137 performances you can sink your teeth into
- Written by TW Editors
- Published July 27, 2010
For your reading pleasure: 137 performances you can sink your teeth into, plus chow to fill your tummy, bookstores to get lost in and rivers to float on while you’re in town. You can’t beat that with a stick.
Baxter Black famously, and poetically, said: “Cowboys aren’t a vanishing breed, you just can’t see ’em from the road!” So it make sense that True West kicks off its tribute to real-life, modern-day cow combatants who entertain the heck out of all of us with this venerable cowboy, poet and humorist who lives “between the horse and the cow,” as he puts it, in Benson, Arizona.
When we asked Baxter what fans can expect from him this year, he told us: “I speak to cattlemen, rodeo hands, lab techs, corn growers, horse people, Farm Bureau, veterinary meetings, county fairs and the occasional National Public Radio urban groups. I have a mountain of stories and poems, and so I pick the ones that I think will appeal to each group and put them together like a string of pearls.” So when you’re out there, fans, know that Baxter is truly speaking to you—he’s not just going through a set list.
Even so, quite a few of Baxter’s stories appeal to all audiences: “The Vegetarian’s Nightmare,” “The Cow Attack” and “The Dog and the Rabbit” are sure to make the rounds this year. Baxter’s latest pearl is “Tissue on the Range.” “I owe the last one to Sheryl Crow for inspiration,” he admits to us.
Among the last, biggest Western entertainment shows out there is the Monterey Cowboy Poetry & Music Festival in California on December 10-12. You’ll want to make sure to attend the concerts of Wylie & the Wild West, an act Baxter says has “changed the water level in the ‘cowboy entertainment aquarium.’”
Joining Wylie Gustafson and crew, other top cowboy wordsmiths will be doling out rhymes and tunes at these popular gatherings.
Montana Cowboy Poetry Gathering
August 12-15, 2010 • Lewistown, MT
866-912-3980 • MontanaCowboyPoetryGathering.com
The Next Act: Plan a picnic and go for a summer swim in the 68-degree fahrenheit Gigantic Warm Springs, located 14 miles north of town at the foothills of the North Moccasin Mountains. Rancher David Vanek, who owns the hot springs, charges a nominal admission fee during the June to September season.
Arizona Cowboy Poets Gathering
August 13-14, 2010 • Prescott, AZ
928-776-2000 • AZCowboyPoets.org
The Next Act: Located at downtown’s Whiskey Row, the Galloping Goose Gallery offers Navajo and Hopi jewelry, as well as Western art by Howard Terpning and Bill Anton. The gallery is named after a Buick Railmotor that chugged down Colorado’s mining rail lines in the 1930s.
National Cowboy Poetry Rodeo
September 16-18, 2010 • Montrose, CO
435-899-1100 • CowboyPoetry.com
The Next Act: Head to El Jimador restaurant in Montrose for a tasty bowl of chile verde. Wash it down with a margarita of your choice—they make more than 60 varieties. “El Jimador” is the name given to farmers who cultivate blue agave—the main ingredient in tequila.
Badger Clark Hometown Cowboy Poetry & Music Gathering
Sept. 24-25, 2010 • Hot Springs, SD
800-325-6991 • HotSprings-SD.com
The Next Act: You must have a bowl of buffalo chili at the Blue Bison café. You can’t miss the sandbrick building, with the shellacked blue buffalo on the roof.
Durango Cowboy Poetry Gathering
September 30-October 3, 2010
Durango, CO • 970-749-2995
The Next Act: Starting in October, you can take an American Indian-guided tour of the Ute Mountain Tribal Park, six times larger than Mesa Verde and filled with virtually untouched archaeological Ute sites.
Nebraska Cowboy Poetry Gathering
September 30-October 3, 2010
Valentine, NE • 800-658-4024
The Next Act: Plains Trading Co. Booksellers offers out-of-print, Western and cowboy titles, and books by Nebraska authors and the Sandhills region. Yet what most don’t know is you can grab some cowboy grub for the trail here; the bookstore’s “Sandhills Crates” package up cowboy beans to fry bread mix, and are topped with a bouquet of sand bluestem grass.
Heber City Cowboy Poetry Gathering & Buckaroo Festival
November 1-7, 2010
Midway, UT • 435-654-3666
The Next Act: Try more than 20 different varieties of salsas at the Tarahumara Mexican restaurant’s salsa bar. Quite a few locals have raved that the cheese and onion enchilada is the best enchilada they’ve eaten in their lives.
Monterey Cowboy Poetry & Music Festival
December 10-12, 2010 • Monterey, CA
800-722-9652 • MontereyCowboy.org
The Next Act: Order the Baja Laughing Bird Shrimp at Lalla Grill; the name may be silly, but the flavors are dead serious. Grilled shrimp on three tacos with cilantro, cabbage, onions, queso fresco and chipotle mayo. Wash it down with the house specialty, white peach mojito.
