Cowboy Poetry Week, April 16-22, 2017

cpw_poster_2017_crow_r1smimage © 2015, Tyler Crow, “Makin’ a Break for It”

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Below:
About Cowboy Poetry Week
Get Involved
Rural Library Program
MASTERS CD
Poster by Tyler Crow

Elsewhere on the blog:
Cowboy Poetry Week News
Cowboy Poetry Week Art Spur
MASTERS CD

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COWBOY POETRY
by Jane Morton

The round-ups, the brandings,
the calvings are done,
as ranchers sell out
and move on one by one.

We must tell the stories,
so memories live on,
past time when the tellers
themselves are long gone.

© 2004, Jane Morton

Cowboy Poetry Week is celebrated each year during April, National Poetry Month in the United States.

In 2017, Cowboy Poetry Week—the sixteenth annual—takes place April 16-22, 2017.

In 2017 it is made possible by generous support from Laura and Edmund Wattis Littlefield, a grant from the Margaret T. Morris Foundation, and the individuals and organizations who support the Center for Western and Cowboy Poetry.

CowboyPoetry.com initiated Cowboy Poetry Week, and for the celebration’s second year, in April 2003, the United States Senate passed a resolution, with unanimous approval, recognizing our Cowboy Poetry Week celebration. Twenty-three states’ governors and other officials have recognized Cowboy Poetry Week since, and many activities take place in communities across the West and beyond.

See the 2017 events—to date—on the calendar here.


GET INVOLVED!

Get your schools, libraries, and community involved! Perform your poetry, donate a book or CD, share your knowledge.

Find ideas about how to get involved here.


THE RURAL LIBRARY PROGRAM

The Rural Library Program is an important Cowboy Poetry Week outreach activity, a part of our mission to serve a mostly under-served community of rural Westerners. Each year, a new compilation CD of top classic and contemporary cowboy poetry is offered, along with Cowboy Poetry Week posters, to many rural libraries across the West. The CD is also available for purchase.


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THE MASTERS CD

For 2017, the CD is MASTERS, a collection of poems by four late, respected poets: Larry McWhorter, J.B. Allen, Sunny Hancock, and Ray Owens. Introduced by Jay Snider, the compilation includes recorded poems, “live” performances, and the poets’ recitations of other masters’ works (Buck Ramsey, S. Omar Barker, and Henry Herbert Knibbs).

Find more about the CD here.

CDs are sent to libraries in Cowboy Poetry Week’s associated Rural Library Program, given to supporters (at the $40 level and higher) as thank you gifts, and available to the public. More information about Masters is forthcoming.

Find information about all of the previous CDs, the BAR-D Roundup series, at CowboyPoetry.com.

 

cpw_poster_2017_crow_r1smimage ©2015, Tyler Crow, “Makin’ a Break for It”

THE 2017 POSTER

Cowboy and artist Tyler Crow‘s painting, “Makin’ a Break for It,” is selected as the 2017 Cowboy Poetry Week poster image and a special Cowboy Poetry Week Art Spur. Tyler Crow is the newest and youngest member of the Cowboy Artists of America.

He tells that the oil painting depicts his “good amigo Mike Eslick.”

From his official bio:

Tyler Crow spent his young life in the small town of Apache, Oklahoma. A 2007 graduate of Apache High School, Tyler always had paper and pencil with him drawing horses. This childhood interest continued throughout his high school years. During his Senior year he entered a pencil drawing in the Oklahoma Youth Expo at the National Cowboy & Western Heritage Museum. Winning Reserve Best of Show and a scholarship gave him a chance to attend a week-long summer painting workshop co-taught by Bruce Greene and Martin Grelle. This was the first time he had ever held a paintbrush in his hand.

Since their first meeting, Tyler has attended three more painting workshops co-taught by Greene and Grelle. In April 2011, Tyler attended his second Cowboy Artist workshop taught by Mr. Greene at the Scottsdale Artists School in Scottsdale, Arizona. In Tyler’s two most recent shows, Bosque Arts Classic and Small Works Great Wonders, he received the People’s Choice Award. His future plans are to continue studying art and work toward a career as a Western artist.

Find more about Tyler Crow at CowboyPoetry.com; at his site, tylercrow.com; and on Facebook.

Previous poster artists include Duward Campbell, Shawn Cameron, Bob Coronato, Tim Cox, Don Dane, William Matthews, Gary Morton, the late Bill Owen, Jason Rich, R.S. Riddick, and the late Joelle Smith. Find more at CowboyPoetry.com.

