This is page two of event reports.

Find page one here.

The most recent reports here below.


  California poet Wendy Brown-Barry appeared at the Cowboy Poetry at the Mariposa County Library on Wednesday, April 20, with her popular dog, Flash.

photo by Linda Gast

She sends a report:

The Mariposa Country Library had me recite my poetry for their Children's Story Time. All ages were welcome, and we had a good turn out. The children loved my Australian Shepherd, Flash. I recited a poem that I wrote about him while they took buttons from his packs with his picture that they could pin on. Madison Seamans, DVM and cowboy poet from Coarsegold, California, joined me to add some variety, and a good time was had by all.

Find an April 24, 2011 article and slide show from the event here in the Sierra Sun Times.

Visit Wendy Brown-Barry's web site at for more about her and Flash.

Updated 4/25

  A report from Clark Crouch about two Washington State Cowboy Poetry Week events:

The area East of Lake Washington in the Puget Sound area is not highly populated with cowboy poets but a modest celebration of Cowboy Poetry Week was launched there. Clark Crouch (above, left) shared his poetry and his experiences as a youthful Nebraska cowboy for twenty-two sixth grade students at the Kenmore Elementary School on Monday, April 18th.

Then on Wednesday, April 20th, the week was spotlighted for a monthly poetry reading for an adult audience of thirty held at The Creekside (a Merrill Gardens retirement community in Woodinville, WA) by
Del Gustafson (above, right) reading his poem "Pilgrim" and Clark Crouch reading "Lost Love," both of which were a part of the Cowboy Poetry Week Art Spur at

Posted 4/28

  Terri Taylor of STAMPEDE! ( reports on a Utah Cowboy Poetry Week event:

Tuesday, April 19th was the date of the Cowboy Poetry event held at the Herriman Library in Herriman, Utah. Performers from two chapters of the Western Music Association and also the Cowboy Poets of Utah presented poetry and music to promote the Cowboy Way…a way of life, a way of living and a way of thinking.

The musical duo, STAMPEDE!, consisting of
Steve and Terri Taylor of West Haven, Utah representing both the Columbia Chapter and the Utah Chapter of the WMA did what they do best…entertained the crowd and even gave a yodeling lesson. Cowgirl poet and former secretary of the Utah Chapter of the WMA, Laurie Tye delighted the crowd with her poetry, both humorous and serious. Poet Don Korth, the event organizer for the past several years kept the show moving adding in some recitations of some of his favorite poems including, “The Seagull” by Phil Kennington.

Though the crowd may have been small, it was big enough for the librarian to come close the door because of the crowd reactions. There was music, there was poetry and yes, there was Chicken Dancing:


Posted 4/28

Lonnie Shurtleff sent a report from the Grande Ronde Western Music and Cowboy Poetry Festival, a part of Cowboy Poetry Week celebrations in La Grande, Oregon on April 23, 2011:

Open mic sessions started things at 2pm, 3pm, and 4pm, Lonnie the Eclectic Cowboy (me) bossed the 2pm hour, Bodie Dominguez from the Northwest Chapter of the WMA bossed the 3pm hour, and Jessica Hedges did the honors at the 3pm session. The open mics were lightly attended although we had entries from as far away as Westfall and Prineville, Oregon. Some other folks actually came in off the freeway after seeing a poster and participated. Each of the evening show performers did bits during the afternoon to introduce the public to this art form.

Jessica Hedges, John Shultz, and I did little shows at two of our sponsors, The White House Coffee Shop and the Arts East facility on the campus of EOU (Eastern Oregon University), where they were doing a small but elegant display of working cowboy gear produced by some of the region's best artisans and craftsmen. Other sponsors included D&B Supply and KCMB.

We began feeding chili and cornbread at 5pm while a couple of us sat on straw bales and jammed. Everybody got a kick out of that.

Lonnie Shurtleff

At 6pm we started the evening show with a salute to our vetereas and military families and the Pledge Of Allegiance. Lonnie the Eclectic Cowboy (me) opened the show and handled the MC chores, dropping in a poem or song between performers.

