Medora's Cowboy Poetry Gathering celebrates western way of lifeThe western way of life will be celebrated in song and poetry when the 26th annual Dakota Cowboy Poetry Gathering is held in Medora. “I like to think it’s a way of preserving our memories of what we’ve gone through in a lifetime,” retired rancher Dean Johnson said.
By: Linda Sailer, The Dickinson Press
The western way of life will be celebrated in song and poetry when the 26th annual Dakota Cowboy Poetry Gathering is held in Medora.
“I like to think it’s a way of preserving our memories of what we’ve gone through in a lifetime,” retired rancher Dean Johnson said.
He’s written a book titled “Trails Growing Dim” about the early years of ranching, and will share his stories at an evening performance during the gathering.
“I’ll be talking about livestock, ranch living and things that may or may not have happened to me,” he said.
The gathering kicks off at 1 p.m. Saturday in the Medora Community Center and continues through Sunday evening.
The Saturday show, which starts at 7:30 p.m., features poetry from Vic Mord, Birchdale, Minn., and Jarle Kvale, Dunseith, along with music by Patty Burian-Ingman, Killdeer, Bonnie Lee, Bismarck and the duo of Jamestown’s Terry and Linda Schwartz.
The evening is emceed by Merrill Piepkorn, the host of Prairie Public Radio and more recently of “Dakota Air: The Radio Show.”
The Sunday, May 27, show, also at 7:30 p.m., features Johnson from Beach and Fairfield’s Jim Lowman. Music will be performed by former rancher, Sid Stromme, Manhattan, Mont., and horse trainer, Almeda Bradshaw.
Strasburg teen Kristi Goldade will cap off the Sunday show with her singing and yodeling talents.
“She is self-taught,” Goldade’s mother, Geraldine, said. “When she was 8 years old, Kristi was introduced to yodeling at the Medora Musical. She was amazed by the sound and soon set out to learn this technique.”
The show is emceed by founder and host of the Dakota Cowboy Poetry Gathering, Sentinel Butte rancher Bill Lowman.
“We’re the oldest regional gathering, next to the national at Elko, Nev,” he said. “It’s a big family and we’re sharing a tradition.”
The gathering is non-competitive.
“It grows from grass-roots people who love to share their experiences and listen to others,” he said. “The biggest percentage like to hear other people’s stories more than to represent their own.”
Lowman said the afternoon shows are free, with a $15 entrance fee for the evening performances.
Sunday also features the Cowboy Gospel music session at 9 a.m.
“The round-robin cowboy gospel singing packs them in,” Lowman said.
Many of the performers return year after year, but Lowman features them at different times — one year in the afternoon and the next year at night.
“That way, it doesn’t get stale and everybody gets rewarded,” he said.
The gathering also features a western photo contest, along with an exhibit of Lowman’s cowboy pencil art, hand-carved leather from Slim’s Custom Leather and a display from the Big Hat Society.