Events: Gatherings and More

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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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Events: January

Find links to all months here.

•   January 16-19, 2020
31st Annual Colorado Cowboy Poetry Gathering Golden, Colorado

•   January 18, 2020
Cowboy Poets of Utah Symposium Payson, Utah

•   January 18-26, 2020
75th annual Montana Winter Fair Lewiston, Montana

• January 20, 2020
Cowboys of Color Rodeo Fort Worth, Texas

• January 22-26, 2020
International Folk Alliance Conference New Orleans, Louisiana

•   January 25, 2020
Youth Showcase and 7th Annual “A Night of Western Music & Cowboy Poetry” Tooele, Utah

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• January 27-February 1, 2020
The 35th National Cowboy Poetry Gathering Elko, Nevada

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Visit our Sponsor supporters: The Western Folklife Center

• • •

 

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•   Dates not yet received for 2020
Cowboy Poetry  Lawler, Iowa

 

 

WHEN THEY’VE FINISHED SHIPPING CATTLE IN THE FALL, Bruce Kiskaddon

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WHEN THEY’VE FINISHED SHIPPING CATTLE IN THE FALL
by Bruce Kiskaddon (1878-1950)

Though you’re not exactly blue,
Yet you don’t feel like you do
In the winter, or the long hot summer days.
For your feelin’s and the weather
Seem to sort of go together,
And you’re quiet in the dreamy autumn haze.
When the last big steer is goaded
Down the chute, and safely loaded;
And the summer crew has ceased to hit the ball;
When a fellow starts to draggin’
To the home ranch with the wagon—
When they’ve finished shipping cattle in the fall.

Only two men left a standin’
On the job for winter brandin’,
And your pardner, he’s a loafing by your side.
With a bran-new saddle creakin’,
But you never hear him speakin’,
And you feel it’s goin’ to be a quiet ride.
But you savvy one another
For you know him like a brother—
He is friendly but he’s quiet, that is all;
For he’s thinkin’ while he’s draggin’
To the home ranch with the wagon—
When they’ve finished shippin’ cattle in the fall.

And the saddle hosses stringin’
At an easy walk a swingin’
In behind the old chuck wagon movin’ slow.
They are weary gaunt and jaded
With the mud and brush they’ve waded,
And they settled down to business long ago.
Not a hoss is feelin’ sporty,
Not a hoss is actin’ snorty;
In the spring the brutes was full of buck and bawl;
But they’re gentle, when they’re draggin’
To the home ranch with the wagon—
When they’ve finished shippin’ cattle in the fall.

And the cook leads the retreat
Perched high upon his wagon seat,
With his hat pulled ‘way down furr’wd on his head.
Used to make that old team hustle,
Now he hardly moves a muscle,
And a feller might imagine he was dead,
‘Cept his old cob pipe is smokin’
As he lets his team go pokin’,
Hittin’ all the humps and hollers in the road.
No, the cook has not been drinkin’—
He’s just settin’ there and thinkin’
‘Bout the places and the people that he knowed
And you watch the dust a trailin’
And two little clouds a sailin’,
And a big mirage like lakes and timber tall.
And you’re lonesome when you’re draggin’
To the home ranch with the wagon—
When they’ve finished shippin’ cattle in the fall.

When you make the camp that night,
Though the fire is burnin’ bright,
Yet nobody seems to have a lot to say,
In the spring you sung and hollered,
Now you git your supper swallered
And you crawl into your blankets right away.
Then you watch the stars a shinin’
Up there in the soft blue linin’
And you sniff the frosty night air clear and cool.
You can hear the night hoss shiftin’
As your memory starts driftin’
To the little village where you went to school.
With its narrow gravel streets
And the kids you used to meet,
And the common where you used to play baseball.
Now you’re far away and draggin’
To the home ranch with the wagon
For they’ve finished shippin’ cattle in the fall.

And your school-boy sweetheart too,
With her eyes of honest blue—
Best performer in the old home talent show.
You were nothin’ but a kid
But you liked her, sure you did—
Lord! And that was over thirty years ago.
Then your memory starts to roam
From Old Mexico to Nome.
From the Rio Grande to the Powder River,
Of the things you seen and done—
Some of them was lots of fun
And a lot of other things they make you shiver.
‘Bout that boy by name of Reid
That was killed in a stampede—
‘Twas away up north, you helped ’em dig his grave,
And your old friend Jim the boss
That got tangled with a hoss,
And the fellers couldn’t reach in time to save.

You was there when Ed got his’n—
Boy that killed him’s still in prison,
And old Lucky George, he’s rich and livin’ high.
Poor old Tom, he come off worst,
Got his leg broke, died of thirst
Lord but that must be an awful way to die.

