National Cowboy Poetry Gathering Performers

The Western Folklife Center is pleased to announce the following cowboy poets and musicians will perform at our 31st National Cowboy Poetry Gathering January 26 through 31, 2015. We have added the evening shows where they will be appearing for your convenience: when sold out, shows will not be listed. Most musicians and poets of the National Cowboy Poetry Gathering are represented in the Western Folklife Center Gift Shop; view items in our online catalog.

 Eli Barsi, courtesy of the artist
Listen

See Eli in:
Members' Show #2
Yodel to the Moon
Eli Barsi is a Western Roots singer,
songwriter, musician and yodeler.
Raised on the prairies of south-
eastern Saskatchewan, Canada, Eli has
had radio charting singles, CMT videos,
and many awards both sides of the
border. Her 13th album, Portrait of a
Cowgirl
, features original songs of
western lifestyle, rural sensibility and
prairie passion. She received the
2014 Wrangler Award for Best
Western Composition at the annual
Western Heritage Awards and also
the 2014 Roots Artist and 2014
Roots Album of the Year in
Saskatchewan. John Cunningham
joins her on stage contributing
upright bass, great harmony
vocals, and a fine yodel.
www.elibarsi.com
   

 Mike Beck, courtesy of the artist
Listen
See Mike in:
Pouring it Kinda Strong
Gentle on the Reins

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 USA 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.”
www.mikebeck.com
   

 Baxter Black, photo by Gary Gainer
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Baxter Black is a former large animal veterinarian who makes a good living doing 'agricultural banquets.' He lives in Benson, Arizona and runs a few cows.
www.baxterblack.com
   

 Dave Bourne, courtesy of the artist
Listen

See Dave in:
Hot Strings & Smokin' Keys
and in the Pioneer Saloon

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 researching and 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.
www.saloonpiano.com/
   

Jerry Brooks, photo by Jessica Brandi Lifland
Listen

See Jerry in:
An Evening with the Squire

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 classic 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 collection of memorized works. At home, both in a saddle and wearing her miner hat, Brooksie now takes care of 80 acres along Clear Creek in south-central Utah. Her CD is Shoulder to Shoulder. 
www.cowboypoetry.com/brooksie.htm 

Cowboy Celtic, photo by Kevin Martini-Fuller
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See them in:
Hot Strings & Smokin' Keys

Cowboy Celtic makes the natural connection between traditional cowboy songs, the music of Ireland and Scotland and the documented Celtic origins of cowboy music. Whether in the traditional songs, old tunes with new lyrics, or David Wilkie’s original material, their music reflects the real world of the West and the rural Celts. The Canadian-based band is David Wilkie on mandolin, Denise Withnell on guitar and vocals, Keri Lynn Zwicker on Celtic harp, Joseph Hertz on fiddle and Nathan McCavana on percussion.
//cowboyceltic.com/
   

John Dofflemyer, photo by Kevin Martini-Fuller
Listen

See John in:
Wit & Wisdom from the Range
Writing from the Home Place

John Dofflemyer is a fifth-generation rancher in the southern Sierra Nevada foothills. His creative work as a writer and editor reflects a deep connection with the land and contemporary ranch life. John edited the Dry Crik Review of Contemporary Cowboy Poetry from 1991–1994, and has also produced numerous poetry chapbooks through Dry Crik Press. He has received Wrangler Awards from the National Cowboy and Western Heritage Museum for two of his books of poetry, Poems From Dry Creek (2008) and Proclaiming Space (2012). John and his wife Robbin maintain an online journal called Dry Crik Journal: Perspectives from the Ranch.  
//drycrikjournal.com/ 

Elizabeth Ebert, photo by Sue Rosoff
Listen

See Elizabeth in:
TBA

Elizabeth Ebert, a South Dakota native, is a widely admired writer who admits that she was a closet poet until 1989. Elizabeth still lives on the home place near Thunder Hawk, South Dakota. She has been called the “Grand Dame of cowboy poetry” by fellow poet Yvonne Hollenbeck. Elizabeth’s work focuses on the challenges, pride, courage and tragedies of living on the land. Among her current publications are two books, Prairie Wife and Crazy Quilt, and a CD, Live from Thunder Hawk. In 2011, she won the Badger Excellence in Poetry Award from the High Plains Western Heritage Center. 
www.cowboypoetry.com/elizabethebert.htm 

