Events: Gatherings and More















Submission information

We welcome your event date and link for cowboy poetry and Western music events. Please send information at least several weeks before your event. Email us.

We regret that we can’t list individual performers’ or groups’ shows or “shows” that have just one or two performers or groups, including house concerts; those are too numerous for us to maintain. (We do welcome information for established venues with a roster of regularly-scheduled programs, even if those programs feature just one or two performers. The season’s schedule is welcome, at least several weeks before the season begins.)

We sometimes include other events of interest, such as rodeos and art shows.

We will consider separate blog posts with event information. Please send the announcement in plain text, not in graphic or pdf format. You can attach a logo, photo or graphic.

Be sure to include date, times, ticket information, a description, and performers’ names, along with contact information: a phone number, email address, or web link that can be posted.

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2018 Spirit of the West report by Tommy Tucker


photo © 2018, Molly Morrow

Wylie Returns to the Spirit of the West

tommytucker   by Tommy Tucker

Presidents Day weekend brought the cowboys and cowgirls out of hibernation a bit early,  as it was time for 14th annual Spirit of the West Cowboy Gathering in Ellensburg, Washington.  Featuring three days of music, poetry and camaraderie, headliners Wylie & The Wild West, who had been absent the past three years. returned and showed us why he is one of the best in the business.

Also on hand were Trinity Seely, Chris Isaacs, Paul Wilson, Thatch Elmer, Lauralee Northcott and The Panhandle Cowboys.  All brought their “A” game and put on fantastic performances.  The headliner shows were emceed by Karen Quest, who  did a superb job.  Plus, you could do some shopping or attend one of many workshops while you killed a bit of time between shows.

Things kicked off on Friday with two days of competition with Ranch Roping at the Bloom Pavilion.  The kids enjoyed two mornings of Kids’ Music Time with Karen Quest and then the Kids Corral for afternoon fun.

Music and poetry filled the air during the two days at eight downtown venues and an open mic stage at the event center. These free events featured such fine musicians as Andy Bales, Barbara Nelson, David Anderson and Jenny Lynn, Joe Sartin (Coyote Joe), Rockin’ HW, and TR Stewart.  An all-star line up of poets also performed, such as Tom Swearingen, Duane Nelson, A.K. “Kathy” Moss and Stan Kvistad.  The open mic winners this year were “Carter Junction” with Clint and Sarah Carter from Spokane, Washington.

In attendance through out the weekend was Miss Spirit of the West, Naomi Roghair who greeted all who attended.

Twenty-two plus vendors were on hand with everything from clothes, leather goods, art work, jewelry and homemade jerky.  As usual, something for everyone!

The show closed on Sunday with Cowboy Church with Pastor Al Parsons, followed by the final performance in the afternoon.  A great weekend and great fun, and the good news is they already have the plans set for the 15th Annual Spirit of the West on Presidents Day weekend. February 15-17, 2019.  Headliners are Dave Stamey, Kristyn Harris, The High Country Cowboys and lots more.  So make plans to attend. It’s gonna be a dandy. Contact the Ellensburg Chamber of Commerce at  Hope to see ya there!





by Smoke Wade

We don’t summer at Chesnim’ these days,
Not since the For’ Service shut ‘er down;
They took away our permit to graze,
Now we pasture on the edge of town.

We don’t fall ride at Cold Springs anymore,
In the teeth of an early winter storm;
Or hitch our boots by the cow camp door,
And play cribbage inside where it’s warm.

We no longer winter by the Snake,
On benches carved below the rim;
The land was sold for the public’s sake,
To the For’ Service and to the BLM.

No, we don’t spring calve on Cactus Flat,
Since it sold to the State Fish and Game;
They say the chinook ain’t comin’ back,
And the cowman must carry the blame.

So, we gather now, at Third and Grand,
A beer garden after the parade;
And, here we’ll make one final stand,
Until this season begins to fade.

