I Just Wanna Be a Comic Cowboy
36th Gathering • 1h 23m
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, North Dakota’s stealthily riotous Jarle Kvale, North Dakota’s deadpan doozy-dropper Rodney Nelson, and Nebraska’s seam-busting jokester R.P. Smith are a crew that’s sure to have you in stitches. You’ll wonder if they’re poets or comedians. And, really, it’s half dozen of one, six of the other.
Hosted by Doris Daley.
From the 36th National Cowboy Poetry Gathering.
ABOUT THE ARTISTS
Black Diamond, AB, Canada
Doris Daley is an Alberta-born, ranch-raised, hale and hearty, happy-trailed, spangled-and-wrangled western poet, emcee, and road warrior. She comes from a gene pool that includes Mounties, ranchers, team ropers, intrepid homesteaders, petticoated bushwhackers, good dancers, grain elevator operators, and Irish stowaways: the perfect pedigree for a cowboy poet. Doris has spouted her poetry around campfires and in concert halls from West Texas to Northern Alberta and all points in between. She grew up near a town of 300 people, she now lives in a "big" town (pop: 2,000) in the Alberta foothills with a bakery, two banks, a bar on the corner, one great library, and no traffic lights.
Jarle turns his experiences with horses, rodeo, and North Dakota rural living into humorous verse. He's been writing cowboy poetry for over 25 years, sharing his stories with friends and family members over trail ride campfires, at various community events, and at cowboy poetry gatherings throughout the country. He is also host and producer of "Back at the Ranch," a weekly half-hour radio show and podcast featuring a mix of western music and cowboy poetry. Jarle and his wife, along with an ever-changing number of horses, live north of Dunseith, North Dakota, not far from the Canadian border.
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.
Broken Bow, NE
R.P. Smith is a fourth-generation rancher from Custer County, Nebraska: the Pine Crest Ranch has been in his family since 1906. Over 30 years ago, after seeing two of the world’s most noted cowboy poets on the Johnny Carson Show, R.P. was inspired to write his own piece of cowboy poetry. A few years later he was given the opportunity to share some of his work at the first Old West Days Celebration, Nebraska’s cowboy poetry gathering, and the ball really started rolling from there. He is still excited enough about ranching that it pulls him out of bed pretty early every day; he enjoys the challenges that running a ranch offers, and 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, 2020.
Made possible by McMullen, McPhee, & Company, LLC, 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.
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