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Workshops

Workshops of the 35th
gathering

It is easy to take full advantage of all the National Cowboy Poetry Gathering has to offer by coming early in the week - Sunday, January 27 - Wednesday, January 30, 2019.  Have more time and space to visit with friends, chat with the artists in the Pioneer Saloon, experience a nightly show of great storytelling, poetry and music, and take a hands-on workshop in a Western art not available later in the week. And by participating in a workshop, you can get discounts to an early week show! 

Sunday, January 27

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Rawhide Braiding with Doug Groves

Jan 27, 9:00am - 5:00pm
Jan 28, 9:00am - 5:00pm
Jan 29, 9:00am - 5:00pm
Jan 30, 9:00am - 5:00pm
Elko Convention Center - Silver Room
Sorry, this workshop is SOLD OUT

Create a 12-strand quirt in this four-day workshop with Great Basin buckaroo and braider Doug Groves. A 2017 recipient of the Nevada Heritage Award, Doug makes rawhide reatas, quirts, reins and bosals of great beauty and function. Doug learned braiding from peers in the bunkhouse and beyond, and now passes on these techniques for turning rawhide into fine horse gear. Assisted by his son Grant and master braider Charles Liesen, Doug will teach techniques for processing rawhide from hide harvest to finished string. This workshop is an interactive affair, with class alumnae also sharing methods and tips. The camaraderie and cooperative learning among fellow braiders of varied experience levels makes this a veritable celebration of rawhide!


Monday, January 28

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Floral Design & Carving with
Cary Schwarz

Jan 28, 9:00am - 5:00pm
Jan 29, 9:00am - 5:00pm
Jan 30, 9:00am - 5:00pm
Elko Convention Center - Gold Room
$350

Open new avenues of creativity and improve your floral carving designs in this three-day workshop geared toward the practicing craftsman. With decades of teaching experience, Cary’s hands-on, demo-laden approach will provide ways of making design a habit, with an eye toward saving time while elevating your work. Day one focuses on “how” and “what” to draw, using artistic elements of balance, ratio, variety, composition and negative space. Explore “gesture drawing,” building off Kimon Nicolaides’ 1938 book, The Natural Way to Draw (which will be mailed to you in December). Days two and three focus on carving, swivel knife techniques and thoughtful tool selection. To help you stay the trail, Cary will email you a daily drawing assignment for 30 days after the class! Open to students of intermediate experience and above. Veteran leatherworkers and sophomores alike are sure to glean new information. Students must bring their own stamping tools, sketch pad, pencil, eraser, and an open mind! Students may choose to bring a small project of their own to work on.


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Veterans Writers Project

Jan 28, 900am – 4:00pm
Jan 29, 900am – 4:00pm
Jan 30, 900am – 4:00pm
Jan 31, 900am – 4:00pm
Feb 1, 900am – 4:00pm
Feb 2, 900am – 4:00pm
Free for Vets and their families
/ Drop in anytime and stay as long as you like. Spouses and family of veterans encouraged to participate.

Veterans Resource Center, McMullen Hall 114, Great Basin College

Great crises often produce great writing. War is no exception. And while the historians and politicians write the history, a soldier’s version is often found in poems, songs and stories. Soldiers’ spouses and loved ones also have their own stories to share. These stories need to be told. The Veterans Writers Project, hosted by the Veterans Resource Center at Great Basin College, provides a place to tell and refine these stories with the help of other veterans and writers. Offering expanded hours this year, Bill Jones, Vess Quinlan, David Richmond, and Ken and Betty Rodgers — along with Karen Lloyd of the Library of Congress’ Veterans History Project (www.loc.gov/vets) — will host, encourage, and support veterans (and their loved ones) as they share their experiences. If you’re interested in learning more, just drop in or contact the Veterans Resource Center at (775) 753-2346 for more information. Additional hours may be available throughout the week.


Tuesday, January 29

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Cowboy Comics with Marek Bennett

Jan 29, 9:00am - 4:00pm
Jan 30, 9:00am - 12:00pm
Elko Convention Center - Turquoise Room
$175

Turn your favorite poem, song, story or image into a dramatic, eye-catching comic! This fun, hands-on workshop will show you how to use the basic cartooning language of lines, dots and shapes to create original artwork that grabs readers’ attention and immerses them in the gripping stories and settings of the American West. This two-day workshop will also explore how cartoonists gather feedback, edit their work and publish it for readers, culminating in a hand-made “mini” of Cowboy Poetry Comics Issue #1 to share with your pals back on the ranch. Bring your favorite poem, song lyrics, picture, or family story… or use a piece provided from the Western Folklife Center’s collections. Basic art supplies and a book by the artist are included. No artistic experience necessary — everyone can draw comics! Marek Bennett is the creator of several comics and graphic novels drawn from 19th century primary sources, including The Civil War Diary of Freeman Colby, LIVE FREE and DRAW! and selected poems of Rubén Darío. His website is www.marekbennett.com.


