HIGH COUNTRY COWBOYS ~ Red Lodge, Montana

Remembering the good old days of Western music and the silver screen cowboys like Roy Rogers, Gene Autry and the Sons of the Pioneers, the High Country Cowboys present their brand of this classic genre. Born and raised in the heart of ranch country in south central Montana, they grew up playing cowboys and watching the old B-Western films on VHS which instilled in them a love for the West and cowboy music.

Since their beginning in 2014, the Pro Cowboy Country Association has awarded them Music Group of the Year in 2017 and 2018 and they received Best Album of the Year for their album "Cowboy" in 2018. Lead singer Marty was honored as Yodeler of the Year in 2017 and Male Vocalist of the Year in 2018. The IWMA also recognized their album "Cowboy" as Best Album of the Year in 2017, and Marty has won IWMA Yodeler of the Year three times. Their traditional sound and three-part Western harmony has been compared to the Sons of the Pioneers and Marty Robbins.

Visit their website for more!

 

"Cowboy Humor"
Tickets $35 premier seating, $25 regular

Thatch Elmer
George Russell
Bonnie Krogman

 

"Classic Cowboy"
Tickets $35 premier seating, $25 regular

Jeff Gore
Tom Swearingen
Jan Schiferl


 
a
Thatch Elmer
Harrisville, Utah
This 16-year-old has been reciting cowboy poetry since he started speaking complete sentences. He has a deep appreciation and fondness of classic cowboy poetry and loves reciting his favorites along with his original poems. Thatch is a working ranch cowboy and horseman at the Pheasant Run Ranch Performance Horse and Roping Center and his day work with horses and cattle and the Western lifestyle inspire most of his writing. He is an accomplished team roper and rodeo announcer for youth rodeos and riding clubs, including the Utah Youth Rodeo Association, Utah Junior High Rodeo Association, Weber County Junior Posse and Utah State Western Riding Club Association. Thatch is featured on CowboyPoetry.com, has a book of original poems titled “Cowboy Rhymes and Dreams of Other Times,” and has released two CD’s.

He was awarded the first Rod McQuery/Sue Wallace Youth Scholarship from the National Cowboy Poetry Gathering in 2014 and was nominated for the IWMA Liz Masterson Crescendo award in 2018.
Visit Thatch Elmer's website here
  a
Jeff Gore
Abilene,Texas
Jeff grew up working on ranches and still does, living out and singing about the cowboy life. He has been performing since he was four years old, and has spent the last 30 years traveling and singing cowboy and Gospel music all over the U.S. and abroad. The recipient of Male Vocalist of the Year in cowboy music from the AWA in 1997, and a lifetime achievement award for Western music by the American Cowboy Culture Association in 2005 – the youngest ever to receive this award – he has also produced and acted on television, has appeared in film and is presently producing, directing and starring in a film based on his 2010 novel, "Jingle In The Horses." In spite of these and other accomplishments, he is proudest when he is asked to ride out with a crew of cowboys at the wagon on ranches from Texas to Idaho. Jeff and his wife Donna have two daughters and five grandsons.
Visit Jeff Gore's website here

 

George Ray Russell
Boulder, Colorado
This "wrangler of rhymes" is the grandson of a horse and mule trader and son of a father who was a “recovering” rancher. George was named Poet Laureate of his hometown in Sherman, Texas, in 2010. He said he "paints his poems, so if you close your eyes you can see them play out before you." Most of his poems have a humorous twist because, as he says, "People tend to like you better if you make ‘em laugh instead of makin' ’em cry.”.
  a
Tom Swearingen
Tualatin, Oregon
The 2019 IWMA Male Poet of the Year, Tom tells stories of the people and land of the American West through original cowboy poetry that is often inspired by his own experiences and observations from the saddle. Some are humorous, others serious, and all entertaining. Tom brings his stories to life with rhythm and rhyme and a storytelling style that makes him a popular performer not only at cowboy gatherings and horse camps, but at libraries, historical centers, and wherever else you find folks who appreciate the cultural heritage of the West.

