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Alpine Cowboy Poetry Gathering By Nika Nordbrock


30th Texas Cowboy Poetry Gathering  By Nika Nordbrock

alpine-The Stage at Marshall Auditorium, Sul Ross UniversityOver the weekend of February 25-26, 2016, the cowboy poets, storytellers, and musicians gathered in Alpine, Texas, to help celebrate the 30th year of the Gathering. The steering committee members (Lynne Baldwin, Bill Brooks, Don Cadden, Gail Collier, Pam Cook, John Davis, Jane Garrett, Ida Hoelscher, Paul Loeffler, Joel Nelson, Shelly Rogers, and Nelson Sager) once again put many long hours into seeing that all the poets and musicians were well cared for with West Texas-sized hospitality for
this very special gathering. As many poets said, “We never thought when we started that we would still be doing this gathering thirty years later!” The many sponsors who have supported the Gathering over the thirty years deserve and standing ovation and a big thank you. Without them, Gatherings would not survive.

alpine-Glenn Moreland and Pipp Gillette

Late afternoon on Thursday, everyone gathered at the historic Holland Hotel in downtown Alpine for the reception for the poets and their sponsors. The Holland Hotel had a new chef whose delicious culinary creations satisfied the palate at this outstanding Poet’s Party which again was sponsored by McCoy Building Supply Centers. This year the entire Gathering was dedicated to the poets who had attended the Texas Gathering and who have crossed the divide to greener pastures: J. B. Allen, Robert Chaison, Guy Gillette, Clay Lindley, Rusty McCall, Larry McWhorter, Ray Owens, Paul Patterson, Buck Ramsey, Nessey Mae Roach, and Hallie Stillwell. With a big 30 in the middle, their portraits took center stage for all the shows at Marshall Auditorium.

alpine-Kay and Gene Nowell

alpine-Mike Querner, Becki Burson, and Jay Snider








Friday morning folks gathered in the Poet’s Grove for mouthwatering scrambled eggs, biscuits and gravy, and good hot cowboy coffee. The chuckwagon breakfast was still only $5.00, and is a favorite of Gathering folks. The weather this year was the best that we have seen in thirty years. Usually, the weather is cold, rainy, windy, or a combination of those. This year it was blue skies, sunny, calm winds, and 70 degree temperatures.


alpine-Dutch oven Biscuit Cooking at the Poets' Grove

In the University Center at 9 am, Friday started with some folks attending open sessions, some attending the poetry workshop with Joel Nelson at the Education Room in the Museum of the Big Bend, and others just visiting. The 10 am opening “Howdy! Let’s Get Started!” was at Marshall Auditorium which seats about 700 people. After the welcome address by Sul Ross president Dr. Bill Kibler, master of ceremony Bill Brooks introduced headliners Chuck Milner, Audrey Hankins, and Andy Hedges. At 11 am, John David hosted the “Long Timers” session with Glenn Moreland and Washtub Jerry, Kay Nowell, Bob Campbell, and Jill Jones. After lunch, master of ceremony Don Cadden introduced Red Steagall for the ticketed “Just You and Red” show.

Friday afternoon sessions started at 2 pm and went until 5 pm in twelve different venues. It was hard to choose from sessions on “A Rightful Place,” Howlin’ at the Moon,” “Out to Pature, or many others. The day ended at Marshall Auditorium with the ticketed evening show hosted by Red Steagall with headliners Ray Fitzgerald, Jeff Gore, Chris Isaacs, Gary and Jean Prescott, Ross Knox and Trinity Seely.

Saturday was a satisfying repeat of Friday. Another good breakfast of biscuits and gravy at the Poet’s Grove and then multiple sessions with all the poets with an open session and at the same time a workshop on songwriting. From 1:30-2:30 pm, Joel Nelson hosted a special ticketed show for an hour with R. W. Hampton. Doris Daley took over the hosting duties for the ticketed Saturday evening show “Night Time Under the Western Stars” which headlined Don Cadden, Kristyn Harris, Don Hedgpath, Randy Huston, Joel Nelson, and R. P. Smith.

If you missed this year, be sure to put the 31st Texas Cowboy Poetry Gathering on your calendar for 2017. They’ll be looking for you February 24 and 25, 2017. Be sure to log on to for all the latest. Buy your tickets for the shows early as they were all sold out this year! Also, book your motel/hotel rooms now, or you will have to throw your bedroll down outside and take your chances with the weather!

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