Celebrating 25 Years with Waddie Mitchell

Nevada cowboy poet Waddie Mitchell, 1985Celebrate the history of the National Cowboy Poetry Gathering with the very first poem recorded on stage at the very first Gathering. From 1985 -- and featured for the first time on Ranch Rhymes -- here is Waddie Mitchell's recitation of "The Cremation of Sam McGee," by Robert Service.

Length: 6:34 ~ Listen or podcast from iTunes.


With a friendly nod to the anniversary of the National Cowboy Poetry Gathering, Waddie Mitchell opened the first show "Voices From the Silver State" on Saturday, January 24, with this very same poem - delighting the standing-room-only audience and beginning another great Gathering of cowboy poetry and music in Elko, Nevada. Waddie shared the stage with Adrian, who was featured in our earlier "Riding With Ranch Rhymes" episode. 

Poetry and stories have been told since the beginning of cowboys on the range. Gathered from a wide variety of poetry and stories, heard by word of mouth or read in books that might have only been held for a short time and passed along. The result was a collection of tales and prose committed to memory and shared at camps, bunkrooms and anywhere else like-minded folks might gather. 

This podcast was drawn from the Western Folklife Center's archival audio material.