Don Edwards, courtesy of the artist
Listen

See Don in:
Cowboy Songsters
Year of the Horse

Don Edwards is a GRAMMY®- nominated singer-songwriter well versed in cowboy lore and musical traditions, which gives tremendous depth to his performances. A member of the Cowboy Hall of Fame, Don celebrates over 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. His most recent album is Just Me and My Guitar. Don is one of the great cowboy troubadours. 
www.donedwardsmusic.com
   

Thatch Elmer, courtesy of the artist
Listen

See Thatch in:
An Evening with the Squire

Thatch Elmer is an 11-year old cowboy poet from Bear River, Wyoming, who has been reciting cowboy poetry since he was old enough to speak a complete sentence. He enjoys writing and reciting originals along with the classics, when he’s not riding his horse, ranching and competing in junior rodeos throughout the West. Thatch has been influenced by his father, and his great-grandpa who was a cowboy all his life. Thatch was the 2014 co-recipient of the Rod McQueary/Sue Wallis Memorial Scholarship. Thatch is published on cowboypoetry.com and his poetry is published in Cowboy Rhymes-N-Dreams of Other Times. Thatch recently released his first CD, The First Go Round.
www.cowboythatch.com/thatch-elmer.html 

   
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Dick Gibford, photo by Jessica Brandi Lifland
Listen

See Dick in:
TBA

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, braids rawhide, paints and starts an occasional colt. In 2013, Dick crafted and released Trail Dust, a limited-edition, hand-bound book of poetry and real life stories about his packing experiences.

DW Groethe, photo by Jessica Brandi Lifland
Listen

See DW in:
Humor on the High Plains
An Evening with the Squire

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 six books of poetry. One of these, West River Waltz, won the Will Rogers Medallion Award for Excellence in Cowboy Poetry.  
www.cowboypoetry.com/dwgroethe.htm 

Kenny Hall, courtesy of the artist
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See Kenny in:
TBA

Kenny Hall is a fifth-generation horseman from the beautiful red rock country of southern Utah, where he raises horses, mules and cattle, and has been building saddles for 20 years. He works fulltime at Bryce Canyon National Park, spending many of his days horseback. A singer of western ballads and songs ranging from traditional to modern, Kenny has performed at many cowboy gatherings in Utah and regionally. He is well-known for his sincere performances of true cowboy songs, voicing a deep personal connection to his own rich cowboy heritage.

Linda M. Hasselstrom, courtesy of the artist
Listen

See Linda in:
Writing from the Home Place

Linda M. Hasselstrom lives, writes, and works with writers on her South Dakota ranch. Her poetry and prose reflect years spent birthing, doctoring, corralling, and branding cows while being thrown, kicked, stomped, and bitten by the local livestock. Her fourteen published books of poetry and nonfiction reflect her love of the land.  Awards include a Wrangler for her poetry in Bitter Creek Junction. Her most recent works include Dirt Songs: A Plains Duet (The Backwaters Press), a book of poetry co-authored with Nebraska state poet Twyla Hansen; and a book of essays on community in the modern west, No Place Like Home: Notes From a Western Life (University of Nevada Press). 
www.windbreakhouse.com/
   

Chuck Hawthorne, courtesy of the artist
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See Chuck in:
Gentle on the Reins

Chuck Hawthorne has been writing and performing for over 20 years amassing a catalog of unique, well-crafted Americana songs. Mentored by cowboys of the Texas Panhandle, his music is heavily influenced by western culture.  As a young man, Chuck left the plains and set out on a series of adventures in the Marines that took him and his guitar all over the world.  Now he’s back and has recorded his debut album, Silver Line – a collection of songs that reflect his western heritage, his military experience, and life’s lessons along the way. An Amarillo native, Chuck now makes his home in Austin, Texas.
//chuckhawthorne.com/
   