Tom is two-time winner of the National Finals Rodeo Cowboy Poetry Week Contest and has been nominated by both the IWMA and the AWA as Male Poet of the Year. His “Horses and Happiness” CD is a two-time IWMA finalist for Cowboy Poetry CD of the Year. His “Rhyme ‘Em Cowboy!” CD was a finalist for IWMA 2018, 2017, and 2016 Cowboy Poetry CD of the Year. His latest CD, “Language of the Land,” was a finalist for 2019 IWMA Cowboy Poetry CD of the Year. Tom and his wife lcan often be found riding their horses in Oregon’s backcountry.

 
a
Bonnie Krogman
Wood, South Dakota
Bonnie enjoys making people laugh. Her poetry, mostly humorous, is based on 45 years of ranching in South Dakota with her jovial husband, Kenny. Bonnie has been trampled by a rampaging cow, bucked off green colts she was breaking, and suffered heat stroke in the hayfield. She feels fortunate to have raised her three children in ranching and rodeo and hopes that her grandchildren can continue their style.

Bonnie has appeared at poetry gatherings in Colorado, Iowa, Nebraska, Montana, South Dakota and Wyoming.
 
Jan Schiferl
Fordyce, Nebraska
Born on the rural plains of South Dakota, Jan grew up in a faith-based farm and ranch family, cultivating her deep love of people, horses and the “cowboy way.” Singing gospel music in a little country church as a young girl created the fire for using music to tell her story.

Jan has performed throughout the Midwest at fairs and festivals, most recently appearing as part of the Red Steagall Cowboy Gathering in Fort Worth, Texas. Her new album “Waving of the Grass” was named 2019 Heritage CD of the Year by the Rural Roots Music Association.

Jan was named Nebraska Mother of the Year in 2013. She and her husband Greg have four children and operate a small ranch in northeast Nebraska where they train horses, raise cattle and host events for families and their community.
 
a

DAYTIME SESSIONS OF COWBOY POETRY, MUSIC, STORYTELLING AND FOLKLORE ~
10:30 am to 4:30 pm ~ Strater Hotel, General Palmer Hotel and Rochester Hotel.
The “heart” of the Gathering, featuring 40 invited performers in four concurrent theme sessions every hour. In open sessions anyone can entertain.
To sign up, please call Lindy Simmons at 970-946-2460.
FREE admission.

 
POETS & MUSICIANS
 
a
Colt Blankman
Paradise, Utah
Colt started performing cowboy poetry at the age of eight in a kids’
poetry contest. The next year he won that contest with an original
poem and hasn’t looked back. Now 13, Colt comes from a long line of
horsemen and ranchers. Along with sharing cowboy poetry, he loves to
ride, participate in wagon trains, shoot, hunt and trap. He is a
member of the high school rodeo team as a shooter and made it to the
state finals this year. He was honored to be the Rod McQuery and Sue
Wallis Scholarship recipient at the 2019 National Cowboy Poetry
Gathering. His CD, “Pullin’ That Trigger,” was among the top 10 for
most played poetry album on the Western charts.
https://cbcowboypoet.blogspot.com/
  a
Almeda Bradshaw
Huntley, Montana
Her family’s move to the country brought horses into Almeda’s childhood and they remained a staple of her adult life. Almeda raised her family in north-central Montana while breeding and showing performance horses, running 150 cows and operating a seed plant and feed business. She now helps train AQHA performance horses with her husband, former Marlboro Man Merritt Bradshaw, on the Yellowstone River. A multi-instrumentalist, Almeda studied cello and piano through college, has a BA in Elementary Education and is self-taught on the guitar, mandolin and various other stringed instruments. She taught students of all ages to play strings from her former private studio and retail store. Almeda has written poetry, journals and songs since her teen years and has been performing at cowboy gatherings throughout the West for nearly two decades.
Visit Almeda Bradshaw's website here

