National Cowboy Poetry Gathering Performers
Most artists of the 30th National Cowboy Poetry Gathering
are represented in our online gift shop.

Find your favorite performers with our alphabetical listing:

          A-B       C-E       G       H       I-M       N-Q      R       S       T-Z

Gary Allegretto, courtesy of the artist

Gary Allegretto can barely remember
a time when playing cowboy tunes on a
harmonica wasn't as natural as his own
voice. He started playing upon receiving
his first harp at age five from his
woodsman grandfather, and has since
performed all around the globe.
American Cowboy magazine calls his
performances... "Amazing. This good-
natured cowboy singer-songwriter blows
you away with his talent. You've never
seen or heard anything like it." Indeed,
Gary's jaw-dropping musicianship has
earned him  five Western Music
Association award nominations, including
Outstanding Entertainer and Outstanding
Instrumentalist. He's also a Best of the
West Award winner with two GRAMMY® Award considerations, and his unique brand of song writing and music has been featured on soundtracks for major motion pictures and television. At the Gathering, Gary will also be offering his award-winning harmonica workshop in which complete beginners learn to play cowboy songs instantly. Don't miss the world’s top "Harmonicowboy!"  //

Amy Hale Auker, courtesy of the artist

Amy Hale Auker cowboys on a ranch in Arizona with her husband, Gail Steiger. And, always, she writes. She guides readers to a place where the bats fly, lizards do pushups on the rocks, bears leave barefoot prints in the dirt, and poetry is in the chrysalis and the cocoon. Amy tells stories about the real world where things grow up out of the ground, where the miracle of life happens over and over and over again, where people can and do survive without malls and Arby's. Her first book, Rightful Place, won the 2012 WILLA award for creative non-fiction. In 2013, Pen-L Publishing released her first novel, Winter of Beauty. //

Mike Beck, photo by Jessica Brandi Lifland

Mike Beck is a professional musician and working cowboy whose songs reflect his experiences in California, Montana and Nevada. Born and raised in Monterey County, California, he was a student of legendary horseman Bill Dorrance and now travels extensively in the U.S. and Europe, making music and conducting horsemanship clinics. Known for his guitar wizardry and Western songwriting, Mike’s mellow sound combines real cowboy experience with a unique blend of western, rock and Americana styles. Two of his songs – In Old California and Don’t Tell Me – were listed in Western Horseman’s “13 Best Cowboy Songs of All Time.”  //

Baxter Black, photo by Gary Gainer

Baxter Black is a cowboy poet. A former large-animal veterinarian, Baxter's poetry and stories focus on the day-to-day ups and downs of everyday people who live with livestock and work the land. For years, he has traveled the USA and Canada, scattering his wit and cowboy mentality to folks looking for a bright spot in their day. With over one million books and audios sold, a weekly column, a weekly radio program, a weekly television program …there’s no place to hide if you live in the country! Baxter demonstrates that it is the truth in humor that makes it funny. (That's why there are no science fiction jokes!) //

Dave Bourne, photo by Charlie Ekburg

Dave Bourne has been playing piano professionally since his first job at the Calico Saloon at Knott’s Berry Farm in 1958. A skilled multi-instrumentalist, he has played with the Wagonmasters at Knott’s Berry Farm, with the Dawn of the Century Ragtime Orchestra and with The Lobo Rangers. Dave’s dedication to performing the authentic music of the Old West has resulted in six albums featuring the saloon piano, with Saloon Piano Volume I also available for player pianos. His music can be heard extensively on the HBO series Deadwood where he appears as the piano player in the Gem Saloon.  //

Jerry Brooks, photo by Jessica Brandi Lifland

Jerry Brooks has loved and recited poetry since she was young. Known to friends simply as “Brooksie,” she learned to love the spoken word from family and has become one of the finest reciters of classical and modern cowboy poetry. Not only does she have a knack for recognizing a great poem when she hears one, Jerry can recite for hours on end from a huge personal collection of memorized works. At home, both in a saddle and under her “miner” hat, “Brooksie” now takes care of 80 acres along Clear Creek in south-central Utah. Her CD is Shoulder to Shoulder. //

Jeffery Broussard & The Creole Cowboys, courtesy of the artists

Born in Lafayette, Louisiana, Jeffery Broussard was raised in Frilot Cove on a farm where his father was a sharecropper. He grew up fishing the bayous, riding horses across fields, and working hard. A founding member of the Creole Riders club, he owns three horses and taught his children to ride. One of the most influential accordionists and vocalists in modern Zydeco music, Jeffery is a dynamic performer and a musical innovator. Beginning his career at age eight playing drums in his father’s traditional Creole Zydeco band, Delton Broussard & The Lawtell Playboys, he moved on to develop the nouveau Zydeco sound with Zydeco Force, then returned to a more traditional sound with his own band, Jeffery Broussard & The Creole Cowboys//