© 1994, Smoke Wade
This poem should not be re-posted or reprinted without permission

Popular emcee and cowboy poet Smoke Wade was raised on a remote Hells Canyon ranch. He’s written a number of stories about his ranching family for Picture the West and Western Memories at

In an introduction to this poem, particularly timely today, he comments on the history of the area and about how the family’s way of life ended in the 1970s:

For ten thousand years, mankind lived along the banks of the Snake River in Hells Canyon, until 1877, when the United States Congress decided it was time to evict the residents of the canyon. They gave the order to the U. S Army, and under the command of General Howard, Chief Joseph and his band of Nez Perce people were forced to leave their homeland forever.

Over time the canyon once again became populated with outlaws, sourdoughs, miners, horse thieves, homesteaders, sheepherders and cattle ranchers, until almost one hundred years had passed. And then, Congress once again decided it was time to evict the residents of Hells Canyon. This time the order went down to the U. S. Forest Service and one by one the ranches fell, condemned, evicted and forced out, until today there is little sign left of what we once called home. And thus began our change of season.

One day, at a beer garden after the parade, I noticed a bunch of old cowboys hanging out—talking, remembering old times. It dawned on me that with the fall of the Hells Canyon ranches to the U.S. Forest Service, that these cowboys didn’t have a range to go back to. “A Change of Season” was spawned at that moment.

This photo is of Smoke Wade, age 15, leading a pack string.

Find some of Smoke Wade’s poetry and more about him at Don’t miss his stories and photos in Western Memories.

Smoke hosts and produces the Cowboy Idol Competition at the Columbia River Cowboy Gathering and Western Music Festival (April 13-15, 2018) at the Benton County Fairgrounds in Kennewick, Washington. This is the competition’s 10th year, and the 15th anniversary of the Gathering.

Smoke writes in his media release:

The 10th season of Cowboy Idol is billed as The Reunion show. All contestants have competed before as Cowboy Idol contestants or People’s Choice award winners but have yet to win the title of Cowboy Idol.

The 2018 Cowboy Idol Poet contestants are: Smokey Culver, Texas; Dave Nordquist, Washington; Geoff “Poppa Mac” Mackay, Manitoba, Canada; and Duane Nelson, Oregon. The Cowboy Idol Musician contestants are: Charley Root, Washington; David Wilson, Washington; Janet Bailey, Oregon; and Lois Goodman & Einar Jensen, British Columbia, Canada. Lois & Einar are the 2017 People’s Choice award winners from the open mic sessions.

Find more information at and on Facebook.


Vinton Cowboy Poetry & Music Show, Vinton, California March 16 and 17, 2018

Version 2

32nd annual Vinton Cowboy Poetry & Music Show
“Oldest and Best Cowboy Poetry Show in California”  
March 16 and 17, 2018


BELINDA GAIL – singer songwriter

SOURDOUGH SLIM – singer- humorist

 JOE HERRINGTON –  storyteller – poet

Friday and Saturday evening shows at 7:30 PM

Saturday matinee at 2:00 PM

Cost of each show is $23


Friday evening – Corned Beef and Cabbage dinner 5:00 – 7:00 PM Cost $12

Saturday evening – Roast Beef dinner 4:30 – 7:00 PM   Cost $12


92202 Highway 70
VINTON, CA 96135

For tickets and information contact:

Phone 831-345-9840

Always on the 3rd weekend in March.


15th Annual Columbia River Cowboy Gathering and Western Music Festival, April 13 -15, 2018, Kennewick, Washington

From Smoke Wade:

The 15th Annual Columbia River Cowboy Gathering and Western Music Festival will take place April 13 -15, 2018 at the Benton County Fairgrounds in Kennewick, WA. The event is organized by Judy Massengale along with the Columbia River Cowboy Gathering and Western Music Festival Board of Directors.

News on featured performers, open mic sign up and special events are forthcoming. Visit

Scheduled daytime performances will be presented on Friday and Saturday, April 13– 14, 2018, along with open mic sessions. Headliner shows will take place at 6:00 p.m. each evening. A cowboy church will be held on Sunday morning following the gathering.

One of the highlights of the weekend will be the 10th Annual Cowboy Idol competition for both poets and musicians hosted by Smoke Wade. There will be trophies along with $500.00 for first place and $200.00 for second place in both the poet and musician competition. In addition, all open mic performers will be judged throughout the weekend for the People’s Choice Award with prize money and a trophy to the winner. Cowboy Idol contest applicants may contact Smoke Wade: email (435) 215-9675.

