The National Cowboy Poetry Gathering is turning 30 in 2014 and the nation’s greatest celebration of the American West, its people, culture and traditions, will turn its focus to the future of the region.
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Between Jan. 27 and Feb. 1, in Elko, Nev., the gathering will present poetry, music, fine western gear, films, workshops, dances and discussions with a clear focus on encouraging the next generation and working together to ensure the sustainability of the occupational and artistic traditions of the rural West.
The theme of the 30th National Cowboy Poetry Gathering is “Expressing the Rural West —Into the Future!”
Through performances of poetry and music, thought-provoking films and fruitful discourse, artists and audiences of all ages will share their art and their opinions on meeting the challenges of rural life in the modern West.
In particular, the next generation of cowboy artists will present their work and discuss their brand of ranch life – with one hand on the reins and the other on the cell phone.
More than 50 poets, musicians and musical groups from the U.S. and Canada will perform on seven stages at four different venues.
The 30th gathering line-up includes cowboy poets Baxter Black, Paul Zarzyski, Waddie Mitchell, Yvonne Hollenbeck, Joel Nelson, Doris Daley, Pat Richardson, Randy Rieman and many others.
Music is as integral to the gathering as poetry. The musical line-up includes Ian Tyson, Michael Martin Murphey, Riders In The Sky, Don Edwards, Dave Stamey, Jeffery Broussard and the Creole Cowboys, Caleb Klauder Country Band, Martha Scanlan and more.
Special guests this year include renowned animal welfare advocate, professor and author Temple Grandin, who will deliver the keynote address, and Stephanie Davis and her Trail’s End Ranch Radio Show, broadcasting poetry, humor and wisdom from a fictitious radio station on the range.
A special exhibition will celebrate the new renaissance of western artistry among young gearmakers and visual artists.
The gathering also features hands-on workshops in traditional western arts such as rawhide braiding, cinch-making, hat-making, silverwork, Dutch-oven cooking and more.
It also offers three western dances, film screenings, panel discussions and open-mic poetry and music sessions.
Tickets to the 30th National Cowboy Poetry Gathering can be purchased at westernfolklife.org, by calling 775-738-7508, toll-free 888-880-5885 or by stopping in to the Western Folklife Center’s ticket office, 501 Railroad St. in Elko.
The 30th National Cowboy Poetry Gathering is produced by the Western Folklife Center and supported by NV Energy, Barrick Gold of North America, Nevada Humanities, Nevada Arts Council, National Endowment for the Arts, Elko Convention and Visitors Authority, the city of Elko, The Bretzlaff Foundation, WESTAF, The Reno Rodeo Foundation and many more foundations, businesses and individuals.
The Western Folklife Center is dedicated to exploring, presenting and preserving the diverse and dynamic cultural heritage of the American West. The center celebrates the wisdom, artistry and ingenuity of western folkways through exhibitions, educational programs, national radio and television programs, research and preservation projects, the Website and the premier event, the National Cowboy Poetry Gathering.
The center nurtures connections among rural and ranching cultures globally, exploring universal themes in working traditions and artistic expression, which we believe are vital links to the past, present and future of the American West.
Visit westernfolklife.org for a full list of participating artists and their hometowns.