Welcome to the Western Folklife Center. Let me introduce myself. I'm Tamara. I've been in Elko and at the Western Folklore Center for two-and-a-half years now. This will be my third Gathering as manager. So it's seven o'clock and I'm still at my desk. This time of year you can find 90% of the Elko office staff still at their desks after five o'clock, either on the phone or typing away in front of their computers. We have so much to do still to make the 26th National Cowboy Poetry Gathering the best Gathering yet. Surprisingly (or maybe not so surprising if you've met any of us), we all are still smiling and making jokes.
During the first Gathering that I managed, everyone from WFC staff to artists to audience members would stop me to comment on how calm I seemed. Truth is, I was calm. I still am. Throw me a curve ball, I'll swing. Set a fire, I'll put it out. That's what I do. That's what we all do here. That same Gathering, I was amazed at how things just got done. I'd be on my way to the Convention Center to settle a problem when I'd get a call saying it was already solved. Presto! I'd think of something I forgot to do when Kathi (the NCPG programs assistant and volunteer coordinator) would call to remind me of the same thing. It's almost as if we develop telepathy for a few days in January.
We have had a few last-minutes changes to the schedule. Ramblin' Jack Elliott's latest release was nominated for a Grammy award, so he has to leave Elko a little bit early. I'm excited to hear him play some songs from the nominated album A Stranger Here, and can't wait to congratulate him in person. Check the schedule for other changes and to see who we've got filling in for Ramblin' Jack on "The Long Ride" with Dick Gibford and Corb Lund and the Hurtin' Albertans. There are still tickets available for "The Long Ride." You can get them on our website, of course.
Everything we're doing for the next two weeks is part of the time-crunch that keeps this job interesting. One minute I'm talking to an artist, the next I'm sending an email. The minute after that I'm ordering food for the greenrooms or proofreading the education guide. Everything we do is varied and important. Everything we do is leading up to the best week of the year. I hope to see you then. I'll be the blur running by with a smile on her face.