Announcing the Featured Artists of the 35th Gathering!

Announcing the Featured Artists of the 35th Gathering!

Join us January 28-February 2, 2019 for the 35th National Cowboy Poetry Gathering, a milestone anniversary for the grand-daddy of them all! Tickets Now On Sale to Western Folklife Center Members until October 4, 2018 - open sales begin October 4: Join Now!

We are pleased to present the following poets, prosewriters, storytellers and singer-songwriters and western bands – several performing across genres.

The Braun Boys – All Grown Up

The Braun Boys – All Grown Up

Muzzie Braun and his four boys--Cody, Willy, Micky and Gary--performed at the Elko Cowboy Poetry Gathering six times between 1988 and 1994. Muzzie Braun and the Boys are all grown up now, with successful musical careers of their own. Cody and Willy formed the band Reckless Kelly, and Gary and Micky started Micky and the Motorcars. Both bands have achieved national success with their Western roots music. It’s been 23 years since Muzzie and his boys have performed at the Gathering, and we are super excited to welcome three out of five members of the original band to the 2018 event. Muzzie, Cody and Willy Braun will perform together at the Gathering again.

Dennis Parks Artwork for Sale

Dennis Parks Artwork for Sale

The Western Folklife Center is pleased to host an exhibition, Land, Language and Clay, of Dennis Parks' works. Selected pieces from this exhibition are available for your collection. Here we share individual photos and the sales list. Please contact our Gift Shop at 888-880-5885 or 775-738-7508, extension 243 for purchasing assistance. Dennis' son Ben Parks carries on his father’s legacy of ceramic artwork and a few of his pieces are also on display and for sale through the Western Folklife Center Gift Shop.

Mining the Mother Lode: A Moving Rural Verse Poem-Film

Mining the Mother Lode: A Moving Rural Verse Poem-Film

Andy Wilkinson’s poem “Mining the Mother Lode” is a lament for the diminishing waters of the once enormous Ogallala Aquifer caused by the forces of “progress.” The poem was made into an animated poem-film with the help of Rebecca Shapiro and Jeremy Boreing as part of the Western Folklife Center’s Moving Rural Verse project, which created collaborations between poets and filmmakers around the subject of water in the West. By artfully fusing poetry and video, the Moving Rural Verse poem-films hope to nurture a deeper understanding of rural America and kindle important conversation about critical issues. Click here to watch the film!

The Brauns and Bertsolari at the 34th National Cowboy Poetry Gathering

The Brauns and Bertsolari at the 34th National Cowboy Poetry Gathering

The 34th National Cowboy Poetry Gathering is chock-full of phenomenal performances, captivating stories, and enlightening learning opportunities. With so much going on and so many wonderful shows it is nearly impossible to choose just a few to highlight. We will continue to share the best of the Gathering in this blog so tune in often. We are very excited that Muzzie Braun is returning to Elko with his sons Willy and Cody, of Reckless Kelly. And of course we can't wait to present the wonderful traditions of the Basque culture, including the improvised poetry sparring called bertsolariak.

Basques and Buckaroos… and Sheep???... at the 34th National Cowboy Poetry Gathering

Basques and Buckaroos… and Sheep???... at the 34th National Cowboy Poetry Gathering

by Katie Aiken

No doubt you’ve heard by now that there are sheep on the 2018 National Cowboy Poetry Gathering poster. Sheep! On a cowboy event! Is it true???

Well…yes. The poster artwork depicts sheep – creamy shapes amidst a burst of saturated colors and living textures that call up the deep, shifting palette of our big Western skies and the hazy boundaries of what we define as our Western landscape.

34th National Cowboy Poetry Gathering Poets & Musicians

34th National Cowboy Poetry Gathering Poets & Musicians

We are thrilled to announce the artist line-up for the 34th National Cowboy Poetry Gathering, January 29-February 3, 2018, in Elko, Nevada. Tickets go on sale to Western Folklife Center members beginning September 5, and to the general public on October 5. Members also get tickets to free members-only shows and for the first time this year, members receive a discount on the price of a 3-Day Deluxe Pass, which is $60 during the member pre-sale period and $80 starting October 5. To purchase or renew a membership, click here.

New Exhibitions in the Wiegand Gallery

New Exhibitions in the Wiegand Gallery

The Western Folklife Center is presenting two new exhibitions in its Wiegand Gallery, including the ceramic artistry of Tuscarora’s Dennis Parks and photographs of ranch life taken during the Farm Security Administration of the 1930s and 40s. Both exhibitions, as well as the Western Folklife Center’s permanent collection of contemporary hand-crafted gear, will be on display through December 9.

Learning to Jitterbug in Elko

Learning to Jitterbug in Elko

by Krys Munzing

I grabbed a camera and stopped by Let's Dance! at the Western Folklife Center on April 27 to check out the night's Jitterbug lesson: a very relaxed and really complete class with returning students and newbies interested in learning the dance. Instructors for the night were Ali Helmig and Stefan Goehring, and they had it down to easy, show-n-tell steps that the dancers followed, including individual tips as the lesson progressed.

Yevgeny Alexandrovich Yevtushenko--"Cowboy Poet"

Yevgeny Alexandrovich Yevtushenko--"Cowboy Poet"

By Paul Zarzyski. Photos by Sue Rosoff.

“A poet’s autobiography is his poetry. Anything else can only be a footnote.”

In January 1995, the distinguished Russian poet, Yevgeny Alexandrovich Yevtushenko honored us with his spirited, yet humble, presence at the eleventh annual National Cowboy Poetry Gathering in Elko, Nevada, thanks in large part to a dear friend of the Gathering, poet-critic Scott Preston, who extended the invitation to Mr. Yevtushenko. My best recollection is that few of us knew much, if anything at all, about the Russian writer’s work or life.

Dreaming of Our Future

Dreaming of Our Future

By Kristin Windbigler, Vice Chairman,
Western Folklife Center Board of Trustees

Several trustees and staff members got together last year in Salt Lake City, Utah, to talk about our dreams for the Western Folklife Center. We asked ourselves what could this organization be in five years? How about 10? Who do we want to reach and what are our goals? In my role as vice chairman of the Board of Trustees, I gave a short talk at the annual Stakeholders’ Breakfast at the recent National Cowboy Poetry Gathering to share our progress and plans for the future. We were thrilled by the enthusiastic feedback we received, and thought it would be a good idea to make this information available to the whole community. That’s because we hope you will want to get involved!

An Oak Tree and a Sea Change

An Oak Tree and a Sea Change

By Amy Hale Auker

Behind our barn, in the horse lot, is an oak tree. It is actually three oak trunks that rise from the same base creating a basin above the roots. When it rains or snows, the basin fills with water. It is a smart oak tree. 

The first year I went to the National Cowboy Poetry Gathering in 2002 I was amazed to see how many people were living lives similar to my very small wife-of-a-cowboy, remote-cow-camp existence, and yet they were writing poems and songs, creating art and crafts, bringing their lives from the ranches up onto the stage, sharing the work of growing food with a broad audience.