Return to Top


Walter James Cheney II was an active 5-year-old in Holbrook, Arizona, when he tagged along with a family friend to sing a song at the local radio station. The song was "Bimbo" and the nickname was born.  Walt began writing poetry over 40 years ago behind bucking chutes in rodeos, continued writing while working as a cowboy, and later discovered that other cowboys had done the same for over a century. Over 30 years ago, when he and other cowboys had a day off, they would gather at a park in Elko and tell each other their poems. Now, they gather everywhere.  //

Doris Daley, photo by Jessica Brandi Lifland

Doris Daley was born and raised in Canadian ranching country in southern Alberta and comes from a self described gene pool that includes “mounties, ranchers, sorry team ropers, intrepid homesteaders, petticoated bushwhackers, grain elevator operators and Irish stowaways.” She has twice been named top female cowboy poet of the year, is a regular at cowboy festivals as both a poet and an emcee, and makes her home in Turner Valley, Alberta. //
Carolyn Dufurrena, photo by Jessica Brandi Lifland

Carolyn Dufurrena is a rancher, writer and retired educator in rural Humboldt County in northwestern Nevada. She and her husband Tim live on the Quinn River Ranch south of Denio. Carolyn co-authored the book Fifty Miles From Home: Riding the Long Circle on a Nevada Family Ranch, which won the Silver Pen Award from the University of Nevada Libraries. She has also published a poetry collection, That Blue Hour, and co-authored Sharing Fencelines: Three Friends Write from Nevada's Sagebrush Corner. She has made several short films for the Western Folklife Center's Deep West Video series and writes regularly for Range Magazine on people and issues of the West.

Don Edwards, courtesy of the artist

Don Edwards is a GRAMMY® -nominated singer-guitarist well versed in cowboy lore and musical traditions, which gives tremendous depth to his performances. A member of the Cowboy Hall of Fame, Don is celebrating 50 years as a musician. He has been influenced by a wide cross-section of American music and has recorded numerous award-winning albums of original and traditional songs that express the realities and romance of cowboy life. Don is one of the great cowboy troubadours.  //

Richard Elloyan, courtesy of the artist

Richard Elloyan is a singer, songwriter, poet, and performer of unique wit and imagination. Raised in the historic mining town of Virginia City, Nevada, he has spent his entire life immersed in the history, characters, and lifestyle of the West. Richard has performed at many major western music and poetry festivals such as the Colorado Cowboy Music and Poetry Festival, Arizona Cowboy Poets Gathering, and National Cowboy Poetry Gathering. He has written songs with Dave Stamey and Ken Grayden and has had his songs recorded by Lacy J. Dalton, the late Curley Musgrave, Belinda Gail, Prickly Pair, Ken Overcast and Bill Barwick. Richard recently released his sixth CD, This Side of the Dirt. //

Return to Top

Dick Gibford, photo by Jessica Brandi Lifland

Dick Gibford was raised on a small cow outfit on the central coast and at age 13, began starting two-year-old colts for his dad. Upon graduation from high school in 1968, Dick left for Tuscarora, Nevada, where he rode for Willis Packer as a "rep" on the 25 wagon. He has been influenced in every facet of his life by that first experience as a "sagebrush buckaroo." These days, he cowboys out of an isolated cow camp for the Walking R Ranch in Maricopa, California. He also makes slickfork saddles, does rawhide braiding, paints and starts an occasional colt.

Pipp Gillette, courtesy of the artist 

Pipp Gillette raises cattle on the family ranch near Lovelady, Texas, where his grandfather started in 1912. His Camp Street Cafe in Crockett, Texas, is a live music venue featuring performers from around the world. Pipp plays traditional cowboy music on guitar, banjo, harmonica, and bones. Pipp and his late brother Guy Gillette recorded eight albums of cowboy music and were recipients of the Western Heritage Wrangler Award for Best Traditional Album of 2010. They also received the 2012 Wrangler Award for Best Outstanding Original Western Composition for their performance of the song, Trade Off, penned by Waddie Mitchell. //