2011 Cowboy Poetry & Music Festivals
National Cowboy Poetry Gathering
January 22-29, 2011 • Elko, NV
775-738-7508 • WesternFolklife.org
Colorado Cowboy Poetry Gathering
January TBA, 2011 • Arvada, CO
720-898-7200 • ArvadaCenter.org
Cochise Cowboy Poetry & Music Gathering
February 11-13, 2011 • Sierra Vista, AZ
520-266-0558 • CowboyPoets.com
Moab’s Western Stars Cowboy Poetry Gathering
February 18-20, 2011 • Moab, UT
435-259-6272 • MoabWesternStars.com
Texas Cowboy Poetry Gathering
February 25-27, 2011 • Alpine, TX
800-361-3735 • Cowboy-Poetry.org
Genoa Cowboy Poetry & Music Festival
April TBA, 2011 • Genoa, NV
775-782-8207 • GenoaCowboyFestival.com
Cowboy Legends Cowboy Poetry & Music Festival
May TBA, 2011 • Antelope Island, UT
Echoes of the Trail Cowboy Poetry & Music
June 10-12, 2011 • Fort Scott, KS
620-223-0736 • EchoesOfTheTrail.com
White Mountains Roundup
July TBA, 2011 • Show Low, AZ
866-532-4070 • WhiteMountainsRoundup.com
Defeat of Jesse James Days
Readers of True West shouldn’t be surprised to hear that Minnesota’s largest all-volunteer celebration is the Defeat of Jesse James Days. “But of course,” you would say, rolling your eyes at the obvious claim.
You see, one of the qualities we love about the West is everyone’s enthusiasm for our shared heritage. So, sure, we can envision 40 die-hard Jesse James and Old West history buffs meeting around the table, every month (with multiple discussions in July and August), to maintain the integrity of the event.
Every fall since 1948, volunteers have worked with the Northfield Historical Society to tell the story about the Northfield townspeople who put their lives on the line to protect the community from the attempted bank robbery by the James-Younger Gang. Approximately 125,000 visitors from all over the world will come to this year’s event on September 8-12.
The passion for replaying history is not just found in Northfield, but also at all the living history blowouts represented here.
Virginia City Living History Weekends
Now through September 12, 2010 • Virginia City, MT
800-829-2969 • VirginiaCityMT.com
The Next Act: The Nevada City Museum isn’t the only act in town bringing history to life; your choices also include shows put on by the Brewery Follies and the Virginia City Players. Sometimes, though, you need a breather from all the excitement. You’ll find it at the city’s gateway to Western art, housed in a former telegraph office that connected Montana to Salt Lake City, Utah, in 1866. The Creighton Block Gallery is owned by former Mayor Colin Mathews and his wife Paula Craver.
Tombstone Vigilante Days
August 6-8, 2010 • Tombstone, AZ
800-457-3423 • TombstoneVigilantes.com
The Next Act: Just because the buds are not blooming on the world’s largest rose bush (spring is the season for that) does not mean you should overlook the Rose Tree Museum and Books. Talk about walking into history: the museum is still owned by descendants of the pioneer family that built the adobe home after reaching Tombstone by wagon train in 1880. You’ll see the family’s artifacts and furnishings, and historical photos of the town.
Fort Stanton Live!
August 6-8, 2010 • Fort Stanton, NM
575-354-0341 • FortStanton.com
The Next Act: Caving was part of military duty, as soldiers had to know the “lay of the land.” In 1855, soldiers from Fort Stanton’s 1st Dragoons explored a nearby eight-mile limestone cave. The Fort Stanton Cave is closed for bat hibernation from November through April, so you’re in luck if you’re in town for the event. You can spend an afternoon among the same stalagmites and rock formations that those blue-wooled soldiers saw.
Montana Wild West Fest
August 14-15, 2010 • Helena, MT
406-458-3700 • MontanaLivingHistory.org
The Next Act: If your sweet tooth is acting up you must go to the Parrot Confectionery to get hand dipped chocolates. The chocolatiers have had some practice since they have been doing it since 1922. Locals order the “Parrot” candies by the pound. Be sure to get here early if it’s lunch time; otherwise you might be in for a wait as the locals line up for a bowl of “secret recipe” chili.
Jeremiah Johnson’s Jackson Hole Wilderness Ride
August 15-20, 2010 • Jackson Hole, WY
505-286-4585 • Great-American-Adventures.com
The Next Act: Adrenaline still pumping? Go whitewater rafting on the Snake River; this part of the country was flooded with fur trappers in the 1820s. Even John “Liver Eating” Johnson (who the movie character Jeremiah Johnson is based on) trapped out here in the late 1840s. Jackson Hole Whitewater offers seasoned guides for your trip, from May through October.
John Wesley Hardin Re-enactment
August 19, 2010 • El Paso, TX
915-842-8200 • ConcordiaCemetery.org
The Next Act: Rock climb among the Kiowa and Apache pictographs at Hueco Tanks state natural area—40 miles east of El Paso.
Fort Bridger Rendezvous
September 3-6, 2010 • Fort Bridger, WY
432-213-5133 • FortBridgerRendezvous.net
The Next Act: After working up a Mountain Man appetite from all that knife throwing and flintlock shooting, head to Bon Rico Supper Club in nearby Evanston. Big portions and fair prices are the norm. Locals recommend the rib eye steak, and they say they can’t get enough of the pickled vegetables.
Defeat of Jesse James Days
September 8-12, 2010 • Northfield, MN
800-658-2548 • DJJD.org
The Next Act: Last year, a local told us that the grocery store at La Vencedora serves the best homemade carnitas (on Saturdays and Sundays) and tamales in town. Don’t be thrown off by the new name, Sosa’s Market and Restaurant; this is still the best place to eat lunch in town.
Hell’s Canyon Mule Days
September 10-12, 2010 • Enterprise, OR
The Next Act: Snack on steamed clams cooked in wine, butter and garlic sauce while drinking an IPA at the Terminal Gravity Brewpub. The IPA is brewed with snowmelt water from Oregon’s Eagle Cap Wilderness. Order the ESG (Extra Special Golden rye beer).