 
a
Rick Buoy
Ainsworth, Nebraska
Rick is a rodeo judge, retired brand inspector and first-time grandpa.
He has shared his original poetry with many people around the country and never tires of meeting new friends. His poetry is homespun from life experiences and shared from the heart. His new motto is, "Say yes to new adventures," and he looks forward to sharing some with you.
Visit Rick Buoy's website here
  a
Ol' Jim Cathey
Marlin, Texas
Jim is a native from deep in the heart of Texas, and his young bride Stella is his number one fan. Jim loved listening to his granddad tell stories about growing up in the Texas Panhandle in the late 1800s and early 1900s and this started his love for storytelling as he uses this material in his tales and poems. He won the Silver Buckle and the All-Around Championship Award at the 2012 National Cowboy Poetry Rodeo in Kanab, Utah. Most of his work is in rhyme with a Texas Western flair and a love and appreciation for God’s bounty.
Visit Jim Cathey's Faceboook here

 
a
Thatch Elmer
Bear River, Wyoming
The “Bear River Buckaroo” is a 16 year old that has been reciting cowboy poetry since he was old enough to speak a complete sentence. Thatch enjoys writing and reciting originals along with the classics. He has been influenced by his father, grandfathers and family friend Don Proffit. Thatch has spent his years listening to stories about ranch life as it used to be from his great-grandpa who was a cowboy all of his 88 years. Thatch enjoys riding his horse, roping and riding mini bulls throughout Wyoming, Utah and Idaho. Thatch was co-recipient of the first Rod McQueary/Sue Wallis scholarship presented at the 2014 National Cowboy Poetry Gathering in Elko. He is published on CowboyPoetry.com and in the book Cowboy Rhymes-N-Dreams of Other Times, and is celebrating the release of his first CD, The First Go Round.  
Visit Thatch Elmer's website here
  a
Two Bit Pete
Fort Worth, Texas
Two-Bit-Pete, aka David Hansford, spends much of his spare time in the Historic Fort Worth Stockyards where he and his wife, along with other like-minded members of a re-enactment group, work to preserve, portray and capture the spirit of the old West cowboy as it was in the late 1800s. He recites humorous, classic and traditional cowboy poetry and is a regular performer at the Cowtown Opry and other venues.
Visit Two Bit Pete's Facebook page here

 
a
Chris Isaacs
Eagar, Arizona
A three-time winner of the Academy of Western Artists Will Rogers Award, Chris is a poet and storyteller who has lived the life he writes about. He has seen life from a cowboy’s point of view for all of his 60-plus years, and his poems and stories are alive with the heart and humor of life from a cowboy’s point of view. He can usually find the funny side of any situation and is considered by many to be one of the finest humorists in the country.
Chris has been published in numerous magazines, has two books of his work published and five albums of his poetry recorded. He has worked at many different aspects of the cowboy life from being a full-time working cowboy to rodeoing to many years as a packer. In between jobs you could usually find him making a living as a horseshoer. He has a passion for good horses and mules, and has even owned a good dog or two. He currently day-works for area ranches and travels the country with his poetry.
Visit Chris Isaacs's website here
  a
Nolan King
Cortez, Colorado
Born and raised in Cortez, Nolan has spent his entire life working with livestock, horses and the land. After falling in love with the sound of yodeling at a young age, he taught himself how to yodel and sing, and later started learning how to play the guitar and other instruments. He has a wide range of influences, from Roy Rogers to Bob Wills to Bing Crosby. He cowboyed on the Texas/Oklahoma border for two years, during which time he would travel to the Fort Worth Stockyards every week to perform with Devon Dawson and the rest of the Cowtown Opry. Now back in Colorado, Nolan continues to ranch, while also pursuing his passions of Western music and ballroom dance.
Visit Nolan King's Facebook page here

 
a
Emelia Knaphus
Escalante, Utah
Young Emelia and her mother, multiple award winning singer-songwriter Mary Kaye, are helping define the music of the West they love. The authenticity of their music emerges from a life of raising horses and ranch work in one of the most remote places in the western U.S. They combine traditional trail songs with fresh, contemporary material and award winning originals.
Visit Emelia Knaphus website here
 

a
Tim Krebs
Lewis, Colorado
Krebs is a singer, songwriter and ranch cowboy since his youth. He started playing a guitar at the age of 42 and sings all over the country at cowboy gatherings, Western settings, churches and many more places. “I love to sing the old cowboy songs, Western gospel and much more,” he said. “My mission is to lift up my Lord, whenever and wherever I sing.”