Andy Hedges, photo by Jessica Brandi Lifland
Listen

See Andy in:
Cowboy Songsters
An Evening with the Squire

Andy Hedges is a songster, reciter and guitarist. His varied repertoire includes classic cowboy recitations, obscure cowboy songs, dust bowl ballads, and blues. Andy taught himself to play the guitar when he was 14 and began collecting classic cowboy poems and traditional cowboy songs. He has released eight albums including four joint projects with songwriter Andy Wilkinson. In 2010, Andy received the Wrangler Award for Outstanding Traditional Western Music from the National Cowboy Hall of Fame.  His latest album is titled Cowboy Songster. Andy lives in Lubbock, Texas with his wife and two children. 
www.andyhedges.com/
   

Carol Heuchan, courtesy of the artist
Listen

See Carol in:
Year of the Horse
Family Roundup

Carol Heuchan has lived ‘on the land’ in rural Australia most of her life – on a sheep and cattle property in the Snowy Mountains and now in the Hunter Valley, New South Wales. She has trained horses, taught riding and competed intensively. She is also an international horse judge and commentator. Finding through poetry that “it’s a heck of a lot easier to just talk about ‘em!”, Carol has been Australian Champion Bush Poet twice and is a nine–time Laureate Award winner. She has published four books and five CDs – all award-winners – and her latest album is Partners. This is her sixth tour in the USA, presenting a repertoire that goes from heart wrenching to utterly hilarious!
www.carolpoet.com.au/
   

Brenn Hill, courtesy of the artist
Listen

See Brenn in:
Ranch Family Show

Brenn Hill is a singer-songwriter who doesn’t just sing about the West, he reveals its heart to anyone who will take the time to listen. He is not just an observer or narrator of Western lore, but one of its strongest interpreters. The cowboy's trials and tribulations as his raw material. Brenn’s career spans ten recordings of mostly self-penned music and two decades on the road.  His most recent release is Ode To Selway. Like each of his prior recordings, it serves as a pathway through his own personal journey. He resides with his wife and three children in Hooper, Utah. Brenn is an artist who gives great insight into the West he calls Heaven.
www.brennhill.com/
   

Yvonne Hollenbeck, courtesy of the artist
Listen

See Yvonne in:
Humor on the High Plains

Yvonne Hollenbeck and her husband, Glen, own and operate a working cattle ranch near the tiny town of Clearfield, South Dakota, where they raise angus beef cattle and quarter horses. 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. From homesteading to the present, she also writes about women on the ranches of the Great Plains. Yvonne is also a prize-winning quilter. 
www.yvonnehollenbeck.com/
   

Ross Knox, photo by Jessica Brandi Lifland
Listen

See Ross in:
Members's Show #1
An Evening with the Squire

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 Parks 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.
www.cowboypoetry.com/rossknox.htm
 
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Corb Lund, courtesy of the artist
Listen

See Corb Lund in:
A Conversation with Corb
     (workshop)
See the full band in:
Pouring it Kinda Strong
Midnight Dance

Corb Lund of Corb Lund & the Hurtin Albertans was born and raised in rural southern Alberta and comes from four generations of Canadian ranchers and cowboys. He grew up riding horseback, chasing cattle and rodeoing on the prairies and in the foothills of the Rockies. Lund’s Western heritage stays with him, no matter where he roams. “My whole life is sort of a dichotomy between being a cowboy kid and living in a city,” says Lund. “I guess that informs my music too.” Corb will be in Elko with his band, the Hurtin’ Albertans: Grant Siemans who plays “anything with strings on it, except the fiddle;” Kurt Ciesla on the string bass; and Brady Valgardson on drums.
www.corblund.com/
   

Deanna Dickinson McCall, photo by Kevin Martini-Fuller
Listen

See Deanna in:
An Evening with the Squire

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 and her husband ranch in the Sacramento Mountains of southern New Mexico.
www.deannadickinsonmccall.com/
   