Fort Reno Tombstone Tales
September 16-18, 2010 • El Reno, OK
405-262-3987 • FortReno.org
The Next Act: Robert’s Grill is a local hole-in-the-wall onion burger establishment right off historic Route 66. Only 14 seats wrap around the large grill that cooks up delicious beef patties covered in onions. The fries are piping hot and perfectly salted. Always.
Fort Bayard Days
September 17-18, 2010 • Fort Bayard, NM
575-956-3294 • FortBayard.org
The Next Act: Locals gush about the green chili beef with homemade tortillas served at the M and A Café in Bayard. The place is hopping crazy for the Friday Night Fish Fry, so make your plans accordingly.
Grand Duke Alexis Rendezvous
Sept. 24-26, 2010 • Hayes Center, NE
308-286-3463 • GrandDukeAlexis.com
The Next Act: Visit Huckleberry’s Hideout in nearby Broken Bow on Friday nights for karaoke. Get there early, because this joint
gets packed! Try the savory beef brisket before you grab the mic.
National Cavalry Competition
Sept. 29-Oct. 3, 2010 • Fort Concho, TX
785-784-5797 • USCavalry.org
The Next Act: Fort Concho was established along the Concho River in 1867. Now you can marvel at the exploits of past commanders—such as Indian Wars hero Gen. Ranald Mackenzie and Buffalo Soldiers commander Col. Benjamin Grierson—during a hike along the river guided by Jordan Llamas Treks. The sure-footed and agile llamas carry your supplies!
Fall Traders Encampment
October 1-3, 2010 • Bartlesville, OK
877-273-2007 • VisitBartlesville.com
The Next Act: Murphy’s Original Steak House is notorious for its hot hamburger sandwich-an all-beef patty served on top of Texas toast smothered in cheese, fries and homemade brown gravy. You can also order a salad with the killer garlic dressing, which locals will pretty much put on anything.
Durango Heritage Celebration
October 7-10, 2010 • Durango, CO
970-382-9298 • DurangoHeritageCelebration.com
The Next Act: Get out of town, set your sights on the San Juan Mountains and head out on a half-day trail ride or a half-hour stagecoach tour on Goulding Creek Trail. Tom and Jennifer McCarthy have been guiding folks from their Hole in the Wall Stables for more than 15 years.
Wyatt Earp’s Vendetta Ride
October 10-15, 2010 • Tombstone, AZ
505-286-4585 • Great-American-Adventures.com
The Next Act: You’re in luck, because on the third Saturday of every month (which falls on Oct. 16, this year), the Southwest Association of Buffalo Soldiers leads a tour of historic sites on the Fort Huachuca Army base in nearby Sierra Vista. The 10th Cavalry Buffalo Soldiers served here under Gen. “Black Jack” Pershing during his 1916 expedition into Mexico.
Gunfight at the O.K. Corral
Daily • Tombstone, AZ
520-457-3456 • OK-Corral.com
The Next Act: The only logical thing to do after watching the daily performance of the famous 1881 Gunfight Behind the O.K. Corral is to look for the ghosts of the fallen afterward. Embark on the Crystal Palace Ghost Hunt, which supplies 15 ghost hunters with paranormal equipment in the basement of one of Tombtone’s first saloons to find the forgotten spirits of Tombstone’s gun-riddled past. Like Ray Parker Jr. sang, “I ain’t afraid of no ghosts.”
2011 Living History Celebrations
Kalamazoo Living History Show
March 19-20, 2011 • Portage, MI
765-563-6792 • KalamazooShow.com
Goliad Massacre Re-Enactment
March TBA, 2011 • Goliad, TX
361-645-3752 • PresidioLaBahia.org
Great American Horse Drive
May 4-8, 2011 • Craig, CO
970-586-4577 • Sombrero.com
Lyon County Fly-In
May 21-22, 2011 • Silver Springs, NV
775-887-1294 • EventsNevada.com
Frontier Fort Days
May TBA, 2011 • Fort Worth, TX
817-624-4741 • FortWorthStockyards.org
Texas Proud Festival
May TBA, 2011 • Llano, TX
866-539-5535 • LlanoChamber.org
Fort Laramie Rendezvous
June 19-20, 2011 • Fort Laramie, WY
307-575-2105 • FortLaramieRendezvous.com
Real Bird’s Little Bighorn Re-Enactment
June 25-26, 2011 • Crow Agency, MT
Dalton Gang Hideout
June 25-26, 2011 • Meade, KS
800-354-2743 • OldMeadeCounty.com
Butch Cassidy’s Hole-in-the-Wall Ride
June TBA, 2011 • Hardin, MT
505-286-4585 • Great-American-Adventures.com
Custer’s Ride to Glory
June TBA, 2011 • Hole in the Wall, WY
505-286-4585 • Great-American-Adventures.com
Custer’s Last Stand Re-Enactment
June TBA, 2011 • Hardin, MT
888-450-3577 • CustersLastStand.org
John C. Fremont Days
July 8-10, 2011 • Fremont, NE
402-727-9428 • JohnCFremontDays.com
Green River Days Rendezvous
July TBA, 2011 • Pinedale, WY
307-367-2242 • MountainManCountry.com
Younger Brothers Capture
September 17, 2011 • Madelia, MN
507-642-3245 • VisitMadelia.com
Twenty years ago, long before he would earn his place as the first “cowboy” poet to be named poet laureate of Texas, Red Steagall threw his inaugural cowboy gathering in the Fort Worth Stockyards.
