Yee Haaa! It’s The 28th National Cowboy Poetry Gathering In Elko

Oh WOW! its Cowboy time again – where did the year go?

The greatest celebration of the American West, its people, culture and traditions is the National Cowboy Poetry Gathering.

The 28th annual gathering is set for January 30 to February 4, 2012, here in Elko.

Every winter for the last 27 years, cowboys, ranchers, rural and urban people have traveled en masse to this small high desert community, to join with friends, family and others who care about the rural West. Together, they listen to poetry and music, learn about cowboy culture in the U.S. and around the world, experience great art, watch western films, learn a craft, and gather to eat, drink and swap stories.

Western Folklife Center produces the event.

Ticket sales for Members of the Western Folklife Center can buy tickets for the 28th National Cowboy Poetry Gathering starting Tuesday, September 6, 2011. Non-members can purchase tickets one month later, on Thursday, October 6.

elko cowboy poetry
Programs at the 28th Gathering will focus on the southwestern United States, specifically Arizona and New Mexico—which are celebrating their centennials next year—and West Texas. The event will present poets and musicians from the region, as well as workshops and panel discussions focused on regional food, culture and agriculture. An exhibition of Southwest ranching culture featuring the photography of Kurt Markus and Jay Dusard will be on display in the Western Folklife Center’s Wiegand Gallery.

The 28th National Cowboy Poetry Gathering will feature nearly 50 poets, musicians and musical groups from the U.S., Canada and Australia, performing on seven stages at four different venues. The line-up includes cowboy poets Baxter Black, Wally McRae, Paul Zarzyski, Waddie Mitchell, Yvonne Hollenbeck, Joel Nelson, Doris Daley and many others. Music is as integral to the Gathering as poetry; the musical line-up includes Ian Tyson, Michael Martin Murphey, Ramblin’ Jack Elliott, R.W. Hampton, Stephanie Davis, Wylie & The Wild West, Dave Stamey, Hot Club of Cowtown and more. Scroll down for a full list of artists and their hometowns.

New artists at the 28th National Cowboy Poetry Gathering include Tucson, Arizona’s Ronstadt Generations lead by Michael J. Ronstadt, younger brother of Linda Ronstadt. Michael continues the family’s musical tradition with his two sons, Michael G. and Petie, who play a rich repertoire of original material alongside traditional Southwest and Mexican songs. Also at the Gathering for the first time is Montana singer-songwriter Martha Scanlan, who lives and cowboys on a remote ranch near the Wyoming border. Martha’s solo album, The West Was Burning has received critical acclaim. Tim Hus & The Rocky Mountain Two, who hail from Calgary, Alberta, and sing what they call “Canadiana cowboy music,” are also making their debut appearance at the National Cowboy Poetry Gathering. Their latest recording is Hockeytown.

Additional highlights include a keynote address by actor and author Barry Corbin (Lonesome Dove, Northern Exposure) who will discuss the mythology of the cowboy and the misrepresentation of cowboy and ranching life in the media. The Gathering also features hands-on workshops in traditional western arts such as rawhide braiding, hat making and fiddling, as well as three western dances, film screenings, and open-mic poetry and music sessions.

Tickets to the 28th National Cowboy Poetry Gathering can be purchased at, by calling 775-738-7508, toll-free 888-880-5885, or by stopping in to the Western Folklife Center’s ticket office, 501 Railroad Street, Elko. Western Folklife Center members can purchase tickets beginning at 9:00 am Pacific Time, September 6, 2011, and non-members can purchase tickets beginning Thursday, October 6. For more information about the 28th National Cowboy Poetry Gathering, or membership in the Western Folklife Center visit or by calling 775-738-7508 or toll-free 888-880-5885.

The 28th National Cowboy Poetry Gathering is supported by NV Energy, AT&T, the William Randolph Hearst Foundation, the National Endowment for the Arts, the Nevada Arts Council, Nevada Humanities, and many more foundations, businesses and individuals.

The mission of the Western Folklife Center is to enhance the vitality of American life through the experience, understanding, and appreciation of the diverse cultural heritage of the American West.

Here is a list of the Performers you can see at the 28th National Cowboy Poetry Gathering:

  • Mike Beck & the Bohemian Saints, Monterey, California
  • Baxter Black, Benson, Arizona
  • Dave Bourne, Agoura Hills, California
  • Jerry Brooks, Sevier, Utah
  • Ken Cook, Martin, South Dakota
  • Doris Daley, Turner Valley, Alberta, Canada
  • Stephanie Davis, Columbus, Montana
  • John Dofflemyer, Lemon Cove, California
  • Ramblin’ Jack Elliott, Northern California
  • Rolf Flake, Gilbert, Arizona
  • Dick Gibford, New Cuyama, California
  • The Gillette Brothers, Crockett, Texas
  • Skip Gorman, Connie Dover & the Waddie Pals, Wyoming
  • DW Groethe, Bainville, Montana
  • Amy Hale Auker, Prescott, Arizona
  • R.W. Hampton, Cimarron, New Mexico
  • Carol Heuchan, Cooranbong, New South Wales, Australia
  • Yvonne Hollenbeck, Clearfield, South Dakota
  • Hot Club of Cowtown, Austin, Texas
  • Jess Howard, Wibaux, Montana
  • Tim Hus & The Rocky Mountain Two, Calgary, Alberta, Canada
  • Ross Knox, Benson, Arizona
  • Marley’s Ghost, Mill Valley, California
  • Michael Martin Murphey & The Rio Grande Band featuring Pat Flynn, Pueblo, Colorado
  • Wally McRae, Forsyth, Montana
  • Waddie Mitchell, Twin Bridges, Nevada
  • Andy Nelson, Pinedale, Wyoming
  • Joel Nelson, Alpine, Texas
  • Rodney Nelson, Almont, North Dakota
  • Glenn Ohrlin, Mountain View, Arkansas
  • Vess Quinlan, San Acacio, Colorado
  • Henry Real Bird, Garryowen, Montana
  • Pat Richardson, Merced, California
  • Randy Rieman, Dillon, Montana
  • Ronstadt Generations, Tucson, Arizona
  • Martha Scanlan, Birney, Montana
  • Georgie Sicking, Kaycee, Wyoming
  • Sourdough Slim, Paradise, California
  • R.P. Smith, Broken Bow, Nebraska
  • Jay Snider, Cyril, Oklahoma
  • Dave Stamey, Orange Grove, California
  • Gail Steiger, Prescott, Arizona
  • Rod Taylor, Cimarron, New Mexico
  • Ian Tyson, Longview, Alberta, Canada
  • Dick Warwick, Oakesdale, Washington
  • Andy Wilkinson & Andy Hedges, Lubbock, Texas
  • Wylie & The Wild West, Conrad, Montana
  • Paul Zarzyski, Great Falls, Montana