Gary McMahan, courtesy of the artist
Listen

See Gary in:
Learn to Yodel
    (workshop)
Members' Show #2
An Evening with the Squire

Gary McMahan has made his living during the last 40 years on a horse, with a guitar or both. He has ridden, wrangled and roped all over the West, all the while collecting reflections on cowboy ways. Those reflections are the backbone of all his songs, stories and poems. Gary is known for his award-winning songs, captivating stories, uproarious humor, and national championship yodeling. His songs have been recorded by artists such as Garth Brooks, Ian Tyson, Chris LeDoux, Riders in the Sky, Dave Stamey, to mention a few.
www.singingcowboy.com/
   

Wally McRae, photo by Jessica Brandi Lifland
Listen

See Wally in:
Writing from the Home Place

Wally McRae is a third-generation Montana rancher and president of the Rocker Six Cattle Company, the family ranch in Rosebud County. He’s been reciting poetry since he was four years old and began writing poetry and prose to record the value, humor and plight of the cowboy occupation. Wally has received the Governor’s Award for the Arts in Montana and is a 1990 recipient of the National Endowment for the Arts’ National Heritage Fellowship, and served on the National Council of the Arts in 1996. His prose book about growing up on a ranch, Stick Horses and Other Stories of Ranch Life, was honored with the 2009 Montana Book Award.
www.cowboypoetry.com/mcrae.htm
   

Doc Mehl, courtesy of the artist
Listen

See Doc in:
TBA

Doc Mehl hails from Westminster, Colorado, and traces roots to central Kansas, where his grandfather raised six children on the family homestead. With one foot in the past and one in the present, Doc weaves the history and the mystery of the West into his original "west-clectic" poetry. His spoken-word poetry recordings include Cowboy Pottery (2005), and The Great Divide, which was named 2013 Cowboy Poetry CD of the Year by the Western Music Association and the Academy of Western Artists. Songwriter Jon Chandler comments, "listening to Doc is like having Lyle Lovett in one ear and Tommy Smothers in the other!"
www.docmehl.com/
   

Augie Meyers, courtesy of the artist

See Augie in:
Dinner Theater - The Rose
of Roscrea

Augie Meyers’ keyboard style is one of the most distinctive sounds in modern music. A founding member of the Sir Douglas Quintet and Texas Tornados, his solo work can also be heard on landmark albums by Bob Dylan and John Hammond. Starting in the early 1960s, the Sir Douglas Quintet fused Tex-Mex, conjunto and soulful rock together with the power of Augie's distinctive Vox Continental organ on hits like “Mendocino” and “She’s About A Mover”. In the 1990s, Augie co-founded the hugely successful Texas Tornados with Doug Sahm, Flaco Jiménez, and Freddy Fender. This GRAMMY®-award winning Texas music legend has long refused to lock himself into one style of music, ranging from blues to Tex-Mex, rock-n-roll to mariachi – and beyond.
www.augiemeyers.com/
   

Chuck Milner, courtesy of the artist
Listen

See Chuck in:
Ranch Family Show

Chuck Milner is the husband of Beth and the dad of Hallie and Cody. They live on Rush Creek in western Oklahoma near Reydon, where they raise Angus cattle and train horses. Their children are 5th generation ranchers, Beth’s family having operated in Greer County Oklahoma since 1901. Working on ranches since college has provided Chuck with the first-hand experience to sing about a cowboys’ way of life. With a mellow tenor voice, he attempts to paint word pictures of the life he has been so blessed to enjoy, telling his stories through the rhythm and cadence of the horse.

