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Western Folklife Center’s YouTube page has something for everyone.
Photo: Charlie Ekburg
The Western Folklife Center in Elko is at the axis of what could be called a Rural Renaissance. The home of the annual National Cowboy Poetry Gathering has created a YouTube Webpage that celebrates the ranch lifestyle so revered in the world-famous event.
I spent the better part of a morning perusing the page and viewing some of the dozens of videos available. I watched Wylie Gustafson, the voice behind the Yahoo! yodeling theme, teach an eager crowd how to yodel in Yodeling with Wylie; chuckled through a video montage of cowboys with handlebar mustaches in Handlebars and Horseshoes; learned practically everything there is to know about cowboy hats in Hats Off to Elko; and listened to a Western mixologist describe how to make the official cocktail of the gathering in Picon Punch at the Star.
In Brothers, Cindi Nash recites her poem by the same name over a montage of photos of her sons, and Corridos at the Gathering is about the Mexican vaquero tradition of storytelling. Jane Amrose Morton shares her poem of a branding trip in which urbanites traveled to her father’s ranch to try their hands at cowboying in Branding. Although cowboy poetry and similar topics take center stage on the Webpage, there are plenty of videos that focus on other Western themes. Range War is a light-hearted look at a feud between rural Nevada ranchers who go so far as to advertise each others’ ranch equipment for sale at ludicrously low prices. A Cow and Her Boy is about a 4-H cow named Lolly and her unusual, pet-like relationship with the boy who raised her.
If this YouTube page only whets your Western appetite, you might consider making your Elko travel arrangements now. The National Cowboy Poetry Gathering grows in popularity each year, and the 25th anniversary gathering, January 24-31, 2009, looks to be the most popular yet.
Western Folklife Center
501 Railroad St., Elko