Dr. Temple Grandin, photo by Rosalie Winward

Dr. Temple Grandin was born in Boston, Massachusetts, an autistic child. Mentoring by her high school science teacher and her aunt on her ranch in Arizona motivated Grandin to pursue a career as a scientist and livestock equipment designer. Grandin obtained her B.A. at Franklin Pierce College in 1970, M.S. in Animal Science at Arizona State University in 1975, and Ph.D in Animal Science from the University of Illinois in 1989. She is currently a Professor at Colorado State University. The recipient of many awards, she has done extensive work on the design of handling facilities and developed animal welfare guidelines for the meat industry in use by many top food companies around the world. Widely published, of note are her books, Animals in Translation, Livestock Handling and Transport, Thinking in Pictures, Emergence Labeled Autistic; Animals Make Us Human, Improving Animal Welfare: A Practical Approach, The Way I See It, and The Autistic Brain. Grandin was the star in an HBO movie about her early life and career with the livestock industry that received seven Emmy awards, a Golden Globe, and a Peabody Award. In 2011, Grandin was inducted into the Cowgirl Hall of Fame. //

DW Groethe, photo by Jessica Brandi Lifland
DW Groethe was born and raised in western North Dakota. Along the way, he learned to play the guitar and started writing songs and poems about life out West. In 1991, he pulled stakes, moved to Bainville, Montana, and started working as a ranch hand. Renowned for his wry sense of humor and offbeat observations, DW has been invited to perform his eclectic assortment of poems and tunes at two National Folk Festivals, the Library of Congress and the Kennedy Center. He has recorded three CDs and written four books of poetry. One of these, West River Waltz, won the Will Rogers Medallion Award for Excellence in Cowboy Poetry. //

Wylie Gustafson and Sam Platts, photo by Jessica Brandi Lifland
Wylie Gustafson – singer, songwriter, rancher, horseman, and the original, world-famous Yahoo!® yodeler - is a real life cowboy born into a 4th generation ranching family on the empty sprawl of Northern Montana. He proves himself a distinctive and affecting singer as well as a highly adept songwriter, with one boot firmly in the stirrup of tradition and the other in the stirrup of respectful innovation, gently spurring cowboy and Western music toward its future. Wylie will be joined by fifth-generation Wyoming native Sam Platts on guitar. //

Return to Top

Gary Haleamau Family Band, courtesy of the artists
The Gary Haleamau Family Band, also known as Kāwili (to blend or be interwoven), weaves together Hawaiian musical poetry through mele (song) and hula (dance), luminescent vocal harmonies and effervescent slack-key guitar. Gary Haleamau, wife Sheldeen, son Kurin, and friend William Lau paint beautiful musical pictures of Hawaiian life past and present. Gary grew up at Hu'ehu'e Ranch in the big island of Hawaii where family gatherings always included music. His father Karin Haleamau – a paniolo (Hawaiian cowboy) and ki ho'alu (slack-key guitar) player – encouraged his son’s musical interests. By age eight, Gary was playing and singing at family and neighborhood gatherings. He released his debut album on Poki Records in 1977 at the age of 12. He has since recorded seven albums with Liko Records and two albums with Pua Records. Gary believes that it is “our kuleana (responsibility) as Hawaiians is to treasure and pass on Hawaiian music and art to our keiki (little ones), for they are our future.” He is passing on his skills to son Kurin and keeping stories alive through music, while giving audiences around the world a living example of Aloha. Aloha Pumehana!

Kristyn Harris, photo by Jessica Brandi Lifland
Kristyn Harris is a 19-year-old entertainer from Collin County, Texas, with a passion for all things western. Her singing, songwriting, yodeling and swing rhythm guitar style are inspired by her ranch life as well as by classic and contemporary western music icons. When she’s not playing music, Kristyn keeps busy with her horses. This 4-H national champion has adopted and successfully trained two wild mustangs. She was most recently awarded the Western Music Association Crescendo Award and the Western Music Association Female Yodeler of the Year, and has been praised as “a top notch performer” with “a style all her own.”  //

Joe and Barry Hertz, courtesy of the artists
Barry & Joe Hertz are a father-son duo who trace their roots to the South Dakota prairie and now hail from Alberta, Canada. Joe began playing violin at the tender age of four, studying with a French-Canadian musician from St. Paul, Alberta. He learned classical music as well as traditional fiddle tunes and in grade eight joined The Calgary Fiddlers. Since then, he has played in numerous groups, most notably David Wilkie’s Cowboy Celtic. Stonemason by day, fiddler by night, Joe has played music with his dad Barry since childhood. Barry has worked as a beekeeper and high school biology teacher, fitting in music wherever he can – including in the classroom. In A Cowboy’s Prayer, his latest CD which also features Joe, Barry has set original melodies to eleven Badger Clark poems.