Waddie Mitchell, photo by Charlie Ekburg
Listen

See Waddie in:
Members' Show #1
An Evening with the Squire

Waddie Mitchell 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 from the Nevada Arts Council.
www.somagency.com/waddiemitchell/
 
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Andy Nelson, photo by Stuart Johnson
Listen

See Andy in:
Ranch Family Show
An Evening with the Squire

Andy Nelson was raised in Oakley, Idaho, and traveled with his father on farrier jobs throughout the Great Basin from the time he was a child until he went off to college. While in college at Utah State University, he shod horses for the USU Horsemanship Program. Andy lives in Pinedale, Wyoming where he and his wife Jaclyn raise horses and children. Andy and his brother Jim, also a farrier, co-host Clear Out West (C.O.W.) Radio, an award-winning weekly syndicated radio show.
www.cowpokepoet.com/
   

Joel Nelson, photo by Jeffrey Kaphan
Listen

See Joel in:
Wit & Wisdom on the Range
An Evening with the Squire
Year of the Horse

Joel Nelson has been a cowboy since age 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. 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.
www.cowboypoetry.com/joelnelson.htm
   

Rodney Nelson, courtesy of the artist
Listen

See Rodney in:
An Evening with the Squire
Humor on the High Plains

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 performing cowboy poetry since 1987, and has written a humor column for the Farm and Ranch Guide since 1995. Rod started his rodeo career with a bang when he won third in the calf riding at a North Dakota rodeo in 1956. Following a serious slump of 50 years, he won the 50+ steer wrestling average at the Senior Pro National Finals Rodeo in 2006. At this rate he hopes to win a major bronc riding title, somewhere, by the time he is 80 years old.
www.cowboypoetry.com/rodneynelson.htm
   

Wayne Nelson, courtesy of the artist
Listen

See Wayne in:
TBD

Wayne Nelson grew up on a ranch outside of Blackfoot, Idaho, where he learned the cattle business from his father. Wayne's poetry, as well as his songs, have earned him the Cowboy Poets of Idaho's Silver Quill Award and Golden Note Award, as well as induction into its Hall of Fame. His work has been published in Dry Creek Review, Maverick Western Verse and Humorous Cowboy Poetry. Wayne also organizes the yearly Diamondfield Jack Cowboy Gathering in Rupert, Idaho. His work reflects a deep love of western history, life on horseback, and the honest simplicity of cowboy life. His best-loved songs and poems can be found on his self-published CD, Dad-Burned Guitar.
www.cowboypoetry.com/waynenelson.htm
   

Kay Kelley Nowell, courtesy of the artist
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See Kay in:
TBD

Kay Kelley Nowell lives in Alpine, Texas, and has been a featured poet at Elko seven times. In 1989, she recited one of her poems on The Tonight Show with Johnny Carson, but she much prefers the down-home atmosphere and authenticity of the traditional gatherings. Along with her husband, Gene Nowell, she loves to day-work and neighbor. They run their own cow-calf herds on several leases. She also stays busy helping Gene with their small pre-conditioning and custom feeding operation. Her poems come from her experiences of breaking colts, working cattle and the cowboys she has known.

Glenn Ohrlin, photo by Jessica Brandi Lifland
Listen

See Glenn in:
Cowboy Songsters

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.
//arts.gov/honors/heritage/fellows/glenn-ohrlin
   

Sharon Salisbury O'Toole, photo by Kevin Martini-Fuller 
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See Sharon in:
TBA

Sharon Salisbury O'Toole is a fourth-generation rancher from the Little Snake River Valley along the Wyoming-Colorado border, where her family raises cattle, sheep, horses, dogs, and children. Sharon blogs about life on the ranch for the Western Folklife Center, and writes extensively on western issues. She is widely published as an author, essayist and editorial commentator, and is an award-winning poet. Her poetry, both traditional and free-verse, explores the relationship between landscape, animals and people, sometimes humorously, sometimes not. Sharon and her husband Patrick have three children and six grandchildren. She serves on the Wyoming Arts Council Board.
//ladderranch.wordpress.com/
   

Ed Peekeekoot, courtesy of the artist
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See Ed in:
Humor on the High Plains
Family Roundup
Hot Strings & Smokin' Keys

