Apply to Perform at the National Cowboy Poetry Gathering

Submissions are no longer being accepted for the 2015 Gathering, and we are not yet accepting applications for the 2016 National Cowboy Poetry Gathering.

Please note: The date of publication for application materials and tips to apply for 2016 - with full information as to requirements - has been rescheduled for mid- to late-December, 2014. We apologise for the delay.

Have a Suggestion for Next Year?

As home of the National Cowboy Poetry Gathering, the Western Folklife Center is always interested in learning about new artists as well as hearing about new projects from old friends. Please send your ideas and thoughts to This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. .

Planning Ahead?

Your application to the 2015 Gathering will require a completed form (available online in December 2014), a sound recording including three (3) samples, and a written version of the texts for these samples. Please do not send these materials before the application process begins, but feel free to start selecting and recording your materials!

How Decisions Are Made

Unlike most events, the artists invited to perform are selected by a committee of cowboy poets, western musicians and cultural specialists. This committee meets in April to determine the invited artists for the following year. Notification takes place by late May.

The aim of the committee and Western Folklife Center staff is to create a program with a good balance of styles and genres, as well as broad regional, gender, age and ethnicity representation.

Key criteria include: quality of performance, quality of writing, appropriateness of genre to the event, and a connection or deep understanding of modern-day ranching and cowboy culture.


Contact Amy Mills at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. or 775-738-7508 x 223. Please allow 3 to 5 days for reply.


Watch our broadcasted shows on YouTube


See photos from prior Gatherings in our Photo Gallery.

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

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1864 - 2014