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Youth Programs

Youth Programs at the Gathering

Each year around National Cowboy Poetry Gathering  time, over 7,000 students - kindergarten through high school - from northeastern Nevada are immersed in the music, poetry, stories and cultures of the cowboy West.

In the Western Folklife Center Youth Festival students learn how to stamp leather, tie a Wrangler scarf, learn about cowboy gear and tour the new exhibit. Students in art classes create a piece of art for the Student Art Show which is on display at the Gathering and for a few months following. Early in the week of the National Cowboy Poetry Gathering, cowboy artists travel to schools throughout Elko County to entertain and educate students about cowboy poetry and traditional music in School Assemblies. 

During the Gathering, the Cow Kids’ Stampede features a high-energy western band at the Elko Convention Center Auditorium that school kids can attend for a small fee.

Students are welcome to sign up for any open mics during the Gathering. We also have two opportunities directed at students:

The Young Buckaroo Open Mic & Talent Showcase provides younger kids with an opportunity to share their creativity with the public in a safe and welcoming atmosphere.

The Teen Poetry & Music Slam is a free opportunity for teens to present their poetry, spoken word, short prose or songs. To prepare for their performance, they often can participate in workshops where students receive heart-to-pen guidance from master poets on finding inspiration and expressing passion on the page.

Our youth education programs are sponsored by many businesses and organizations, individual donors through our Stakeholder program, and major donors including The Bretzlaff Foundation, Terry Wells Foundation and:



Banner image: Charlie Ekburg
Slideshow images: Meg Glaser/Tamara Kubacki, jessica Brandi Lifland, Devon Blunden, Charlie Ekburg