The Faces of the 34th National Cowboy Poetry Gathering

We’ve been having a great time going through photos of the 34th National Cowboy Poetry Gathering by our photographers Jessica Lifland and Charlie Ekburg. We wanted to share some of them with you — Enjoy!

Arinak Basque Dancer. Photo by Jessica Brandi Lifland

One of Elko’s Ariñak Basque dancers. Photo by Jessica Brandi Lifland

Jean Flesher adds final touches to dessert at the Basque Cooking Workshop. Photo by Charlie Ekburg

Executive Director Kristin Windbigler welcomes everyone to the Keynote Address. Photo by Jessica Brandi Lifland.

Eric Trigg, a Keynote Speaker. Photo by Jessica Brandi Lifland

Emily Nielson, a Keynote Speaker. Photo by Jessica Brandi Lifland.

Nephi Craig, a Keynote Speaker. Photo by Jessica Brandi Lifland.

Trimming at the Hatmaking Workshop. Photo by Charlie Ekburg.

Rodney Nelson and Yvonne Hollenbeck in Members’ Show #1. Photo by Jessica Brandi Lifland.

A happy audience at the 34th Annual National Cowboy Poetry Gathering. Photo by Jessica Brandi Lifland.

Cody and Willy Braun in the intimate G Three Bar Theater. Photo by Charlie Ekburg.

Jesus Goni, Bertsolariak, and Joxe Mallea. Photo by Charlie Ekburg

Saturday’s Fiddling Around Show: the more, the merrier. Photo by Charlie Ekburg.

View more photos from the 34th National Cowboy Poetry Gathering on Flick’r.

The Full News About the Full Daily Schedule

It’s live! It’s colorful! It’s fun! It’s the online daily schedule for the 34th National Cowboy Poetry Gathering! The full daily schedule is embedded on our website and it’s also a smartphone app.

This great system from Sched.com lets you access the schedule in so many ways. Check out the list at the right and make your selection between date or venue, type of session and more. You can even search by genre (poetry, music, storytelling, cooking, discussions, gearmaking, etc.), and you can even look at a list of the most popular events.

If you want to see where and when each individual artist is performing, just click on “Artists” at the top to choose your favorite performer and you can see the shows they will be in along with their bio. (We’re still gathering the speakers and panelists together, but plan to have all of them available soon.)

And we’re so happy this year to be able to feature our major sponsors on the daily schedule, as well as including them on the evening shows they are sponsoring, as a special thank you for their support.

A couple of tips for looking through the National Cowboy Poetry Gathering daily schedule:

As always, we make the distinction between “Ticketed Shows” that occur mostly in the evening hours, and “Daytime Programming.”

Ticketed Shows appear in a deep blue color on the schedule, and those shows require purchase of individual tickets. Remember that Ticketed Shows showcase a combination of Western bands and cowboy poets that often you won’t see together during the day. Some artists only perform on ticketed shows.

Daytime Programming sessions include poetry, music, discussions, films and more, where only a Day Pass or Deluxe Three-Day pass is required for admission. However, this category also includes free and special invitation items, so be sure to check the description to see the full information on any item.

One more special note to the schedule, you may see that in the title and in the description, a cautionary note is added regarding the start and end time of a show or session, particulary in the Open Mics. Our schedule is occasionally tighter than the Sched.com system will feature. Please read the description to make sure you arrive on time.

Go Mobile:

There is a mobile app icon at the top of the right-hand column, and for your iPhone, Android & Blackberry, you can bookmark the app by signing up at https://ncpg2018.sched.com/mobile. Once you’ve created an account, you can make and view your personal schedule of shows you are attending, or you can browse what’s happening right now at the event, or search for what you want.

Everyone on Google Calendar, Outlook and Apple iCal can have instant, offline access to the schedule by clicking this link:  Full Schedule iCal Link for Downloading, save to your desktop and manually import into your calendar. Please note that this is a one-time import so updates to schedule will not show up.