Bodie Dominguez (Northwest Chapter of the WMA ) performed next with his fine voice and guitar work. Bodie brought an acoustic guitar which we raffled off later in the evening. Thanks Bodie.

Bobbie Hunter (president CPI) and JB Barber (Palouse County Cowboy Poets Association) both did their excellent presentations with good response from the audience.

Tim Bullard (local working cowboy) sang some cowboy songs to the appreciative audience. When I asked him why he didn't make it in early to the open mic sessions, he responded that they had been loading cattle and he couldn't get away.

After a short break to give the audience an opportunity to look at some of the performer's CDs,
Denny Langford, Jack Fox, and Ray O'Mohundro (Blue Mountain Old Time Fiddlers) opened the second portion of the show and then Jessica Hedges' poetry described cowboy life to the delight of the audience.

Skip Beardsley, JB Barber, Lonnie Shurtleff, Bobbie Hunter, and Denny Langford
and Jessica Hedges, Bodie Dominguez, Tim Bullard

We closed the show with a cowboy version of amazing grace and brought everyone on stage for the finale with the audience helping us sing "You are My Sunshine."

Immediately following the show, we kicked the straw bales out of the way and the LaGrande Star Promenaders did a presentation where they grabbed people from the audience to learn to square dance with them. Boy, I was winded when we got done.

Then we proceeded to have a dance with LTEC (Lonnie the Eclectic Cowboy) playing music from his "Honky Tonk History" show. In retrospect, that was probably too much activity for one evening. Some of us barely recoverd by Wednesday!

The show went well.

Posted 4/28

  South Dakota's
Black Hills Pioneer newspaper ran two stories about Cowboy Poetry Week festivities that were organized by Francie Ganje of the Heritage of the American West Performance Series.

One, "Cowboy Poetry Week Proclaimed," reports on the Cowboy Poetry Week proclamation that Spearfish Mayor Jerry Krambeck issued. Another, "Cowboy Humorist Comes to Spearfish," announces Andy Nelson's appearance at the Heritage of the American West Performance Series for the Cowboy Poetry Week show.

See a report above from the event, by Yvonne Hollenbeck.

Posted 4/28

  Lynn P. Kirst of Santa Barbara, California's Montecito Journal reported on Cowboy Poetry Week, and her article is reprinted with permission:

Posted 5/2

    Susan “Cimarron Sue” Matley of Prescott, Washington actively organized many Cowboy Poetry Week events (some detailed above) and took part in some of those events. She has been responsible for wide participation in Cowboy Poetry Week in her region.

She sent the following reports and photo from her own performances:

Waitsburg, Washington, April 19, 2011. Cowgirl entertainers “Red Ridin’” Robin Dale and “Cimmaron” Sue Matley traded off on poems and songs before a small but appreciative group at the Weller Library. Robin yodeled up a storm and charmed all present with friendly stage personae. Sue accompanied Robin on bass and soloed on traditional and contemporary cowboy songs with the aid of her trusty Hohner Student VM accordion (c. 1953). Both entertainers presented their original cowboy poems, plus those of Brenn Hill, Clark Crouch, Doris Daley, and Wallace McRae. Thanks to librarian Susan Alexander and the Weller Library board of directors for sponsoring the event and providing great cookies, also to Mayor Walt Gobel for Proclaiming Cowboy Poetry Week in Waitsburg.

Susan Matley and Robin Dale

Prescott, Washington, April 19, 2011. Librarian Josh Westbrook opened the fourth annual Prescott Community Cowboy Poetry evening with high energy and good cheer, followed by Mayor Libby McCaw reading the Proclamation of Cowboy Poetry Week in Prescott. Robin Dale and Susan Matley performed a short set of cowboy poetry and music for an audience of 38 (not bad for a town of 300!) before surrendering the stage to local poets and storytellers. Martin McCaw held the audience spellbound with his (untitled) tall tale of a high school band leader, one who mainly worked as a muleskinner and conducted the band with his whip (!). Cowboy poet Jim Fenley recited three of his originals, including a brand new poem told from the point of view of a piece of rope.