Posters are never sold. They are sent to participants in Cowboy Poetry Week’s Rural Library Program and sent to Center for Western and Cowboy Poetry supporters (at the $40 level and higher) as thank you gifts.

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Cowboy Poetry Week Art Spur 2017, “Makin’ a Break For It” by Tyler Crow

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image © 2015, Tyler Crow, “Makin’ a Break for It”

It’s been said that a picture is worth a thousand words…we know many that are worthy of a poem or a song. In Art Spur, we invite poets and songwriters to let selections of Western art inspire their poetry and songs.

Our 45th piece offered to “spur” the imagination is a special Cowboy Poetry Week  Art Spur, an oil by Tyler Crow, “Makin’ a Break For It.” He tells that the oil painting depicts his “good amigo Mike Eslick.”  The painting was selected as the poster image for the 16th annual Cowboy Poetry Week, April 16-22, 2017.

Submissions were welcome from all through Tuesday, April 11, 2017.  Thanks to all who participated.

Selected poems are posted below.

Find previous Art Spur subjects here and at CowboyPoetry.com, including one with a previous Tyler Crow painting, “At the End of His Rope.”

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POEMS

“Makin’ a Break For It,” by Kathy Moss of Oregon
“A Day at the Office,” by Al “Doc” Mehl of Colorado
“Running Amok,” by Marleen Bussma of Utah
“Oh No You Don’t!,” by Tom Swearingen of Oregon
“He’s a Rider,” by Jean Mathisen Haugen of Wyoming
“Endearment,” by Mark Munzert of New York
“The Elusive Dream,” by Ol’ Jim Cathey of Texas
“Ranch Ropin’,” by Lynn Kopelke of Washington
“Last of the Strays,” by George Rhoades of Oklahoma

painting by Tyler Crow, year: 2015, size: 30

MAKIN’ A BREAK FOR IT
by Kathy Moss

If given a chance a thousand times,
in tales they’re all the same,
Where cowboys lives repeat in rhymes,
and horses play the game.
Where wisdom beams from knowing eyes,
and the jester holds the rope,
They put you there a thousand tries,
and can only wish and hope
That your toss is true, your cinch is tight,
your hands honest on the bit,
When life throws you a wild fight,
makin’ a break for it.

When in doubt, you dally son,
take your turns, and head to the fire,
Be true as the one who has to run,
and pulling the weight you hire.
For when there is a rough one,
the truth is where you sit,
For his knowledge if respected
catches those makin a break for it.

© 2017, Kathy Moss
This poem may not be reposted or reprinted without permission.

painting by Tyler Crow, year: 2015, size: 30

A DAY AT THE OFFICE
by Al “Doc” Mehl

He’s a cowboy by profession,
And he works the open range;
Spend a day there in his ”office,”
You’ll discover something strange…

You could say he mans a cubicle
(A square with four straight sides);
But those sides are mountain ranges,
And his square’s a light-year wide.

Though he doesn’t own a smart phone,
He’s possessed with common sense;
He is less ’bout “build relationships,”
And more ’bout “build some fence.”

Yes, it’s true, he’s got a laptop,
Though it shifts when horse might buck,
And his only modern “key-board”
Is the starter in his truck.

Never had a written “E-val,”
Never joined a brainstorm group;
Though he’s heard about “team building,”
He would rather build a loop.

He’s not keen to learn new “paradigms,”
His “pairs” are cow-and-calf.
If he ever punched a clock,
His overtime would make you laugh.

He is all ’bout punching cattle;
Punching time clocks is a joke.
And when payday rolls around each week,
He’s all ’bout staying broke.

Seems his pension plan is simple,
He’ll just work until he’s dead.
And his filing cab’net’s just
A calving book; that… plus his head.

Come and spend a day at work with him,
Some cattle you’ll both punch.
Dress in layers, wear a hat, and come well-fed…
He don’t do lunch.

© 2017, Al “Doc” Mehl
This poem may not be reposted or reprinted without permission.

painting by Tyler Crow, year: 2015, size: 30

RUNNING AMOK
by Marleen Bussma

Loud banging can be heard throughout the pasture and the hills.
The calf is using both front feet like hammers as he mills
around the min’ral feeder that has given up its stash.
He pokes his head inside, brings in a foot, and starts to bash.

Perhaps he hopes that tasty morsels hiding in a crack
will drop like coins in Vegas when the slots give something back.
He’s taught it a good lesson drubbing dimples, dents, and dips.
He jolts it for good measure as he spanks it with his hips.

He finds an unsuspecting neighbor calmly eating grass,
then gives a hearty head-butt as he runs off full of sass.
His tail is high up in the air, a kite string blazing red.
The Overture of William Tell is blaring in his head.