Yet when True West asked Red what events on his tour he was most excited about, he went through a roster of big deal events before he even mentioned his Cowboy Gathering’s 20th anniversary this October 22-24. You’ll find him at the 100th birthday celebration in Lewellen, Nebraska, on August 7, and at the kick-off concert in Miles City, Montana, on August 19 to celebrate the Miles City to Deadwood Stage journey, which culminates in Deadwood, South Dakota, on Labor Day Weekend.
Red tells us his fans can expect to hear poems like “Born to This Land” and “The Fence that Me and Shorty Built,” as well as songs like “The Wagon Tongue” and “Freckles Brown.”
For folks attending the Cowboy Poetry Gathering & Buckaroo Festival in Heber City, Utah, this November, he’s got a picker he thinks you should make every effort to go and hear: Brenn Hill. He’s Red’s favorite singer-songwriter-cowboy, most especially, Red says, because the Utah-born Hill “writes wonderful songs about the place where he lives and the people who he knows.” Red believes that 50 years from now, Hill’s songs will be among those reference sources that share how we lived our Western lifestyle today.
The traditions of the Old West still inform such cowboy gatherings, especially those included here.
Deer Creek Days
August 6-8, 2010 • Glenrock, WY
307-436-5652 • ConverseCountyTourism.com
The Next Act: The heritage celebration would not be complete without a stop at the monument on Third Street marking the Deer Creek Station. It served the Overland Stage, Pony Express, telegraph and the military—until Indians burned down the station in 1866. Afterwards, head out for a buffalo steak dinner at the Fort Diablo Steak House and Saloon.
Nevada Territory Wild West Fair
August 25-29, 2010 • Reno, NV
775-688-5767 • WildWestFair.com
The Next Act: If you head to the Reno-Sparks Livestock Events Center the Friday before, you can attend the Wild Horse and Burro Expo for free (mustang adoptions are Saturday). That way, you can scope out the arena in advance of the state fair to make sure you get a good seat for Don Endsley’s Great American Wild West Show, which you definitely won’t want to miss.
Western Legends Roundup
August 26-28, 2010 • Kanab, UT
The Next Act: After getting Ed Faulkner’s autograph at Western Legends Roundup, go to Frontier Movie Town and Museum to see where some episodes of the CBS series Have Gun, Will Travel (1957-1963) were shot, where he acted alongside Richard Boone’s character Paladin.
Oregon State Fair
Aug. 27-Sept. 6, 2010 • Salem, OR
775-688-5767 • OregonStateFair.org
The Next Act: Oregon’s capital city has been hosting the fair since it was chosen as the permanent site in 1861. Nearly 30 years later, Thomas Kay built his woolen mill (rebuilt in 1898 after a fire), which you can still see at the Mission Mill Museum that offers numerous exhibits on textiles, water power and fabric milling, and tours of pioneer homes on the grounds.
Fiesta de Septiembre
September 4, 2010 • Wickenburg, AZ
800-942-5242 • OutWickenburgWay.com
The Next Act: Screamers Drive In has a green chili burger worth making a stop for. Chow down, then head out to Desert Caballeros Western Museum for “Snapshots of Early 20th-Century Arizona: A Postcard Legacy,” with vintage photos by Jeremy Rowe. Don’t miss out on seeing this collection; the exhibit closes on September 12.
Sacramento Gold Rush Days
September 4-6, 2010 • Sacramento, CA
916-808-7777 • SacramentoGoldRushDays.com
The Next Act: At 9:05 a.m., Monday, June 3, the Sutter Gold Mine’s Facebook page lit up with this message from Jeffrey Scott Smith of Chico, California: “Went on the tour today for the first time. Tour guide Kurt was awesome!!! We will definitely be coming back!!!” Yes, the kids are not the only ones loving this tour. You’ll learn how the industry transitioned from panning to hydraulic mining to current hard rock techniques.
National Cowboy Symposium & Celebration
September 9-12, 2010 • Lubbock, TX
806-798-7825 • Cowboy.org
The Next Act: The Buddy Holly Center is a must see; you can even take a gander at his revered Fender Stratocaster that started it all. If the Rock ’n’ Roll at Buddy Holly gets you itching for Country and Western music, turn your dial to 99.5 KQBR.
Holy Terror Days
September 10-12, 2010 • Keystone, SD
800-732-5682 • HolyTerrorDays.com
The Next Act: Pull yourself away from the views of nearby Mount Rushmore and head to the Red Garter Saloon and Ruby House Restaurant. You’ll get some “comedy Western gunfights” along with your dinner. Three-time World Champion Comedy Gunspinner “Big Dave Murra” will be there in all his seven-foot-two-inches glory.
Sioux Falls Spirit of the West
September 17-19, 2010 • Sioux Falls, SD
605-334-9202 • SpiritOfTheWestFestival.com
The Next Act: Be sure to stop in at Prairie Star Gallery on Phillips Avenue; the gallery features art, jewelry and quilts created by more than 750 Northern Plains Indian artists over the years.
Western Spirit Celebration
September 18-19, 2010 • Duncan, OK
580-252-6692 • OnTheChisholmTrail.com
The Next Act: Brush up on your Chisholm Trail knowledge at the Chisholm Trail Book Store; proprietor Lynn Wienck has carefully chosen the rare Western Americana, regional Oklahoma History and American Indian books that will excite any True West enthusiast.
Hill City Western Heritage Festival
September 18-19, 2010 • Hill City, SD
800-888-1798 • HillCitySD.com
The Next Act: Take an afternoon ride on the 1880 Train through the scenic Black Hills. Afterward, head to the Alpine Inn to eat the bacon wrapped filet mignon. It’s the only thing on the dinner menu, so you know it’s done right!
