What do you love most about rural gatherings?
Durango is a unique historic town, characterized with lively culture and interesting stories. For 29 years, the Durango Cowboy Poetry Gathering has been a featured event of the fall season and has maintained the good old culture of the American cowboy and ranching in southwest Colorado.
The event was started by a local hat manufacturer named Kevin O’Farell in 1989, after he attended and got inspired by the grandfather of all such events, the National Cowboy Poetry Gathering in Elko, Nevada. Aimed at preserving the culture of working ranch people of the Southwest, the Durango Cowboy Poetry Gathering is one beloved event that draws both locals and visitors, cowboy poets, storytellers and musicians together to celebrate.
October’s Durango Cowboy Poetry Gathering
This gathering offers a myriad of events and activities for people of all ages, such as riveting poetry readings, magical storytelling, amusing live entertainment, vibrant parades and much, much more.
The focus of this year’s gathering is on humor, which plays a big role in the cowboy culture and serves as a significant instrument used to cope with the associated risks of being a cowboy. Some of the well-known performers to grace the stage for the “Laughing Stock – Cowboy Humor” are Andy Nelson, R.P. Smith, Terry Henderson and Gary McMahan. Sometimes, life can push you around a little bit, and we all know how a little humor can get you healed up. Laughter is the best medicine, as they say.
Another highlight of this year’s gathering is the large, motor less, Cowboy Parade. The parade features horses, donkeys, mules, llamas, longhorns, coaches, carriages, wagons and riders all from the West. Adding color to the parade are the Native American Dancers, buckaroos on stick horses and lovely ladies & gents dressed in period costume. The parade entries will be judged and trophies will be awarded in categories such as Most Impressive Horse Entry, Most Impressive Mule or Donkey Entry and Best Wagon Entry, to mention a few. The rule is clear – no motorized vehicles!
Other performances to watch out for are the Cowboy Poetry, Cowboy Music and Cowboy Storytelling & Folklore, which are all considered as the “Heart” of the Gathering. About forty performers have been invited to grace the stage in four concurrent theme sessions every hour. Most daytime events are free, while tickets are available for premier and evening performances.
Durango Cowboy Poetry Gathering starts on Thursday and will run until October 8. The Gathering headquarters will be at the Historic Strater Hotel, 699 Main Avenue. Come and celebrate the way of life of rural people and be captivated.
Ranchmen, horses, mountains, autumn leaves and warm smiles. What’s not to love?