Brenn Hill, courtesy of the artist
Brenn Hill is a purist at heart who holds strong to his family ties. The Utah-born singer-songwriter creates music that pays homage to Western music’s finest traditions while serving as a passport to today’s mountain West. Brenn has several albums and numerous music industry awards to his credit. His most recent release out in fall 2013, Ode To Selway, is his tenth recording. He lives in Hooper, Utah, with his wife, three children and a cavvy of horses.  //

Yvonne Hollenbeck, photo by Jessica Brandi Lifland
Yvonne Hollenbeck and her husband, Glen, own and operate a working cattle ranch near the tiny town of Clearfield, South Dakota.   Whether working alongside her husband putting up hay, caring for livestock, or feeding a crew, Yvonne finds inspiration for her award-winning poetry, and oftentimes makes humor out of situations that are not so humorous when they happen.  //

Linda Hussa, photo by Jessica Brandi Lifland
Linda Hussa is a Great Basin rancher, poet and writer whose work celebrates the isolated nature of ranching, a commitment to rural communities and to the natural community of the desert landscape. She and husband John celebrated the Hussa Ranch Centennial in 2011. Linda has read her poetry for First Lady Laura Bush and at the Library of Congress in Washington, D.C. She has won the Wrangler, Spur, and Willa for Blood Sister, I Am To These Fields, and the University of Nevada Libraries' Silver Pen Award for Lige Langston: Sweet Iron. In 2013, Linda was featured in the California Historical Society's exhibit, "I See Beauty In This Life" by writer/photographer Lisa Hamilton. Linda is a past member of the Western Folklife Center’s Board of Trustees.  //

Return to Top

Chris Isaacs, photo by Jessica Brandi Lifland
Chris Isaacs is a poet and storyteller who has received the Academy of Western Artists' Will Rogers Award three times. Chris has been a full-time cowboy, rodeoed, and worked as a packer. In between jobs, you can usually find him making a living as a horseshoer. He has recorded several albums, has published two books and is currently editing a new one, From the War Bag. He currently day-works for area ranches in Eagar, Arizona, in the beautiful White Mountains, and travels the country with his poetry.

Caleb Klauder Country Band, courtesy of the artists The Caleb Klauder Country Band melds honky-tonk and early country into music harkening back to the old dance hall days when people of all walks of life came together to dance, socialize, and enjoy live music. Leading with vocals, guitar and mandolin, Caleb has been touring nationally and internationally for over 15 years, first with acclaimed folk-rock band Calobo and then with the widely celebrated Foghorn Stringband. The band performs Caleb’s praised original songs right alongside classics from George Jones, The Louvin Brothers and Dolly Parton. Band members include Jesse Emerson on upright bass, Ned Folkerth on drums, Reeb Willms on vocals and guitar, Russ Blake on pedal steel and electric guitar, and Sam Weiss on fiddle, all of whom contribute to the vibrant Northwest music scene in various other bands. //
Ross Knox, photo by Jessica Brandi Lifland
Ross Knox first aspired to be a cowboy as a little boy, when he watched his father work their ranch in central Oregon. At 16, he quit school and moved to Nevada to buckaroo, where he also began writing poetry to occupy his time alone. He has worked at both the Grand Canyon and Saguaro National Park in Arizona, packing in supplies and tools for trail and fire crews. Ross now leads pack trips in Yosemite and lives in Midpines, California. Known for reciting the classics, Ross also writes original poetry from his life experiences and has more than 100 poems committed to memory. //

Marley's Ghost, courtesy of the artists Marley's Ghost – a virtuoso aggregation composed of singer/multi-instrumentalists Dan Wheetman, Jon Wilcox, Mike Phelan, Ed Littlefield Jr. and Jerry Fletcher – is the capable inheritor of the archetypal Americana blueprint drawn up by The Band. As the L.A. Weekly put it, "This West Coast group deftly dashes across decades of American music that's steeped in tradition but never bogged down by traditionalism." These guys can sing and play anything with spot-on feel – from roots to rock, blues to bluegrass, cowboy to stone country. The band recently celebrated its 25th anniversary with the scintillating roots-music tour de force, Jubilee. The album, produced by legendary Nashville cat Cowboy Jack Clement and recorded at the city's venerable Sound Emporium, which Clement built, features guest performances from Emmylou Harris, John Prine, Old Crow Medicine Show, Marty Stuart and Larry Campbell.  //