Western Heritage Weekend Plus Tom Mix Festival
September 18-19, 2010 • Dewey, OK
918-534-2272 • CityOfDewey.com
The Next Act: At La Fiesta Restaurant, locals order the chile relleno with red enchilada sauce (the white is good too). Finish off your meal with a warm sopapilla.
Western Days Festival
September 24-25, 2010 • Lewisville, TX
972-219-3400 • CityOfLewisville.com
The Next Act: Get your fill at Ham & Eggs. The pancakes are a local favorite, and the biscuits are the size of a hamburger bun. Hit the ATM before you go, as this homecooking restaurant only accepts cash.
Rex Allen Days
Sept. 30-Oct. 3, 2010 • Willcox, AZ
800-200-2272 • RexAllenDays.org
The Next Act: Nestled between the Rex Allen and Marty Robbins fanseums is Rodney’s, known for owner Rodney Brown’s beef brisket sandwich and delicious hot wings from scratch. Get your meal to-go and eat it in the Railroad Park across the street (Rex Allen’s horse Koko is buried here). Your taste buds will thank you.
Lincoln County Symposium
Oct. 8-10, 2010 • Ruidoso Downs, NM
The Next Act: If you’re in town early, check out the Hubbard Museum of the American West’s exhibit on Ancient New Mexico, which focuses
on the native people from the prehistorical to Spanish exploration periods; displayed until October 3. At Atticus Books & Teahouse,
indulge in a cup of Rooibos tea (Africa’s answer to Green Tea) while reading Western or regional books by local authors.
October 15-17, 2010 • Tombstone, AZ
888-457-3929 • HelldoradoDays.com
The Next Act: Settle in a comfy chair at the Tombstone Epitaph Newspaper Museum and read the paper’s original coverage of the O.K. Corral Gunfight. You get a copy of this for free, if you’re coming here from the O.K. Corral.
Yorktown Western Days
October 16-17, 2010 • Yorktown, TX
361-564-2661 • YorkTownTX.com
The Next Act: Travel to nearby Victoria to visit the Public Archeology Laboratory, where you can view ancient ruins and historic sites, as well as learn how to record and preserve rock art through mapping, photography and watercolor painting.
Southeastern Cowboy Festival Symposium
October 21-24, 2010 • Cartersville, GA
770-387-13001 • BoothMuseum.org
The Next Act: Take a hayride through the ghost town of Ravenwood in Red Top State Mountain Park on October 22 or 23; storytellers promise to blend history and fiction in spooky, whimsical tales.
Red Steagall Cowboy Gathering
October 22-24, 2010 • Fort Worth, TX
888-269-8696 • RedSteagallCowboyGathering.org
The Next Act: Everything is bigger in Texas, including the book selection. Texas Star Books is the best destination for all things Texas, specializing in Texiana, Military and Texas authors and photographers.
October 30, 2010 • Carson City, NV
866-683-2948 • NevadaDay.com
The Next Act: Next to the 1862 St. Charles Hotel is Mom and Pop’s Diner, notorious for its mouthwatering cinnamon rolls with thick cream cheese icing. Walk off your breakfast with a 2.5-mile, self-guided tour of the Kit Carson Trail in the city’s historic district.
Death Valley 49’ers Encampment
November 10-14, 2010 • Death Valley, CA
866-683-2948 • DeathValley49ers.org
The Next Act: Geology buffs need to see the Ubehebe Crater in Death Valley. The view from the rim is incredible, and you are able to hike down into the crater. Bring a windbreaker for when you arrive at the top, and remember to bring adequate water. They don’t call it Death Valley for nothing.
2011 Old West Festivals
Gold Rush Days
February 10-13, 2011 • Wickenburg, AZ
928-684-5479 • WickenburgChamber.com
Spirit of the West Cowboy Gathering
February 18-20, 2011 • Ellensburg, WA
888-925-2204 • EllensburgCowboyGathering.com
Southeastern Cowboy Gathering
March TBA, 2011 • Cartersville, GA
770-387-1300 • BoothMuseum.org
Fiesta San Antonio
April 2-17, 2011 • San Antonio, TX
877-723-4378 • Fiesta-SA.org
Santa Clarita Cowboy Festival
April TBA, 2011 • Santa Clarita, CA
661-286-4021 • CowboyFestival.org
Chisholm Trail Stampede
May 6-7, 2011 • Duncan, OK
800-782-7167 • DuncanOK.org
Jackson Hole Elk Fest & Old West Days
May 21-23, 2011 • Jackson Hole, WY
307-733-3316 • JacksonHoleChamber.com
Bishop Mule Days
May 24-29, 2011 • Bishop, CA
760-872-4263 • MuleDays.org
Wild Bill Hickok Days
June 26-30, 2011 • Deadwood, SD
800-999-1876 • Deadwood.org
Roy Rogers Festival
June TBA, 2011 • Portsmouth, OH
740-353-0900 • RoyRogersFestival.com
Douglas Railroad Days
June TBA, 2011 • Douglas, WY
877-937-4996 • Jackalope.org
Butch Cassidy Days
June TBA, 2011 • Laramie, WY
800-445-5303 • Laramie-Tourism.org
Gene Autry Days
June TBA, 2011 • Kenton, OH
419-673-4131 • HardinOhio.com
Lander Pioneer Days Parade & Rodeo
July 3-4, 2011 • Lander, WY
307-332-3892 • LanderChamber.org
Wild West Festival
July TBA, 2011 • Hays, KS
785-623-4476 • WildWestFestival.com
Laramie Jubilee Days
July TBA, 2011 • Laramie, WY
307-760-9920 • LaramieJubileeDays.net
National Day of the American Cowboy
July TBA, 2011 • Spearfish, SD
605-642-9378 • WesternHeritageCenter.com
Grand Encampment Cowboy Gathering
July TBA, 2011 • Encampment, WY
307-326-8855 • GrandEncampmentGathering.org
Ogden Pioneer Days
July TBA, 2011 • Ogden, UT
801-621-1696 • OgdenPioneerDays.com
White Mountains Roundup
July TBA, 2011 • Show Low, AZ
866-532-4070 • WhiteMountainsRoundup.com
Riders in the Sky
Fred “Too Slim” Labour has mercifully taken a break from playing a tune on his cheeks to tell True West what Riders in the Sky is up to this year. He’s personally cooking up a new joke, which he will unveil sometime this Autumn. Ranger Doug, “keeper of statistics,” as Too Slim calls him, says that, as of June, the group is 50 shows shy of its 6,000th appearance—that works out to roughly a show every other day for the past 33 years!