Ed Peekeekoot grew up on the Ahtahkakoop Cree First Nation in Saskatchewan, Canada, where his family was involved in ranching, farming and music. He describes growing up in a “rough and tumble world, riding young bulls, dreaming of being in the rodeo, and playing cowboys and Indians.” Now Ed makes his home in British Columbia, enjoying life as a multi-instrumentalist, singer-songwriter and storyteller. His performances include original songs, Chet Atkins and Travis-style guitar tunes, foot-stomping fiddle, and a good dose of Cree humor and philosophy.
//peekeekoot.ca/
   

Gretchen Peters, photo by Gina Binkley

See Gretchen in:
Dinner Theater - The Rose
of Roscrea

Gretchen Peters’ original songs have have been recorded by artists across the musical spectrum, from Bonnie Raitt to Neil Diamond, Sarah McLachlan to Etta James. Highly respected by critics and songwriting peers alike, she has been nominated for two GRAMMY® Awards and a Golden Globe. She has also won the CMA’s Song Of The Year for her groundbreaking anthem about domestic abuse, “Independence Day”. She early on rejected the Nashville assembly-line model and eschewed what she laughingly calls "gratuitous co-writing" for a different path. “Songs are songs”, says Peters, “they don’t connect with people because they belong to one genre; they connect because they are true and real and honest.” She will be playing acoustically, accompanied by pianist, accordionist and husband Barry Walsh.
www.gretchenpeters.com/ and //barrywalshmusic.com/bio/
   

Shadd Piehl, courtesy of the artist

See Shadd in:
Let 'Er Buck

Shadd Piehl is a fourth-generation North Dakotan and third-generation rodeo cowboy, who grew up near the Mouse River south of Minot, North Dakota. He has been a ranch hand, stockyard bird, hog hide shaver, warehouse lumper, teacher, and rodeo cowboy. As a saddle bronc rider, he competed mostly through the Dakotas, Montana, Minnesota, Manitoba, and Saskatchewan in various amateur rodeo associations and the PRCA. Currently Academic Dean at Rasmussen College in Bismarck, North Dakota, Shadd lives in Mandan with his wife Marnie and sons Owen, Wyatt, and Ryder.
www.cowboypoetry.com/shaddpiehl.htm
 
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Vess Quinlan, photo by Jessica Brandi Lifland
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See Vess in:
An Evening with the Squire

Vess Quinlan is the fourth-generation to spend his working life raising livestock and feed in Colorado. When he was confined with polio in 1951, his grandma brought him shoe boxes of J.R. Williams cartoons and cowboy poems cut from years of livestock papers. Uncles brought him Will James books to read. Vess survived with one leg shorter than the other, but never recovered from the effect of these poems, cartoons, and stories. His grandpa said, “Now he's ruined. You can make a cowboy out of pretty near anything but you can't make hardly nothing out of a cowboy.” At the first Elko gathering, Vess was shocked to find that he was not alone making up poems to amuse himself.

Henry Real Bird, photo by Kevin Martini-Fuller
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See Henry in:
Year of the Horse

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 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.
www.cowboypoetry.com/henryrealbird.htm
   

Brigid Reedy, courtesy of the artist
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See Brigid in:
An Evening with the Squire

Brigid Reedy is a musician, singer, song writer, and reciter who has grown up home-schooled on ranches in Colorado and Montana. Raised in a musical and artistic household, Brigid 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 Saloon.
//cowboyarts.com/brigid.html/
   

Pat Richardson, photo by Kevin Martini-Fuller
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See Pat in:
TBA

Pat Richardson was raised on ranches where his dad worked. He 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.
www.cowboypoetry.com/patrichardson.htm
   

Randy Rieman, photo by Charlie Ekburg
Listen

See Randy in:
Wit & Wisdom on the Range
An Evening with the Squire
Year of the Horse

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.
www.cowboypoetry.com/randyrieman.htm
   

