billy Rose’s music has an authentic sound that truly represents "Old Cowboy Ways."
Doc and Billy
Wyoming Red was unique in their harmony and they seemed to delight the audience. A. K. Moss presented flawless cowboy poetry and was rewarded with a rousing ovation.
A. K. Moss
The High Strung Band stole the show all weekend long. Hunter Reddington, age 10, stood face to face in with other fiddle players during the jam sessions, and his brother, Landen, age 12, was a wizard on the guitar. After the family closed their set on the Saturday night show with a fast paced rendition of "The Orange Blossom Special," the audience came to their feet with a standing ovation.
High Strung Band
After the show, the performers once again gathered at the Mint Café for a late night jam session. And again the poets retired shortly after midnight leaving the musicians to jam until dawn.
Cowboy Church was hosted on Sunday by country gospel singer, Carter Benedict, Montana. Musicians for the church included Carol Findley, Idaho; Wayne Nelson; Mike Burns; Billy Rose; Doc Quam; Valerie and Laurel White; and Bud Comly, Montana. Ken Wellard, Utah; Smoke Wade; and Joan Comly, Montana presented poetry.
After cowboy church was over, the cowboy poets and western musicians packed their gear and said their good byes to each other. All agreed that the 5th Annual Townsend Cowboy Entertainer Gathering was a success, and all agreed to meet again soon, somewhere along the cowboy poetry trail.
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