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January24–29

National Cowboy Poetry Gathering Week – January 24-29, 2023

National Cowboy Poetry Gathering Week takes place from January 24 to 29 every year. The tradition started in 1985 in Reno, Nevada as the Cowboy Poetry Gathering. It is an event in which different members of various ranch families come together and enjoy some poetry, listen to stories, and enjoy live country music. A Senate Committee on Energy and Natural Resources passed a resolution in 2000 that renamed the gathering National Cowboy Poetry Gathering Week, thereby recognizing the 1985 inaugural event.

History of National Cowboy Poetry Gathering Week

The National Cowboy Poetry Gathering Week began in 1985, initially as the Cowboy Poetry Gathering. In 2000, U.S. Senator Richard H. Bryan sponsored a resolution that was introduced to the Senate Committee on Energy and Natural Resources. The committee then passed a simple resolution designating the Cowboy Poetry Gathering as National Cowboy Poetry Gathering Week, which recognized the first edition of the event in Reno, Nevada in 1985. Elko, Nevada was recognized by the U.S. Senate as the original home of the Cowboy Poetry Gathering and for their contributions to the gathering, and the history and traditions of the art form.

The inaugural edition of the event saw William Wilson secure funding from the National Endowment for the Arts. It was organized by a team of folklorists and local cowboy poets of which Hal Cannon and Waddie Mitchell were included. The event provided a place for Western ranchers and cowboys to gather to share poems about ranch life. It became clear from the beginning that these folks had found an artistic community known only to a few.

Today, National Cowboy Poetry Gathering Week is a six-day event filled with poetry, music, dancing, workshops, exhibits, etc., all rooted in the tradition of the rural West. The Gathering embraces its role as the pilgrimage point for thousands of ranch folk and lovers of Western culture to come and experience art that grows from a connection to the “rhythms of earth and sky.”

National Cowboy Poetry Gathering Week timeline

1917
Elko, Nevada is Incorporated as a City

The city of Elko, Nevada is officially incorporated as a city in 1917.

1937
The Birth of Senator Richard H. Bryan

United States Senator and former governor of Nevada Richard H. Bryan is born on July 16, 1937.

1985
The Inaugural Cowboy Poetry Gathering

The inaugural edition of the National Cowboy Poetry Gathering Week takes place in 1985.

2000
The Passing of Resolution 326 is Sponsored

Resolution 326, which is an important part of the development of the Cowboy Poetry Gathering culture, is sponsored in 2000.

National Cowboy Poetry Gathering Week FAQs

What is National Cowboy Poetry Gathering Week?

It is an annual event celebrating the culture of the American West.

Where did the Gathering originate from?

Elko, Nevada is recognized by the U.S. Senate as the home of the original Cowboy Poetry Gathering.

When was the first Gathering held?

It was held in 1985 and was initially called the Cowboy Poetry Gathering.

National Cowboy Poetry Gathering Week Activities

  1. Visit Elko, Nevada

    This would be a very good time to visit Elko, Nevada. Be sure to join in on the festivities while you are there.

  2. Participate in the Gathering

    Partake in the Gathering by listening to country music. Be sure to also enjoy the poetry recitals, food, and drinks!

  3. Share your experience online

    Make sure to document your experience by sharing it online with the #NationalCowboyPoetryGatheringWeek hashtag. Let the word spread about this unique day.

5 Interesting Facts About The American West

  1. The Rocky Mountains are the longest range

    The Rocky Mountains in the West are the longest mountain range in North America, running all through Mexico to Canada.

  2. It’s home to great skiing resorts

    Some of the best and most popular skiing resorts in the U.S. are in the West.

  3. Mexican culture is a big influence

    The West is heavily influenced by Mexican culture.

  4. Farming is a big deal

    The West is no slouch when it comes to farming – schools are sometimes closed so that kids can help their families with harvests.

  5. The West produces most of the apples

    Most of the apples consumed in the U.S. are grown in the West.

Why We Love National Cowboy Poetry Gathering Week

  1. Cowboys are cool!

    From their boots and hat to the way they ride a horse. We love cowboys because they just ooze cool.

  2. Poetry is an awesome art from

    Poetry is a wonderful art form and has been appreciated throughout history. We are glad to have the opportunity to celebrate this art form.

  3. The Gathering is of cultural relevance

    National Cowboy Poetry Gathering Week is of cultural value to cowboys. It provides a space where they can express their way of life in the best possible form.

National Cowboy Poetry Gathering Week dates

YearDateDay
2023January 24Tuesday
2024January 24Wednesday
2025January 24Friday
2026January 24Saturday
2027January 24Sunday

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