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31st National Cowboy Poetry Gathering Features Vaqueros From Baja, Mexico

The 31st National Cowboy Poetry Gathering will celebrate a little-known corner of Mexico — Baja California Sur — and its rich ranchero culture. From Jan. 26-31, 2015, the small high-desert town of Elko, Nev., will welcome Baja’s vaqueros, who will share with their American cowboy counterparts the traditional acoustic music, ranch cuisine, local art and craftwork, traditional lore and humor of their Californio roots.

The National Cowboy Poetry Gathering has a long history of organizing cultural exchanges with people from around the globe who work with cattle, horses and other livestock. The goal of these exchanges is to build understanding, awareness and appreciation for how other cultures in the same occupation operate. Past exchanges have brought to the Gathering gauchos from Argentina, gardiens of southern France, butteri from Italy, csikos from Hungary, and herding cultures from Mongolia, Australia, the British Isles, Colombia, Brazil and Mexico.

The National Cowboy Poetry Gathering is an annual celebration of the ranching and rural West. Through poetry, music and stories, ranch people express the beauty and challenges of a life deeply connected to the earth and its bounty. Every year, thousands travel to rural Elko in the heart of winter to listen, learn and share. At the 31st Gathering, more than 55 poets, musicians and musical groups from the U.S., Canada, Australia and Mexico will perform on seven stages at four different venues. The line-up includes poets Baxter Black, Jerry Brooks, John Dofflemyer, Linda M. Hasselstrom, Yvonne Hollenbeck, Wally McRae, Waddie Mitchell and Paul Zarzyski. Musicians and bands include Gretchen Peters, Tom Russell, Ian Tyson, The Western Flyers, Wylie & The Wild West, Eli Barsi, Cowboy Celtic, Don Edwards, Corb Lund & The Hurtin’ Albertans, Gary McMahan and many more! Visit for a full list of artists, bios and audio samples.

The keynote address at the 31st Gathering will be delivered by ethnobotanist, nature writer and food activist Gary Nabhan. Gary’s unique perspective on the intersection of human culture and agriculture, as well as his ability to fuse deep scholarly research with respect for traditional ways of knowing, offers a welcome sense of hopefulness for rural America. The Gathering also features hands-on workshops in traditional western arts, western dances, films, discussions and open-mic sessions.

Tickets can be purchased online at, or by calling 888-880-5885. Western Folklife Center members can purchase tickets beginning at 9 a.m. Pacific Time, Sept. 2, 2014, and non-members can purchase tickets beginning Thursday, Oct. 2.

For travel information in Elko and throughout Nevada, visit

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Bethany Drysdale
Nevada Tourism
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Darcy Minter
Western Folklife Center
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