Rollicking audiences of folks ready to be entertained is enough to energize this cowboy quartet, yet Too Slim does envision show number 6,000 as being something “special.” He’s also looking forward to the group’s appearance in Utah with the Salt Lake City Symphony on November 1, as it will celebrate the latest CD release, Lassoed Live at the Schermerhorn, backed by the Nashville Symphony Orchestra.
Beyond the group singing cowboy classics like “Tumbling Tumbleweeds” and “Ghost Riders in the Sky,” Too Slim says this year’s fans can expect to hear original tunes such as Woody Paul’s “The Arms of My Love,” Ranger Doug’s “That’s How the Yodel Was Born,” Joey’s polkapalooza stylings and sidekick Sidemeat’s “I’ve Cooked Everything.”
Who else is swearing allegiance to the “Cowboy Way” that we should be paying attention to? Ranger Doug says Grace, Sophia and Hulda of the Quebe Sisters Band is, through their Texas-style fiddling and three-part harmonic stylings. Ironically, the sisters count among their favorite events the Red Steagall Cowboy Gathering. You can catch them celebrating the show’s 20th anniversary on October 22-23, as well as at other venues throughout the country.
Live Western music you can dance to, sing to and even swoon to (if you’re that type) will be kickin’ at the following music festivals.
Grand Teton Music Festival
Now through August 14, 2010 • Wilson, WY
307-733-3050 • GTMF.org
The Next Act: Cut a rug at the Stagecoach Cafe in Wilson, known by locals as the “Coach.” Sunday nights are full of dancing cowboys and live Country music, if you didn’t already get your fill of that at the Grand Teton Music Festival.
TEN SLEEP MUSIC FESTIVAL
August 13-15, 2010 • Ten Sleep, WY
307-431-2022 • NoWoodstock.com
The Next Act: Re-apply sunscreen and hike, bike or climb in Ten Sleep Canyon’s red rock cliffs. Reward yourself with a dip in the serene Meadowlark Lake.
Moab Music Featival
September 2-13, 2010 • Moab, UT
435-259-7003 • MoabMusicFest.com
The Next Act: Owner and guide Mike of Magpie Cycling Adventures reveals Moab’s natural beauty at Canyonlands National Park, Kokopelli Trail and the Grand Canyon’s North Rim—from a mountain bike. The half-day ride on the Baby Step Trail is recommended for all skill levels.
Walnut Valley Festival
September 15-19, 2010 • Winfield, KS
620-221-3250 • WVFest.com
The Next Act: Chow down on chicken nachos served at Neives Mexican restaurant; then take a driving tour of all the outdoor murals that earned this city its claim as the mural capital of Kansas. Wrap Around Winfield and English Cottage are just a few of the murals that have beautified otherwise drab buildings.
National Gospel and Harvest Celebration
September 29-October 30, 2010 • Pigeon Ford, TN
800-365-5996 • Dollywood.com
The Next Act: Order the Buffalo Chicken Pizza at the Smoky Mountain Brewery. Wash it down with the Tuckaleechee Porter or the local favorite Black Bear Ale.
Tombstone Western Music Festival
November 5-7, 2010 • Tombstone, AZ
520-457-2295 • TombstoneWesternMusicFestival.org
The Next Act: All the True West editors would love it if we could start each day off with a meal at Bisbee Breakfast Club in nearby Lowell (practically Bisbee). BBB swears by the Harvest Omelet.
2011 Western Music Festivals
Kamloops Cowboy Festival
March TBA, 2011 • Kamloops, BC, Canada
888-763-2224 • BCCHS.com
Genoa Cowboy & Music Festival
April-May TBA, 2011 • Genoa, NV
775-782-8207 • GenoaCowboyFestival.com
CMA Music Festival
June 9-12, 2011 • Nashville, TN
800-262-3378 • CMAFest.com
June TBA, 2011 • Chattanooga, TN
423-756-2211 • RiverbendFestival.com
Big Horn Mountain Music Festival
July TBA, 2011 • Buffalo, WY
307-672-3325 • BigHornMountainFestival.com
Flying W Wranglers
These cowboys don’t just sing about horses and cattle; they also get down and dirty during branding season at the Flying W Ranch in Colorado Springs, Colorado. But once chuckwagon season starts, the Flying W Wranglers, the second-oldest Western singing group, takes the stage. (The oldest such group is Sons of the Pioneers, which included Roy Rogers among its founders.)
