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National Cowboy Poetry Gathering

2018 Highlights

Basques and Buckaroos: Herding Cultures of Basin, Range and Beyond

Theodore Waddell, Sheep #12, 42”x50”, Oil on Canvas

Theodore Waddell, Sheep #12, 42”x50”, Oil on Canvas

For the 2018 National Cowboy Poetry Gathering, we look forward to highlighting special guests and programming honoring the contemporary heritage of Basques and Buckaroos. Often one in the same, many Basques came to the American West to work on sheep and cattle ranches as herders and buckaroos. Today, many Basque families successfully own and operate their own ranches and carry rich stories of immigration and adaptation. Among Basque communities overseas and in the American West, traditions of music, improvised poetry, literature, dance, foodways and more are flourishing. We look forward to bringing these arts—along with our ongoing popular programs—to the 34th Gathering, January 29-February 3, 2018.

Nothing says “Elko” like Basques and buckaroos. Tickets are now on sale to Western Folklife Center members only; they go on sale to the general public October 5, 2017. Read more about membership benefits!

Come early in the week to attend hands-on workshops and evening performances. In the latter half of the week, enjoy full days and nights with audiences and artists from throughout the ranching West and beyond. Meet internationally-acclaimed performers of Basque song and improvised verse. Hear stories of buckaroos, Basque ranchers and herders. Participate in social dances and dance workshops, take in talks, exhibits, films, family shows and more. Meet up with old friends and new in the Western Folklife Center's historic Pioneer Saloon and visit the Wiegand Gallery, Gift Shop and G Three Bar Theater.

Read about Theodore "Ted" Waddell, the 34th Gathering poster artist.

See Mike Beck at the 2018 Gathering (click on Ticketed Shows) on Friday, February 2, 2018! In this video from our 31st Gathering, Mike Beck sings an original song written from the horse's point of view, "Don't Hurt My Heart."



Banner photo by Charlie Ekburg