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Spit Cooking with John Lemich

Jan 29, 9:00am - 12:00pm
First Presbyterian Church Annex
$75

John Lemich, owner of Machi’s Saloon & Grill in downtown Elko, learned from his father, grandfather and close family friends how to cook large amounts of meat on a spit. John’s family originated in Croatia and immigrated to Tonopah, Nevada. His grandfather later moved to Ely to work in the mines. And John himself moved from Reno to Elko in his early 20s. Spit BBQ cooking has long been a Lemich family tradition; John embraced it at a young age seeing that it was a great way to gather, tell a few stories, have a drink or two and feed everybody a delicious meal. He cooks for catering jobs and in his backyard for holidays and gatherings. He has cooked whole pigs, lambs, goats, turkeys, chickens and one time a 500-pound beef. This class will show you from start to finish how to cook your own “bird on a spit” at home. Learn how to season the meat, put it on the stick, start a fire for the BBQ and control the coals for even cooking. John will even share some of his favorite recipes for accompanying sides.


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Hearty Soups & Breads

Jan 29, 1:00pm – 4:00pm
First Presbyterian Church Annex
Sorry, this workshop is SOLD OUT

NOTE: We have a new chef for this workshop: Ryan Oeschger

Whether you’re spooning dripping ladles for friends and family or enjoying on your own, there’s nothing quite as comforting as a hot bowl of soup. Paired with mouthwatering, fresh-from-the-oven bread, it’s sure to warm your body and your spirits. A certified professional cook, Ryan Oeschger - formerly of Gorilla Craft Eats, known for serving only the freshest of ingredients with homemade breads. Enjoy taste-testing various soups, breads, green salad and wine — you won’t leave this workshop with an empty stomach or a cold soul!


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The Perfect Pour

Jan 29, 3:00pm - 4:30pm
Duncan Little Creek (DLC)
$60

Since the end of Prohibition, the DLC (historically the Clifton Club and Hotel) has been a gathering spot for ranchers and railroaders alike. Join the knowledgeable staff from the DLC Gallery & the Gallery Bar for an afternoon of mixology. Learn tips and tricks to create your own stunning libations. Take some poetic license on a few classic cocktails and learn to make some of the DLC’s exclusive signature drinks. Sample cocktails, enjoy the atmosphere, and learn some of the history of this iconic building. Must be 21 and over.

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Wednesday, January 30

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A Day at the Ranch

Jan 30, 9:00am - 4:00pm
Meet in Pioneer Saloon lobby,
Western Folklife Center
Sorry, this workshop is SOLD OUT

Join Dan Lotspeich and his mother Leslie for a tour of the Lotspeich Family Farm in Nevada’s Starr Valley. Operating from the base of the Ruby Mountains, Dan follows in the footsteps of his grandfather, businessman George Grock, a Prussian descendant lured west to Deeth, Nevada by the Homestead Act of 1862. The family business prospered at this location, serving settlers traveling by highway and rail. Responding to 21st-century challenges, the Lotspeich ranch has shifted to a locally-grown, locally-sold model, focusing on high-quality, naturally-grown meat and vegetables — a shift that has ultimately been successful for them. Work up an appetite as you learn about the Lotspeich’s approach to ranching and then feast on Duane Jones’ dutch-oven meal in the Starr Valley Community Hall (fruit cobblers for dessert)! As always, "Cowboy John" Collett and special guest artists will regale you with stories during the bus ride, while trusty sidekick Janice Collett guides this year’s tour.


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Rope Halter Making

Jan 30, 9:00am - 4:00 pm
Elko Conference Center - Lamoille Room
$110

Spend a day with haltermaker Kelly Pfeifer and return home with your own handmade halter complete with fiador and double overhand knots. Kelly has a lifetime of experience working with horses on ranches throughout northeastern Nevada. She first learned how to make halters from a workshop taught by Ken Frazier at the 2008 National Cowboy Poetry Gathering. A decade later, she’s picked up more than a few skills of her own. In addition to being a master haltermaker, Kelly cowboys full time in the ranching community of Independence Valley, north of Elko. This workshop is open to all levels of experience.