Josh announced the winners of the adult level poetry and tall tales contest (
Gene Gerky, poetry, “Tale of the Too Tall Horse” and Paul McCaw, tall tale, “Molly O’Neal and the Muleskinner”). Both winners were present and recited their work for the delighted audience. The children’s level poetry contest yielded 1st place to Mary Groom for her poem “About a Little Cowgirl.” Mary bravely recited her poem, though her younger sister Lily Groom shyly declined to give her rendition of Honorable Mention “What a Ranch Needs.” Acrostic poems “Cowboy” by Miguel Ayala and “Cows” by Benny Foster also received Honorable Mentions. Both boys, who were unable to attend that evening, are third graders at Prescott School.

Josh Westbrook started the “open mic” session with a poem from Clark Crouch’s collection Sun, Sand & Soapweed. Barbara Bisset of Prescott took up the challenge, earning herself a crisp new bandana. Paul McCaw was persuaded to recite his poem, “Old Dan,” inspired by his favorite cowboy song, “Cool Water,” and Paul with Sue Matley led the audience in singing that Bob Nolan gem. Coloring contest “Peoples’ Choice” winners Thalia Crispin (1st Place ) and Andre Potts (Runner Up) were announced (special thanks to Prescott artist Don Hollenbaugh for creating an original cowboy drawing for the contest).

Platters of food provided by Prescott Friends of the Library were heavily patronized during the evening, with plenty left for folks to take home, along with free books from the Walla Walla Rural Library District (notably, children’s book Buster Goes To Cowboy Camp by Denise Fleming). Thanks to the Prescott Rural Library, the Friends of the Prescott Library, the Walla Walla Rural Library District and Mayor Libby McCaw for sponsorship of this event. For photos, go to

Friday April 22: With two days left in Cowboy Poetry Week I couldn’t stop myself from strapping on the mighty Hohner Student VM accordion and dropping in on several businesses for a series of serenades in Prescott and Waitsburg. Sandy’s Market, the Tuxedo Bar & Grill, Waitsburg Hardware, the Prescott Post Office and a Walla Walla County inmate work crew who were on lunch break received hearty renditions of that old trail favorite, “Whoopie Ti Yi O.” Complimentary bandanas and commemorative bookmarks were presented to the surprised listeners, and the caper left all of us smiling.

Posted 5/2

   Poet and writer Hal Swift gave us the news that Don "Dondo" Darue, host of The Risky Biscuit Hayseed Hoot show on KUNR in Reno, Nevada recognized Cowboy Poetry Week on his April 23, 2011 show. He aired an Easter poem by Hal Swift and commented on the wind up of Cowboy Poetry Week.

Hal Swift obtained recognition for Cowboy Poetry Week from Nevada Governor Brian Sandoval and helped his local library (see above) with their Cowboy Poetry Week display.

Posted 5/11

    Poet, writer, and cowgirl Rhonda Sedgwick Stearns received a proclamation for Cowboy Poetry Week from Wyoming Governor Matt Mead.

See the proclamation here.

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

Posted 5/11

    Susan “Cimarron Sue” Matley of Prescott, Washington sent additional reports from Joseph “Coyote Joe” Sartin of Milton-Freewater, Oregon. As mentioned above, Sue actively organized many Cowboy Poetry Week events (some detailed above) and took part in some of those events. She has been responsible for wide participation in Cowboy Poetry Week in her region.

May 18th in Milton-Freewater, OR, at the Albee Room of the Library, 45 in attendance, 6 students from Freewater School read their poems. Keith Anderson from Pasco, WA, and Coyote Joe with his back-up guitarist Little Joe Maclutchen entertained with music and poetry for over an hour.

May 20th in
Pendleton, OR, in the downstairs meeting room of the Public Library, around 30 attended. Duane Nelson from The Dalles, OR, also Little Joe and Coyote Joe gave a history lesson of the old west, played music, and talked Cowboy Poetry for nearly one and a half hours.

Next stop was May 21st in
Helix, OR at the Helix School during the middle of the afternoon in the gym. Grades K thru 6th and some of the high school kids attended; over 125 were present. Coyote Joe Sartin told them stories, talked about the history of the West and this region, recited poetry, and sang the songs of the old West. The last half hour some of the kids who had written some poetry got up and recited theirs.

