Gathering Report: California Rodeo Salinas’ Cowboy Music & Poetry Gathering


California Rodeo Salinas Cowboy Music & Poetry Gathering
report by Bill Vaughan

On Sunday, July 17th,  2016, the California Rodeo Salinas’ Cowboy Music & Poetry Gathering brought together a group of great entertainers to “Wow” the folks in attendance with wonderful cowboy music and verse. This marked the 29th year of the event and was, once again, very successful in doing so.

Sherwood Hall in Salinas was the venue and wine and Swiss Sausage BBQ was the fare. The Committee put together an array of silent auction items that were quite varied and included a live auction of delicious baked goods and a catered Polenta and Stew dinner, as well.

The show started off with the doors opening at 1:00 PM for folks to come on in and have a sampling of nice local wines and some hors d’oeuvres and look over the silent auction tables. The cabaret seating made the auditorium perfect to sit and visit over wine and treats and, for those who wished, a Swiss Sausage meal was also available.

It was the talent present that made the show, though! From open mic amateurs to the seasoned pros. The Salinas Valley’s own Cowboy Poet “Laureate,” Clem Albertoni, was on hand to serve as master of ceremonies and included, of course, his own brand of down-home wit and poetry. Clem has been a local favorite for decades and did not disappoint. Clem’s first duty was to introduce the open mic folks to come up and share their own talent with the crowd. Following open mic, The Youth Orchestra of Salinas, YOSAL, performed the National Anthem and a selection of songs including Patsy Cline’s “I Fall to Pieces.” I spoke briefly with Joanne Taylor Johnson and she informed me that the YOSAL program is continuing to grow and succeed and it shows. What a great group of young musicians!

After YOSAL’s performance, the Monterey County Free Library Foundation introduced the three winners of the annual Cowboy Poetry Contest. First off was 13 year old Broden Murray reciting his winning entry,  “The Golden Valley,”  then 11 year old Katie Mazerik and her winning poem, “Old American Cowboy,”, and then 5 year old June Paul Harbaugh stood by on stage while her winning poem, “Cowboys are Cowboys” was read. All showed great potential and were some of the best winners ever to be on the show.

Chyrle Bacon (photo by Best Shot Video)

Chyrle Bacon followed with six-gun twirling, whip cracking and trick roping. She amazed and amused all when she coerced California 2nd Vice-president, Dave Pedrazzi, on stage for some whip-play…western style. Dave survived, just barely, though. Chyrle had the room laughing with her infectious cackle of a laugh. She was a real western Hoot!

Larry Maurice (Photo by Best Shot Video)

Next up was Larry Maurice. This was not Larry’s first appearance here; he has been in Salinas before. Larry is the recipient of The Academy of Western Artists, Cowboy Poet of the Year award, as well as having received the American Cowboy Culture Award for Lifetime Achievement in Cowboy Poetry. Larry shared his energetic and fast-paced delivery of original stories and poems along with some favorite old classics that he’s known for. His portion of the show had the audience smiling throughout.

c4Los Vaqueros Hunting Club Traveling Band (photo by Best Shot Video)

Los Vaqueros Hunting Club Traveling Band hit the stage next. This local band has been performing for decades, as well, and are local favorites. Brothers, Randy and Terry Handley have been combining their voices for some of the best harmonizing anyone could ever hope to hear. Born and raised in nearby Soledad, they have polished their style all their lives. Randy is the front man of the band with Terry providing the vocal harmonies. Jim Geil was on hand to expertly pick his electric guitar and include some vocals while Roger Hill backed it all up with his bass guitar rhythms. Many in the audience have heard these guys before and all agreed, they’ve never been better. The selection of songs and the clever banter hit the spot!

Intermission was preceded with a live “cake auction” and got quite spirited with Butch Lindley serving as auctioneer.


Dave Stamey took the stage with the lovely and talented Annie Lydon
(photo by Best Shot Video)

Dave Stamey (photo by Best Shot Video)

Following a brief intermission, Dave Stamey took the stage with the lovely and talented Annie Lydon. Never a disappointment, Dave has been a Salinas favorite for many years and has starred at this show several times in the past. Seven times named Entertainer of the Year and five times Songwriter of the Year by the Western Music Association, Dave shared why with the folks in attendance. A great voice, a great guitar picker, original songs and Annie singing along. There’s none better, folks! Dave’s songs are musical stories and that’s what Cowboy Songs are supposed to be. Each song tells a tale and the tune that goes with it is perfect, every time. That’s the “why”. Dave has a way with the audience, too, between songs. His wit is nearly as enjoyable as his songs. Annie Lydon joined Dave on stage and in recordings several years ago and I would never say that Dave’s style lacked for anything, but what she adds makes me wonder…

So, with that, the 29th annual California Rodeo Salinas’ Cowboy Music and Poetry Gathering is in the books! It was a fabulous show with great talent, great wine and food, put on by a great committee of volunteers!

Come and see it when it hits 30!

Larry Maurice and Dave Stamey (photo by Best Shot Video)

California Rodeo Salinas Cowboy Music & Poetry Committee 2016
(Photo by Best Shot Video)

c9Co-Chairs Lydia Miranda and Clem Albertoni
(Photo by Best Shot Video)

Find more at