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Street Tacos

Jan 30, 9:00am – 12:00pm
First Presbyterian Church Annex
Sorry, this workshop is SOLD OUT

For an energy-recharging snack in the desert heat, or an evening sit-down with family on the patio, nothing beats the mouth-watering morsels that are street tacos. Meat stewed and seasoned to perfection, balanced with hotter-by-the-day homemade salsa and sparse but fresh toppers, all held together by two corn tortillas (for utility)... this classic of roadside cuisine is deceptively “simple.” Learn the ins and outs of preparing carnitas and carne asada and other sides with Valentina Ortiz. In this workshop, Valentina will show you el secreto de la salsa — the secret in the sauce, so to speak. Valentina is not only known in the Elko area for her cooking, but as a dance instructor and director of the Elko Mexican Folkloric Ballet.

 


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The Spirit of Place: Writing
Workshop with John Dofflemyer

Jan 30, 9:00am – 12:00pm
Elko Convention Center - Cedar Room
$40

The unique places that shape, and often dictate, our livelihoods also have distinctive feelings we’ve learned to recognize and write about. Adding human characteristics to certain aspects of a place, like the trees, rocks, rivers and mountains, brings them alive in our poetry and prose. Many cultures and native philosophies incorporate animism as part of their worldview, attributing a spirit, a heart or a soul to some of these subjects. In this workshop, we will attempt to find a sense of spirituality that is unique to where we live, hopefully enriching the depth and scope of our poetic expression.


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Peering Into the Mirror
at Your Fiercest Critic,
Your Toughest Opponent
with Paul Zarzyski

Jan 30, 1:00pm – 4:00pm
Elko Convention Center - Cedar Room
$40

In “The Pretty Good Book According To Zarzyski,” Poetry has nothing to do with “inspiration” and everything to do with blue-collar sweat, with “perspiration.”  Writer’s block, therefore, does not exist — laziness, maybe, but not writer’s block. Moreover, rarely is a first draft worthy of ars poetica distinction. The Poem, you see, approaches us and demands that we write It. We, therefore, do not rudely tell the Poem “go away and come back later.” Nor do we dictate to the Poem when we’re finished with It. On the contrary, our mission as Poets is to relinquish all “control freak” status, to listen intently enough to hear the Poem suggesting to us that Its potential has been fulfilled to the best of Its, and hopefully even our, ability. If you’re a writer/worker willing to stick with a hard-labor job beyond your exhaustion point in the midst of 95-degree heat or 50-below-zero wind chills, and stick with it until you get it done “right,” this visceral workshop might speak your lingo. Bring poems and a titanium chin capable of shaking off the heavy-leather shots of brutally-honest critiques (yours, the fiercest of them all) aimed at encouraging you to work more painstakingly on each and every syllable/word/line/passage/stanza — round after round after “re-vision” round.


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Pizza from Scratch

Jan 30, 1:00pm – 4:00pm
First Presbyterian Church Annex
$75

Create your own personal pizza with Luc Gerber, head chef and owner of Elko’s family-owned downtown dining destination, Luciano’s. This Italian restaurant’s motto is “good times, good friends, good food”... and that’s exactly what you’ll get in this workshop. Luc will show you how to craft all the fundamentals — dough, sauce and cheese. Learn the basics of transforming bread dough to pizza dough and tomatoes to pizza sauce. Then, get cheesy with Luc as he teaches you the art of hand-pulled mozzarella. You’ll taste the fruits of your labor, layered together as a classic cheese pie. Whether you’re hand-pulling pizza dough, mozzarella or milk from a cow’s udder, the devil is in the details. Luc, who apprenticed in Paris and San Francisco, will share his fine-grained culinary skill as he guides you through all the hands-on steps you need to know… except for milking the cow (everyone knows mozzarella comes from a buffalo! Don’t worry — we’ll milk them before you get here).


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The Perfect Pour

Jan 30, 3:00pm – 4:30pm
Duncan Little Creek (DLC)
Sorry, this workshop is SOLD OUT

Since the end of Prohibition, the DLC (historically the Clifton Club and Hotel) has been a gathering spot for ranchers and railroaders alike. Join the knowledgeable staff from the DLC Gallery & the Gallery Bar for an afternoon of mixology. Learn tips and tricks to create your own stunning libations. Take some poetic license on a few classic cocktails and learn to make some of the DLC’s exclusive signature drinks. Sample cocktails, enjoy the atmosphere, and learn some of the history of this iconic building. Must be 21 and over.