 

a
Jarle Kvale
Belcourt, North Dakota
Jarle turns his experiences with horses, rodeo and rural living into humorous verse. He's been writing cowboy poetry for over 20 years, sharing his stories with friends and family members over trail ride campfires, at various community events and at cowboy poetry gatherings. He is program director at KEYA Public Radio, located on the Turtle Mountain Chippewa Reservation in north central North Dakota. He is also host and producer of "Back at the Ranch," a weekly half-hour radio show 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, not far from the Canadian border.
Visit Jarle Kvale's Facebook page here

  a
Paul Larson
Rochford, South Dakota
Paul acquired many talents before making his home in the sacred Black Hills of South Dakota. He spent several years on the road competing in and judging rodeos, including competing in the Charlotte, South Carolina, World Finals Rodeo in 1997 in the team roping event. His talents serve him well as many a neighbor call upon him for round ups and brandings. He is also a talented carpenter and his history of performing in rodeos and creating with a hammer and nail made following his passion for music a seamless fabric of a cowboy. Known for his baritone voice and cowboy yodel, he was once introduced by an announcer as a man with the voice he’d hire to ride circles around a rangy herd of cows to keep them quiet through the evening.
Visit Paul Larson's website here
Visit Paul Larson's Facebook page here

 
a
Allora Leonard
Pagosa Springs, Colorado
Allora was born and raised a fourth-generation south Texas cowgirl, and now resides on the family ranch in Pagosa Springs. Allora and her mother break, train and show Quarter horses in multiple events including reined-cow horse, cutting and barrel racing, and Allora participates in barrel racing in the New Mexico and Colorado pro rodeo circuits. On top of her horse is where Allora discovered her love for music, singing to her horses as she rode. She began performing the National Anthem at rodeos where she competed and later, at the age of 12, decided to pick up the guitar. Now 15 years old, this cowgirl has a passion for classic Country music, admiring the greats such as Patsy Cline, Hank Williams, Bob Wills, Roy Rogers and others. When she’s not working cattle or running barrels, she has a guitar in her hand and a song in her heart.
Visit Allora Leonard's Facebook page here
  a
Lynne Belle Lewis
Mancos, Colorado
Lynne and her husband Perry run Rimrock Outfitters, a horseback riding outfit on the west side of the La Plata Mountains in southwestern Colorado. Among other rides, they offer supper rides and multi-day camp trips, during which they entertain guests with cowboy songs and yodeling around the fire. Lynne plays guitar and Perry is a hoot adding a beat on the bass washtub. Lynne plays at various venues in southwestern Colorado and has performed at the Cochise Cowboy Poetry and Music Gathering in Sierra Vista, Arizona, and in Germany representing the American cowboy culture. Her CDs include The Dude Wrangler and Bells a Clangin’ and another one is in the works. Lynne loves to ride horses, take photographs and sing to her heart’s content.

