Twenty years ago, long before he would earn his place as the first “cowboy” poet to be named poet laureate of Texas, Red Steagall threw his inaugural cowboy gathering in the Fort Worth Stockyards.
Yet when True West asked Red what events on his tour he was most excited about, he went through a roster of big deal events before he even mentioned his Cowboy Gathering’s 20th anniversary this October 22-24. You’ll find him at the 100th birthday celebration in Lewellen, Nebraska, on August 7, and at the kick-off concert in Miles City, Montana, on August 19 to celebrate the Miles City to Deadwood Stage journey, which culminates in Deadwood, South Dakota, on Labor Day Weekend.
Red tells us his fans can expect to hear poems like “Born to This Land” and “The Fence that Me and Shorty Built,” as well as songs like “The Wagon Tongue” and “Freckles Brown.”
For folks attending the Cowboy Poetry Gathering & Buckaroo Festival in Heber City, Utah, this November, he’s got a picker he thinks you should make every effort to go and hear: Brenn Hill. He’s Red’s favorite singer-songwriter-cowboy, most especially, Red says, because the Utah-born Hill “writes wonderful songs about the place where he lives and the people who he knows.” Red believes that 50 years from now, Hill’s songs will be among those reference sources that share how we lived our Western lifestyle today.
The traditions of the Old West still inform such cowboy gatherings, especially those included here.
Deer Creek Days
August 6-8, 2010 • Glenrock, WY
307-436-5652 • ConverseCountyTourism.com
The Next Act: The heritage celebration would not be complete without a stop at the monument on Third Street marking the Deer Creek Station. It served the Overland Stage, Pony Express, telegraph and the military—until Indians burned down the station in 1866. Afterwards, head out for a buffalo steak dinner at the Fort Diablo Steak House and Saloon.
Nevada Territory Wild West Fair
August 25-29, 2010 • Reno, NV
775-688-5767 • WildWestFair.com
The Next Act: If you head to the Reno-Sparks Livestock Events Center the Friday before, you can attend the Wild Horse and Burro Expo for free (mustang adoptions are Saturday). That way, you can scope out the arena in advance of the state fair to make sure you get a good seat for Don Endsley’s Great American Wild West Show, which you definitely won’t want to miss.
Western Legends Roundup
August 26-28, 2010 • Kanab, UT
The Next Act: After getting Ed Faulkner’s autograph at Western Legends Roundup, go to Frontier Movie Town and Museum to see where some episodes of the CBS series Have Gun, Will Travel (1957-1963) were shot, where he acted alongside Richard Boone’s character Paladin.
Oregon State Fair
Aug. 27-Sept. 6, 2010 • Salem, OR
775-688-5767 • OregonStateFair.org
The Next Act: Oregon’s capital city has been hosting the fair since it was chosen as the permanent site in 1861. Nearly 30 years later, Thomas Kay built his woolen mill (rebuilt in 1898 after a fire), which you can still see at the Mission Mill Museum that offers numerous exhibits on textiles, water power and fabric milling, and tours of pioneer homes on the grounds.
Fiesta de Septiembre
September 4, 2010 • Wickenburg, AZ
800-942-5242 • OutWickenburgWay.com
The Next Act: Screamers Drive In has a green chili burger worth making a stop for. Chow down, then head out to Desert Caballeros Western Museum for “Snapshots of Early 20th-Century Arizona: A Postcard Legacy,” with vintage photos by Jeremy Rowe. Don’t miss out on seeing this collection; the exhibit closes on September 12.
Sacramento Gold Rush Days
September 4-6, 2010 • Sacramento, CA
916-808-7777 • SacramentoGoldRushDays.com
The Next Act: At 9:05 a.m., Monday, June 3, the Sutter Gold Mine’s Facebook page lit up with this message from Jeffrey Scott Smith of Chico, California: “Went on the tour today for the first time. Tour guide Kurt was awesome!!! We will definitely be coming back!!!” Yes, the kids are not the only ones loving this tour. You’ll learn how the industry transitioned from panning to hydraulic mining to current hard rock techniques.
