Vess reflects on milking cows, mewling barn cats, and money’s shortfalls. Vess Quinlan performs "The Barn Cats" during the "Words Growing Wild in the West" show at the 35th National Cowboy Poetry Gathering.
ABOUT THE ARTIST
Vess Quinlan began writing poetry and prose when he was confined with polio in 1951. His grandma brought him shoe boxes of J.R. Williams cartoons and cowboy poems cut from years of livestock papers. Uncles brought him Will James books to read. Vess survived with one leg shorter than the other, but never recovered from the effect of these poems, cartoons and stories. His grandpa said, “Now he’s ruined. You can make a cowboy out of pretty near anything but you can’t make hardly nothing out of a cowboy.” The fourth generation to raise livestock and feed, Vess became a working partner on a “rundown outfit” in Colorado’s San Luis Valley, where he raised alfalfa, cattle, kids, dogs and sheep. Vess now drives an over-the-road truck and is a member of the Western Folklife Center’s Board of Trustees.
Filmed in front of a live audience at the Western Folklife Center’s G Three Bar Theater in Elko, NV, on Feb. 2, 2019.
Made possible by Best Western 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.