 
a
Carol Markstrom
Tucson, Arizona
Carol sings with the heart of a folk singer with her musical inspirations including Western Roots, Americana, and Outlaw and Classic Country. She is a two-time (2015 and 2017) recipient of the Western Female Vocalist of the Year Award from the Academy of Western Artists, and a top-five finalist for 2018 Female Performer of the Year Award with the International Western Music Association. Her third album, Desert Rose, received the 2018 Country and Western CD of the Year Award from the Rural Roots Music Commission, and was a finalist for awards from the Native American Music Awards and the Academy of Western Artists. Her album Crossing Borders was awarded the 2017 Original Classic Western CD of the Year from the Rural Roots Music Commission. Carol draws inspiration from many sources and loves to tell stories about engaging people, places and events of the West. Her ballads and love songs range from the whimsical to bittersweet, and she loves to perform crowd favorites delivering them with a fresh approach. Carol’s vocal delivery comes through with clarity and emotion, and listeners are quickly engaged.
Visit Carol Markstrom's website here
  a
Dan McCorison
Youngtown, Arizona
Dan grew up in Colorado and began playing Western Swing and Country music soon after college. He has recorded for MCA, Maranatha and Columbia records and has appeared on shows with Merle Haggard, Willie Nelson, Marty Robbins and Linda Ronstadt to name a few. In addition to shows all around the Western U.S. and Canada, he has performed in Europe and Japan, as a solo artist as well as with the award-winning group Journey West. He also plays lead guitar for the Western Swing group, Red Hot Rhythm Rustlers, and for Joni Harms when she performs in Arizona. His newest album, Montana Moon, remained at the top of the Western Music chart for months after its release and the title song climbed to number two! Dan's version of the Will Dudley song, "Colorado Horses," was a finalist for Song of the Year from the Pro Cowboy Country Artists Association and was featured as the opening song on the award show broadcast nationwide on the RFD Cowboy channel.
Visit Dan McCorison's website here

 
a
Slim McWilliams
Lewis, Colorado
A fourth-generation Colorado native, Slim was reared on the stories of Will James. He started riding when he was four and grew up wanting to ride the rough string. Slim spent many years on working ranches, breaking colts, packing and guiding for outfits from Arizona to Montana. He learned many traditional cowboy songs around a campfire, in a bunkhouse or in the cab of a pickup on the rodeo trail. He writes songs and poems based on his experiences and the semi-true stories of his friends. He and his wife Sue live in southwest Colorado.
  a
Kathy Moss
Canyon City, Oregon
An author and performer also known as A.K. Moss, Kathy is very definite about who she is.  “I am not a cowgirl. I am a western woman," she said. Like so many other western women, Kathy is happy keeping up the home front, supporting the community and living a western life. Her stories and poetry reflect this and when she recites one of her poems, her quiet voice commands that you listen. Her sense of cadence and rhythm are excellent, and her writing comes straight from the heart. “I don’t ask for a lot,” she says, “mainly support and understanding, a quiet time in the horse corral or just sitting and writing.”
Visit Kathy Moss's Faceboook here

 

a
Sam Noble
Durango, Colorado
Sam grew up in Bayfield, Colorado, and has lived and ranched north of Durango all his adult life.  He’s been involved with agriculture, rodeo and the cowboy world which has given him a background for his own brand of cowboy poetry and humorous stories. For 13 years, Sam and his wife Tanna followed their sons as they competed in rodeo events. Today, Sam and Tanna operate a little farm and ranching operation north of Durango. Sam has written cowboy poetry for 30 years. Since 1991, he has also recited inspirational poetry at the Bar D Chuckwagon chapel. He is an active participant in Durango’s Cowboy Church and hosts “A Cowboy and His Creator” during the Durango Cowboy Poetry Gathering.

  a
Dave Munsick
Dayton, Wyoming
This Wyoming rancher and performer escorts audiences to a country few have imagined and even fewer have seen. Drawing from a diverse palate of experiences, his Western Folk style combines with a unique harmonic and lyrical smoothness to create a genre of music he describes as “Western Americana.” A former New Mexico state fiddle champion, Dave’s songs are about the people, places and times of a West that lives without borders – a West where stories fly and horses run. He has performed across the West for 40 years and has worked as a sideman or opened for acts including Chris Ledoux, Ian Tyson and Lyle Lovett, both as a solo artist and as a member of the bands he has led, including his family band, The Munsick Boys, voted Western Band of 2016 by the Academy of Western Artists.
Visit Dave Munsick's website here