The Flying W Wranglers play traditional cowboy songs, such as “(Ghost) Riders in the Sky” and “My Colorado Home” to a nightly audience of 1,000 folks who chow down on barbecue beneath the stars.
Wherever you end up finding a seat at these dinner shows and Old West melodramas, you’ll be in for a treat.
Bar M Chuckwagon
April-October • Moab, UT
435-259-2276 • BarMChuckwagon.com
The Next Act: Back of Beyond Books focuses on natural, Western, regional and American Indian history. This independent bookseller gets its name from Edward Abbey's book The Monkey Wrench Gang.
Bar D Chuckwagon
May-September • Durango, CO
970-247-5753 • BarDChuckwagon.com
The Next Act: Treat yourself to dessert as you relax on the garden patio of the Victorian home-turned-Mediterranean restaurant Cyprus Café. Locals tell us the Rocky Mountain Chocolate Factory Pot d’creme is chocolate heaven!
BAR J Chuckwagon Supper & Western Music Show
May-September • Jackson, WY
307-733-3370 • BarJChuckwagon.com
The Next Act: The warm, blazing fire in the middle of the dining room of Snake River Grill pulls you in. The food keeps locals coming back. Pretty much everyone orders the fried green pepper ring (think “onion ring”), which comes stacked on a nail, and is coated with serrano chiles, cilantro, basil and the restaurant’s signature beer, of course.
Texas! Musical Drama
June-August • Palo Duro Canyon, TX
806-655-2181 • Texas-Show.com
The Next Act: Feldman’s Wrong Way Diner has a train circling the building—seriously. It serves a tasty Railroad Ties and House Salad, and the crispy catfish stuffed into a giant tortilla is a dish locals never turn down.
Circle Up Chuckwagon Dinner Shows
June-August • Dubois, WY
800-562-0806 • CircleUpChuckWagonDinnerShow.com
The Next Act: We can never resist shopping at Welty’s General Store. Frank A. Welty Sr. founded it in 1889, and Wild Bunch outlaw Butch Cassidy stocked up on cigars and other staples while he worked at area ranches. You won’t find food here today, but you will find cowboy boots and hats.
Flying W Ranch
June-September • Colorado Springs, CO
800-232-3599 • FlyingW.com
The Next Act: Explore the Paint Mines Interpretive Park, where colorful clay was deposited 55 million years ago; American Indian tribes utilized the clay for pottery and ceremonial paints. Later, bricks were formed from the clay for 1880s homesteaders. Spend the day viewing the natural diversity of hoodoos, grasslands and gulches of the park.
Ongoing • Cottonwood, AZ
800-937-8643 • BlazinM.com
The Next Act: Throw your line out for some catfish and rainbow trout at the four-acre lagoon inside Dead Horse Ranch State Park, stocked by Arizona Game and Fish on a regular basis. You’ll have anglers to compete with in the summer and spring, while fall and winter mean mild days
and fewer people.
Range Riders Cowboy Theatre
Ongoing • Palm Springs, CA
800-600-3082 • CowboyDinners.com
The Next Act: Locals wait in line at Cheeky’s for a good breakfast. With a new menu every week, you’ll never get tired of the fare. For a taste of what to expect: bacon flights, squash blossom omelets with serrano chiles and custard scrambled eggs.
Prairie Rose Chuckwagon
Ongoing • Benton, KS
316-778-2121 • PrairieRoseChuckwagon.com
The Next Act: Tucked away in a hangar at Benton Air Park is Stearman Field Bar & Grill. If you’ve ever wanted to eat with model airplanes hanging above your head, here’s your chance. At nighttime, locals like to chat around the patio fire pit. (And, of course, you can get flight training at the airpark.)
Circle B Chuckwagon Supper & Cowboy Music Show
Ongoing • Branson, MO
417-336-3540 • BransonShows.com
The Next Act: Branson is like Broadway in the West, offering more than 100 productions. After the Horn Family’s musical and comedic act, you may also want to check out: Presleys’ Country Jubilee, Clay Cooper’s Country Music Express, Shepherd of the Hills Outdoor Theatre and Oak Ridge Boys Theatre.
Lone Star Murder Mysteries
Ongoing • Grapevine, TX
817-778-2215 • LoneStarMurderMysteries.com
The Next Act: Grab a cup of coffee and some Nutella French Toast at Main Street Bistro & Bakery, then head out for a ride on the
Grapevine Vintage Railroad. Every Saturday and Sunday through Memorial Day, you can enjoy staged train robberies on your way to
the Fort Worth Stockyards.
To find the best unsigned powwow drum group in Indian Country, DrumHop Productions kicked off an online competition called Powwow Idol.
The sophomore contest of Powwow Idol held in 2010 wiped out the drum groups hailing from the American West, including Soldier Hill from Montana and Plain Drifterz from Oklahoma. On June 6, a Canadian victor became the Powwow Idol: Chippewa Travellers, from Ontario, with 15 singers, plus the Smoke Family.
Chippewa Travellers’ drums will become the heartbeat that powwow dancers step to at the 2011 Gathering of Nations in Albuquerque, New Mexico. Numerous drum groups and dancers will celebrate their native traditions at the following upcoming powwows, and into the next year.
Northern Arapaho Experience
Northern Arapaho Nation - Now through Aug. 31, 2010 • Riverton, WY
307-856-3964 • WindRiverCasino.com
Big Wind Powwow
Arapaho & Shoshone Nations
August 14-16, 2010 • Crowheart, WY
800-645-6233 • Wind-River.org
The Next Act: Be sure to dine at Red Willow Restaurant inside the Wind River Casino. If you’re lucky, the grass-fed beef will be on special. This beef comes straight from the Arapaho Ranch, which, at 595,000 acres, is the nation’s largest certified organic operation. If the restaurant does not have it, you can take some home with you. Arapaho Ranch beef is available for purchase at the 789 Smokeshop in Riverton.