The Braun Boys — All Grown Up

Muzzie Braun and his four boys—Cody, Willy, Micky and Gary—performed at the Elko Cowboy Poetry Gathering six times between 1988 and 1994. Muzzie Braun and the Boys are all grown up now, with successful musical careers of their own. Cody and Willy formed the band Reckless Kelly, and Gary and Micky started Micky and the Motorcars. Both bands have achieved national success with their Western roots music.

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It’s been 23 years since Muzzie and his boys have performed at the Gathering, and we are super excited to welcome three out of five members of the original band to the 2018 event. Muzzie, Cody and Willy Braun will perform together at the Gathering again.

 

We interviewed Cody Braun about his return to Elko and what his early participation in the event meant to him and his family. Here’s what he had to say:

Performing in the early days of the Gathering
The Gathering was one of the larger events that we would do every year. It was the granddaddy of all cowboy poetry events, with all the influential Western musicians.

Starting when I was about 10, I got to sit in on jam sessions upstairs at the Stockmen’s Hotel. I got to stay up until the wee hours. I learned a lot about fiddle playing from Woody Paul (Riders In The Sky) and Billy Beeman, who played German fiddle with The Lobo Rangers (with Dave and Patty Bourne). We got to hang out with Ian Tyson and Ramblin’ Jack Elliott (who sometimes slept on our hotel room floor). We met a lot of people who are life-long friends.

We are excited to be returning to the Gathering after all these years!

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Muzzie Braun, Baxter Black and Woody Paul. Photo by Sue Rosoff

 

Muzzie Braun jam4

Muzzie Braun, Baxter Black, Ramblin Jack Elliott and Richard Farnsworth. Photo by Sue Rosoff.

 

About Reckless Kelly
Western music was our main influence growing up. I listened to Bob Wills, Gene Autry, Roy Rogers, and honky tonk stuff. We brought the Western country influence to Reckless Kelly which has an authentic country roots sound. Others in the band came from more of a rock background. Willy is the main songwriter. He writes good story-songs.

Performing with Muzzie
We play about 3-4 times a year with our Dad. When we do, we tend to play a lot of Dad’s tunes, and older Western honky tonk stuff. We can’t really sing the songs we used to when we were kids because they were written for us as kids.

 

Don’t miss these shows at the 34th National Cowboy Poetry Gathering, January 29 to February 3, 2018!

Muzzie, Willy and Cody Braun will perform with Mike Beck on Friday, February 2, in “Who You Callin’ Americana?” in the Elko Connvention Center Auditorium. The show starts at 8:00 pm and tickets start at $25.

Cody and Willy will perform in “Fresh Voices: Cowboy Coffee House” with Wyoming poets Maria Lisa Eastman and Pat Frolander, Canadian cowboy singer Matt Robertson and Utah singer-songwriter Sand Sheff, Thursday, February 1, at 6:00 pm in the Western Folklife Center G Three Bar Theater. Tickets are $35.

With the purchase of a 3-Day Deluxe Pass or a Single Day Pass, you can also catch Muzzie and the boys performing Friday morning on the Ruby Mountain Music Stage and Saturday afternoon in the G Three Bar Theater.

Tickets and information at www.nationalcowboypoetrygathering.org.

 

Dennis Parks Artwork for Sale

The Western Folklife Center is pleased to host an exhibition, Land, Language and Clay, of Dennis Parks’ works. Selected pieces from this exhibition are available for your collection. Here we share individual photos and the sales list. Please contact our Gift Shop at 888-880-5885 or 775-738-7508, extension 243 for purchasing assistance. Dennis’ son Ben Parks carries on his father’s legacy of ceramic artwork and a few of his pieces are also on display and for sale through the Western Folklife Center Gift Shop. Read more about Dennis Parks and the exhibition.

