National Cowboy Poetry Gathering Shows

National Cowboy Poetry Gathering Shows

The National Cowboy Poetry Gathering is a week-long festival of cowboy poetry, music, and art, rooted in tradition but focused on today’s rural West. It began in 1985 as a time and place where western ranchers and cowboys could gather to share poems about their lives working cattle. Three decades later, the Gathering encompasses western poets, musicians, artisans, and storytellers, sharing their creativity across the country, telling their stories of hard work, heartbreak, and hilarity, and what it means to make your way in the rangeland West.

The 38th National Cowboy Poetry Gathering will take place Jan. 30-Feb. 4, 2023, in Elko, NV. Tickets go on sale to Western Folklife Center members Sept. 6, 2022. More information:

National Cowboy Poetry Gathering Shows
  • The Western Trail

    FEATURING: Andy Hedges, Waddie Mitchell, Michael Martin Murphey.

    You know of the Ol' Chisholm Trail, but do you know of the younger, longer, parallel trail that was the backdrop for the epic "Lonesome Dove?" At the tailend of the cattle drive era, herds drove up The "Great" Western Trail from Te...

  • Ride + Write 'em Pretty

    FEATURING: Ned LeDoux, Corb Lund, Rob and Halladay Quist, Paul Zarzyski.

    There are skills that good riders acquire over years of being a-horseback, but the best riders also develop a sixth sense that enables them to communicate with the horse. So when they ride 'em pretty, there's poetry in moti...

  • Bridging the 49th

    FEATURING: Jamie Fox, Corb Lund, Sid Marty with Denise Withnell and David Wilkie, Ian Tyson, Colter Wall.

    A border by cartography standards, the 49th parallel north distinguishes Canada from the United States. On maps, anyway. But, try telling these musicians that as they sing themselves from si...

  • A Cavvy of Horse Poems & Songs

    FEATURING: Mike Beck, Daron Little, Shadd Piehl, Forrest VanTuyl.

    Explore the connection between people and horses in poetry and song. Three singer songwriters and a poet share their love, frustrations, and work experiences with horses.

    Hosted by Annie Hatch.

    From the 35th National Cowboy Poet...

  • Ranch Knowledge + Ingenuity

    FEATURING: Yvonne Hollenbeck, The Munsick Boys, Jonathan Odermann, Jack Sammon.

    Sit back and enjoy poetry and songs by those who make their living on the land. Yvonne Hollenbeck's wit and creative thinking will have you gasping for breath with laughter, Jonathan Odermann's poetry will take you...

  • Home

    FEATURING: Maria Lisa Eastman, John Dofflemyer, Carolyn Dufurrena

    Three poets, who live on ranches in sparsely populated areas, read their poems about life, people, critters, and living in remote areas of the West. Sit back as they introduce you to their lives.

    From the 36th National Cowboy Poe...

  • Cowboy Classics

    FEATURING: Randy Rieman, Jay Snider, Michael Stevens

    Fortify yourself with a healthy dose of tradition! Expert reciter, traveling horseman, and Montana legend Randy Rieman infuses vitality, inflection, and life into the cowboy poetry canon. Master poet Jay Snider shares his Oklahoma wisdom, refl...

  • Tribute to Don Edwards

    FEATURING: Dom Flemons, Pipp Gillette, Andy Hedges, R.W. Hampton, Brenn Hill, Hot Club of Cowtown, Elana James, Waddie Mitchell, Joel Nelson, Lauren Padgett, Randy Rieman, Dave Stamey, Denise Withnell, Lloyd Wright.

    With more than 55 years of crooning, yipping, and picking under his belt, the l...

  • Ian Tyson Tribute

    FEATURING: Mike Beck, Ramblin' Jack Elliott, R.W. Hampton, Brenn Hill, Ross Knox, Shandee Layne, Corb Lund, Gary McMahan, Michael Martin Murphey, Dave Stamey, Dave Wilkie + Denise Withnell, Paul Zarzyski.

    A full show honoring The Legendary Ian Tyson. Celebrate Ian's return to Elko with a show of...

  • The Real Deal

    FEATURING: Juni Fisher, Pipp Gillette, Yvonne Hollenbeck, Waddie Mitchell.

    These seasoned performers take you on a journey through original and classic poetry, original songs, and childhood memories to aging with wild abandon.

    Hosted by Kristin Windbigler.

    From the 2022 Wild Ride.



  • The New Wave

    FEATURING: Brenn Hill, Brigid & Johnny Reedy, Matt Robertson, Trinity Seely.

    A balance of up-and-coming and solidly established, this wave of western musicians hits the sagebrush sea with rich musical expressions that stay true to their roots while adding some new flair.

