When Wyoming's Cowboy Songs and Range Ballads event started in 1982 and Nevada's National Cowboy Gathering started in 1984, they gave voices to hundreds of cowboy poets, musicians and artists. They also spurred on other gatherings across the West that celebrate the heritage and history of ranching, American cowboys, western music and the traditions of the rural West.
There are a number of other cowboy gatherings that take place every year throughout the West. The best part is you don’t have to be a cowboy to attend and enjoy the incredible performances and workshops at these events and shows.
Learn more about some of the West’s greatest gatherings in Nevada, Montana and Wyoming below.
The Montana Cowboy Poetry Gathering and Western Music Rendezvous
Started in 1985, the Montana Cowboy Poetry Gathering and Western Music Rendezvous attracts more than 120 cowboy poets, musicians and artists from Montana, Wyoming, Idaho, South Dakota, Colorado and Canada every year. This four-day event in August is the second oldest cowboy poetry gathering in the country ⎯ the oldest being the National Cowboy Poetry Gathering in Elko, Nevada, which started in 1984. This fun annual Lewistown celebration features poetry and music performances, along with art and gear shows. Lewistown is a little more than a 3-hour drive from Gardiner, Mont., the North Entrance to Yellowstone National Park.
Don't miss the 2017 gathering, which will take place Thursday, Aug. 17 - Sunday, Aug. 20 and features headlining performer, Dave Stamey. Cowboys and Indians Magazine has called him “the Charley Russell of Western Music.”
National Cowboy Poetry Gathering
Attracting thousands of people every winter, the National Cowboy Poetry Gathering celebrates ranching and the rural West, but it’s also a place to discover cowboy cultures from all over the world. Referred to as “the most honest and open-hearted festival in America,” event organizers point out that this five-day event “also a darned good time.” It’s the oldest cowboy poetry gathering in the country. There’s everything from poetry performances, dance workshops, homemade films of rural life in the West, late-night jam sessions and conversations between ranchers and conservationists.
Dan Miller’s Cowboy Music Revue
Since 2004, Dan Miller and his Empty Saddles Band have entertained more than 110,000 people from 65 countries at Dan Miller’s Cowboy Music Revue in Cody located about 55 miles from Yellowstone National Park’s East Entrance. This inspiring music show includes Americana, western, bluegrass and gospel music followed by a traditional western buffet. It is located in the dining and entertainment pavilion at the Buffalo Bill Center of the West. Shows take place June through September Monday through Saturday.
Cowboy Poetry Night
For an evening of dinner and cowboy poetry and music, head to Ennis in July. In 2016, the event is July 16. A traditional ranch dinner is served before cowboy poetry and music performances. Ennis is located about an hour’s drive north of the west entrance to Yellowstone National Park.