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Mark your calendars and make plans to visit Elko from January 28 to February 2.
Photo: Wally McRae and Glenn Ohrlin perform at the 2011 National Cowboy Poetry Gathering in Elko.
Are you wondering what to do for a winter getaway? If you love cowboys, poetry, or anything that captures the spirit of the great American West, I suggest you mark your calendars and make plans to visit Elko from January 28 to February 2.
I’ve personally enjoyed the wonderfully unique experience of the National Cowboy Poetry Gathering for many years.
This year’s 29th annual event has something for everyone. You can learn about cowboy culture, listen to poetry and music, view outstanding pieces of art, attend educational workshops, and indulge some of the best restaurants and Basque cuisine Nevada has to offer.
Many consider this Nevada tradition a must-attend event, traveling to northeastern Nevada year after year to reconnect with old friends and make new ones. While poetry is the main attraction, there is so much more to see and do.
This year, the National Cowboy Poetry Gathering welcomes cowboys from Italy, called butteri, to showcase their distinctive saddles, techniques, and traditions. In honor of the butteri, the event will welcome Italian American ranchers and host sessions that give a nod to their heritage with cooking classes featuring Italian cuisine.
If that isn’t enough to pique your interest, there are daily film screenings and exhibitions at Western Folklife Center that showcase poets, musicians, and musical groups. There will also be dance workshops during which you can perfect the Texas Two Step, Great Basin Swing, or Rodeo Swing.
If you’re still looking for more to do, there will be seminars on leather carving, rawhide braiding, advanced rhythm guitar, and even self-publishing and marketing. You can even take a daylong tour of Elko County ranches. Phew!
For all the details, including dates, times, pricing, and descriptions of the events, visit westernfolklife.org. I hope to see you there!
And don’t forget that Genoa, south of Reno, hosts the Genoa Cowboy Festival in the spring, May 2-5. Find out more at cowboypoetrygenoa.com.
Brian K. Krolicki
Chairman—Nevada Commission on Tourism