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Discussions & Special Sessions

Discussions and Special Sessions

The National Cowboy Poetry Gathering  takes its stewardship responsibilities seriously with special topic discussions and panels that tackle important issues current in the rural West.

Following are panel discussions and special sessions that were featured during the 33rd National Cowboy Poetry Gathering, held January 30-February 4, 2017.


Keeping Working Lands in Working Hands

Feb 4, 9:30-11:00am
Free to the public
Lamoille Room, Elko Conference Center
Followed by a question and answer session, 11:15am-12:15pm

A recent study declared that America loses 2.5 million acres of farm and ranch lands yearly. While people are aware of this substantial and continual diminishment of America's agricultural land base, what most Americans are unaware of is the response by ranchers and farmers to preserve these private lands. Enter the Partnership of Rangeland Trust (PORT). The cattlemen associations from seven western states (California, Colorado, Kansas, Montana, Oregon, Texas, Wyoming) have each formed a statewide land trust to conserve ranch and farm lands through the use of conservation easements. Hear from this group on topics such as: Conservation Easements 101 (Nita Vail); Energy Development, Water Rights and Conservation Easements (Bo Alley); Ecosystem Services and Conservation 2.0 (Erik Glenn); and Conservation Easements from a Landowner's Perspective (Phil Rostad). Moderators: Richard Knight and Erik Glenn. Read more about our panelists in the full daily schedule.

Presented in collaboration with the Northeastern Nevada Stewardship Group and Partnership of Rangeland Trust. Sponsored by Timkin-Sturgis Foundation.

The Virtual Campfire: Sharing Stories in Old and New Ways

Feb 4, 1:00-3:00pm
Lamoille Room, Elko Conference Center

In this session, a group of dynamic storytellers share their experiences peddling first-person stories of the rural West through mediums old and new. Participants discuss why they've chosen their particular mediums (radio, podcast, digital video, traditional oral storytelling, print journalism, blogs, zines or mixed media), and how their medium reflects and shapes the portrayal of rural occupational cultures. Diving into the fine-grain details of the storytelling process and the larger picture of the storytelling landscape, the panelists reveal their own stories about the importance of shaping and sharing stories from the rural West. Panelists are: Taki Telonidis, Kristin Windbigler, Adam Burke, Moe Bowstern, and John Dofflemyer. Moderator: Taki Telonidis. Read more about our panelists in the full daily schedule.

Presented with support from the Nevada Humanities.

California Origins of the Stock Saddle

Feb 3, 3:00-4:00pm
Black Box Theater, Wiegand Gallery, Western Folklife Center

Historian Griff Durham presents evidence that the stock saddle that evolved in California provided the inspiration and model for the legendary saddlemakers of Pueblo, Denver, Cheyenne, Miles CIty and ultimately, Texas. Griff has made it his life's work to research cowboy horse gear. He has curated two exhibitions for the Western Folklife Center, including Everything for the Vaquero: The Legacy of G.S. Garcia.

Storytelling Sessions

In the spirit of this year's theme, "Real Stories. Straight Up.", we have invited these cowboys and sheep ranchers to share some of their favorite real-life stories.

Local Indian Cowboy Stories

Feb 2, 12:00-1:30-pm
Turquoise Room, Elko Convention Center
Feb 3, 1:45-3:00pm
G Three Bar Theater, Western Folklife Center

Invited guests include Ted Howard (Host), Reginald (Reggie) Sope, Mike Thomas and Woody Harney. Read more about our storytellers in the full daily schedule.

Sheep Tales and Sheepish Tales

Feb 3, 10:45am-12:15pm
Turquoise Room, Elko Convention Center
Feb 4, 3:00-4:00pm
Turquoise Room, Elko Convention Center

Invited guests include John Peavey and Diane Josephy Peavey (Hosts), Michael (Mike) Guerry and Brittany Cole Bush. Read more about our storytellers in the full daily schedule.

History of the Chuckwagon

Feb 3, 9:45-10:45am
G Three Bar Theater, Western Folklife Center

Who played one of the greatest roles on the trail drives of the 1800s? The chuck wagon cook. During this interactive visual presentation, Kent and Shannon Rollins will transport you to their camp and kitchen where they continue the tradition of feeding cowboys on working ranches. Take a step back in time as Kent and Shannon explore the life of an old camp cook on the trail, and then leap forward to today as they give you a glimpse into their lives on the modern trail. Kent is an invited artist and will appear in shows throughout the Gathering.

A Glimpse Into the Letters of C.M. Russell, continued. . .

Feb 3, 12:30-1:45pm
Turquoise Room, Elko Convention Center

Spend an afternoon digging deeper into the wit, wisdom and Western Humor of cowboy artist Charles M. Russell. Randy Rieman continues with part two of his ever-popular presentation, reading from some of his favorite letters accompanied by a curated presentation of illustrations. Randy draws from several sources including the incredible book, Charles M. Russell, Word Painter: Letters 1887-1926, by Brian Dippie. Randy is an invited artist and will appear in shows throughout the Gathering.






Banner image: Jessica Brandi Lifland