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National Cowboy Poetry Gathering

The Poster for the 35th Gathering

The Poster for the 35th Gathering

The history of the West is as deep as it is wide. Many groups played a role in the early development of the American West and continue to keep its horseback traditions alive in the present. Together, we’ve learned ranching traditions of our northern plains, southwest and southeast, along with vaquero and buckaroo influences.

It’s not too early to plan…

The 36th National Cowboy Poetry Gathering
is January 27 - February 1, 2020

Since 1985, ranchfolk, rural denizens and aficionados of the American West have traveled to meet in remote Elko, Nevada, to join us in full days and nights of offerings: learn about creative solutions to current challenges in the rural West; listen to poems and songs from the finest Western wordsmiths; enjoy great open mics in poetry and music - the Young Buckaroo Open Mic is not to be missed! Take in a dance lesson or two, talks and discussions, exhibitions, films, vendors and family shows exploring just about everything of interest to the ranching West... or simply dance the night away Friday and Saturday nights. Friends, old and new, await at the historic Pioneer Saloon, located in the Western Folklife Center, the heart of the National Cowboy Poetry Gathering.


For 2020, we will focus on the important and diverse contributions of Black cowboys, whether on the ranch or in the rodeo arena, past and present. We are already hard at work planning the Gathering, and it’s going to be a good one!

We offer benefits to our Western Folklife Center members that include feature National Cowboy Poetry Gathering tickets. Read about them here.

Highlights of our 35th Gathering, January 28-February 2, 2019

35th National Cowboy Poetry Gathering Playlist

It's late June 2019: summer's almost here and it's time for a road trip with Tish Hinojosa and her new song (and album) "West." This video of Tish Hinojosa, Marvin Dykhuis and Chip Dolan was recorded at our 2019 Gathering.

Banner photo by Charlie Ekburg