Come to the National Cowboy Poetry Gathering

Well, you don’t want to miss it do you?

The National Cowboy Poetry Gathering is held in Elko, Nevada. This year it starts tomorrow (Friday, February 3, 2006 and ends Sunday, February 5, 2005). At least I think that is when it starts and ends. Our newspaper didn’t bother to give the dates. Everybody knows it’s on this weekend.

You can’t get to Elko from where you live. You could go to or call the Chamber at 775-738-7135 if you want to give it a try. Here is a free number that will get you information: 800-248-3556.

There are lots of things to do at the National Cowboy Poetry Gathering. They cost money but my newspaper says that children are free at “non-ticketed” daytime events. That is Idaho talk. I think it means. Children don’t have to pay for free daytime events. Duh!

So what can you do? You gamble, eat, and listen to cowboy music. That way you won’t have to listen to the monotone of cowboy poets reading there stuff about manure, bobbed wire, and lonesome mesas. (Mesa means “table” in Spanish. A flat hunk of ground that you have to look up to is a mesa as in “Can ya’ see that critter up thar’ on the mesa? I guess you know a critter could be a horse or a cow.

I read some of my poems at such an activity when I lived in Payson, Arizona. There were about a zillion people wondering around the park, eating grilled bratwurst and washing it down with cola drinks. I think there might have been ten listening to me read my poetry. My wife was one of them so make that about nine.

So that you will see why nobody was listening to me and why few will leave the poker table in Elko, here is one of my poems I read there in the park in Payson, Arizona:

The Banker’s Son

(Monday, March 29, 1999)

He spurred his horse, the banker’s son,

His daddy died that day

When the bank was robbed his dad was shot

And the robbers rode away.

Their horses were lightnin’ fast,

With bottom, they were full.

Ugly Jo looked back and said,

Ride you bunglin’ fools.

They spurred their horses all the more,

Leavin’ the banker’s son in the dust,

But then they stopped to rest the stock,

That’s when the fun began.

The banker’s son rode up and said-

They were drinkin’ whiskey then-

Lay down your guns, you’re goin’ to hang

When I get you back to town.

Fat Charlie laughed,

A banker’s son is goin’ to bring us in?

He drew his colt,

The rich kid shot,

He did Fat Charlie in.

Slim Willy said,

Did you see that?

The kid looks pretty good,

But Fat Charlie was slow, Banker Boy,

I wouldn’t try that again.

You killed my pa, you filthy crew.

You shot him and he’s dead.

Slim Willy said, Twas Charlie, Son,

And then he poured out lead.

The banker’s kid rolled in the dirt,

But then he came up shootin’.

Slim Willy fell and ate some hurt,

The banker’s son was swellin’.

Pock-faced Pete looked at the two dead oafs, and said,

That was some shootin’.

But Charlie and Willy weren’t all that fast,

To prove it, I’m a willin’.

The banker’s boy spit in the dirt,

Which formed a little ball.

I’m goin’ to shoot again, he said,

And you are bound to fall.

So Pete said, Okay, we’re comin’ in

To let the court decide,

But instead he drew his six-gun,

The boy fired twice, Pete landed on his side.

The boy blew smoke

From his gun’s barrel,

There were two more there to kill.

One was Ugly Joe, the other, Angry Bill.

Bill said, Now you little runt,

I gettin’ mad as hell,

Not that you shot those ugly bruits,

My pockets that will fill,

But I ain’t cowin’ down.

You’re goin’ down to hell.

The boy said, You don’t learn fast,

Do you Angry Bill?

He drew and shot,

Not once, but twice,

Bill rolled on down the hill.

Ugly Joe looked at the men

All layin’ on the ground.

He said, My God! That was some shootin’!

You’re the fastest gun around.

Now tell me son, Before I die,

How you learned to shoot.

I saw you tellerin’ in the bank,

For gun’s you had no roots.

The boy looked down,

And said these words,

My dad was just like you.

He went to jail

And paid the price

And he taught me how to shoot.

Ugly Joe kicked a rock and said,

What were his name, my son?

The boy said, the Sierra Kid,

Ugly Joe pulled his gun,



The boy left those parts,

Never to be seen again,

They never found the loot at all,

Just those five dead men.

Well, now you know why I’ve decided not to go to Elko tomorrow. (What? You want to read another of my poems? Well, if you like punishment, go to my website.)

The End