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National Cowboy Poetry Gathering

Calisto Laucirica (1891-1975) - Basque settler, Elko county rancher. Photo c. 1920s, courtesy of Northeastern Nevada Museum.

Calisto Laucirica (1891-1975) - Basque settler, Elko county rancher.
Photo c. 1920s, courtesy of Northeastern Nevada Museum.

The Western Folklife Center presents the theme of the 2018 National Cowboy Poetry Gathering, January 29 - February 3, 2018

BASQUES AND BUCKAROOS:
Herding Cultures of Basin, Range
and Beyond

Traveling the California Trail in August 1850, William Kilgore wrote in his journal that the herders he encountered "...are...here termed Buckaries...Spaniards or Indians who are hired Expressly and trained for herdsmen." Some of those Spaniards, by the late 19th century, were Basques connected profoundly to the pastoralist sheepherding and ranching across the region. Support activities, like food preparation and boarding house management, became emblematic of the rags-to-riches Basque-American entrepreneurial spirit and the community's drive to plant a solid stake in the rural West.

The buckaroo and herding traditions of the Great Basin call out to surrounding lands and even across oceans in all their cultural expression, then and now. Among Basque communities overseas and in the American West, traditions of music, improvised poetry, literature, dance, cheese making and more are flourishing. We look forward to presenting these arts alongside other Gathering favorites at the 34th National Cowboy Poetry Gathering.

Your first Gathering? Read more about trip planning.

2017 HIGHLIGHTS, January 30-February 4

Banner photo by Charlie Ekburg