For information regarding advance ticket sales, RV parking, special Motel rates, or vendor & performer applications,  visit or contact Judy Massengale: email (509) 851-4287.


Monterey Cowboy Poetry & Music Festival, December 2, 2017


Via Paul Zarzyski:

Golden State Theatre, December 2, 2017
Monterey, California

There’s a new, young hot Rodeo “Poet” named Ned LeDoux (yup, son of the GREAT Chris LeDoux) coming to town—not to be confused with the old (rhymes with cold) Rodeo Poet with the unpronounceable Z-name (not Jay Z, but, you know, the other Z?) who has appeared at The Monterey Cowboy Poetry and Music Festival for at least 15 go-‘rounds over the past couple decades.  Oh, incidentally, he’ll be there again, as well—passing the mantle on to Ned and his rollicking “Ned Head” fans, and joining virtuoso singer-songwriter and local horseman extraordinaire, Mike Beck, along with one of the top trios ever to fork the cowboy stages, New West. You cannot, however, gather such a herd of reckless-abandon buckin’ stock together in the same theater without a Chute Boss who savvies how to ramrod all of the moving/working parts of such a wild-bunch pitchin’. You got it—we’re talking a silver-tongued emcee with the presence of, say, Richard Boone playing Paladin in Have Gun, Will Travel, Sam Elliott playing Conagher, or maybe even Slim Pickens playing Major Kong in Dr. Strangelove, and, well, now that Pat Garrett and Wyatt Earp are daisy fodder, there’s only one such ex-lawman-turned-top-hand-at-the-microphone who can pull this superhuman feat off, Mick Vernon! Or, as his friends affectionately refer to this former director of the Festival and notable cowboy poet and singer in his own right,  “Slick Mickey.”

So, if you’re indeed tuned-in to my pitch here, you just know that some good ol’ jump-n-kick, rock-n-rowel Saturday-night fun will be had by all in the ol’ town of Monterey on Dec. 2 at the Golden State Theatre— both on stage, and, especially, in the bleacher seats! And if you’re still not jacked-up over this newsflash, then you must be bunkin’ in some Boot Hill bone-yard out of earshot of my astoundingly loud megaphone announcement to either be there or else live with the tormenting regrets of all those of us who chose to skip the Monterey Pop Festival, 50 years ago in ’67, and/or Woodstock in ‘69!  Trust someone in-the-know on this sorrowful note, such deep-seated decades-long remorse over life’s missed opportunities will run your bar tabs up through the pressed-tin bullet-hole-riddled ceilings of your favorite waterin’ troughs.  And…say what? “You weren’t even here to attend Monterey Pop or Woodstock, cuz you were not yet born?!” ALL THE BETTER! Here’s your chance to make up for your tardy arrival in this dimension—to boast, “I was there, however, at The Monterey Cowboy Poetry & Music Festival to hear Ned LeDoux and his band performing hits from his newly-released album, Sagebrush, back in ought-seventeen!”

To cut to the proverbial chase, (cow)boys and (cow)girls, ladies and gents, aliens and E.T.s, those of you who choose to be in the audience at the Golden State Theatre on December 2 will be the honest-to-God stars of this event. Which is to say, we won’t be performing to you or for you, as much as we’ll be celebrating the spiritful presence of all of us creative beings magically gathering in the same microcosmic wild-west time-n-space. Because that’s how such “Close Poetic Encounters of the Otherworldly Cowpoke Cosmos Kind” transcend the expected and soar toward celestial, magical places of story and song that we yearn to visit, always with our kindred spirits, our fellow soulful travelers.  In advance of your joining us, I offer this Thank You! from “the other Z”:


In the height of this poetry moment
Right people, right place, and right time,
The universe stirs to chevrons of words
While The Zenith Cathedral bells chime.

In the heat of this poetry moment,
Hoist your grails to Beauty and Truth—
Through fire and smoke, wild not broke,
One more round from The Geyser of Youth.