Land, Language and Clay Sales List

Blue Warriors: purchase for $5,600
Stoneware (1994)

Unknown Soldiers: purchase for $5,300
Stoneware (1994)

Reduction Jar: purchase for $950
7.5″ tall, Stoneware (1981)

Reduction Jar: purchase for $950
7″ tall, Stoneware (1981)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Poetry Plaque 2: purchase for $2,100
Stoneware (1978)

Poetry Plaque 1: purchase for $2,100 Stoneware (1978)

Poetry Plaque 3: purchase for $2,100
Stoneware (1978)

Heroes of the Old Left – Joe Hill: purchase for $750 Stoneware pedestal piece

 

 

 

 

 

 

Heroes of the Old Left – V.I.L.:
purchase for $750
Stoneware pedestal piece

Heroes of the Old Left – 19 Barcelona 09: purchase for $750
Stoneware pedestal piece

 

 

 

 

 

 

Heroes of the Old Left – Karl:
purchase for $750
Stoneware pedestal piece

Heroes of the Old Left – Big Bill:
purchase for $750
Stoneware pedestal piece

 

 

 

 

Platter 1: purchase for $3,500
Stonware (circa mid-1980s)

Dennis Parks Self Portrait: purchase for $2,300 Stoneware (1989)

latter – Desire Itself is Movement:
purchase for $3,500
Stoneware (circa mid-1980s)

Platter – Even While the Dust Moves: purchase for $3,500
Stoneware (circa mid-1980s)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Penada Landscape Plate 2: purchase for $650 Stoneware (circa mid 1980s-1990s)

Penada Landscape Plate 1:
purchase for $650
Stoneware (circa mid 1980s-1990s)

 

 

 

 

 

 

Penada Landscape Plate 4:
purchase for $650
Stoneware (circa mid 1980s-1990s)

Penada Landscape Plate 3:
purchase for $650
Stoneware (circa mid 1980s-1990s)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Penada Landscape Plate 5:
purchase for $650
Stoneware (circa mid 1980s-1990s)

Penada Landscape Plate 6:
purchase for $650
Stoneware (circa mid 1980s-1990s)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Executives Drowning: purchase for $17,000
Stoneware (circa 1990s)

Abacus, by Dennis Parks and John Fahnestock: purchase for $24,000
29″x54″ – Porcelain, Metal and Wood (2005)

Photos courtesy of Dennis Parks and the Nevada Museum of Art.

Mining the Mother Lode: a Moving Rural Verse Poem-Film

Andy Wilkinson’s poem “Mining the Mother Lode” is a lament for the diminishing waters of the enormous Ogallala Aquifer caused by the forces of “progress.” The poem was made into an animated poem-film with the help of Rebecca Shapiro and Jeremy Boreing as part of the Western Folklife Center’s Moving Rural Verse project, which created collaborations between poets and filmmakers around the subject of water in the West. By artfully fusing poetry and video, the Moving Rural Verse poem-films hope to nurture a deeper understanding of rural America and kindle important conversation about critical issues.

The “Mining the Mother Lode” film is not a literal adaptation of the poem. Rather it attempts to provide a counter-harmony to Andy’s words, reflecting the essence of the poet’s vision, just as the poem itself reflects the essence of the diminishing waters of the Ogallala.

Ogallala

Andy spoke to us about the writing of the poem and his hopes for its impact:

“I was asked to write an article about the using up of the Ogallala Aquifer for a local magazine. I started to write, and I realized I was ranting. There is no future in doing a rant in prose. I thought that if I am going to be emotional and passionate about it, I am going to have to write a poem.”

“I want people to think about what our obligation is to the environment. The USDA created an annual report in the early 1950s that was about water. If you blacked out the date, it would read exactly the same if it were written today.”

AndyWilkinson_byTinaThompson

“We already knew what the problem was back then. It’s not the lack of science or the lack of technology, but the lack of will. It’s the lack of willingness to change the bigger systems. Farmers are trapped in a system. They know they are using up the water, but they have to make the payments on the notes and on the equipment. You can change hearts but if you don’t change the system to go with it, you are still going to have the negative effects.”

The Moving Rural Verse program was funded, in part, by Artplace America, National Endowment for the Arts, The Community Foundation of Utah, Jeff Tant and Briana Tiberti. The Moving Rural Verse DVD—containing all four poem-films—is for sale in the Western Folklife Center Gift Shop. To purchase it, give us a call at 888-880-5885

The Brauns and Bertsolaria at the 34th National Cowboy Poetry Gathering

The 34th National Cowboy Poetry Gathering is chock-full of phenomenal performances, captivating stories, and enlightening learning opportunities. With so much going on and so many wonderful shows it is difficult to choose just a few to highlight. We will continue to share the best of the Gathering in this blog so tune in often. We are very excited that Muzzie Braun is returning to Elko with his sons Willy and Cody, of Reckless Kelly. And of course we can’t wait to present the wonderful traditions of the Basque culture, including the improvised poetry sparring called bertsolaria.