Kent Rollins, courtesy of the artist
Listen

See Kent in:
Cooking workshops and
Members' Show #1

Kent Rollins grew up cowboying in southwest Oklahoma. His mother taught him to cook at an early age, and he turned that passion into a unique business. For the past 25 years, Kent has maintained the tradition of cooking for working ranches from his 1876 chuck wagon throughout the Oklahoma, Texas, New Mexico and Kansas areas. He is the Official Chuck Wagon Cook of Oklahoma and has appeared on The Food Network’s Chopped Grill Masters, Chopped Redemption and NBC’s Food Fighter’s (summer 2014). His new cookbook, A Taste of Cowboy, is in production. Along with slingin’ hash, Kent has become pretty good at slingin’ bull. His poetry and humorous stories describe the comical calamities of growing up ranching.
www.kentrollins.com/
   

Tom Russell, phot by Fred Trask
Listen

See Tom in:
Dinner Theater - The Rose
of Roscrea

Tom Russell has recorded over 30 records and written four books, including a book on his art. His songs have been recorded by Johnny Cash, Ramblin' Jack Elliott, Dave Van Ronk, Joe Ely, Ian Tyson, Wylie Gustafson, and others. He has written or co-written at least four of the Western songs considered the top cowboy songs of all time: "Tonight We Ride," "Navajo Rug," "The Sky Above, the Mud Below," and "Gallo del Cielo." Tom's two part "cowboy opera" will be released in March 2015, with 28 new original songs and 48 guest tracks including: Johnny Cash, Lead Belly, Gretchen Peters, Ramblin' Jack Elliott, and others. He will joined onstage by Thad Beckman.
www.tomrussell.com/
   

Sandy Seaton Sallee, photo by Charlie Ekburg
Listen

See Sandy in:
Year of the Horse

Sandy Seaton Sallee rides and writes from her log cabin on the Yellowstone River in Paradise Valley, Montana. She and her husband, Scott, own and operate Black Mountain Outfitters, a horse and mule wilderness and ranch fishing and hunting camp. Sandy grew up driving four-up stagecoaches in Yellowstone Park. She is a mountain horsewoman who loves to write poetry about the history of her area and her amazing experiences. She has been featured at the Elko Gathering many years, and performed at the first Montana Cowboy Poetry Gathering. Sandy writes articles for adventure magazines and is in demand as a lively emcee and entertainer.
www.blackmountainoutfitters.com/poetry.htm
   

Georgie Sicking, photo by Jessica Brandi Lifland
Listen

See Georgie in:
TBA

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. She now makes her home in Kaycee, Wyoming.
www.cowboypoetry.com/sicking.htm
   

Sourdough Slim & Robert Armstrong, courtesy of Sourdough Slim
Listen

See Sourdough in:
How the West was Swung
Hot Strings & Smokin' Keys
Dinner Theater - The Rose
of Roscrea

See Robert in:
How the West was Swung

Sourdough Slim and Robert Armstrong will put a smile on your face and set your toes a tappin'. These jolly troubadours of tradition perform their irresistibly upbeat renditions of cowboy songs, country blues and string band favorites on a wild array of period instruments including accordion, steel guitar, banjo, ukulele, and musical saw. Rick Crowder aka Sourdough Slim spent much of his childhood on a family cattle ranch in the Sierra Nevada foothills, but his "true calling as a cowboy was not on the range, but rather, on the stage." Robert Armstrong has passionately played American string band music for over 40 years. He works as an illustrator, painter and cartoonist when not performing.
www.sourdoughslim.com/ and www.armstrongartandnoveltyhut.com/
   

Gail Steiger, photo by Jessica Brandi Lifland
Listen

See Gail in:
Year of the Horse
An Evening with the Squire

Gail Steiger is a songwriter, filmmaker and cowboy who has been the foreman of the remote Spider Ranch in Arizona since 1995. He has been playing guitar and writing songs for over 30 years, and often recites works by his grandparents, Delia Gist Gardner and Gail I. Gardner. He produced and directed a documentary about friends and neighbors called Ranch Album that was released as a national PBS special. He is currently working on a documentary project about cowboys around the world. His latest album is A Matter of Believin'. Gail is the chairman of the Western Folklife Center’s Board of Trustees.
www.gailsteiger.biz/
 

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Caitlyn Taussig, courtesy of the artist
Listen

