Thursday, February 6, 2014

The Road to Elko ~ Jan 28-29, 2014

Off to Elko, Nevada for the 30th Annual National Cowboy Poetry Gathering. We missed 2013 due to severe weather (Wimpy Coastal California Kids) and this time next year I should be recovering from a liver transplant (Not Allowed in Crowds). Our friend Carol came with us and nothing was going to keep the posse away from this celebration of living history, horses and cowboys. It is also Nevada's sesquicentennial (150th) birthday. Although I'm a California girl, I have family ties to Nevada and proud to have some history there. 

We took off about 10:30 and got to Reno in the late afternoon. After tossing the luggage into our rooms the three of us took off for a walkabout (a daily ritual). Coincidentally, the distance from the Silver Legacy to Labels, our favorite consignment store, is a two mile round trip. Walking Justifies Shopping! We had a delightful dinner with our friends Steve and Barbara and then called it a night. The Biggest Little City in the World is a good halfway point in the journey.

Some find the high desert a featureless bore, but I am always stunned by it's vast beauty, subtle colors, vitality and adaptive genius. The drive to Elko was cloudy and cool with a promise of rain and snow as we climbed each pass to the next great wide open. Nevada is also experiencing drought conditions so if moisture gets this far east there is hope we're getting rain at home. 



We arrived in the late afternoon, unpacked and headed out to our first show at the Elko Convention Center: the premier of the Trails End Ranch Radio Show from the mind of Stephanie Davis. We were lucky enough to see the first, post workshop, performance at a San Francisco gallery last year. 

Trails End Ranch Radio
Fred Newman, D.W. Groethe, Stephanie Davis, 
Jerry Brooks, Henry Real Bird
Photo Gib Myers ~ Elko Daily Free Press

We became a live in studio audience for the show (My dad took me to the Red Blanchard Show in San Francisco in the 50's so this was a delightful step back in time for me). The ensemble is made up of six actors and five poets who write all their skits and advertisements (my favorite was for Western Brew ~ Lose Your Need to be Right) and a seven musician band. The show has grown and evolved since our first viewing so we were thoroughly entertained. 

After the performance Rod, Carol and I met up with our friend Tam for dinner at the Star Hotel and then headed back to the Gold Country Inn to catch a few winks before our first full day of entertainment kicked into gear. Note to self: no more large dinners at 9pm.

Note to my readers: Many of the event performances are well worth checking out and are available as live podcasts from the Western Folklife Center at the following link: