Rodney Louis "Rod" McQueary
July 16, 1951 ~ December 29, 2012
One reason the National Cowboy Poetry Gathering is in Elko is because a handful of great cowboy poets who grew up here have lent their talents to this 30-year legacy. A primary poetic spirit of Elko County was Rod McQueary. He grew up on his family ranch in Ruby Valley and came to town to board in high school along with his lifelong friend, Waddie Mitchell. Both of them could not wait for school to be over so they could get back to horses and cattle.
Rod was a sensitive soul who served in Viet Nam and came back spiritually wounded. It ws through poetry he found healing. In both poetry and daily conversation, he challenged us to be kind and not to take ourselves too seriously. Many people will miss the way he kept us on our toes. He leaves behind a wonderful family including his wife and former manager of the Gathering, Sue Wallis. A scholarship fund has been established at the Western Folklife Center/National Cowboy Poetry Gathering to honor Rod's memory.