Deanna Dickinson McCall, photo by Neets
Deanna Dickinson McCall has cows, horses and a love of the land bred into her, coming from a family that began ranching in Texas in the 1840s. She has ranched in several western states, including 22 years in Nevada. Her poetry and stories have been included in several anthologies as well as published in magazines. Her book Mustang Spring: Stories & Poems was published by the Frontier Project in 2012 and has been nominated for several awards, while her poetry CD Riding was selected as Album of the Year for 2012 by the Academy of Western Artists. Deanna, her husband and son ranch in the Sacramento Mountains of southern New Mexico.  //

Waddie Mitchell, photo by Kevin Martini-Fuller
Waddie Mitchell —Nevada's Sesquicentennial Poet—was immersed in the cowboy way of entertaining as a boy on the Nevada ranches where his father worked. The art of spinning tales in rhyme and meter about a rich lifestyle of pushing cows and living off the land came to be called cowboy poetry. Waddie recites the older classics as well as his own, eloquently expressing moments grand and common, humorous and tragic. In 1985, Waddie helped organize Elko's first Cowboy Poetry Gathering. Since then, he has kept busy writing, publishing and recording. Waddie was inducted into the Nevada Writers Hall of Fame in 2011, and was honored in 2012 with the Nevada Heritage Award. //

Michael Martin Murphey, courtesy of the artist
Michael Martin Murphey is a proud son and life-long resident of Texas, where his family settled in 1858. He divides his time between ranches in the Panhandle of West Texas, Northern New Mexico, Southern Colorado and the Oocooch Mountains of Wisconsin. Michael's music blends many genres, including pop, country, western, Celtic, jazz and bluegrass, and focuses on his personal life as a Southwestern “pilgrim.” He has released over 35 albums, and his song “Wildfire” is among the most-aired songs in radio history. His most recent release, Red River Drifter, continues to bust fences between genres while telling timeless stories about love, loss and living in the West. //

Return to Top

Joel Nelson, photo by Jessica Brandi Lifland
Joel Nelson has been a cowboy since the age of six, when he helped on a cattle drive to the railroad. He holds a bachelor’s degree in Forestry and Range Management, has built custom saddles, and served in Vietnam with the 101st Airborne Division. For more than 30 years, Joel made his living working on cow outfits in Texas, New Mexico, Arizona and Hawaii, specializing in breaking colts. Respected as a cowboy’s cowboy, Joel knows the work and handles horses and cattle with a gentleness of spirit. He is a founder of the Texas Cowboy Poetry Gathering in Alpine, Texas, and a 2009 recipient of the National Endowment for the Arts National Heritage Fellowship. Joel’s poem Equus Caballus was selected to be a part of the national Poetry Out Loud program for high school students. //

Rodney Nelson, photo by Jens Lund
Rodney Nelson and his wife Teri live in Sims, North Dakota. Rodney raises a few Red Angus cattle, is a brand inspector and trains horses. He has been on the banquet circuit since he became involved in cowboy poetry in 1987, and has written a bi-weekly humor column for the Farm and Ranch Guide since 1995. Rod started his rodeo career out with a bang when he won third place in the calf riding at a Bantry, North Dakota rodeo in 1956. After mainly riding saddle broncs, and following a serious slump of 50 years, he won the 50+ steer wrestling average at the Senior Pro National Finals Rodeo in 2006. At his current rate of improvement he hopes to win a major bronc riding title, somewhere, by the time he is 80 years old. Unfortunately, Rodney is unable to attend the Gathering.

Dale Nystrom, courtesy of the artist
Dale Nystrom became acquainted with the back of a horse in 1943 and spent much of the next 70 years greeting the sunrise or basking in the sunset from that vantage point. He has been in the cow/calf business since 1956 and the herd is at the home place on Tiffany Flat, northeast of New Rockford, North Dakota. Dale has been entertaining people since his one-room schoolhouse teacher told his mother that he didn’t always finish lunch because he was too busy talking. He started writing cowboy poetry in the early 1990s and has appeared at the Dakota Poetry Gathering since 1994. These days, Dale is a retired auctioneer, licensed lay preacher, and rides as Teddy Roosevelt in the annual Fourth of July Parade in Sheyenne, North Dakota.