Tickets to the 34th National Cowboy Poetry Gathering go on sale to Western Folklife Center members on Tuesday, September 5, at 9:00 am Pacific. The general public will be able to purchase tickets starting Thursday, October 5. To join or renew your membership, click here. You may also join on the phone when you purchase your tickets. Call 888-880-5885 or 775-738-7508. See you in Elko!

Braun Family Trio comes to Elko
Family trio Muzzie Braun and sons Willy & Cody Braun are coming to Elko for the 34th Gathering! Muzzie Braun has been writing, recording and performing for 30 years. Coming from a musical family, Muzzie continued the tradition with his four sons, touring and recording as Muzzie Braun and the Boys. They appeared at the National Cowboy Poetry Gathering for many years. Willy and Cody Braun went on to found the GRAMMY-Award-winning band, Reckless Kelly. As a trio, Muzzie, Willy & Cody play back-to-roots, acoustic material that reflects their far-flung influences and family cohesion.
Braun-Muzziephoto

Muzzie Braun

Willy and Cody Braun will join poets Maria Lisa Eastman and Patricia Frolander, cowboy crooner Matt Robertson and trailblazing troubadour Sand Sheff for “Fresh Voices: Cowboy Coffeehouse” on Thursday, February 1. On Friday, February 2, Muzzie Braun, Willy Braun and Cody Braun will perform in our “Who You Callin’ Americana”* show on with an opening set by Mike Beck. These Idaho natives bring a grounded sensibility and rock-and-roll edge to their country convictions. Their sounds may span genres, but all these fellows are cowboy at heart. Buy your tickets now and enjoy the shows!

Willy_Cody_Braun-photo+Sched

The Braun Brothers

Bizkaia, Boise and Beyond *
From Basque country to buckaroo country comes an evening of surprises. Join champion bertsolariak from both sides of the pond as they engage in the Basque art of bertsolaritza, which is improvised, created-on-the-spot melodic poetry-sparring as the bertsolariak try to cleverly one-up each other. Enjoy verse and stories that connect buckaroos to Argentine Basque gauchos to Basque-American ranchers. And, experience the irresistible force of music and dance that spans all these worlds. Gure etxera datorrena, bere etxean dago! “Who come to our home are at their home!” February 1, 6:00pm – 7:30pm in the Elko Convention Center Auditorium.

Dance Abounds at the National Cowboy Poetry Gathering
Dancing is always a big part of the National Cowboy Poetry Gathering. With so many dance workshops to choose from you will be well-prepared for the three evening dances. Sign up for exhilarating and enjoyable Basque Dance, Two-Step, Polka & Schottische and Rodeo Swing workshops, held on Friday, February 2 and Saturday, February 3. The Friday Night Dance features Wylie & The Wild West and the Saturday Night Dance features the Caleb Klauder Country Band and a special guest Basque band! And Wylie & The Wild West will wrap up the Gathering with their highest energy dance tunes at the Midnight Dance on Saturday.

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* The asterisk in the title means that this show is one of several we for which we offer a special “Next Generation” discount for folks who are between the ages of 15 and 35. A limited number of tickets are available at the discounted price of $20. Buy up to two tickets. Read more information about this discount.

Basques and Buckaroos… and Sheep???… at the 34th National Cowboy Poetry Gathering

by Katie Aiken

No doubt you’ve heard by now that there are sheep on the 2018 National Cowboy Poetry Gathering poster. Sheep! On a cowboy event! Is it true???

Well…yes. The poster artwork depicts sheep–creamy shapes amidst a burst of saturated colors and living textures that call up the deep, shifting palette of our big Western skies and the hazy boundaries of what we define as our Western landscape.