Then them winters at the ranches,
And the old time country dances—
Everybody there was sociable and gay.
Used to lead ’em down the middle
Jest a prancin’ to the fiddle—
Never thought of goin’ home till the break of day.
No! there ain’t no chance for sleepin’,
For the memories come a creepin’,
And sometimes you think you hear the voices call;
When a feller starts a draggin’
To the home ranch with the wagon—
When they’ve finished shippin’ cattle in the fall.

…from Kiskaddon’s 1924 version in Rhymes of the Ranges

 

Bruce Kiskaddon’s masterpiece is a well loved classic, in the repertoire of most serious reciters. Kiskaddon drew on his cowboying experiences for his poetry. Find much more about him in features at cowboypoetry.com.

One of the most outstanding recitations of the poem is by respected reciter, horseman, braider, and more Randy Rieman. He included the poem on his Old Favorites CD, and that recitation is on The BAR-D Roundup: Volume Ten.”

Randy Rieman appears at the popular Cowpoke Fall Gathering, November 7-10, 2019 in Loomis, California. He will be joined by Dave Stamey, Larry Maurice, Michael Reno-Harrell, Bill Brewster, and The Heifer Belles.

The gathering is the premier event of the Cowpoke Foundation, “where cowboy poetry, music and storytelling reinforce the ‘cowboy way’ at the heart of Western traditions. Educational programs in local schools and youth performances at The Fall Gathering ensure that this heritage continues by exposing young people to these oral folk art forms.”

Find more at cowpokefallgathering.com, including this year’s poster, “The Gold Seekers,” by Keith Christie (1940-2017).

This 1942 photo by Russell Lee (1903-1986) is titled, “Imperial County, California. Cattleman notes down number of head of cattle shipped.” It’s from The Library of Congress Prints and Photographs Division.

Russell Lee taught photography at the University of Texas, Austin, from 1965-1973, and is best known for his FSA photos. Find more about him at Texas State University’s Russell Lee Collection.

This poem and photo are in the public domain.

MONEY IN HORSES, by Yvonne Hollenbeck

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MONEY IN HORSES
by Yvonne Hollenbeck

“There’s money in horses,” I once heard someone say
and I can sure attest to that. . .I worked on books today.
I kept the red pen busy and rarely used the black,
and please don’t get me started on the breeding fees and tack.

The shoeing bills and vaccine were enough to make me choke
plus training fees and special feed. It’s no wonder we are broke.
Chiropractor charges and equine dentistry,
DNA and photographs and registration fees.

Then once old Dobbin’s broke and trained and groomed enough to show
or maybe trained for roping, so you can rodeo,
you’ll need a truck and trailer. That’s at least a hundred grand,
and to do the work while you are gone you’ll need a hired hand.

Yes, we’ve spent a lot of money before colts have hit the ground,
and even more to grow them up in hopes they turn out sound.
So, if you want some horses, the best advice I’ll share:
You had better win a lottery or just be a millionaire!

© 2019, Yvonne Hollenbeck
This poem should not be reposted or reprinted without permission.

Popular South Dakota cowboy poet and champion quilter Yvonne Hollenbeck and her champion calf-roper husband Glen Hollenbeck raise cattle and quarter horses.

Yvonne comments on her poem, “Since early childhood, Glen has had a passion for horses. Through the years he established an outstanding reputation for training and the quality of horses he raised. He no longer raises any (well, maybe one or two a year) but still ropes and always has at least one good rope horse in training. We tease one another about our expensive hobbies (quilting and horses) so I wrote the poem just to torment him, although there is a lot of truth to it. I hope he doesn’t start writing poetry.”

This 2017 photo is of Glen Hollenbeck. Read a recent article about Glen, “Glen Hollenbeck: Still riding for the G2 Brand,” by Hannah Johlman in the Tri-State Livestock News.

Find Yvonne Hollenbeck next at the wagon train at the Dakota Western Heritage Festival, September 13-15, 2019 in Fort Pierre, South Dakota.The celebration has a one-day wagon train “followed by a free weekend of cowboy music and poetry, Western vendors and artisans, demonstrations and more.”

She will present her “Patchwork of the Prairie” program at the Willow Tree Festival in Gordon, Nebraska, September 14-15, 2019.

The following month, she’ll be a part of the celebration of Utah’s 25th annual Heber Valley Cowboy Music & Poetry Gathering, October 23-27, 2019. The popular five-day event has 33 shows on 8 stages with additional attractions, exhibits, and vendors.

