FEATURING: DW Groethe, Yvonne Hollenbeck, Bill Lowman, Sourdough Slim + Robert Armstrong, R.P. Smith.
Get ready to bust your gut and snort your rip with this handful of poetic humorists. DW Groethe soaks his jokes in wry. Yvonne Hollenbeck stitches her stories with side eyes. Bill Lowman runs circles around the fun police. Sourdough Slim + Robert Armstrong double down on the double entendre. And, R.P. Smith gets you slapping knees with ease. Drop your decorum, abandon your inhibitions, and maybe make a quick trip to the loo...because this show will have you losing control.
From the 38th National Cowboy Poetry Gathering.
"Best Gift I've Had in Years" - Yvonne Hollenbeck
"Second Cutting" - Bill Lowman
"Nighttime in Nevada" - Sourdough Slim + Robert Armstrong (words by Richard W. Pascoe, with Will E. Dulmage + music by H. O'Reilly Clint)
"Showdown at Snowdrift Corral" - R.P. Smith
"The Coffee Song" - DW Groethe
”Pulling the Caking Truck Blues” - Yvonne Hollenbeck
A story about a diner and chili... - Bill Lowman
"Jolly Cowboys" - Sourdough Slim + Robert Armstrong (words + music by Sourdough Slim)
"Jugs" - R.P. Smith
"The Bunny Poem" - DW Groethe
"My Daughter-In-Law" - Yvonne Hollenbeck
A story about hosting a wedding... - Bill Lowman
"Milk Cow Blues" - Sourdough Slim + Robert Armstrong (words + music by Kokomo Arnold)
"Thumper, the Smoke Jumper" - R.P. Smith
"The Funeral" - DW Groethe
"Halloween Headlines" - Yvonne Hollenbeck
"Cowboy and the Vet" - Bill Lowman
"Chime Bells" - Sourdough Slim + Robert Armstrong (words + music by Elton Britt, Bob Miller)
"Song of the Cistern" - R.P. Smith
“Some Songs Go on Forever...others Don’t” - DW Groethe
"Old Eagle Eye" - Yvonne Hollenbeck
"Gold Rush" - Bill Lowman
"Red River Valley" - Sourdough Slim + Robert Armstrong (traditional)
"Lost in a Large Corporate Retailer" - R.P. Smith
ABOUT THE ARTISTS
DW Groethe is the son of a son of pioneers. He was born and raised in the west of Dakota and has lived the past 25-plus years across the border in Montana. It is the same land...same folks...same weather...same heartbeat. The lyrics may change but the rhythm stays true. He is a ranch hand, he is a poet, he is a songster. His songs and his poems sing of who he is and where he comes from. When you’re in Elko, feel free to stop DW any old time and ask him whatever needs asking. Coffee's on him.
Yvonne Hollenbeck is a South Dakota cattleman’s wife who writes poetry about her life on a beautiful, remote ranch where she helps with everyday duties–putting up hay, feeding a crew, doing bookwork, or working cattle. Her writing, often humorous, takes a serious side when she reflects upon the hardships experienced by her parents and ancestors. Yvonne is a freelance author, penning a weekly column in the Farmer & Rancher Exchange, an avid quilter (her master quilting and appliqué work can be seen in the Western Folklife Center’s Pioneer Saloon), and the creator of her one-woman show, Patchwork on the Prairie. Most of her writing and quilting is done while waiting on meals for her husband and hired hands, waiting for a cow to safely birth a new calf, or in evenings when the ranch day’s work is done, what she calls her “found time.”
Sentinel Butte, ND
Bill Lowman, a multi-talented visual, literary, and performing artist, is a charter member of the National Cowboy Poetry Gathering in Elko and the founder/director of the long-running Dakota Cowboy Poetry Gathering, held annually in Medora, North Dakota. He and his family own and operate a ranch in the Badlands some 20 miles northeast of Sentinel Butte, where they are widely known for their love of and respect for the well-being of their livestock and pets. After a 10-year run with a weekly radio show, Bill is now a bi-monthly columnist in the Farm and Ranch Guide, where his main focus is to record, preserve, and enhance America’s cowboy culture. An inductee into the North Dakota Cowboy Hall of Fame and a Local Legacy in the Library of Congress in Washington, DC, Bill’s most cherished accomplishment is continuing to improve the ranch.
Sourdough Slim + Robert Armstrong
Sourdough Slim, aka Rick Crowder, is a hoot to say the least. Sourdough hails from California’s gold country and is the recipient of the Academy of Western Artists’ Yodeler of the Year Award. Since 1988, he has gained national recognition performing at the National Cowboy Poetry Gathering, the Kennedy Center in Washington, DC, and Carnegie Hall and Lincoln Center in New York. This savvy performer has the rare gift for transporting audiences to a whimsical world where vaudevillian camp incorporates cowboy lore. His fast-paced show combines song, yodeling, humor, accordion, guitar, ukulele, and harmonica, with a keen knowledge of traditional western repertoire. Sourdough is joined by Robert Armstrong, who matches him hoot for hoot.
Broken Bow, NE
R.P. Smith is a fourth-generation rancher from Broken Bow, Nebraska. In the ranching game, it never hurts to have a little side gig, and for over 30 years, humor and cowboy poetry have been a creative outlet for R.P. He greatly appreciates the opportunities to entertain that have allowed him to participate in events in 18 states and even a quick trip across the border to the north. R.P. continues to produce a weekly radio program, Homegrown, which airs on several stations across Nebraska and Texas and online. He is a lifelong student of the relationships between water, grass, sunshine, and livestock.
Filmed in front of a live audience at the Elko Convention Center’s Laurena Moren Theater on Feb. 1, 2023.
Made possible by Elko Convention + Visitors Authority and by the multitude of staff, artists, volunteers, and community members working behind the scenes to make this show happen.
Brought to you by the Western Folklife Center, using story and cultural expression to connect the American West to the world.