May 23rd up at the
Wild R Ranch, after a day of rounding up cattle and bringing in for separation, banding, cuttin', and giving them their shots, Duane Nelson and Coyote Joe after dinner sat around the campfire and told stories and sang songs till even the coyotes gave it up and went to bed.

All in all it was a good week and seems folks enjoyed it and asked if we'd do it again sometime in the future. We said we would.

Posted 5/11

  Musician, singer, songwriter, and reciter Rex Rideout ( organizes and participates in many Cowboy Poetry Week activities (see above). He sends photos and a report:

Posted 5/17

  Kansas poet Ron Wilson obtained a Cowboy Poetry Week proclamation from Kansas Governor Sam Brownback and sent this photo of the presentation of the proclamation:

Geff Dawson, Orin Friesen, Jeff Davidson, and Ron Wilson, with Governor Sam Brownback

See the proclamation here.

Updated 5/24

    As noted above, Susan “Cimarron Sue” Matley of Prescott, Washington actively organized many Cowboy Poetry Week events and took part in some of those events. She has been responsible for wide participation in Cowboy Poetry Week in her region.

She forwarded this report and these photos from Ned Bodie:

Cowboy Poetry in Goldendale, Washington

I am happy to report that Cowboy Poetry Week was very well received in Goldendale. It actually turned into a two-week event with performances at the Golden Gallery, the Public Library, and the Maryhill Museum.

I started Poetry Week early with a solo performance at the Golden Gallery on the 14th. The Gallery honored me as their Artist of the month and for their Second Thursday event, which is usually a meet and greet, I recited cowboy poetry for about two hours with approximately 30-35 people in attendance.

I then co-hosted an open mic session at the Public library on the 19th with a slightly smaller audience but had about twelve participants reciting original works as well as poems by Baxter Black, Red Steagall, and several other published poets.

Several of the participants are members of the local poet society, and had such a good time they invited me to the annual poetry gathering at the Maryhill Museum on the 29th.

I was also asked to return to the Golden Gallery to help kick off their new Final Friday Poetry event, also on the 29th.

Such a good time was had that everyone is looking forward to next year's event.

Posted 5/24

John Nelson and I performed at the Old Rock Library in Crested Butte, the Montrose Library in Montrose, and the Gunnison Public Library in Gunnison, Colorado during Cowboy Poetry Week. The shows were well attended even though it was snowing most of the time I was in the area. There are many who live in these parts who are from ranching families and sure enjoy our material.

photo by Ben Rideout
Rex Rideout and John Nelson

Rex Rideout and John Nelson at the Old Rock Library in Crested Butte, Colorado


  Washington state's Lynn Kopelke sent a report, via Susan “Cimarron Sue” Matley, about an April 17, 2011 event in Cumberland, Washington at the City Hall Saloon:

Sunday was quite successful. A couple of dozen good folks at the City Hall Saloon in Cumberland, WA, got not only their accustomed dose of cowboy hi-jinks (courtesy of Cowboy Comic Lynn Kopelke) but were also treated to the recitation of the works of Doris Daley, Dick Warwick, and others.

Lynn Kopelke, also, on behalf of the Columbia Chapter of the Western Music Association, obtained a proclamation from Washington Governor Christine Gregoire, proclaiming Cowboy Poetry Week in Washington.

Posted 5/25

    Rancher, poet, and songwriter Jay Snider, with the assistance of State Representative Joe Dorman, received a Cowboy Poetry Week proclamation from Oklahoma Governor Mary Fallin.

See the proclamation here.

Posted 6/2

  Librarian Carolyn Blackwelder reports on the Fourth Annual Olive Warner Memorial Library Cowboy Poetry Week Celebration, held April 15, 2011 at  Hooker, Oklahoma (see the program announcement and some Hooker history here on page one).