There she will join poets Waddie Mitchell, R.P. Smith, Andy Nelson, Jeff Carson, Jake Riley, and Rolf Flake. Featured musicians are Diamond Rio, Michael Martin Murphey, Bar J Wranglers, Billy Dean, Andy Griggs, Rory Feek, John Wayne Schulz, Brenn Hill, Sourdough Slim, Carin Mari, Erica Hansen, High Country Cowboys, Molly in the Mineshaft, Many Strings, The Cowboy Way, Stacy Despain, Belinda Gail, Hank Cramer, Charley Jenkins Band, Carter Junction, Flyover Town, In Cahoots, and the Heber
Valley Orchestra.

(Please respect copyright. You can share this poem and photograph with this post, but for other uses, request permission.)

Events: August

Find links to all months here.

•  through August 2, 2020
Newport Folk Festival Newport, Rhode Island

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•  August 6-8, 2020
33rd Annual Arizona Cowboy Poets Gathering  Prescott, Arizona

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Visit our sponsor supporters:  Arizona Cowboy Poets Gathering

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•  August 28-29, 2020
Cimarron Cowboy Music & Poetry Gathering  Cimarron, New Mexico

•  August 29, 2020
13th Annual “Not JUST Cowboy Poetry” at Emandal near Willits, California

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•  Dates not yet received for 2020
23rd National Cowboy Poetry Rodeo Abilene, Kansas

•  Dates not yet received for 2020
Spring City Bluegrass & Folk Festival Spring City, Utah

•  Dates not yet received for 2020
9th Annual Glade Park Cowboy Poetry and Music Festival Glade Park, Colorado

•  Dates not yet received for 2020 
Edmonton Folk Festival
Edmonton, Alberta

•  Dates not yet received for 2020
87th annual Omak Stampede and World Famous Suicide Race 
Omak, Washington

•  Dates not yet received for 2020
22nd Annual Western Legends Roundup  Kanab, Utah

•  Dates not yet received for 2020
35th Annual Montana Cowboy Poetry Gathering  Lewistown, Montana

•  Dates not yet received for 2020
40th Annual Texas Ranch Roundup Wichita Falls, Texas

•  Dates not yet received for 2020
28th Annual Stony Plain Cowboy Gathering  Stony Plain, Alberta

•  Dates not yet received for 2020
River City Roots Festival  Missoula, Montana

•  Dates not yet received for 2020
14th Annual Ride A Horse Feed A Cowboy  Hulett, Wyoming

•  Dates not yet received for 2020
American Folk Festival  Bangor, Maine

•  Dates not yet received for 2020
18th Annual Newell Farm Concert Berthoud, Colorado

•  Dates not yet received for 2020
63rd Annual Wagon Days Sun Valley, Idaho

•  Dates not yet received for 2020
Celebrate Bandera Bandera, Texas

•  Dates not yet received for 2020
Tumbleweed Music Festival Richland, Washington

•  Dates not yet received for 2020
North Thompson Fall Fair and Rodeo Barriere Fall, British Columbia

 

Events: September

Find links to all months here.

 

• September 18-19, 2020
11th Annual Lost n Lava Cowboy Poetry Gathering Shoshone, Idaho

•  September 25-October 2, 2020
Roots on the Narrow Gauge (Denver to Santa Fe)

•  •  •  •  •

•  Dates not yet received for 2020
73rd Annual Tri-State Rodeo Fort Madison, Iowa

•  Dates not yet received for 2020
Michael Hearne’s Big Barn Dance Music Festival Taos, New Mexico

•  Dates not yet received for 2020
31st Annual Timpanogos Storytelling Festival Lehi, Utah

•  Dates not yet received for 2020
Banning Stagecoach Days Banning, California

•  Dates not yet received for 2020
Will James Gather  Hardin and Billings, Montana

•  Dates not yet received for 2020
32nd Annual National Cowboy Symposium & Celebration Lubbock, Texas

•  Dates not yet received for 2020
39th Annual Hells Canyon Mule Days Enterprise, Oregon

•  Dates not yet received for 2020
National Folk Festival  Salisbury, Maryland

•  Dates not yet received for 2020
6th Annual Napa Valley Cowboy Music and Poetry Gathering  Napa, California

•  Dates not yet received for 2020
109th Annual Pendleton Round-up Pendleton, Oregon

•  Dates not yet received for 2020
High Peaks Music Festival Westcliffe, Colorado

•  Dates not yet received for 2020
9th Annual Dakota Western Heritage Festival Pierre, South Dakota

•  Dates not yet received for 2020
23rd Annual Silver Spur Awards Studio City, California