Thursday, January 31

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photographer unknown


Square Dance

Jan 31, 2:00pm – 4:00pm
Elko High School Old Gym
$25

Maybe you’ve heard stories about the “way-back, Western” days when families would travel all day, gathering for a square dance. They’d dance all night, eat an early breakfast, and ride home again to get back to their ranch chores. Do you have that kind of dedication? Stamina?! We won’t go all night, but this two-hour workshop will show you why square dancing was — and still is — a great activity for building up communities around the West. No experience necessary! Alex MacLeod, square dance caller and fiddler from Seattle, will teach you everything you need to know. And a live band will crank out tunes sure to inspire dancing as you cruise through the afternoon. After this workshop, you’ll be primed and ready for a square dance interlude at the Saturday Night Dance. Live music, fast-paced dancing — don’t miss it!


Friday, February 1

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Old Time Ranch Dance

Feb 1, 10:00am – 12:00pm
Elko High School Old Gym
$25

With the current old-time music revival holding strong across the country, young and old are rediscovering the joys of social dancing to live music. With a few simple moves, these dances can still raise the roof when the bow hits the fiddle strings. Craig Miller will lead you through dances like the Virginia reel, circle dances and a variety of other dances with simple steps. Partners aren’t necessary — just come prepared to meet a lot of people and have a ton of fun, the old-fashioned way.


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Zydeco & Cajun Dance

Feb 1, 2:00pm - 4:00pm
Elko High School Old Gym
$25

There’s something joyfully infectious about the music of rural Louisiana. ‘Catch the bug’ with Amy Mills as you learn to jig to the ting-and-hum of Cajun triangle and accordion, and jitterbug to the driving, funky beat of zydeco. Experience the quick-stepping techniques in this workshop before hitting the dance floor later Friday night, to boogie the night away to the incomparable Geno Delafose & French Rockin’ Boogie. This class is for everyone. Beginners are welcome, and you don’t need a partner to attend.


Saturday, February 2

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Intermediate Two-Step Dance

Feb 2, 10:00am – 12:00pm
Elko High School Old Gym
$25

Are your boots already shuffling when you hear the boom-shik-ka of your favorite two-step? Do you love gliding across the floor with your sweetheart, but wish you had a bit more flair? If you find yourself looking over your partner’s shoulder trying to figure out that fancy move your neighbor is doing, then it’s time to take your two-step to the next level. Join Amy Mills for a quick refresher on the fundamentals, before jumping right in for some intricate spins and wraps, as well as pointers on rhythm and musicality. Bring your boots and your basics. No partners necessary.


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Songwriting: A Conversation
with Corb

Feb 2, 10:30am – 12:00pm
Elko Basque Club
$25

From goth girls to survivalists, bovines to bibles, antique pistols to vintage motorcycles: Alberta-born honky-tonker Corb Lund’s songcraft plumbs the depths of his personal experience of the West. His critically acclaimed album, Things That Can’t Be Undone, landed on lists like NPR Music’s “Favorite Songs Of 2015,” CBC’s “Best Canadian Albums of 2015,” American Songwriter’s “Top 50 Songs of the Year” and Boston Globe’s “Most Overlooked Albums of 2015.” Corb will share how he crafts a good song, why he draws on so many genres for his tunes and much more.


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Square Dance for the Family

Feb 2, 1:00pm - 2:30pm
$5 Singles, $10 Couples/Family
Elko Basque House

Activities where entire families can participate together are rare — but square dancing can be an incredible experience for the whole family. Kids get a thrill from dancing with their parents, and parents remember forever those brief years when they get to dance with their kids. This workshop will focus on family friendly dances that are entertaining for children and adults alike. Live music will get everyone dancing, and caller Alex MacLeod will teach all the movements — no experience necessary. So parents, bring your kids! Kids, bring your parents! We’ll have some big, big fun together!


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Rodeo Swing Dance

Feb 2, 2:00pm – 4:00pm
Elko High School Old Gym
$25

If your toes are tapping but you need some good moves, this is a perfect dance for you. Rodeo swing is the easiest form of swing dancing and the style you’ll see at rodeo dances around the West, as well as at the Saturday Night Dance with Carolyn Martin’s Swing Band. Craig Miller will teach you the moves and keep you smiling. Geared to beginning and intermediate dancers, but all levels are welcome. You don’t need a partner to attend

 

 

Banner image: Charlie Ekburg

Workshop images: Charlie Ekburg, Andrea Graham, Jessica Brandi Lifland, Kevin Martini-Fuller;
                             iStock Street Tacos image, dreamstime.com Rope Halter and Pizza From Scratch images