His mother is a jumper who has challenged every fence.
An acorn does not fall far from the oak.  In his defense,
enough of his contrary mother rests within his genes
to make him act like he’s a new recruit for the Marines.

While running over grass that found a foothold in the spring,
he’ll jump across imaginary mountain streams, then wing
his way above deep canyons where no men dare scale.
This pest penned in the pasture is Tom Sawyer with a tail.

When born, he was no bigger than a minute as he hid
deep in the brush where Mamma left him off the rancher’s grid.
This sanctuary serves him yet when he needs an escape.
It’s branding time and lassos will be thrown his way to drape

around his neck and drag him to the dreaded branding fire.
He’s frisky and he’s full of pep with little thought to tire.
A rider comes upon him out of nowhere near his side.
He was too busy chasing shadows to go off and hide.

The race is on.  He heads for cover, but the horse is fast.
He dodges, darts, and ducks, but cherished freedom does not last.
He’s jerked down to the real world; thoughts to run away are blurred.
Now drug off through the dirt, he’s just another in the herd.

© 2017, Marleen Bussma
This poem may not be reposted or reprinted without permission.

 painting by Tyler Crow, year: 2015, size: 30


OH NO YOU DON’T!
by Tom Swearingen

Oh no you don’t!  I’ve seen that trick.
And this grey has seen it too.
You might think you’ve got us snookered,
But calf I’ve got news for you.

Your little zig, and sudden zag
You must thought would shake us loose.
But this cow horse has you figured
So you’re ’bout to feel my noose.

For this loop I built is sailing
And it’s heading for your neck.
So you might consider slowing
And diminishing your wreck.

Otherwise you’ll be stopped faster
Than I think you’d like to stop.
Put your head back where your tail is
In an instant ’bout-face swap.

Which might just send you a’ tumblin’
Like a bovine acrobat.
A cartwheeling heap of hairy.
Pretty sure you don’t you want that.

‘Cause your eye orbs might get dusty.
And your air might get woofed out.
Your nose might suffer a scrapin’
From your premature reroute.

Your tail might end up with a kink.
And a leg might get a sprain.
And I just hate to think about
The jumble’n  of your brain.

Now, the choice is yours, but hurry.
See, this twine’s about to soar.
So please straighten up and slow down
‘Cause I can’t delay no more.

Just need to change you from a bull.
Punch a tag there in your ear.
Inject you with some medicine.
Burn our brand into your rear.

Oh.  Maybe now I see your point.
Doesn’t sound like too much fun.
So I guess I’ll understand if
You just keep up with your run.

© 2017, Tom Swearingen
This poem may not be reposted or reprinted without permission.

painting by Tyler Crow, year: 2015, size: 30

HE’S A RIDER
by Jean Mathisen Haugen

He’s a’ lopin’
and a’ ropin’,
working hard to catch that calf.
Where country’s high and wider,
He’s a rider
that few could beat by half.
There is blue sky,
where the winds sigh
and the mountains rise up tall.
Nothing’s hidin’,
as he’s ridin’,
for he truly loves it all.
He’s on the old ranch
on the north branch
of the old Popo Agie River.
For a century
in their memory,
his family’s loved to live here.
He’s a lopin’
and a’ ropin’,
working hard to catch that calf.
Where Wyoming’s high and wider,
he is a rider
few could beat by half!

© 2017, Jean Mathisen Haugen
This poem may not be reposted or reprinted without permission.

painting by Tyler Crow, year: 2015, size: 30

ENDEARMENT
by Mark Munzert

Loopin’ strays and runaways
In air so warm and pure.
Lucky me for what I see
In open range grandeur.

Upon my colt as dogies bolt
There’s no way I can lose.
If I miss my throw, I’ll still know
It’s this cowboy life I choose.

On my steady mount I can count.
Together we are a team.
Just the two of us with no fuss.
Were just livin’ out our dream.

Mountains high, grass n’ water nigh,
Could you want of better scope?
Forage green and waif stock to glean,
For these things I’ll always hope.

When day’s done and I’ve had my fun
I’ll disengage to my sack.
Of my post I’ll have had the most
‘Midst endearment I shan’t lack.

© 2017, Mark Munzert
This poem may not be reposted or reprinted without permission.

painting by Tyler Crow, year: 2015, size: 30

THE ELUSIVE DREAM
by Ol’ Jim Cathey

Old timers never quit, they just strive to renew,
Tho, sometimes they do ride “upstream,”
Their ever vanishing youth, to pursue.
…They seek the elusive dream.

