23rd Annual Dakota Cowboy Poetry Gathering
It’s that time of the year to gather your friends and family together and head to the Dakota Cowboy Poetry Gathering in Medora, ND. Founder of the Gathering, Bill Lowman, was invited to the very first National Cowboy Poetry Gathering in 1986. Excited and energized by the National Gathering and recognizing a good thing when he sees it, Lowman came home and immediately began organizing the first Dakota Cowboy Poetry Gathering for Memorial Day weekend in Medora. Now, here we are over two decades later, celebrating the 23rd annual event.
Cowboy poetry made its way to the Dakota via the cattle drives of the 1800s. Cowboys used verse and music to entertain themselves and others along the drive. The stories were often true representations of life on the trail. Occasionally they were, shall we say, embellished? Well, the art form is alive and well today. Modern day cowboy poets and western singers from around the region are keeping the old stories, poems and songs alive while writing new ones about life in the West.
The Dakota Cowboy Poetry Gathering consists of three parts. The free sessions begin at 1 p.m. Saturday and Sunday afternoon. All comers are welcome to share their verse and music at these open sessions. A real favorite of the weekend is the Sunday Morning cowboy gospel singing session, beginning at 9 a.m. No preachin’… just singin’! There is an admission charge for the Night Shows, which feature professional entertainment and begin at 7:30 each evening. Arrive early… the night show has sold out in the past.
The Saturday and Sunday night shows feature a stellar lineup that will be sure to please the Gathering crowd. Boot maker and cowboy singer, currently residing in Sallisaw, OK, Paul Harris will make cowboy songs and her seven-year-old daughter, Cora, will “WOW” the crowd with her outstanding yodeling! South Dakota rancher, Ken Cook, will entertain with his humorous cowboy poetry, Nikki Alpin, from Grassy Butte, ND, presents her traditional and inspirational songs, and Montana singer, songwriter and poet, Almeda Terry, rounds out the evening show.
In addition to the poetry, the singing and the stories, saddle maker Bill Engen will have his work on display, and raffle tickets for his Theodore Roosevelt 125 year Memorial Saddle he donated will be on sale. The Big Hat Society and Slim’s Custom Leather will also have displays.
Everyone is welcome to attend!
Lodging is available at Badlands Motel (1-800-MEDORA1) and Custer’s Cottage (1-800-783-6366). For more information, contact Bill Lowman at 701-872-4746.