Glenn Ohrlin, photo by Jessica Brandi Lifland
Glenn Ohrlin was born in Minneapolis in 1926 and has been a cowboy virtually all of his life. At age 14, his family moved to California, and by 16, he left home to become a rodeo bronc rider in Nevada. He worked as a ranch hand and rode the rodeo circuit for a number of years. Today, he ranches and runs a cow outfit in the Ozark hills near Mountain View, Arkansas. Glenn is best known as a collector and performer of cowboy songs, range ballads, stories and poems. Named a National Endowment for the Arts National Heritage Fellow in 1985, Glenn has a mesmerizing style that is understated, powerful and hilarious. //

Lisa Quinlan, courtesy of the artist
Lisa Quinlan was five when her family moved to an isolated place in Colorado's San Luis Valley, to grow alfalfa and raise livestock. Her chores developed from mothering orphan lambs to baling, raking and stacking hay. She ran the fragile swather, since the boys lacked patience. Lisa got her own self propelled baler where she could reach the pedals when she was nine. “I was finally a full-fledged contributing member of the family crew,” she says. Lisa recently shut down a 25-year old picture framing business with her mother. Although the Quinlans no longer operate the place theycontinue to live there. As a mother of two sons, she often reflects on how their lives differ without the experience of working together on the land. Her work has been published in anthologies, as well as her hand-bound poetry book What Will Matter.
Vess Quinlan, photo by Jessica Brandi Lifland
Vess Quinlan is the fourth generation in his family to spend his working life raising livestock and feed in Colorado. He has been writing poetry and prose since being confined for nearly a year with polio in 1951, and he has worked on ranches since running away from home at 15. He attended nine different high schools before graduating in 1958 while working for Jim Crowley at the Diamond G on the Frying Pan River. He continued to work on ranches in Colorado until he became a working partner on a "rundown outfit" in Colorado's San Luis Valley, where he raises alfalfa, cattle, kids, dogs and sheep.

Return to Top

Henry Real Bird, photo by Sue Rosoff
Henry Real Bird, a native Crow Indian, grew up ranching on the battlegrounds of the Little Big Horn on the Crow Reservation in Montana. A former rodeo cowboy, now a renowned poet, Henry still lives in and draws inspiration from the land of the Little Big Horn Valley. Horses picture large in Henry’s creative work, and he still rides eight to nine hours a day. In January 2012, this former Montana poet laureate was also named Cowboy Poet of the Year at the 16th annual Academy of Western Artist's Will Roger Awards. Published in 2013, his latest book is Wolf Teeth. //

Brigid Reedy, courtesy of the artist
Brigid Reedy is a 13-year old musician who has grown up home-schooled on ranches in Colorado and Montana. Daughter of musician/poet/photographer John Reedy, she has been steeped in Western music from the very start. She learned to yodel at the age of two and began playing the fiddle a few years later. Her musical repertoire runs the full gamut of the American West, from the most traditional cowboy tunes to new songs by contemporary singer-songwriters. Brigid first entertained crowds at the National Cowboy Poetry Gathering in 2003 by yodeling for the crowd at the Pioneer Bar. In the years since, she has had the honor and pleasure of being invited on to the Elko stage with heroes and friends including Paul Zarzyski, Wally McRae, Tom Russell, Wylie Gustafson, Corb Lund and Glenn Ohrlin. //

Pat Richardson, photo by Jessica Brandi Lifland
Pat Richardson was raised on ranches where his dad worked. Pat left home at the age of 14 and rode colts, milked cows, hauled hay, competed in rodeos, tried to “draw like Will James . . . and dabbled some in writing poetry.” A former professional saddle-bronc and bull rider, Pat drew cartoons for the Rodeo Sports News and has sold his pen-and-ink western art throughout the West. In 1999, he won the Cedar City Cowboy Poetry Contest against 78 other poets from Canada, Australia and the United States. He was chosen the 2003 Academy of Western Artists Cowboy Poet of the Year. Pat is currently working on his autobiography. //!blank/c7j9

Riders In The Sky, courtesy of the artists
Riders In The Sky stand "hats & shoulders" above the rest of the purveyors of C & W - "Comedy & Western!" For more than 35 years, Riders In The Sky have been keepers of the flame passed on by the Sons of the Pioneers, Gene Autry and Roy Rogers, reviving and revitalizing the genre. Among their exceptional accomplishments, Riders In The Sky have won two Grammys, starred in their own weekly TV and radio shows, and performed live in over 6100 concert appearances. They have become modern-day icons by branding the genre with their own legendary wacky humor and way-out Western wit, and all along encouraging buckaroos and buckarettes to live life "The Cowboy Way!" //
Randy Rieman, photo by Jessica Brandi Lifland
Randy Rieman has spent much of his life making a living "a-horseback," working on ranches in Montana, Nevada, New Mexico, California and Hawaii. He has spent years learning from legendary horsemen and now teaches horsemanship clinics on problem-solving and colt starting. Randy is also a talented rawhide braider, a skill he learned from the late Bill Dorrance. He is best known for his classic recitations of poetry from the American West and the Australian Bush. Randy established and runs the Pioneer Mountain Ranch, a horse training facility and destination horsemanship school just outside Dillon, Montana.  //