•  Dates not yet received for 2020
16th Annual Globalquerque Music Festival Albuquerque, New Mexico

•  Dates not yet received for 2020
31st Annual Maple Creek Cowboy Poetry Gathering Maple Creek, Saskatchewan

•  Dates not yet received for 2020
Trail’s End Gathering High River, Alberta

•  Dates not yet received for 2020
Western Days Festival Lewisville, Texas

•  Dates not yet received for 2020
Curley Fletcher Birthday Poetry Rendezvous Bishop, California

•  Dates not yet received for 2020
106th Annual Fruita Fall Festival Fruita, Colorado

•  Dates not yet received for 2020
Pinewood – Cowboy Gathering “Bringing the West to Tennessee” Nunnelly, Tennessee

•  Dates not yet received for 2020
McKay Creek Cowboy Gathering Prineville, Oregon

•  Dates not yet received for 2020
Ranch Rodeo Finals and Cowboy Heritage Festival Kissimmee, Florida

•  Dates not yet received for 2020
7th Annual Great Basin Buckaroo Gathering Ogden, Utah

 

 

 

COW SENSE, by Bruce Kiskaddon

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COW SENSE
by Bruce Kiskaddon (1878-1950)

You have heard people a sayin’ “As dumb as a cow.”
Well they ain’t seen much cattle I’ll tell you right now.
A cow she knows more than some people by half;
She’s the only thing livin’ that savvys a calf.
A cow don’t know nothin? Well, how do you think
They suckle young calves and walk miles fer a drink?

You have watched an old cow; or I reckon you did,
If she’s got a young calf why she keeps it well hid.
She has planted it out where it jest caint be found,
And she won’t go near there if there’s anything ’round.
You just make that calf give a jump or a beller
And that old cow is there to charge into a feller.

If there’s several young calves in a bunch, you will find,
When their Ma’s go to drink they leave one cow behind.
And when they git full and come back to the bunch
She goes to git her a drink and some lunch.
You kin talk of day nurseries. I reckon as how,
They was fustly invented and used by a cow.

Perhaps you have noticed some times on a drive
With cows, men and hosses more dead than alive,
When you got near the water, as soon as they smelt,
Them old cows went fer it jest Hellity belt.
Then the drags was all calves but they didn’t furgit ’em;
When they drunk they come back and they shore didn’t quit ’em.

They let their calves suck and kept out of the rush,
So them calves didn’t git in the mud and the crush.
I’m telling you people without any jokes,
Cows make better parents than plenty of folks.
If folk thought the thing over, I reckon as how,
They wouldn’t be sayin’ “As dumb as a cow.”

…by Bruce Kiskaddon

This poem is from Bruce Kiskaddon’s 1935 book, Western Poems; it also appeared in the Western Livestock Journal.

In the new triple-CD set from cowboypoetry.com, MASTERS: VOLUME THREE, the poetry of Bruce Kiskaddon, New Mexico rancher, writer, and poet Deanna Dickinson McCall has a great recitation of “Cow Sense.”

Thanks to Rick Huff of the International Western Music Association for his review of the project in the current issue of the organization’s The Western Way. He writes, in part, “…If you are not already Kiskaddon-oriented, let this opportunity immerse you in what it really is to be– and see through the eyes and feel with the heart of–a cowboy. Highly
recommended.”

Wheaton Hall Brewer wrote, in his introduction to Western Poems, “…As the years roll on and history appreciates the folk-lore of the plains and ranges, these poems by a real cowboy will take on a deeper significance and mightier stature. When Bruce turns his pony into the Last Corral—long years from now, we all hope—he need feel no surprise if he hears his songs sung by the celestial cowboys as their tireless ponies thunder over the heavenly ranges, bringing in the dogies for branding at the Eternal Corrals. For poetry will never die.”

Find many more poems and more about Kiskaddon in features at cowboypoetry.com.

Colorado rancher and poet Terry Nash shares this photo taken in late June this year. The most recent International Western Music Association awards named Terry Nash the Male Poet of the Year and his “A Good Ride” was named Best CD of the year.

Just a few places to find Terry in coming months include the 32nd annual Arizona Cowboy Poets Gathering, August 8-10, 2019; New Mexico’s upcoming 6th annual Cimarron Cowboy Music and Poetry Gathering, August 22-25, 2019; and Colorado’s 4th annual Western Slope Cowboy Gathering, November 1-2, 2019.

Learn more about Terry Nash at CowboyPoetry.com and at terrynashcowboypoet.com.

(Please respect copyright. You can share this photo with this post, but please request permission for any other use. The poem is in the public domain.)