In the heart of this poetry moment,
To your tempo, your rhythm, your flow—
With ink from my veins, Three Cheers! in quatrains
For the spirit you’ve brought to this show.

© Paul Zarzyski

More about the Monterey Cowboy Poetry & Music Festival at and on Facebook.

Find more about Paul Zarzyski at and at his site,



by Andy Nelson

I’ve found a new way to keep up with my pards,
That seems to be all of the rage;
I revel in stalking my cowboy buddies,
From my very own Facebook page.

I’m the jigger boss of my own cyber wall,
A social media buckaroo;
I ride herd all over my internet range,
And all of my buddies do too.

I post and I poke and I tag and I like,
It seems that the fun never ends;
I share and I add and most all my replies,
Irritate most all of my friends.

I’m on the confuser first thing in the morn,
Asking for side pork recipes;
But holding a skillet of splattering grease,
Makes it real hard to take selfies.

With smart phone I go as I see to my chores,
And film the cat having kitties;
Then upload a clip of a silly bum lamb,
Nursing on the milk cows (udders).

I spend most of the morning passing along
Unsubstantiated rumors;
I ask a few pards about wart remedies,
And treatments for sarcoid tumors.

I don’t care much for the political posts,
Just like most all of the masses;
Pachyderm or burro, far as I’m concerned,
Both parties’ mascots are asses.

I get all jacked up when a notice comes in,
It might be my birthday, or not;
Then invite all my friends to join an event
Called, “My party that you forgot.”

I keep track of feed days with a status update,
I don’t do anything by halves;
And I make sure to post a new life event,
Each time that a mama cow calves.

The joke that I shared of the old spotted donk,
Didn’t much seem to offend me;
But the Appy folks and the mule skinnin’ crowd,
All of them want to unfriend me.

I get back to the house and upload some pics,
Of me with my new healer pup;
A cryptorchid horse colt, a prolapsed old cow,
And something the barn cat threw up.

I know my old pards will be waiting to hear,
About my ev’ning ablution;
So I share a quick pic of me in the tub,
With my new dandruff solution.

Then I jump in my long-johns, flop into bed,
And rehash my day on the run;
I’m worn to a frazzle but don’t understand,
Why I don’t get anything done.

© 2016, Andy Nelson
This poem should not be reposted or reprinted without permission

Pinedale, Wyoming’s Andy Nelson is a second-generation farrier, cowboy poet, emcee, humorist, rodeo announcer, and co-host (with his brother Jim) of the popular syndicated Clear Out West (C.O.W.) radio show. This poem is included on his most recent CD, I Won.

Andy entertains at gatherings across the West, and next month he is headed to Utah’s 22nd annual Heber Valley Music & Cowboy Poetry Gathering, October 25-29, 2017. Other poets include Waddie Mitchell, Chris Isaacs, Jeff Carson, Sam DeLeeuw, R.P. Smith, Jake Riley, and Paul Bliss. Musicians include Riders in the Sky, Bellamy Brothers,  Bar-J Wranglers, Brenn Hill, R.W. Hampton, Sons of the San Joaquin, Sourdough Slim, Lon Hannah and San Joaquin Junction, Chris Peterson, Rollie Stevens, Joshua Creek, Many Stings, Dave and Jenny Anderson, Charley Jenkins Band, Jon Messenger, In Cahoots, Cold Creek, Carin Marie, Eli Barsi, Summer Brooke & Mountain Faith Band, Call of the West, Kristen H. Lloyd, John Wayne Schulz, Molly in the Mineshaft, and the Heber Valley Orchestra.

There are many special events, including the Cowboy Express Train, a mounted shooting competition, the Buckaroo Fair, Cowboy Brunch, and Cowboy Church. On the Free Community Night, Thursday, October 26, the cowboy poetry and cowboy music Chuckwagon and Cow Camp Stages are open to all.

This year’s poster features the art of Andy Thomas. Read more about him here on the gathering site; at his web site,; and on Facebook.

Find more about this year’s event at and on Facebook.

Find more about Andy Nelson at; at his web site,; at the Clear Out West (C.O.W.) website,, and the show’s Facebook page.