I sat hossback, watchin’ that scene unfold,
Like it was only yesterday,
An’ it played out, as if the story had been retold,
To us travelers on our way.

An early Texas spring found us workin’ stock,
On the Quarter Circle C,
When I come acquainted that the Grey an’ young Brock,
Had that special chemistry.

Ahhh, I thought back to a scene from yesteryear,
An’ marveled at my recall,
An image of horse an’ rider, showin’ no fear,
A picture of “buck ‘n bawl.”

Before me the scene of an age old fight,
Man an’ beast as once before,
Then the subtle  hiss of the lariat’s flight,
The hoofs thud on desert floor.

Why, I could smell horse sweat, dust, an’ leather,
An’ feel the tug of a spring breeze,
Blowin’ the scent of sage an’ coming weather,
Gave me pleasant thoughts of gay soirees.

An’ gone were the aches an’ pains brought on by age,
At youthful spirit’s  return.
Thanks to that Grey an’ Brock, here at God’s own stage,
A life for which we often yearn.

So, I took a moment to say thanksto God,
For blessin’s He gave to me.
To live a good life on this western sod,
Where a cowboy can be free.

Old timers never quit, they just strive to renew
Tho, sometimes they do ride “upstream,”
Their ever vanishing youth, to pursue.
…They seek the elusive dream!

© 2017,  Ol’ Jim Cathey
This poem may not be reposted or reprinted without permission.

painting by Tyler Crow, year: 2015, size: 30

RANCH ROPIN’
by Lynn Kopelke

My buddy Geof and me was wrastlin’ calves
Whilst workin’ for the Bar H Bar.
It’s a job can’t be done by halves.
Ground work’s hard. Just the way things are.
To this day, I swear
Through no fault of ours
One of them critters got clear
And took off with all his power.
Pickin’ up speed as his hooves gained traction
With thoughts of skinnyin’ under the rail
But Rob and John sprung into action
That freedom train to derail.
They shook out their loops and set out afoot.
No thought in their mind to fail
To return this wanderin’ galoot
Just as sure as the US Mail.
Their approach was slow, purposeful.
The beast might yet turn bold.
You couldn’t be too careful.
He must’ve been near three weeks old.
Oh, but they stood tall
Lariats all a twirl.
A symbol of America, never to fall,
Recognized throughout the world,
COWBOY
One young rancher named Terry
Not as impressed as the rest of us
With expression somewhat glarey
Set out purposely through the dust.
He, deftly, dodged the spinnin’ loops
And approached the cornered critter
And with a less than gentle scoop
Picked up that errant pup and returned him to the litter.
For a moment they still stood
Frozen in space and time
Robbed of their heroic cowboyhood.
Practicality had stolen their moment sublime.
But there was work to be done
Critters to be branded in kind
But amidst that spring’s other fun
That image remains etched in my mind.
A twin cowboy colossus, the inspiration for Gene and Roy,
Their kack twine, like Old Glory, bravely unfurled.
For when a cowboy feels like, well, a cowboy,
Catch or no, he’s king of the world.

© 2017,  Lynn Kopelke
This poem may not be reposted or reprinted without permission.

painting by Tyler Crow, year: 2015, size: 30

LAST OF THE STRAYS
by George Rhoades

We rounded up the strays,
The ones that got away
When we herded ’em to the pens
For the final sale day.

The spread was shuttin’ down,
The old Circle R was through;
They sold off the horses,
And most of the cattle, too.

A hundred years or more
Strugglin’ on the Texas plains,
Years of drought, low cow prices,
Too many losses, not enough gains.

They sold it all that day,
And the lively auction drew
From all around the county;
The crowd was more’n a few.

Hay bales and wheat drills,
Farmall tractors and John Deeres,
Along with mowers and combines
Sold off by the auctioneers.

Headgates and portable chutes,
All the gear sold and gone;
The ranch owners beaten down,
Tired of hangin’ on and hangin’ on.

Big ranchers bought the cows,
Bankers took the land,
The old Circle R faded away;
It had made its last stand.

Cowboys finished up their chores,
Said farewell and headed out;
Range getting’ smaller and smaller,
Times are changin’, no doubt.

The final things to go
On that melancholy day,
Was the last of the strays,
The ones that almost got away.

© 2017,  George Rhoades
This poem may not be reposted or reprinted without permission.

painting by Tyler Crow, year: 2015, size: 30

Thanks to all who participated.

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tylercrow    About Tyler Crow
:

Tyler Crow is the newest and youngest member of the Cowboy Artists of America.

