FEATURING: DW Groethe, Carol Heuchan, Waddie Mitchell, Rodney Nelson, Vess Quinlan.
This totally groovy show will prove that with age comes wisdom ... and a sense of humor, with a side of aches and pains. Join DW Groethe, Carol Heuchan, Waddie Mitchell, Rodney Nelson, and Vess Quinlan as they circle up and swap poems about the things they’ve learned along the way to their Septuagennial.
From the 36th National Cowboy Poetry Gathering.
"I Eat Meat" - DW Groethe
"Experience of Life" - Waddie Mitchell
"Bronco Harry's Last Ride" - Carol Heuchan (poem by Jack Drake)
"Good Clean Fun" - Rodney Nelson
"First Love" - Vess Quinlan
"The Last Thing on my Mind" - DW Groethe (words & music by Tom Paxton)
"Typical" - Waddie Mitchell
"Curly, Larry and...just a Mo!" - Carol Heuchan
"TV Talk Shows" - Rodney Nelson
Untitled Story - Vess Quinlan
"The Bunny Poem" - DW Groethe
"The Cowboy's Dream" - Waddie Mitchell (poem by Bruce Kiskaddon)
"Fly" - Carol Heuchan
"I Don't" - Rodney Nelson (based on a poem passed down by his mother)
"Indian Head Penny" - Vess Quinlan (poem by Guy Clark)
"Hooves" - DW Groethe
"The Funeral" - DW Groethe
"Whole Load" - Waddie Mitchell
Untitled poem - Carol Heuchan
"Fashion Fixing Fencers" - Rodney Nelson
"Coyotes and Watermelon" - Vess Quinlan
"Get Along Little Doggies" - DW Groethe (traditional)
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 celebrate who he is and where he comes from. Feel free to stop DW any old time and ask him whatever needs asking. Coffee's on him.
Cooranbong, NSW, Australia
Carol Heuchan has lived ‘on the land’ in rural Australia most of her life—previously on a sheep and cattle property in “The Man from Snowy River” country and now in the Hunter Valley of New South Wales. She trained horses, taught riding, and competed intensively, becoming an international horse judge and commentator. Poetry kind of ‘took over’ about sixteen years ago and, after being Australian Champion Bush Poet twice and winning hundreds of awards, poetry became her full-time profession. She has published five books, six CDs, and has been named Australian Bush Laureate a record nine times;, she brings a broad repertoire that goes from heart wrenching to hilarious!
Twin Bridges, NV
Waddie Mitchell was immersed in the cowboy way of entertaining as a boy on the Nevada ranches where his father worked. The art of spinning tales in rhyme and meter about a rich lifestyle of pushing cows and living off the land came to be called cowboy poetry. Waddie recites the older classics as well as his own works, eloquently expressing moments grand and common, humorous and tragic. In 1985, Waddie helped organize Elko’s first Cowboy Poetry Gathering. Since then, he has kept busy writing, publishing, and recording.
Rodney Nelson and his wife, Teri, live at Sims, North Dakota, population 2, a suburb of Almont. Despite advancing age and declining health, Rodney continues to make his living rodeoing, which has caused him to enjoy a low standard of living. His rodeo career has been in a steady decline for most of his life, going from riding saddle broncs to now competing in senior breakaway roping, which his daughter says is a girls’ event for old men. He finds it necessary to supplement his rodeo income by raising a few cattle, breaking a few horses, working as a brand inspector, writing a column “Up Sims Creek” for Farm and Ranch Guide, freeze-branding cattle around North Dakota in the coldest winter months, and entertaining banquet crowds with his brand of rural humor. He died in 2020.
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 he 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 Jan. 30, 2020.
Made possible 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.