Intertribal Indian Ceremonial
Apache, Hopi, Kiowa, Pima and San Juan Nations
August 11-15, 2010 • Gallup, NM
505-863-3896 • TheCeremonial.com
The Next Act: The best known of Gallup’s hundreds of galleries and trading posts are Perry Null Trading Company, Shush Yaz and Richardson’s. Yet what most don’t know is that Richardson’s offers free group tours, about two-and-a-half hours long, which share the history of Indian trade; corral up a sizeable group and call 505-722-4762 to make arrangements.
Shoshone-Bannock Indian Festival
August 12-15, 2010 • Fort Hall, ID
208-238-0680 • ShoshoneBannockTribes.com
The Next Act: The Green T (officially Green Triangle) is where the local cowboys and college students mix and mingle. You got your mechanical bull, and even an occasional shoot-out we hear, since co-owner Dana Jo Hillman holds eight world titles in cowboy action shooting. What to eat: Prime rib is excellent; onion rings are huge and “not all batter and no onion,” the locals tell us.
Circle of Life Intertribal Powwow
Numerous Tribes Represented
September 3-5, 2010 • Bandera, TX
830-328-9992 • CelebrateBandera.com
The Next Act: Dust your boots off at Arkey Blue's Silver Dollar Saloon and enjoy authentic Country music at this honkytonk. Owner Arkey Blue has been performing there since he bought the place in 1968. Singers mostly cover the classics— Ray Price, Lefty and Kitty Wells on Friday and Saturday nights.
Prescott Intertribal Social Powwow
Numerous Tribes Represented
September 10-12, 2010 • Prescott, AZ
928-649-0474 • PrescottPowwowCommittee.org
The Next Act: Paul Calhoon insists on authenticity, which is why you’ll find Hopi Kachina dolls on the west wall of his trading post, not Navajo Kachinas (dolls manufactured purely for the tourist trade).
He runs the Attic Hogan, started by his father in 1970. Paul keeps extensive records on each of the artists who make the handmade items. The circle of life is strong here.
Shiprock Navajo Fair
October 1-3, 2010 • Shiprock, NM
505-368-3727 • ShiprockNavajoFair.org
The Next Act: Extend your trip to October 8 for the Crownpoint Navajo Rug Auction, where your pocketbook will thank you because buying directly from the artists saves you two or three times what you would pay off the reservation. Hundreds of handmade Navajo rugs, as well as jewelry, pottery and beadwork are for sale.
Black Hills Powwow
Lakota, Nakota & Dakota Nations
October 8-10, 2010 • Rapid City, SD
605-341-0925 • BlackHillsPowwow.com
The Next Act: Learn Lakota legends at the Sioux Indian Museum inside the Journey Museum Complex. Also check out the more than 2,600 styles of historic beads in the Italian Bead Library at Prairie Edge Trading Company—almost a museum in itself with its offerings of star quilts, jewelry, pottery, trade cloth, buffalo parts and other crafts and artwork by Northern Plains artists. (Don’t forget to grab a beer and buffalo burger next door at the Firehouse Brewing Company.)
Numerous Tribes Represented
November 6, 2010 • Sunset Valley, TX
512-371-0628 • AustinPowwow.org
The Next Act: Tune your radio to 91.7 FM for “NdN Heart Beat” for Ken McKenzi-Grant’s playlist of contemporary and traditional American Indian music on Thursday. Music lovers will also appreciate Austin’s Texas Music Museum, which not only celebrates American Indian music, but also Tejano, Texas Jazz and cowboy songs.
World Championship Hoop Dance Contest
February 5-6, 2011 • Phoenix, AZ
602-252-8848 • Heard.org
Denver March Pow Wow
March 18-20, 2011 • Denver, CO
303-934-8045 • DenverMarchPowwow.org
Gathering of Nations
April 28-30, 2011 • Albuquerque, NM
505-836-2810 • GatheringOfNations.com
AIHREA Health & Wellness Powwow
May 6-7, 2011 • Overland Park, KS
913-469-8500 • JCCC.edu
Spring Bear Pow Wow
May 14, 2011 • Denver, CO
American River College Pow Wow
May TBA, 2011 • Sacramento, CA
916- 484-8987 • ARC.LosRios.edu
Gathering of Champions
May TBA, 2011 • Sioux City, IA
Tesoro Foundation Indian Market & Powwow
May TBA, 2011 • Morrison, CO
303-839-1671 • TesoroFoundation.org
Friends of the Intertribal Gathering
June TBA, 2011 • Fort Robinson, NE
308-632-1311 • PanhandlerCD.com
Red Earth Festival
June TBA, 2011 • Oklahoma City, OK
405-427-5228 • RedEarth.org
Eastern Shoshone Indian Days Festival
June TBA, 2011 • Fort Washakie, WY
307-332-9106 • Wind-River.org
Wildhorse Pow Wow
July TBA, 2011 • Pendleton, OR
800-654-9453 • WildHorseResort.com
July TBA, 2011 • Wallowa, OR
541-886-3101 • WallowaNezPerce.org
Julyamsh Pow Wow
July TBA, 2011 • Coeur d’Alene, ID
208-686-2023 • Julyamsh.com
Sacred Visions Pow Wow
July TBA, 2011 • Wadsworth, NV