From his official bio:

Tyler Crow spent his young life in the small town of Apache, Oklahoma. A 2007 graduate of Apache High School, Tyler always had paper and pencil with him drawing horses. This childhood interest continued throughout his high school years. During his Senior year he entered a pencil drawing in the Oklahoma Youth Expo at the National Cowboy & Western Heritage Museum. Winning Reserve Best of Show and a scholarship gave him a chance to attend a week-long summer painting workshop co-taught by Bruce Greene and Martin Grelle. This was the first time he had ever held a paintbrush in his hand.

Since their first meeting, Tyler has attended three more painting workshops co-taught by Greene and Grelle. In April 2011, Tyler attended his second Cowboy Artist workshop taught by Mr. Greene at the Scottsdale Artists School in Scottsdale, Arizona. In Tyler’s two most recent shows, Bosque Arts Classic and Small Works Great Wonders, he received the People’s Choice Award. His future plans are to continue studying art and work toward a career as a Western artist.

Find more about Tyler Crow at CowboyPoetry.com; at his site, tylercrow.com; and on Facebook.

THE OLD COW MAN by Charles Badger Clark, Jr. (1883-1957)

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THE OLD COW MAN
by Charles Badger Clark, Jr. (1883-1957)

I rode across a valley range
I hadn’t seen for years.
The trail was all so spoilt and strange
It nearly fetched the tears.
I had to let ten fences down
(The fussy lanes ran wrong)
And each new line would make me frown
And hum a mournin’ song.

Oh, it’s squeak! squeak! squeak!
Hear ’em stretchin’ of the wire!
The nester brand is on the land;
I reckon I’ll retire,
While progress toots her brassy horn
And makes her motor buzz,
I thank the Lord I wasn’t born
No later than I was.

‘Twas good to live when all the sod,
Without no fence or fuss,
Belonged in partnership to God,
The Gover’ment and us.
With skyline bounds from east to west
And room to go and come,
I loved my fellow man the best
When he was scattered some.

Oh, it’s squeak! squeak! squeak!
Close and closer cramps the wire.
There’s hardly any place to back away
And call a man a liar.
Their house has locks on every door;
Their land is in a crate.
These ain’t the plains of God no more,
They’re only real estate.

There’s land where yet no ditchers dig
Nor cranks experiment;
It’s only lovely, free and big
And isn’t worth a cent.
I pray that them who come to spoil
May wait till I am dead
Before they foul that blessed soil
With fence and cabbage head.

Yet it’s squeak! squeak! squeak!
Far and farther crawls the wire.
To crowd and pinch another inch
Is all their heart’s desire.
The word is overstocked with men
And some will see the day
When each must keep his little pen,
But I’ll be far away.

When my old soul hunts range and rest
Beyond the last divide,
Just plant me in some stretch of West
That’s sunny, lone and wide.
Let cattle rub my tombstone down
And coyotes mourn their kin,
Let hawses paw and tromp the moun’
But don’t you fence it in!

Oh it’s squeak! squeak! squeak!
And they pen the land with wire.
They figure fence and copper cents
Where we laughed ’round the fire.
Job cussed his birthday, night and morn,
In his old land of Uz,
But I’m just glad I wasn’t born
no later than I was!

…by Charles Badger Clark, Jr.

South Dakota native Charles Badger Clark worked as a cowboy on an Arizona ranch and became South Dakota’s first poet laureate. He wrote many lasting poems, and others also found their way into song (including “Spanish is a Loving Tongue” and “To Her”).

Top cowboy balladeer Don Edwards has a wonderful rendition of “The Old Cowman.” You can watch a performance in a video here.

Find poetry and more in our features about Badger Clark.

This photograph is from the Library of Congress Prints and Photograph Division. By C.A. Kendrick, it is captioned, “F.D.W. Ranch, about 1903. Some of the cowboys pose on a tree trunk somewhere on the plains country, possibly Texas or Oklahoma.” Find more about it here.

The South Dakota Historical Society Foundation holds Badger Clark’s papers and offers his books for sale.

The Western Folklife Center has a collection of Badger Clark poems and songs recited and sung by National Cowboy Poetry Gathering participants over the gathering’s three-decade history.

From their description, “The CD features 22 tracks (over 74 minutes) of Clark’s best loved works. A 24-page booklet with the CD contains an essay about Badger Clark written by folklorist Elaine Thatcher, as well as words to all the poems as published by Badger Clark between 1915-1922. The CD is being released in conjunction with the 2016 National Cowboy Poetry Gathering’s celebration of life in the Northern Plains.”

