Vintage Videos • 53m
"Cowboy Poets" was produced in 1988 at the beginning of the cowboy poetry revival. Kim Shelton wanted to make a documentary that would show cowboy poets from different regions of the West, from different generations, and guys that both wrote their own poems, and those whose talent was based in the memorized recitation of well-loved poems. At that point, there were few women involved in cowboy poetry, something that has changed dramatically during the ensuing years.
After discussion with Western Folklife Center, Shelton settled on profiling the lives of three men, Waddie Mitchell, a young buckaroo with a large family, who at the time, managed a small ranch for the LDS church outside of Elko, Nevada; Slim Kite, an old-time cowboy from the mountains of Arizona; and Wallace McRae a fourth generation rancher from eastern Montana.
To most Americans, even rural westerners, cowboy poetry was something new, something unexpected. The film showed the lives of these men in detail and examined the traditions and inspiration that brought poetry into the lives of ranch folks. It was a hit at film festivals and garnered a spot on both National Geographic Explorer and on PBS's POV series.
Funding: The National Endowment for the Arts (Folk Arts), Arizona, Montana and Nevada Humanities Councils, Levi's Western Wear, Charles Redd Foundation, George Gund.
Brought to you by the Western Folklife Center, using story and cultural expression to connect the American West to the world.
Up Next in Vintage Videos
A Colt .45 and a Chili Queen
Drum tells a hilarious tale of self reliance gone wrong...or maybe right.
Drum Hadley recites "A Colt .45 and a Chili Queen" during the very first Cowboy Poetry Gathering in 1985. Drum was a longtime resident of Arizona who was a rancher, poet, and one of the visionaries of the sustainable ranch...
What Will I Tell Him
Waddie gives advice to his eldest son. Waddie Mitchell performs, "What Will I Tell Him" during the "Cowboy Jubilee" show at the 10th National Cowboy Poetry Gathering.
ABOUT THE ARTIST
Twin Bridges, NV
Waddie Mitchell was immersed in the cowboy way of entertaining as a boy on th...
Legacy of a Rodeo Man
Baxter with a long one 'for the boys in the rodeo.' Baxter Black performs his "Legacy of a Rodeo Man" during the "Colorado Poets" session at the first Cowboy Poetry Gathering in 1985 (in 2000, the event was renamed the National Cowboy Poetry Gathering by an official act of Congress).
ABOUT THE A...