Cowboy weekend was a kickin' good time

By: Martha Garcia, Loomis News Editor
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If you weren’t one of the folks who took in some of the Cowpoke Fall Gathering fun last weekend, here’s what you missed: Thursday evening, the 15th annual cowboy poetry and music festival got its start at the High-Hand Conservatory where locals rubbed elbows with storyteller Pat Richardson, singer and yodeler Rod Erickson, as well as singer and songwriter Jeff Severson. The Indian Prayer Mound Ceremony by potter and artist Tommie Moller has become a welcome tradition to festivities. Volunteers had been sprucing up the Blue Goose for months and all their hard work shone Friday night as the curtain rose to a full house. Old-time favorites Baxter Black and Pat Richardson shared the stage with newcomers Erickson and Kimberly Hess. Although this was Kimberly’s first appearance on the Fall Gathering program, anyone involved with the Blue Goose and the Fall Gathering know about all the hard work and dedication she and her husband, Bernie, have invested in the project. Saturday’s matinee was energized by the appearance of Michael Martin Murphey. The “Wildfire” star is truly a talented singer and musician, accompanied by swift-fingered guitarist Pat Flynn. Larry Maurice, too, has a fine voice and shared his story writing talents with local school children. He had introduced his young poets during a morning Open Mic session before appearing at the matinee. It didn’t seem possible, but Saturday evening’s performance was even more packed than the previous night. Again, the crowd hung on every word and note that came from Black, Richardson, Erickson and Hess and showed its appreciation for the humor and music with roaring laughter and applause. You didn’t always have to pony up money to have fun at the Fall Gathering. Admission to Open Mic was free, as it was to Cowboy Church on Sunday morning, where John Kintz, Severson and Erickson offered their spiritual music and poetry. The western barbecue Saturday afternoon was a smart way to taste the scrumptious desserts entered in the Apple Pie & More Contest. And most of the day Saturday, little kids and big kids hopped on the Nonella & Son stagecoach for free rides down Taylor Road. Here’s a tip for all of those who so desperately tried to buy tickets to Friday and Saturday evening cowboy poetry shows: Join the South Placer Heritage Foundation. As a member, you get first dibs on buying tickets as early as September and you’ll be supporting a terrific asset in the community. Proceeds from the event, produced by Bert and Carol Braun of Cowpoke Productions, are used by the Heritage Foundation as it continues to restore and improve the Blue Goose, which is available for use by organizations and individuals throughout the year. Oh, yeah, it’s also a nifty home for the Loomis News.