Included are the voices of Owen Johnson, Jerry Brooks, Don Edwards & Waddie Mitchell, Cain Eaton, Rod McQueary, Connie Dover & Skip Gorman, Denise Withnell-Cowboy Celtic, Joe Hertz & David Wilkie, Gail Steiger, Joel Nelson, Lorraine Rawls & Crystal Reeves, Tom Pearlman, Gary McMahan & DW Groethe, Randy Rieman, Jill Jones & Lone Star Chorale, Linda M. Hasselstrom, Carl Sharp, and Jim Ross.

Find more at the Western Foklife Center gift shop.

26th Annual Trappings of the American West Exhibition & Sale Sept. 2-30, 2017

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dcmuDry Creek Arts Fellowship

spDamascus Steel Spur by Larry Fuegen

arWild Storms by Bev Pettit

Fine and functional art of the American cowboy featured at the 26th Annual Trappings of the American West Exhibition & Sale Sept. 2-30, 2017

(Flagstaff, Ariz.) March 31, 2017 – Celebrate the time-honored tradition of Western craftsmanship at the 26th Annual Trappings of the American West Exhibition & Sale, Saturday, September 2 through Saturday, September 30, 2017 at the Museum of Northern Arizona (MNA), 3101 N. Fort Valley Road in Flagstaff. This event is presented in partnership with Dry Creek Arts Fellowship (DCAF).

The exhibition features new work by 80 of the country’s top artists from 15 Western states including members of the Cowboy Artists of America, Traditional Cowboy Arts Association and the National Cowgirl Museum and Hall of Fame. Trappings showcases the talents of master painters, sculptors and photographers, along contemporary cowboy gear created by craftsmen and craftswomen. Saddles, boots, hats, knives, engraved bits and spurs, hitched horsehair and musical instruments will be featured in the exhibition.

Trappings explores the richness and complexity of cowboy heritage and artistic expression,” said Carrie M. Heinonen, MNA CEO and Director. “The event forges a strong connection to Western traditions here on the Colorado Plateau.”

“It is refreshing to know that traditions and art forms evolving from horse culture and the cattle industry are still cherished and nurtured,” adds DCAF Executive Director Linda Stedman.” Trappings connects visitors to the history of the country’s rural western culture, rooted in the principles of tradition, family, integrity and hard work.”

A series of public programs will occur each weekend and include: artist demonstrations, lectures, gallery tours, cowboy poetry, musical performances, an equestrian event and a Dutch-oven cook-off.

A member preview and artist reception will be held Friday, September 1, from 6:00 – 8:00 p.m. Attendees will have the first opportunity to purchase artwork as well as meet many participating artists.

Admission is $12 for adults and $8 for students (w/ ID), American Indians (10+ with tribal affiliation) and youth (10-17). Children under 10, and MNA and DCAF members, are free.

The Museum of Northern Arizona is located three miles north historic downtown Flagstaff on scenic Highway 180 to Grand Canyon National Park and is open Monday-Saturday from 10:00 a.m. – 5:00 p.m. and Sunday from 12:00 – 5:00 p.m.

For more information on the 26th Annual Trappings of the American West Exhibition & Sale contact the Museum of Northern Arizona at (982) 774-5213, musnaz.org, or Dry Creek Arts Fellowship at (928) 774-8861, drycreekarts.com.

 

(submitted by Nika Nordbrock)

Nancy Thorwardson, 1955-2017

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Nancy Thorwardson, 1955-2017

The Western music and cowboy poetry world and her many friends and family mourn the passing of much-loved songwriter, musician, teacher, and more, Nancy Thorwardson on April 11, 2017.

As her web site describes, “Nancy has been a performing musician for many years, working in combos large and small, playing western and standard swing music, old-timey and Cajun dance music, and folk and bluegrass music. Nancy has a true talent for composing songs which fit perfectly within the genre, so her original numbers are always highlights of any show. Nancy plays rhythm guitar, ukulele, piano, drums, and
various hand percussion instruments, and sings lead and harmony vocals. She performs with several bands in Colorado.”

Find more about Nancy at www.nancythorwardson.com.

KINDRED SPIRITS by J. B. Allen (1938-2005)

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photo © 2017, Amy Hale Auker

KINDRED SPIRITS
by J. B. Allen (1938-2005)

The spotted heifer missed the drive
and spent the winter free,
‘Though freedom’s price was willow bark
then sprigs of filaree
That finally showed beneath the snow
before her strength played out.
And green-up brought a fine bull calf
to teach the maverick route.

They fattened on the meadows
of the high Sierra’s flanks
In the company of a maverick bull
that drifted from the ranks
Of cattle across the great divide
turned loose to make their way
And lost amongst the canyons
that were strewn in disarray.

