Tuesday, January 30, 2007

What is "Elko"?

For those of you who are not involved in or familiar with the Western Entertainment world, I guess I should start this weekend's odyssey with a quick explanation of what is going on.

23 years ago, several Cowboy Poets gathered together in Elko, Nevada to share stories, poems and friendship in a more structured surrounding than their normal bunkhouse performances. That kind of started a big revival of the popularity of Cowboy Poetry and then Western Music.

Since then, the National Cowboy Poetry Gathering has grown far beyond anyones expectations. Hundreds of entertainers from all over the country (and the world) come to Elko for the Big Gathering during the first weekend in February. All the history and information about the Gathering can be found at westernfolklife.org .

Anyway, this is the "Big Show" for those of us involved in Western Entertainment and it's a great honor to be among those few who are invited to perform on the Night Show.
This is the National Cowboy Poetry Gathering, held in Elko, Nevada. Known semi-fondly by all of us simply as "Elko". As in, "Are you going to Elko this year?" or, "I was invited to Elko this year!" or, more often; "Did you get your Elko Rejection Letter yet?"

There are far too many really good performers applying to perform at Elko for their selection committee to make everyone happy. Literally hundreds of entertainers...part-timers, professionals, wanna-be's and never will be's begging to be a part of the Elko Night Show. I'm one of those. Of course, I'm well accquainted with many others, some of whom are extremely talented performers, writers, singers, musicians...entertainers. Although we all go to "Elko" and enjoy the shows and meet up with friends we haven't seen since last year and we all understand very well the tremendous job it is trying to select the few who get to be on the Night Show...down deep; we are a little unhappy that we (again!) didn't "make the cut". Rejected...again.

The last couple of years, Billy Rose has presided over a small "open mic" stage at the Duncan Little Creek Gallery in Elko, during the "Big Weekend". It gave us a place to play, meet our friends and have a lot of fun while not letting our disapointment about our "rejection" show too much. This is becoming the "Elko Rejects Gathering" and is growing on it's own!

So, if you'd like to see some of the best Western Entertainers in the world; Musicians, Cowboy Poets and so on, come to Elko this weekend. Those on the "Big Stage" Night Show are very good, make no mistake. But many of those who will be at Duncan Little Creek and Walmart in the open mic shows are every bit as good...sometimes better. Try to catch it all! I'll see you there.

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