National Cowboy Symposium & Celebration
September 9-12, 2010 • Lubbock, TX
806-798-7825 • Cowboy.org
The Next Act: The Buddy Holly Center is a must see; you can even take a gander at his revered Fender Stratocaster that started it all. If the Rock ’n’ Roll at Buddy Holly gets you itching for Country and Western music, turn your dial to 99.5 KQBR.
Holy Terror Days
September 10-12, 2010 • Keystone, SD
800-732-5682 • HolyTerrorDays.com
The Next Act: Pull yourself away from the views of nearby Mount Rushmore and head to the Red Garter Saloon and Ruby House Restaurant. You’ll get some “comedy Western gunfights” along with your dinner. Three-time World Champion Comedy Gunspinner “Big Dave Murra” will be there in all his seven-foot-two-inches glory.
Sioux Falls Spirit of the West
September 17-19, 2010 • Sioux Falls, SD
605-334-9202 • SpiritOfTheWestFestival.com
The Next Act: Be sure to stop in at Prairie Star Gallery on Phillips Avenue; the gallery features art, jewelry and quilts created by more than 750 Northern Plains Indian artists over the years.
Western Spirit Celebration
September 18-19, 2010 • Duncan, OK
580-252-6692 • OnTheChisholmTrail.com
The Next Act: Brush up on your Chisholm Trail knowledge at the Chisholm Trail Book Store; proprietor Lynn Wienck has carefully chosen the rare Western Americana, regional Oklahoma History and American Indian books that will excite any True West enthusiast.
Hill City Western Heritage Festival
September 18-19, 2010 • Hill City, SD
800-888-1798 • HillCitySD.com
The Next Act: Take an afternoon ride on the 1880 Train through the scenic Black Hills. Afterward, head to the Alpine Inn to eat the bacon wrapped filet mignon. It’s the only thing on the dinner menu, so you know it’s done right!
Western Heritage Weekend Plus Tom Mix Festival
September 18-19, 2010 • Dewey, OK
918-534-2272 • CityOfDewey.com
The Next Act: At La Fiesta Restaurant, locals order the chile relleno with red enchilada sauce (the white is good too). Finish off your meal with a warm sopapilla.
Western Days Festival
September 24-25, 2010 • Lewisville, TX
972-219-3400 • CityOfLewisville.com
The Next Act: Get your fill at Ham & Eggs. The pancakes are a local favorite, and the biscuits are the size of a hamburger bun. Hit the ATM before you go, as this homecooking restaurant only accepts cash.
Rex Allen Days
Sept. 30-Oct. 3, 2010 • Willcox, AZ
800-200-2272 • RexAllenDays.org
The Next Act: Nestled between the Rex Allen and Marty Robbins fanseums is Rodney’s, known for owner Rodney Brown’s beef brisket sandwich and delicious hot wings from scratch. Get your meal to-go and eat it in the Railroad Park across the street (Rex Allen’s horse Koko is buried here). Your taste buds will thank you.
Lincoln County Symposium
Oct. 8-10, 2010 • Ruidoso Downs, NM
The Next Act: If you’re in town early, check out the Hubbard Museum of the American West’s exhibit on Ancient New Mexico, which focuses
on the native people from the prehistorical to Spanish exploration periods; displayed until October 3. At Atticus Books & Teahouse,
indulge in a cup of Rooibos tea (Africa’s answer to Green Tea) while reading Western or regional books by local authors.
October 15-17, 2010 • Tombstone, AZ
888-457-3929 • HelldoradoDays.com
The Next Act: Settle in a comfy chair at the Tombstone Epitaph Newspaper Museum and read the paper’s original coverage of the O.K. Corral Gunfight. You get a copy of this for free, if you’re coming here from the O.K. Corral.
Yorktown Western Days
October 16-17, 2010 • Yorktown, TX
361-564-2661 • YorkTownTX.com
The Next Act: Travel to nearby Victoria to visit the Public Archeology Laboratory, where you can view ancient ruins and historic sites, as well as learn how to record and preserve rock art through mapping, photography and watercolor painting.
