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National Cowboy Poetry Gathering

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Thank you for joining us for the 35th National Cowboy Poetry Gathering!

The Western Folklife Center staff, National Cowboy Poetry Gathering staff and our hundreds of volunteers (from Elko and many states beyond Nevada) surely enjoyed hosting you all and we hope you had a great time!


View daily photos in the Gallery, below!
Click here to learn more about acclaimed photographer Kurt Markus and the 35th Gathering Poster.

Known for its big-heartedness, the Gathering welcomes all! Things have really ramped up - 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 it all.


Since 1985, ranchfolk, rural denizens and aficionados of the American West have traveled to meet in remote Elko, Nevada. Here in Elko, they are captivated by poets and musicians whose verses speak of a life lived on the land. They listen, they learn, they kick up their heels and enjoy a week filled with entertainment, delight and laughter at the National Cowboy Poetry Gathering. Or, simply, “the Gathering.”

2019 Gathering Highlights

35th National Cowboy Poetry Gathering Playlist

Gary McMahan performs his classic “Cowboyin’ Day” at the 1989 Cowboy Poetry Gathering in Elko, in this Vintage Video from the Western Folklife Center archives. Gary will appear in the Western Jukebox show on January 30 and Laugh Kills Lonesome on February 2: tickets are still available!

Banner photo by Charlie Ekburg