Return to Top

Martha Scanlan, courtesy of the artist  
Martha Scanlan is a singer-songwriter who transports listeners to the landscapes she describes. Dirty Linen magazine writes, “Scanlan evokes western landscapes as effectively as Georgia O’Keefe did on canvas.” She has toured with the Reeltime Travelers and headlined festivals with songs from her critically acclaimed debut album, The West Was Burning. Recently, Martha now lives and cowboys on a remote 100-year old ranch in southeastern Montana in a decades-old cottonwood log cabin. Her new collection of songs, Tongue River Stories, was recorded in the quiet meadows and solitary cabin of the ranch – powerfully evoking a sense of belonging and place, sound and space.  //

Frank Schweighart, courtesy of the artist 
Frank Schweighart  was raised on a large ranch in the rugged mountains of Northwest Wyoming, where he roped, rodeoed and learned to shoe horses at the age of fourteen from his dad and the other old cowboys around the place. After a stint in college and five years in the Army as an Explosive Ordinance Disposal technician, he returned to the ranch for several years and eventually became a full time farrier in East Texas. In his poetry, he draws on experiences ranching, roping, rodeoing and working on horse all over the country. Until recently, most of his writing has been for his own amusement so he’s pleased to be able to share some of it for the first time at the Gathering. //

Trinity Seely, courtesy of the artist
Trinity Seely grew up in the heart of cow country in the Chilcotin of British Columbia, Canada. Inspired at any early age by this rugged sea of jackpine forests and grasslands, she learned to work hard from kitchen to corral on the family’s guest ranch. As a teen, Trinity moved to California to attend The Thacher School and her love affair for the vaquero way was born. With humbling honesty and a honey-smooth voice, Trinity sings about loving cowboys, horses and living “in the middle of nowhere.” For the last 2 years, Trinity has made her home on the Handcart Ranch near Alcova, Wyoming, as a cowboy’s wife and mother to three buckaroos and a buckarette. //

Sean Sexton, photo by Jessica Brandi Lifland
Sean Sexton was born in Indian River Country, and grew up and lives on his family’s Treasure Hammock Ranch. He divides his time between taking care of a 600-acre cow-calf and seekstock operation, painting and writing. He's married to artist, Sharon Sexton. Sean has kept journal/sketch books drawn from his life since 1973 and was awarded an Individual Artists’ Fellowship from the state of Florida in 2000-1. His paintings and etchings are presently in the "Art from the Heart of Florida" exhibition at Crealde' School for the Arts in Orlando. He is author of Blood Writing, Poems [Anhinga Press 2010], and a chapbook, The Empty Tomb [U.of Alabama Slash Pine Press], released in autumn 2013.

Georgie Sicking, photo by Jessica Brandi Lifland
Georgie Sicking was raised on a ranch outside of Kingman, Arizona. With both her father and stepfather as teachers, Georgie began riding at the age of two. By 16, she was on the payroll of the Green Cattle Company in Seligman, Arizona. Georgie’s poetry speaks of her experience as a woman cowboy and offers a fine blend of humor and wisdom. She has also been inducted into the Cowgirl Hall of Fame and was awarded the 100,000-Miles on Horseback award from the Nevada Cattlemen’s Association. Georgie was the focus of the award-winning documentary film Ridin’ and Rhymin’ by Greg Snider and Dawn Smallman. //

Jesse Smith, photo by Jessica Brandi Lifland
Jesse Smith has been a working cowboy all his life, growing up in the small ranching community of Glennville, California, in the Sierra Nevada Mountains. His great grandparents were some of the first to homestead the area in the mid-1800s. Jesse began his first "formal" cowboy job working on the Tejon ranch and quickly learned the traditional ways of the cowboy from the old-time cowboys there. He started writing poetry at an early age and is known for his humorous poetry and traditional style. He and his family now make their home in the ranch country of Cora, Wyoming.

Dave Stamey, photo by Jessica Brandi Lifland
Dave Stamey performs classic cowboy songs and his original compositions about the West and on the plight of the rancher trying to maintain a ranch in these modern times. He has been bucked off and stomped on by many horses and mules, and he's been dragged around branding pens by angry cattle of various sizes. Dave is now an entertainer and finds that he prefers it to being stomped on. He's been awarded the Male Performer of the Year several times by the Western Music Association. He lives in Orange Grove, California, with his wife Melissa, three horses and several dogs. //

Gail Steiger, photo by Jessica Brandi Lifland
Gail Steiger comes from both a ranching and songwriting background. Gail has worked on many ranches, including the 06 and the Spider Ranch in Yavapai County, Arizona, where he has been the foreman since 1995. He has been playing guitar and writing songs for over 30 years. Gail also works with his brother Lew on various films and multi-media projects, and is a member the Western Folklife Center’s Board of Trustees. //

