Mesquite Western Roundup
by Mike Prince
photos by Von Bussma
It wasn’t too many years ago that the term “cowboy poet” seldom, if ever, found it’s way into polite conversation. The term very likely was considered an oxymoron, a figure of speech that uses seeming contradiction. Cowboy? Poet? Yet today, thousands of people gather at numerous venues to listen to cowboy or western poetry.
Cowboy poetry is a form of poetry that grew out of a tradition of offhand composition carried on by workers on cattle drives and ranches. At the end of a day’s work, cowboys would gather around a campfire and entertain each other with tall tales and folk songs.
Contrary to common belief, cowboy poetry does not have to be written by cowboys, though followers of the craft would claim that the authors should have some connection to the cowboy life.
Folks who are newcomers to cowboy poetry may be surprised to hear poetry that is contemporary. Many people tend to focus on the historic cowboy lifestyle, but the work that cowboys do continues. The cowboy lifestyle is a living tradition that continues in western North America, Canada, and other places as well. Cowboy poetry is still being written, still being recited, and still entertaining around campfires and convention halls.
Typical themes of cowboy poetry include ranch work and those who perform it, cowboy values and practices, humorous anecdotes, and memories of times and people long gone.
Juni Fisher, singer, songwriter, and one of America’s top female western vocalists sums up the lifestyle best when she says, “This is the stuff of our own history. Preserving the writings, stories and poetry, and the music, all of it is part of the weave that makes us, who revere the west, who we are and what we are. I come from a farm background, also rich in western heritage and I chose for myself a ‘cowboy’ lifestyle when I was a teenager. Western music, cowboy music and poetry is for everyone, not only those who live it, but for those who want to visit occasionally. That’s the beauty of cowboy poetry. It gives everyone a place to visit.”
The 2018, Mesquite Western Roundup will be presented February 23 at 7:00 PM and February 24 at 1:00 PM and 7:00 PM at The Mesquite Community Theater, located at 150 N. Yucca Street, Mesquite, Nevada.
Tickets may be purchased at the MCT box office Monday through Friday, 11:00 AM – 1:00 PM, or one hour prior to the performance. Tickets are also available at one of these Mesquite satellite locations: The Mesquite Fine Arts Gallery, The Mesquite Chamber of Commerce and Ready Golf. Tickets may also be purchased online at mctnv.com.
For more information visit mesquitewesternpoetry.com, or call Russ Westwood at (385) 241-1123