Image: “Ten Below Zero” by Andrew Peters
From the gathering organizers:
Embrace Cowboy Culture and Humor at Durango Cowboy Poetry Gathering
Oct. 5 -8th, 2017
Celebrate Durango’s ranching heritage with performances, motorless parade, train ride & more
Spectacular autumn foliage in the mountains, beautiful fall temperatures and cattle drives all signal it’s time to for the 29th annual Durango Cowboy Poetry Gathering. The October 5 – 8th event celebrates the culture and stories of the American cowboy and ranching in southwest Colorado, creatively shared by more than 40 cowboy poets, storytellers and musicians.
“It’s the perfect opportunity to pull on your cowboy boots and hat, observe a really unique art form in action and enjoy all the incredible fall activities in Durango,” says Linda Mannix, coordinator of the second oldest event of its kind in the United States.
The celebration is held in Durango’s bustling downtown district and headquartered at the historic Strater Hotel, where evening performances are staged at the Henry Strater Theater. The theme this year is “cowboy humor” and the Premier Show on Thursday Oct. 5th is called “Laughing Stock” featuring four of the finest cowboy humorists in the West. Other evening performances on Oct. 5th and 6th at Henry Strater Theater showcase several top cowboy poets and musicians from around the country and take place at 6:00 and 8:00p.m.
Mannix advises enjoying all the great trails, attractions and activities in the Durango area during the day on Thursday and Friday and the many Gathering happenings on Saturday before savoring dinner at the many locally-owned restaurants downtown and attending the late shows. “We have tickets still available for the late shows, with the earlier shows already or nearly sold out. The Cowboy Comedy Revue on Saturday morning also promises to have people tipping their hats to the 15 performers sharing the funniest tidbits of ranch life.”
Another event on Friday with space still available is the popular Cowboy Poet Train on the Durango & Silverton Narrow Gauge Railroad. The excursion runs from 10 a.m. – 3:30 p.m., winds through the mountains and beautiful fall scenery, and features performers on every coach and a barbecue lunch at Cascade Canyon.
New this year will be a screening of the award-winning film, “Everything in the Song is True.” The film screens at 2:30pm in the Henry Strater Theater. This documentary follows the lives of three present day cowboys and one cowgirl in the American West. Tickets are $10 to benefit the 4-H and FFA Youth Programs.
Free Ways to Kick Up Your Heels
Start off Saturday morning with a real Cowboy Chuckwagon Breakfast on the corner of 5th St. and Main Ave. Then stay right there to watch the large motorless Cowboy Parade at 10 a.m. on Saturday with horses, riders, wagons, walkers and even llamas and Longhorns, but no motorized vehicles.
From 10:30 a.m. – 4:30 p.m., free themed sessions of cowboy poetry and music are being held at Strater Hotel and other downtown locations. Walk from room to room to hear cowboy music and poetry all day, at no charge.
Shows of Western art are on display at Wild Shots Gallery, Sorrel Sky Gallery and Toh-Atin Gallery throughout the weekend. At 4:30 p.m. on Saturday, the free Poster Session at Toh-Atin Gallery highlights 15 cowboy poets and musicians performing their interpretations of this year’s fine art poster “Ten Below Zero” by fine artist Andrew Peters. A print signing and artist’s reception follows from 5:30 – 7:00 p.m.
Durango Cowboy Poetry Gathering wraps up at the Strater Hotel with free performance “A Cowboy and His Creator” on Sunday at 8:30 a.m. with inspirational poetry and music by many of the weekend’s performers.
Image: “Sammy” by Elizabeth Kinahan
Durango Cowboy Poetry Gathering focus on Cowboy Humor this year
Living a hard life, working outdoors with livestock and equipment, a cowboy’s life can take many twists and turns. This year the 2017 Durango Cowboy Poetry Gathering is focusing on cowboy humor. How the cowboy finds humor from the funny side of the fenceline, which might include horse wrecks and ironic twists of fate.
Rancher and cowboy poet R.P. Smith from Nebraska, will lead a group of some of the finest humorists in the world of cowboy poetry. Andy Nelson, Gary McMahan and Terry Henderson are featured in the Premier Show on Thursday October 5th titled “Laughing Stock” at the Henry Strater Theater. Two shows, one at 6pm and one at 8pm, will highlight funny stories, poems and the comedic mistakes of living the cowboy life.
The Durango Cowboy Poetry Gathering runs from October 5th to October 8th with a bent towards humor. Headquartered at the Strater Hotel, the Friday and Saturday evening shows feature humorists Otto Rosfeld, Floyd Beard, singers Trinity Seely, Pat Meade and others. Saturday October 7th starts off with a real Cowboy Chuckwagon Breakfast at 7am on the corner of 5th St. and Main Ave. followed by the “motorless” Cowboy Parade at 10am with plenty of horses, riders, wagons and walkers. After the parade, there is another “not to be missed” cowboy humor show, the Cowboy Comedy Revue at 10:30am in the Henry Strater Theater.
Free sessions of cowboy poetry and music on Saturday, will run from 10:30am to 4:30pm in the Strater Hotel, Lone Spur Cafe and Cerda 7. A free session of poetry and music at 4:40pm at Toh Atin Gallery will focus on this year’s fine art poster, “Ten Below Zero” by artist Andrew Peters.
Cowboy hats and boots will be the norm in downtown Durango as the town goes “western” for the Durango Cowboy Poetry Gathering October 5th through the 8th. Enjoy a wide variety of family-friendly shows and activities. Complete schedule at www.DurangoCowboyPoetryGathering.org or call 970-749-2995.