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Road Trip to Elko: Cowboy Poetry IX

Road Trip to Elko_Anne

Tired and happy, that is what this morning brought. I have learned many things since coming to Elko for the Cowboy Poetry Gathering, but probably what will serve me best when I return next year, for I shall return, is not to OVER BOOK yourself!!! You cannot possibly see and experience everything there is here so DO NOT TRY! We were told that by our new friends from Wisconsin, but I don’t really think we believed them until now. Next year I think I will pick one show per day in advance and then fill in with all of the wonderful smaller offerings, not to mention time to reconnect with old friends.

We spent the morning packing and writing and then had lunch to start our day. Laura did some catch up photo editing (from yesterday) at the Folklife center while I wandered around and then relaxed on a lovely leather couch in front of the Folklife center’s fireplace. At 2 p.m. we once again ventured into dance lessons, this time the Pony Swing and the Two Step. We were a little shy of men for the first hour but then several very gallant gentlemen joined us and I must say that my dance partner Dave, from the Portland, Oregon area was very patient with me.

After a soak and cat nap I am once again ready to venture out into the night for two last shows and one more dance, though we have set midnight as our bewitching hour since we have to be on the road early and have a long way to go.

Northern Lights featured a young band called Hurtin’ Albertans, led by Corb Lund from Alberta, Canada. This Cowboy from America’s hat had a strong, pleasant voice that you could envision singing around a campfire on a cattle drive. One haunting song that has stayed with me is called Horse Soldier. They were followed by the legendary Ian Tyson. Even with a voice that was struggling (I do not know if this is a temporary problem or not) he was a consummate performer and his voice still captures your soul. The music was strong and bold and though not able to capture the full range of his past, he did not disappoint his audience and made sure we heard Navajo Rug. This show was followed by “Cowboys, Hobos and Thieves,” featuring Sourdough Slim, Don Edwards and the Hot Club of Cowtown. From Sourdough’s finest renditions of the silver screen cowboy tradition, to the stately elegance of Don Edwards’s presence and voice, to the raucous exuberance of Cowtown, this show was a perfect ending to the weeks entertainment.

We ended our week tired and exhilarated by Wylie & The Wild West band. We two stepped, waltzed and swung with our new and “old” Elko friends, and surprised ourselves with our grace and rhythm!

The thread that wove through this past week has been profound, exhilarating, liberating, healing and expanded my friendship with Laura, as well as embraced a wealth of new friends. This was truly an experience to remember forever.

Road Trip to Elko_Laura

Hard to add much to what Anne has said above. Our second dance class, led by instructors Nancy Kern and Kraig Sundberg, had me almost thinking I could dance (!), but I am sure it was my partner Marty and not me (thank heavens men lead! I just had to learn to follow!). Anne looked to be well on her way to becoming the belle of the ball, however!

Dismal camera-karma day, so no more photos, just this one of the last performance of the week and one of my all-time favorites, Don Edwards, who finished the encores with one of my very favorite songs, Coyotes.

Then off to the Grand Finale Dance, where the people watching was an absolute delight—they really go all out to dress for this one!–and Anne and I managed to dance pretty darn good, if I don’t say so. And yes, she was the belle of the ball!

Back to finish off the evening at the Folklife Center. This night was mostly the young edgy crowd; saw Whit, Alana, and Jake of Cowtown at the bar and had a chance to say how much we loved their performances. Then off to bed, and back on the road home, tomorrow.

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