The offspring of this union
proved a wily beast,indeed,
Endowed with instincts from the wild
and blessed with wond’rous speed
That proved a worthy challenge
to the punchers in the hills
Who through the hills spun hairy tales
of wildest wrecks and spills.

But though the issue from the two
was sometimes trapped or caught,
These two ol’ wily veterans
still practiced what they taught,
Spent the winters running free
within their secret haunt
Which held enough to see ’em through
emergin’ weak and gaunt.

For years ol’ Utah searched the range
in futile quest for sign
Of where they spent the winter months a
and somehow get a line
On how they made it every year
and brought a calf, to boot,
‘Til fin’lly one cold, dreary day
it fell to this old coot

To happen on their winter park,
hid out from pryin’ eyes,
And to this day ol’ Utah holds
the key to where it lies.
The kindred spirit, shared by all,
who seek the higher range
Could not betray that cul-de-sac
to folks just bent on change

With no respect for mav’rick ways
or independent thought,
And not one frazz’lin’ idee
of the havoc being wrought
By puttin’ things on schedule,
be it work, or man, or cow,
Till ways that make for bein’ free
are bred plumb-out somehow.

Old Utah turned and trotted off,
to let those old hides be.
His heart a-beatin’ lighter
just a-knowin’ they were free.

© 1997, J.B. Allen
This poem should not be reprinted or reposted without permission

Texan J.B. Allen was a working cowboy for over three decades. He was a frequent performer at the Western Folklife Center’s National Cowboy Poetry Gathering and also at the Texas Cowboy Poetry Gathering, Nara Visa, the Arizona Cowboy Poets Gathering, and other events. His poetry is included in many anthologies and in his own books and recordings. His book, The Medicine Keepers, received the Western Heritage Wrangler Award from the National Cowboy and Western Heritage Museum in 1998.

J.B. Allen’s poetry is featured in a new CD from CowboyPoetry.com, MASTERS, along with the work of Larry McWhorter, J.B. Allen, Sunny Hancock, and Ray Owens. The compilation includes recorded poems, “live” performances, and their recitations of other masters’ works (Buck Ramsey, S. Omar Barker, and Henry Herbert Knibbs) with an introduction by Jay Snider.

Andy Hedges, songster and host of COWBOY CROSSROADS  comments on the CD, “This album represents four of the finest poets to ever come out of cowboy culture. We are not likely to see their kind again and the world should be grateful to Cowboypoetry.com for preserving their voices.”

MASTERS has been offered to rural libraries across the West in the CowboyPoetry.com outreach Rural Library Program, a part of Cowboy Poetry Week. It was also given as a thank-you to our supporters and is available for purchase. Find more about MASTERS here.

Find more about J.B. Allen at CowboyPoetry.com.

This photograph is by cow hand, writer, and poet Amy Hale Auker, taken a couple of weeks ago. She cowboys with her husband Gail Steiger in rugged country at Arizona’s Spider ranch. About this photo, she noted, “We rarely run anything through the chute, but this huge maverick bull came from down in the low country. We drove him out with gentle cows, sixteen miles.A quick brand in the chute and he’s free again.”

Look for Amy Hale Auker’s new book, Ordinary Skin: Essays from Willow Springs, from Texas Tech University Press in May. Find more about her at her web siteon CowboyPoetry.com, on Facebook, and on Instagram.

Events: April

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Find links to all months here.

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• through April 1, 2017
25th Annual Tin Pan South Songwriters Festival Nashville, Tennessee

•  April 1, 2017
21st Annual Cowboy Poetry Night Gateway, Colorado

• April 8-9, 2017
Folkfest New Braunfels, Texas

• April 14th, 15th, & 16th, 2017
14th Annual Columbia River Cowboy Gathering and Western Music Festival Kennewick, Washington

• April 14th, 15th, & 16th, 2017
9th Annual Cowboy Idol Competition at the 14th Annual Columbia River Cowboy Gathering and Western Music Festival Kennewick, Washington

• April 15, 2017
Ranch Day at the National Ranching Heritage Center Lubbock, Texas

• April 20-22, 2017
Trappings of Texas Custom Cowboy Gear and Western Art Exhibit Alpine, Texas

• April 21-23, 2017
101st Annual Meeting, Texas Folklore Society Tyler, Texas

• April 21 – 22, 2017
Western Heritage Awards at the National Cowboy and Western Heritage Museum Oklahoma City, Oklahoma

• April 21 – 23, 2017
96th Annual Red Bluff Roundup Red Bluff, California

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• April 14-16, 2017
30th Annual St. Anthony Cowboy Poetry Gathering St. Anthony, Idaho

CPI2013Visit our Sponsor supporters: Cowboy Poets of Idaho

• • •

•  April 15, 2017
Western Music Association Colorado Chapter Showcase Denver, Colorado

 

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• April 16-22, 2017
16th annual Cowboy Poetry Week

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Find more Cowboy Poetry Week news here.