The artist, Theodore Waddell, creates non-stereotypical depictions of the American West, which would be meaningless without stereotypes to buck in the first place. Working in the world of cowboy arts means navigating stereotypes at almost every turn—some preposterous, some truthful, some romanticized, some useful, some made up by people with no clue, some cherished by people in-the-know. But, the Gathering and the Gathering community can’t be boiled down so easily.

Here’s the thing about those sheep. Besides spurring a lot of lively conversation—and opening the door to some unshakeable jokes—those sheep are giving us an opportunity to talk about what the Gathering is and what this year’s Gathering holds in store.

In 2018, we honor part of the fabric of this wonderful community that hosts the Gathering every year. Because, nothing says Elko like Basques and buckaroos. Many Basques came to the American West to work on cattle and sheep ranches as herders and buckaroos. Today’s Basque communities worldwide carry stories of immigration and dynamic traditions of music, poetry, dance, art, foodways and more. These intersect with buckaroo traditions, as Basques and buckaroos are neighbors, friends, family, coworkers, and often, one and the same. We look forward to celebrating the expressive arts of Basques and buckaroos from Elko, the Great Basin and Basque country overseas.

Here are some glimpses into what will happen at the Gathering this year, as we’re joined by participants from the American West and from the Basque Country:

Bertsolaritza at the 2017 National Basque Festival in Elko, Nevada. Photo by Meg Glaser

There will be poetry! Cowboys have cowboy poetry and Basques have bertsolaritza. Bertsolaritza is an improvised poetic artform, where two bertsolariak improvise and exchange poetic verses while trying to cleverly one-up each other. These verses are sung to melodies and created on the spot in response to a given theme. In Basque Country, this is a highly formalized, competitive “sport” that captivates stadium-size audiences for hours. Champions are well-known and renowned. The world of bertsolaritza is big. And, we’re excited to have both a pair of female bertsolariak joining us from the Basque Country as well as a pair of male bertsolariak joining us from Nevada and Wyoming. Though this artform is grounded in the Basque language, all four of these poets will be interpreted and speak in English as well.

Photo by Jessica Brandi Lifland

There will be food! Because if poetry comes out of our mouths, something eventually needs to go back in, right? Cooking workshops are one way that we’ll explore a vast culinary world influenced by Basques and buckaroos. From the necessity and ingenuity of sheep-camp cooking with Dutch ovens, to the needs and styles of ranch cooking (which crosses over to Basque boarding house meals and family-style Basque American restaurants), to contemporary takes on traditional snack-size pintxos, we’re excited to be joined by Basque chefs and ranch cooks.

And, there will be more! We’ll have real people sharing real stories from the Spanish Ranch and other outfits, giving you a glimpse into the histories, characters and lives of Basques and buckaroos from the Great Basin region. There will be opportunities to watch (and learn) Basque dancing, to hear (and play) Basque instruments like the pandero (tambourine), to try your hand at carving Basque makila (walking sticks), to play the card game mus, to drink a kalimotxo (you’ll find out), to bring the family to all-ages events, to share a two-step, and to enjoy the delightful company of our guests. As the Basque saying goes, “Gure etxera datorrena, bere etxean dago!” (“Who come to our home are at their home!” or, roughly, make yourself at home!)

As you listen to the poetry of Bruce Kiskaddon one moment, and hear the melodies of the trikitixa the next… perhaps while eating a tri-tip sandwich and having a conversation with a fellow Gathering-goer that covers range management challenges, the key markers of good rawhide braiding and the songwriting craft of Ian Tyson… you’ll start to get a sense of what the Gathering is about. Basques and buckaroos (and Basque buckaroos!) may define themselves by the land they work or the land they come from, but these lands and the people on them, are connected through generations that reach beyond geographic boundaries. They are sustained by complex and creative relationships. And through words, through music, through food, through shared experience, through moments… the kind of moments that happen at the Gathering.

Our hope is to explore contemporary ranch country, which happens to coexist with “sheep country” and with Basque Country. It is a messy, exciting, wonderful, hazy reality, in which cowboys do what they do best (besides work cows)—they express and they share life from the land. And they refuse to be boiled down.