By Linda Mannix
Special to The PREVIEW
Spectacular autumn foliage in the mountains, cooler fall temperatures and cattle drives all signal it’s time for the 29th annual Durango Cowboy Poetry Gathering.
The Oct. 5-8 event celebrates the culture and stories of the American cowboy and ranching in southwest Colorado, creatively shared by more than 40 cowboy poets, storytellers and musicians.
“It’s the perfect opportunity to pull on your cowboy boots and hat, observe a really unique art form in action and enjoy all the incredible fall activities in Durango,” said Linda Mannix, coordinator of the second oldest event of its kind in the United States.
The celebration is held in Durango’s bustling downtown district. The theme this year is “cowboy humor” and the Premier Show on Oct. 5 is called “Laughing Stock,” featuring four of the finest cowboy humorists in the West. Other evening performances on Oct. 5 and 6 showcase several top cowboy poets and musicians from around the country and take place at 6 and 8 p.m.
“We have tickets still available for the late shows, with the earlier shows already or nearly sold out. The Cowboy Comedy Revue on Saturday morning also promises to have people tipping their hats to the 15 performers sharing the funniest tidbits of ranch life,” Mannix said.
Another event on Friday with space still available is the popular Cowboy Poet Train. The excursion runs from 10 a.m. to 3:30 p.m., winds through the mountains and beautiful fall scenery, and features performers on every coach and a barbecue lunch at Cascade Canyon.
New this year will be a screening of the award-winning film “Everything in the Song is True.” This documentary follows the lives of three present-day cowboys and one cowgirl in the American West. Tickets are $10 to benefit the 4-H and FFA Youth Programs. See http://everythinginthesongistrue.com/.
Free ways to kick up your heels
Start off Saturday morning with a real Cowboy Chuckwagon Breakfast on the corner of 5th Street and Main Avenue. Then stay right there to watch the large motorless Cowboy Parade at 10 a.m. on Saturday with horses, riders, wagons, walkers and even llamas and longhorns, but no motorized vehicles.
From 10:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m., free themed sessions of cowboy poetry and music are being held at several downtown locations. Walk from room to room to hear cowboy music and poetry all day, at no charge.
Shows of Western art will be on display at select downtown galleries throughout the weekend. At 4:30 p.m. on Saturday, the free Poster Session will highlight 15 cowboy poets and musicians performing their interpretations of this year’s fine art poster “Ten Below Zero” by fine artist Andrew Peters. A print signing and artist’s reception follows from 5:30 to 7 p.m.
Durango Cowboy Poetry Gathering wraps up with free performance “A Cowboy and His Creator” on Sunday at 8:30 a.m. with inspirational poetry and music by many of the weekend’s performers.
For a complete schedule, tickets, performer bios and more information, call 749-2995 and visit www.DurangoCowboyPoetryGathering.org. Also, follow the event on Facebook.
By Linda Mannix