Every year, folklorists from across the western states reunite at the National Cowboy Poetry Gathering in Elko, Nevada. OFN Associate Director, Emily Hartlerode, joined colleagues to staff the festival as stage manager and host to cowboy musicians and poets Feb 1-3. This year’s 34th annual festival theme, “Basques & Buckaroos: Herding Cultures of Basin, Range and Beyond,” made the beret, or Basque txapela, as common as the ten-gallon hat. A rich assortment of Basque music, dance, language, and rhymes came gathering from near as Elko and far as Spain’s Basque Country. Oregonians performing at the Gathering included photographer Mary Williams Hyde (Klamath Falls), poet Annie Mackenzie (Jordan Valley), and musicians Caleb Klauder Country Band (Portland) who played the famous Saturday Night Dance.
Mary Williams Hyde, whose family has been ranching in Klamath Falls since 1911, shared an hour of her photo slides in a collection called “Images of the Buckaroo: On the Ranch and in the Arena.” Her documentation of this culture specializes in the rare million+ acre ranch of the Great Basin, like Oregon’s ZX Ranch in Paisley.
Annie Mackenzie was a fresh new voice in Elko, attending her first Gathering as a recipient of the Rod McQueary & Sue Wallis Scholarship. This fund, established by an anonymous donor in memory of two of the Gathering’s earliest poets, brings emerging poets, writers and reciters to the Gathering. OFN looks forward to adding to our artist roster Ms. Mackenzie, who writes thoughtful and humorist poetry of her experiences on her family’s fourth-generation ranch in southeast Oregon.
Interested in performing or exhibiting at the National Cowboy Poetry Gathering? Get in touch with OFN, or watch the NCPG website where applications for 2019 will be posted soon!