See Caitlyn in:
Gentle on the Reins

Caitlyn Taussig is a fourth-generation rancher from Kremmling, Colorado. She runs cow-calf pairs with her mother and sister on their high-country cattle ranch. She also works as the county 4-H Coordinator. Since childhood, Caitlyn has been singing and performing at rodeos, sporting events, and weddings. She draws inspiration for her songwriting from her experiences summering cattle at 9,000 feet, cowboying in rough high country and dark timber, working on the family ranch, and listening to her 88-year-old father’s wild stories.  Caitlyn’s favorite pastimes include night calving (crazy, right?), castrating calves at branding, and working towards making bridle horses in the Californio tradition.

Charis Thorsell, courtesy of the artist
Listen

See Charis in:
Let 'Er Buck

Charis Thorsell grew up on the family bucking bull and quarter-horse ranch in Ohio, where she fell in love with western music listening to the radio while working in the barn. She has been performing for over ten years at horse shows, rodeos and even the Grand Ole Opry. This rock-and-roll cowgirl writes and sings about bull-riding, break ups, and having “that outlaw way of doing things different.” She has been commissioned by the American Quarter Horse Association to pen their 30th anniversary song. Her latest CD is Diary of a Ranch Hand Diva
//charis-thorsell.com/
   

Ian Tyson, courtesy of the artist
Listen

There are still tickets to see Ian Tyson perform in the Auditorium, Friday, Jan 30, at 6:30 pm.

Ian Tyson —Canada’s iconic singer and songwriter—turned 80 in 2013, but his energy remains undimmed. He is also celebrating the complete recovery of his voice, badly damaged seven years ago. Ian was forced to learn, with courage and craftsmanship, to sing with what he called “my new voice.” After polyp surgery and vocal therapy in 2012, 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 that 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 most recent release is All the Good ‘Uns Volume 2, and Ian will begin recording another new CD in July 2014.
www.iantyson.com/
   

The Western Flyers, courtesy of the artists
Listen

See them in:
Playing Western Swing
     (workshop)
How the West was Swung
Saturday Night Dance

The Western Flyers weave together a unique cross-section of the Great American Songbook: from classic western swing to toe-tapping cowboy songs, hot jazz standards to electrifying old-time fiddle tunes. This is the latest musical adventure for award-winning multi-instrumentalist Joey McKenzie, who not only toured for ten years as guitarist for The Quebe Sisters Band but was also the fiddle and vocal teacher and musical arranger for that popular western swing band. Joining Joey to blend traditional tunes with musical innovation are two-time National Fiddle Champion and vintage-style singer Katie Glassman and the incomparable world-class upright bass player Gavin Kelso.
www.twinfiddleproductions.com/the-western-flyers
   

Wylie & The Wild West, photo by Kevin Martini-Fuller
Listen

See them in:
Friday Night Dance
Yodel to the Moon

Wylie & The Wild West - Singer, songwriter, rancher, horseman, and the original, world-famous Yahoo!® yodeler, Wylie Gustafson comes from a fourth-generation ranching family on the empty sprawl of the northern high plains.  His music is uniquely Montanan. 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 Western music toward its future. The Wild West are noted for their refined and classic sound. The band members include Sam Platts on guitar, Rick Bryceson on drums and J Kane on the upright bass.
www.wyliewebsite.com/
   

Paul Zarzyski, photo by Jessica Brandi Lifland
Listen

See Paul in:
An Afternoon with Paul
     (workshop)
Let 'Er Buck
Witing from the Home Place

Paul Zarzyski 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, four Western Writers of America Spur Awards (two for poetry, two for song), and The Cowboy Hall of Fame’s Wrangler Award, Paul deems his 29 consecutive Elko Gatherings as his “most esteemed honor of all.” His ten books include 51: 30 Poems, 20 Lyrics, 1 Self-Interview (2011) and Steering With My Knees: Zarzyski Lite (2013).  He’s most recently added a double-disc CD, also titled Steering With My Knees, to his recording repertoire.
www.paulzarzyski.com/
 
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1864 - 2014