Cowboy Poetry Week Events:

• Friday, April 7, 2017
Park County Library  Cody, Wyoming ( 2:00 PM)

• Sunday, April 9, 2017 ( 2:00 PM)
Lewis & Clark Interpretive Center and The Betty Strong Encounter Center  Sioux City, Iowa.

• Saturday, April 15, 2017
Wilsonville Public Library Wilsonville, Oregon

Sunday, April 16, 2017
CowTrails radio  noon-2:00 MTN

• Monday, April 17, 2017
Herriman Library,  Herriman, Utah,  (6:30 PM – 8 PM)

• Monday, April 17, 2017
Weber County Southwest Branch  Roy, Utah  (6:30 PM)

• Tuesday, April 18, 2017
 Tigard Public Library  Tigard, Oregon (7:00 PM)

• Tuesday, April 18, 2017
St. George Branch Library St. George, Utah (6:00 PM )

• Tuesday, April 18, 2017
Santa Clara Branch Library St. George, Utah  (4:00 PM)

• Wednesday, April 19, 2017
Washington Branch Library Washington, Utah (7:00 PM)

• Wednesday, April 19, 2017
Hurricane Branch Library, Hurricane, Utah (5:00 PM)

• Wednesday, April 19, 2017
Weber County Pleasant Valley Branch South Ogden, Utah (6:30 PM)

• Wednesday, April 19, 2017
Cowboy Poetry at Creekside, Woodinville, Washington

• Wednesday, April 19, 2017
The Dalles-Wasco County Library  The Dalles, Oregon (6:30 PM)

• Thursday, April 20,  2017
Weber County Ogden Valley Branch  Huntsville, Utah (6:30 PM)

• Thursday, April 20,  2017
Equestrian Legacy Radio Cowboy Poetry Week Program  Noon, Central

• Thursday, April 20,  2017
Rolla Public Library  Rolla, North Dakota (7:00 PM)

• Friday, April 21, 2017
First annual Cowboy Poetry Gathering Lebanon, Tennessee (7:30-10 PM)

• Friday, April 21, 2017
Library’s National Poetry Month open mic Cortez, Colorado

• Friday, April 21, 2017
Second annual Cowboy Poetry Gathering Bristow, Oklahoma (3-6 PM)

• Friday, April 21, 2017
5th annual Cowboy Poetry Gathering Shoshoni, Wyoming (4-6 PM)

• Saturday, April 22, 2017
Colorado Cowboy Poetry Gathering movie screening  Wheat Ridge, Colorado   (7PM)

• Saturday, April 22, 2017
Cowboy Poetry at Creekside, Woodinville, Washington

• Saturday, April 22, 2017
Judy James’ Cowboy Jubilee radio Cowboy Poetry Week program
(7:30-9:30 AM Central)

• Saturday, April 22, 2017
Stony Creek Ranch Resort, Stony Creek, New York

•  Sunday, April 23, 2017
The Stagecoach West Irving, New York

•  Sunday, April 23, 2017
City Hall  Dakota City, Nebraska  (2:00 PM)

•  Thursday, April 27, 2017
Dayton Memorial Library  Dayton, Washington (6 PM)

•  Thursday, April 27, 2017
Winthrop Library  Winthrop, Washington (7 PM)

•  Friday, April 29, 2017
Arthur Lakes Library Golden, Colorado (12:00 PM)

•  Saturday, April 29, 2017
 2nd annual Cowboyin’, Horses, and Friends  Choctaw, Oklahoma (10 AM-4 PM)

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•  April 19-23, 2017
24th Annual Santa Clarita Cowboy Festival Santa Clarita, California

•  April 21, 2017
First Annual Cowboy Poetry Gathering Lebanon, Tennessee

•  April 28-20, 2017
6th Annual Genoa Cowboy Festival Genoa, Nevada

•  April 28-30, 2017
Stagecoach Indio, California

• April 29, 2017
Out of the Ashes Benefit (from everywhere!)

• April 29, 2017
 2nd annual Cowboyin’, Horses, and Friends  Choctaw, Oklahoma

• April 29, 2017
The Working Cowboy  Prescott, Arizona

• April 29, 2017
46th Annual Bob Wills Day Festival Turkey, Texas