Southeastern Cowboy Festival Symposium
October 21-24, 2010 • Cartersville, GA
770-387-13001 • BoothMuseum.org
The Next Act: Take a hayride through the ghost town of Ravenwood in Red Top State Mountain Park on October 22 or 23; storytellers promise to blend history and fiction in spooky, whimsical tales.
Red Steagall Cowboy Gathering
October 22-24, 2010 • Fort Worth, TX
888-269-8696 • RedSteagallCowboyGathering.org
The Next Act: Everything is bigger in Texas, including the book selection. Texas Star Books is the best destination for all things Texas, specializing in Texiana, Military and Texas authors and photographers.
October 30, 2010 • Carson City, NV
866-683-2948 • NevadaDay.com
The Next Act: Next to the 1862 St. Charles Hotel is Mom and Pop’s Diner, notorious for its mouthwatering cinnamon rolls with thick cream cheese icing. Walk off your breakfast with a 2.5-mile, self-guided tour of the Kit Carson Trail in the city’s historic district.
Death Valley 49’ers Encampment
November 10-14, 2010 • Death Valley, CA
866-683-2948 • DeathValley49ers.org
The Next Act: Geology buffs need to see the Ubehebe Crater in Death Valley. The view from the rim is incredible, and you are able to hike down into the crater. Bring a windbreaker for when you arrive at the top, and remember to bring adequate water. They don’t call it Death Valley for nothing.
2011 Old West Festivals
Gold Rush Days
February 10-13, 2011 • Wickenburg, AZ
928-684-5479 • WickenburgChamber.com
Spirit of the West Cowboy Gathering
February 18-20, 2011 • Ellensburg, WA
888-925-2204 • EllensburgCowboyGathering.com
Southeastern Cowboy Gathering
March TBA, 2011 • Cartersville, GA
770-387-1300 • BoothMuseum.org
Fiesta San Antonio
April 2-17, 2011 • San Antonio, TX
877-723-4378 • Fiesta-SA.org
Santa Clarita Cowboy Festival
April TBA, 2011 • Santa Clarita, CA
661-286-4021 • CowboyFestival.org
Chisholm Trail Stampede
May 6-7, 2011 • Duncan, OK
800-782-7167 • DuncanOK.org
Jackson Hole Elk Fest & Old West Days
May 21-23, 2011 • Jackson Hole, WY
307-733-3316 • JacksonHoleChamber.com
Bishop Mule Days
May 24-29, 2011 • Bishop, CA
760-872-4263 • MuleDays.org
Wild Bill Hickok Days
June 26-30, 2011 • Deadwood, SD
800-999-1876 • Deadwood.org
Roy Rogers Festival
June TBA, 2011 • Portsmouth, OH
740-353-0900 • RoyRogersFestival.com
Douglas Railroad Days
June TBA, 2011 • Douglas, WY
877-937-4996 • Jackalope.org
Butch Cassidy Days
June TBA, 2011 • Laramie, WY
800-445-5303 • Laramie-Tourism.org
Gene Autry Days
June TBA, 2011 • Kenton, OH
419-673-4131 • HardinOhio.com
Lander Pioneer Days Parade & Rodeo
July 3-4, 2011 • Lander, WY
307-332-3892 • LanderChamber.org
Wild West Festival
July TBA, 2011 • Hays, KS
785-623-4476 • WildWestFestival.com
Laramie Jubilee Days
July TBA, 2011 • Laramie, WY
307-760-9920 • LaramieJubileeDays.net
National Day of the American Cowboy
July TBA, 2011 • Spearfish, SD
605-642-9378 • WesternHeritageCenter.com
Grand Encampment Cowboy Gathering
July TBA, 2011 • Encampment, WY
307-326-8855 • GrandEncampmentGathering.org
Ogden Pioneer Days
July TBA, 2011 • Ogden, UT
801-621-1696 • OgdenPioneerDays.com
White Mountains Roundup
July TBA, 2011 • Show Low, AZ
866-532-4070 • WhiteMountainsRoundup.com