    From “The New Wave” eve...

  • Straight Chutin' Champions

    FEATURING: Henry Real Bird, Cat Clifford, Miko Marks, Paul Zarzyski

    These rodeo pros steer an evening of entertainment from the chute to the dirt, bringing you stories, poems and music from far-flung arenas and the roads in between.

    Hosted by Debbie Fant.

    From the 36th National Cowboy Poetry ...

  • Ranch Family Show

    FEATURING: The Munsick Boys, Brigid + Johnny + John Reedy, Jessie + Gene Veeder

    Celebrate family ranching and family music-making with these three father-led family units. It's a show of shared experience, shared genes, and shared songs. Four-man Wyoming operation The Munsick Boys bring fiddling...

  • Cowboy Caffeine, Extra Strong

    FEATURING: R.W. Hampton, Ned LeDoux, Trinity Seely.

    What does it take to be a cowboy? These songsters will tell you. Pour a cup of coffee, sit back, and listen to these songs of strength. Get a nice buzz with cowpuncher entertainer R.W. Hampton, sagebrush storyteller Ned LeDoux, and cowgirl cha...

  • Lesson Poems, Songs & Stories

    FEATURING: Dylan Clough, Tom Swearingen, Jessie Veeder.

    Do you learn lessons easily or do you ascribe to the "School of Hard Knocks?" This show takes you on a thoughtful ride through lessons that were learned in life, love, and friendship. This trio of performers will wow you with their talent...

  • Paul Zarzyski

    FEATURING: Paul Zarzyski.

    A full solo show from the matchless rodeo poet, Paul Z.

    From the 36th National Cowboy Poetry Gathering.



    "Words Growing Wild in the Woods"
    "Zeke Zarzyski: Cookie-Down-The-Hall-Chaser"
    "Australian Shepherd Dump-Run Meditation"
    "Alarm Clock Dog"

  • Family, Friends & Community

    FEATURING: Marinna Mori, Jake Riley, Dave Stamey.

    A full show of catchy refrains, snappy phrasings, and kindred feelings. The show opens with Dave's effortless performance, followed by Jake's spot-on delivery, and ends with Marinna's clear voice.

    Hosted by Debbie Fant.

    From the 36th National...

  • Better Part of Living

    FEATURING: Ned LeDoux, Jake Riley, Jessie Veeder.

    An evening of sonic indulgence, Great Plains inflections, and ramblers’ observations infused with a love of home and a penchant for verse. Hailing from Kansas by way of Wyoming, country music heir Ned LeDoux honors his father’s legacy while blaz...

  • The Rambling Boys

    FEATURING: Ramblin' Jack Elliott, Corb Lund, Forrest VanTuyl.

    Legendary performer Ramblin' Jack Elliott is joined by trailblazers Corb Lund and Forrest VanTuyl to take you on a musical ramble you won't forget.

    From the 36th National Cowboy Poetry Gathering.



    “Road to Las Cru...

  • Blues on the Range

    FEATURING: Geno Delafose, Dom Flemons, Pipp Gillette + Lloyd Wright, Andy Hedges.

    These musician-historians chronicle how African American cowboys have shaped the West. The singing knowledge-holders (and friends) speak to the historical and contemporary impact of Black cowboys as they swap song...

  • Highlights of the First Gathering

    1 season

    In 1985, KIVI TV in Idaho showed up to film the very first Cowboy Poetry Gathering in Elko, and we are so grateful for this precious documentation of the event. You can feel the nerves as some poets debut their work on stage for the very first time. All these years later, the footage is a fascina...

  • I Just Wanna Be a Comic Cowboy

    FEATURING: Doris Daley, Yvonne Hollenbeck, Jarle Kvale, Rodney Nelson, R.P. Smith.

    From subtle deliveries to outlandish turns of phrase, these punchy poets promise to make you giggle, maybe even guffaw. Alberta’s siren of sass Doris Daley, South Dakota’s non-stop wit-wielder Yvonne Hollenbeck, N...

  • Stay A Little Longer

    FEATURING: Dom Flemons, Hot Club of Cowtown.

    The chemistry of this hard-swinging trio and hard-singing songster is undeniable. Hot Club of Cowtown is a classic western swing combo with a beyond-classic sound, melding the strains of Elana James’ stellar fiddling, Whit Smith’s virtuosic guitar pl...

  • Anchoring the Tradition

    FEATURING: Waddie Mitchell, Marinna Mori, Trinity Seely.

    Two penmasters who were born to the ranching life open the gate to a herd of words. The inimitable Waddie Mitchell, a Gathering founder, pairs perspectives with singer, songwriter, and ranchwoman Trinity Seely. This show pairs the promise...