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

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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.


THE HELPMATE by Yvonne Hollenbeck


by Yvonne Hollenbeck

You say I look disgusted
but you took me by surprise,
and I suppose there was resentment
coming from my eyes.

Since that hired man left us
I’ve been more than just his wife;
I’m the helper by his side
as he continues ranching life.

I get the gates and scoop the bunks
and help with feeding hay,
and that is just the start
of all the jobs I do each day.

I’m right there for the calving
and I help with all the chores,
then try to catch my work up
when I get some time indoors.

You see, I run and jump
each time he gives a little yelp,
and it galls me that you ask
how he is doing “with no help.”

© 2014, Yvonne Hollenbeck
This poem should not be reposted or reprinted without permission

Yvonne Hollenbeck is cowboy poetry’s most visible ranch wife, and her life gives her endless material. She is a sought-after performer at Western events, for her poetry and for her traveling program that includes the works of the five generations of quiltmakers in her family. She is a champion quilter.

Yvonne and and her husband Glen, a champion calf-roper, raise cattle and quarter horses on their ranch in Clearfield, South Dakota.

In fairness to Glen, the poem came about after he told Yvonne about someone who, even after Glen had said Yvonne was helping out, went on to ask how he did everything “with no help.”

This poem is in Yvonne Hollenbeck’s recent book, Rhyming the Range, which collects her original poems about her life on the ranch. The book includes the most requested poems from her two out-of-print books and all of her newest poetry. She also has a CD by the same name that includes many of those poems.

Next month, Yvonne heads to the Red Steagall Cowboy Gathering & Western Swing Festival, October 27-29, 2017 at the Forth Worth Stockyards National Historic District. Events include a ranch rodeo, invitational team roping, chuck wagon competition, wagon train/trail ride, and much more. Yvonne joins other poets and musicians, including Don Edwards, Jay Snider, Jean Prescott, Chris Isaacs, Dan Roberts, “Straw” Berry, Mikki Daniel, Bobby Flores, Kristyn Harris, Jake Hooker, Leon Rausch, Hailey Sandoz, and of course, the great Red Steagall.

Find more about the event at and on Facebook.

This photo, by Yvonne Hollenbeck, was taken last spring at the Hollenbeck ranch.

Find more of Yvonne Hollenbeck’s poetry at  and visit

Durango Cowboy Poetry Gathering October 5-8, 2017, Durango, Colorado


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.

For a complete schedule, tickets, performer bios and more information, call 970.749.2995 and visit Also follow the event on Facebook.


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 or call 970-749-2995.