Return to Top

Trail's End Ranch Radio Show, photo by Gib Myers Trail's End Ranch Radio Show with Stephanie Davis Join in the studio audience for an evening of ranch poetry, humor and wisdom broadcasting from a fictitious radio station on the range. Sound effects and old-time advertising jingles add spice to this fast-paced performance reflecting the values modern-day cowboys still hold dear. The show’s author, singer-songwriter Stephanie Davis, leads a stellar cast that includes DW Groethe, Henry Real Bird, Jerry Brooks and sound effects master Fred Newman of Prairie Home Companion fame. Musical mayhem and hot western swing are provided by the Trail’s End Ranch Hand Band, featuring Bobby Black, Rick Boen, Chris Booher, David Jackson, Tony Marcus and Rick Philipp. Sponsored by the Interculture Foundation/Larry and Maggie Biehl. //

Ian Tyson, photo by Lee Gunderson
Ian Tyson –Canada’s iconic singer and songwriter– turned 80 in September 2013, but his energy remains undimmed. He is also celebrating the complete recovery of his voice, badly damaged six years ago. Ian was forced to learn, with courage and craftsmanship, to sing with what he called “my new voice.” Two superb albums, Yellowhead to Yellowstone (2008) and Raven Singer (2012), saw a wide range of new songs presented in an intimate, arresting and heart-to-heart voice. Late in 2012, after polyp surgery by throat specialist Tom Gillis, and vocal therapy with Katherine Ardo, Ian's voice is as golden as ever. He continues to supervise his working ranch in southern Alberta as he reflects on a five-decade musical career which has produced some of the most beloved modern cowboy songs. Meanwhile, the songs and stories keep coming and they remain as true as a well-worn saddle. His newest collection is All the Good ‘Uns Vol 2. //

Jessie Veeder, courtesy of the artist
Jessie Veeder writes and sings about the badlands of Western North Dakota, where she grew up on the family ranch. She released her first original album at sixteen and went on to tour nationally and release three more albums. Blending western, rock, blues and heartfelt honest lyrics, Jessie sings about the buttes and creeks of her family’s working cattle ranch and her experiences of the huge oil mining boom in the region. Since 2010, Jessie and her husband have worked alongside her father as the fourth generation stewards of the Veeder Ranch. She chronicles life on the land on her blog “Meanwhile, back at the ranch…”, as well as through a weekly column in the Fargo Forum and as a commentator on Prairie Public Radio. //

David Wilkie and Denise Withnell, courtsey of the artists David Wilkie and Denise Withnell are known to Gathering audiences as key members of the band Cowboy Celtic, founded by David in the mid-1990s and still going strong. A longtime veteran of the North American music scene, David played at the very first Cowboy Poetry Gathering in 1985. His quest to track down the roots of cowboy music has taken him and his band along single-track drover roads to cattle towns in Scotland and Ireland, and as far south as Equador and Peru. Cowboy Celtic has released six CDs, one of which, Cowboy Ceilidh, won a Wrangler award from the National Cowboy and Western Heritage Museum in Oklahoma City. Denise has also released a solo CD, Rose Petal Pie, which has received great reviews in western, swing and Paris bistro circles. David and Denise live in Turner Valley, Alberta.

Paul Zarsyski, photo by Jessica Brandi Lifland Paul Zarzyski, a Rodeo Poet, has spurred the words wild across the open range of the page for 40 years, 15 of which he competed as a bareback bronc rider. The recipient of the 2005 Montana Governor's Arts Award for Literature, 4 Western Writers of America “Spur Awards” (2 for poetry, 2 for song), and The Cowboy Hall of Fame "Wrangler" Award, Paul deems his 28 consecutive Elko Gatherings as his "most esteemed honor of all." His 10 books and 4 CDs include 51: 30 Poems, 20 Lyrics, 1 Self-Interview (2011) and Steering With My Knees: Zarzyski Lite (2013).  //

Return to Top
how do you get thousands of followers on instagram for my function
Link to Cybercast
Click Here to ViewClick Here to View


See photos from prior Gatherings in our Photo Gallery.

Watch Gathering Moments on Film, short and casual "guerrilla" videos from prior Gatherings.

Return to the Western Folklife Center Home Page

Find us on FacebookTweet us on TwitterWatch us on YouTubeLink to Western Folklife Center blog

Visit the Nevada 150 website
An official event of the Nevada
1864 - 2014