I asked an ol' cowboy to judge the poetry winners for me. He told me the following: "Poetry about us cowboys can't never be wrote. It's felt from the back of a horse—when it's a team made up of you an him. And since you've done this work together, before, he already knows how you're thinkin'. But sometimes he'll indicate, 'yes, I know what you're thinkin', but you ain't got all the facts. You can't hear or smell that steer that's got off down the draw, and you gotta trust me on this.'  Course he knows you're the boss and he'd call off this run, if you asked him. But you've had your knees clamped on his sides while cuttin' them 'muley heads' from the bunch, and so you recognize that horse is on the job, and you let him 'call' this one. When his hooves hit the dry sand in the bottom of the 'warsh,' sure enough, 'ol steer looks him in the eye, and then surrenders. He bawls and breaks from behind them plum bushes and hightails it back to the herd. That there nowthat's Cowboy Poetry," he said. Then he and I both got a little misty-eyed appreciating the beauty and value of the trusted steed, the horse as a partner, the second half of a working team. And I had to agree, "that's poetry."

Then it was quite an adventure hearing his comments about judging all the various forms of poetry that came from the 5th and 6th graders. He told me "they were all so dang cute!" But then he culled the herd down to 21, then cut 'em again, and handed me his choice for first place—all 7 of them! Claiming these poems just stuck to his hand like glue, he figured all of them deserved to win. But was he through? He pulled out various ones, demanding, "Read this one here!" Then, he'd begin, "It reminds me of the time, working down on the..." He noted all the poems that he thought "had it right, they know horses" or "have cowboyin' figured out," then we had to admire the one who valued his white horse, and the poet who wrote like Dr. Seuss, and the kid who said all his cattle were named Larry.

The judge said, "Scratched my head over that one awhile, then figured, makes sense...If they all have the same name, they will ALL COME WHEN YOU CALL." And the short haiku where night has come to the ranch and the "cattle is asleep." He said, "That there is a good ranch poem. Ain't nothin broke, no strays, nothing calving, nothing raising a ruckus. We appreciate them nights."

Our cowboy poetry judge liked all the adult entries. Claiming it "stole his heart" he picked "Papa's Boots" submitted by Billye Fischer as First Place. Second place was awarded to Sherrilyn Polf of Tyrone, while third place went to Janie Jacobs who submitted the first chapter of her book in the "free verse" category.

First place in the children's division was a seven way tie according to our judge. The winners who will receive a bandana are: Greyson Arnold, Colton Powell, Alisha Ellison, ET Rodriquez, Truth Stephens, Kiera Yarbrough, and William Slater. The judge had a handful of second place poems that he also liked.  

Our judge commented on the types of poems kids are taught; "Some poems were shaped so the words formed an outline, making a picture of a horse, a boot, or a cowboy. I kind of like that, if books were made that way, we'd know right away if we wanted to read that page or not. Some poems were acrostics, which I finally figured out was like fence posts and wire. Some poems were those Irish Limericks and we like to spout those short ones while out riding. Some were this Japanese haiku which means, short and to the point. Just gets the job done. Some were your regular rhymes, some were free verse—like before there was barbed wire here, and the cattle could graze wherever they wanted. And then some were diamond-shaped poems where the top of it was about something different than the bottom half. I think I'll make me a warning sign of that cowboys/city slickers one to put on my ranch gate."

The library thanks the judge who wishes to remain anonymous, and sends thanks to all the students for their western poems. Readers may visit the website  to read more great cowboy poetry online. Among those, be sure to look for Janet Eggleston's poems, since she learned about cattle and horses while growing up here in Hooker.

This contest was part of the Rural Library Heritage Preservation Project sponsored by, the Bar-D Ranch, and our hometown newspaper, The Hooker Advance.

Carolyn Blackwelder added:

Carolyn Blackwelder and Billye Fischer

From our State Representative Gus Blackwell and Governor Mary Fallin, our Adult Winner, Billye Fischer, and the seven student winners: Truth Stephens, Alisha Ellison, Grayson Arnold, the rest... received a large green folder with the State Seal of Oklahoma on gold on the cover commending them for their participation in keeping cowboy poetry alive. Each recipients' poem was included in its entirety within the document, making a memorable keepsake.

Billye Fischer

It's wonderful to have State legislators who actually read what goes on in the smallest areas of their districts! Mrs. Fischer was surprised at work, while the student winners received their surprise award at the end of school awards assembly.

Updated 6/7

This is page two of event reports.

Find page one here.



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