Thursday, May 07, 2009

Cowboy Poetry Week in Review
April 19 – 25, 2009
By Smoke Wade

Lewiston, ID.

With well-intentioned plans and ideas, I had thought of National Cowboy Poetry Week for several months in advance, and I had thought about what I might do to celebrate the week. Yet, when the 19th of April drew nigh, the best thing I could think of was to cook a pot of beans and bake a pan of sourdough biscuits – cowboy food. And perhaps if I would eat this cowboy food each day of the week, some how I would feel connected to the celebration and feel that I had contributed to the experience.

Then it dawned on me that perhaps I would keep of journal for the week, take a few notes and see if something spawned besides sitting by the wayside eating biscuits and beans.

April 19: What started off as a routine Sunday morning - checking out all the news that is news on - I soon found my self writing several media releases for 2010 cowboy gatherings. Now in the mood to contribute, I continued by writing a report on the Lee Earl Memorial Scholarship Cowboy Gathering and got it sent off to the Bar-D Ranch and to Rope Burns. Ate a bowl of beans and three biscuits. Very good, this cowboy food!

April 20: Lacking high speed internet, I spent an hour on the phone listening in to poet’s from across American share their poetry on Wrote some cowboy poetry related emails with others, then ate a bowl of beans and two biscuits. Not bad!

April 21: Today the emails started rolling in from a few cowboy poets and musicians telling what they were up to. Listened to a new cowboy poetry CD, Rhyme Without Reason (2009) by Orvil Sears of Washington. Ate a bowl of beans (added more catsup) and one slightly stale biscuit.

April 22: By now the Cowboy Poetry Week event emails are rolling in faster than I can answer them, and by golly, it looked like Cowboy Poetry Week was being celebrated every where. Took a mid-week look at to keep up on all the happenings.
Spent an hour reading from Songs of the Outlands, a book of poetry by Henry Herbert Knibbs. Ate a bowl of beans - skipped the biscuit.

April 23: Began working on another report for a cowboy gathering and spent time working cowboy poet and musician photos through my photo workshop. Found that if I put the biscuit in the bowl first with beans on top, it was edible – extra catsup.

April 24: Woke up dreaming that I had eaten steak. This was the best day of the week. As co-host of the Western Heritage Show with Toe Tappin’ Tommy Tucker on KRLC 1350 AM, Lewiston, ID, I joined with the "Toe Tapper" to spend two hours celebrating cowboy poetry and Cowboy Poetry Week. Live telephone interviews included Margo Metegrano, publisher of, and Susan Parker, cowgirl poet from California. Several tracks were played from The Bar-D Roundup: Volume Four (2009) including: "Henry" by Pat Richardson; "Star Cavvy" by DW Groethe; the Henry Herbert Knibbs poem, "The Shallows of the Ford" recited by Jerry "Brooksie" Brooks; "Average Girl" by Doris Daley; and "The Sierry Petes" by Gail I. Gardner. Smoke Wade recited his original poem "Leather Gods" as a tribute to cowboy poets everywhere.

Cowboy music complemented the poetry with songs such as "The Habit" by Don Edwards, "The Wonder of it All" by Ian Tyson, "Man Walks amongst Us", by Les Gilliam, "Ballad of Boot Hill" by Johnny Western and "Act Naturally" by Wylie & The Wild West. As the show drew to a close, both Tommy and I gave The Bar-D Roundup: Volume Four (2009) "Ten Big Toes a Tappin" for excellence in quality, production and entertainment value. This is one heckuva CD folks, and we recommend you get one by visiting

The evening was spent once again listening to as cowboy poets shared their poems and stories of the cowboy. Ate the last bowl of beans with a half a bottle of catsup. Threw the last stale biscuit into the walnut grove out back for the squirrels to eat.

April 26: Up early and off to the cowboy breakfast at the Asotin County Fair, Asotin, WA. Almost twisted my ankle when I stepped on the rock-hard biscuit the squirrels had left on my front step during the night. Ate hotcakes and sausage links at the breakfast – real cowboy food – and asked for more. Didn’t realize how hungry I was. Listened to poetry and songs from Stuff That Works (2008) by Criddles & McCords. Rode in the parade with Toe Tappin’ Tommy Tucker as representative of the Western Heritage Show to further celebrate Cowboy Poetry Week in America. Came home after the rodeo to find the fridge was empty. Cooked up a pot of beans and a pan of sourdough biscuits for dinner. National Cowboy Poetry Week was a good week!

Smoke Wade

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