The “Gathering” began as a time and place where cowboys and western ranchers could gather to share poems about their working cattle lives. Thirty years later, the Gathering encompasses musicians, artisans, storytellers, and western poets -of course- sharing their creativity from across cowboy country, hilarity, telling their stories of hard work, and what it means to make your way in the rangeland West. The American West’s continuously changing landscapes, flora, fauna, and communities have inspired reflection, exploration, and creative expression. National Cowboy Poetry Gathering invites western poets, artists, artisans, songwriters, and land stewards to bring new and old stories to life as they endeavor to create a West that hosts hospitable landscapes and agriculture-based communities. And, as the community’s well-being is fed by carrying traditions forward meaningfully in their contemporary lives.

The National Cowboy Poetry Gathering is a week-long coming together of a community rooted in the arts of cowboy country, poetry, and music. This event is an immersive and delightful experience for those who appreciate the rural West’s boundless creativity. This event is an open-hearted occasion for growing knowledge and forging connections among and with people living on the land. The Gathering is a multigenerational and merry-making event full of ranch-y folk, art, food, gear, dance, music, discussion, verse, film, and more.

A small group of folklorists and poets 1985 first produced this event. The National Cowboy Poetry Gathering has grown into a national and international event. The “Gathering” provides a week full of entertaining and educational programs that highlight the cultural expression of the West rangeland and an atmosphere with “you couldn’t dream this stuff up if you tried” moments.

The National Cowboy Poetry Gathering takes place in the Western Folklife Center in the high-desert cowboy town of Elko, Nevada! This event celebrates life in the rural West, and the rich creativity of cowboys featuring the traditional and contemporary arts arising from lives lived caring for land stock and land and raising families.

Website | Western Folklife Center 501 Railroad Street Elko Nevada 89801 | 775-738-7508