 
.a
Jonathan Odermann
Medora, North Dakota
Jonathan is a third-generation rancher who tends cattle in the Badlands of western North Dakota along with his wife Marie. Jonathan began sharing cowboy poetry in 2015 and likes to amuse and delight his audience with a blend of humorous and thought-provoking poems. He has had the pleasure of performing at the National Cowboy Poetry Gathering in Elko, Nevada, as well as several other gatherings. Jonathan enjoys encouraging others to share their stories through written and visual art. Lately, he has been spending some time experimenting with drone photography and film making.
Visit Jonathan Odermann's Faceboook here
  a
Abby Payne
Frisco, Texas
This 17 year old is an extremely talented multi-instrumentalist with a gifted ability in harmony. Her awards and acknowledgements in Western and Gospel music include:  International Western Music Association Crescendo Award winner, Youth Harmony Award runner up and scholarship recipient; Cowtown Opry Heritage Scholarship recipient for the past five years; Western Swing Music Society scholarship recipient; and Academy of Western Artists Young Artist nominee. When not participating in music events, she enjoys playing and singing in the band at church or at home with family. For more information about Abby and her upcoming performance schedule, please visit her website

 

Lindy Simmons
Mancos, Colorado
Lindy has lived on a ranch with her husband Eldon for 45 years. She followed the family on the rodeo road for several of those years and has done ranch work from bringing in hay to feeding cows in the mud.
Her poetry is rooted in the true stories of cowboys of history and present day. She is fluent in Spanish and is a southwest and Mexican history buff. Lindy's "day job" was as a professor at Fort Lewis College in Durango over a span of 40 years. She retired to write poetry and history, dedicating lunch time to the local historical society.
  a
Don Schauda
Comstock, Nebraska
Don began playing guitar while attending college and has long been an active songwriter, once winning the Amateur Songwriter of the Year Award from the Nebraska Country Music Foundation. He got his first ranch job at the age of 12 and likely would still be in that work had not God called him to "search for strays on a different range." With the help of R.P. Smith, Don organizes the annual Comstock Cowboy Poetry and Music Gathering and has also been active in the work of Rodeo Bible Camps as well as leading many cowboy church services. But even in the course of life in ministry he has had time to operate a small cow/calf operation on the Loughran Homestead, a central Nebraska ranch that has been in his wife Sue’s family since 1874.

 
a
Kacey and Jenna Thunborg
Lemitar, New Mexico
This young musical duo has been performing in front of audiences since they were eight years old. They got their start in classic Western music through award-winning instrumentalist Mariam Funke. For the past five years, they have studied guitar, vocals and piano under Mariam’s guidance and mentoring. Now 14, Kacey plays guitar, trumpet, ukulele, percussion instruments and provides backup vocals. Jenna provides main vocals and plays piano. They received the International Western Music Association's Youth Harmony Duo of the Year award in 2017, as well as the Young Performers Education Scholarship and Sky Velvet Vassar Music Foundation's Skybird Scholarship. They have performed at numerous venues, including appearances with The Cowboy Way, the 2018 IWMA Group of the Year, and with Doug Figgs, the 2018 IWMA Male Performer of the Year.
The twins live on a working farm helping with the family livestock and chores. They are members of the local 4-H chapter, school band and golf team, and Kacey volunteers in “Bugles Across America.”
  a
Tom Swearingen
Tualatin, Oregon
Tom is a horseman who tells stories about the people and land of the American West through original cowboy poetry that is often inspired by his own experiences and observations from the saddle. He brings his stories to life with rhythm and rhyme and a style that makes him a popular performer. A two-time winner of the National Finals Rodeo Cowboy Poetry Contest and four-time finalist for the International Western Music Association's Top-5 Male Poet of the Year, Tom’s poems have been published by the Center for Western and Cowboy Poetry and in several publications. His live concert CDs have been nominated four times for IWMA Cowboy Poetry CD of the Year. Tom is a featured performer at gatherings and in Monterey, Kamloops, Cochise, Cimarron, Columbia River, Ellensburg’s Spirit of The West and others.
Visit Tom Swearingen's website here