Round up for Cowpoke Fall Gathering
Kick Off Gala
What: Dinner, reception and entertainment sneak peak
When: 5:30 p.m., Thursday, Nov. 7
Where: Red Horse Barn at Newcastle Wedding Gardens
Tickets: $50 online or (866) 967-8167
Cowpoke Fall Gathering
What: Live cowboy poetry, music and stories
When: 6:30 p.m., Friday, Nov. 8; and 1 and 6:30 p.m., Saturday, Nov. 9
Free performance: Loomis students recite cowboy poetry 10 a.m., Saturday, Nov. 9; and cowboy church at 9 a.m., Sunday, Nov. 10
Tickets: $35 and $45, online or (866) 967-8167
Where: Blue Goose Event Center, 3550 Taylor Road, Loomis
Info: www.cowpokefallgathering.com or 652-6290
Indian summer days give way to long fall evenings, when the cowboy poets ride into Loomis to share their poems, songs and heart-warming tales.
Wanting to serve a slice of Americana to locals, Bert and Carol Braun, former owners of the Cowpoke feed store, cooked up the Cowpoke Fall Gathering, a modern-day, western variety show with equal parts storytelling, poetry and singing. This year’s star-studded performances on Nov. 8-10 benefit local charities.
Some of the country’s best yarn-spinners share their ranching way of life with a humbleness that makes audience members lean in a little closer at their performances.
Saturday’s 1 p.m. matinee features cowboy poets Waddie Mitchell and Chris Isaacs and singers Belinda Gail and J. Parson. The handlebar mustaches, weather-crinkled smiles and western drawls are the real deal.
Mitchell, from Jiggs, Nev., organized the original cowboy poetry festival in Elko, Nev., which in turn sprouted hundreds of cowboy poetry events across the country.
Mitchell, who calls Loomis “charming” said, “I suppose I’ve been writing what people call cowboy poetry since we started calling it that.
“I refused to call it poetry when I started writing it,” said Mitchell, whose rugged looks contrast with his ability to convey life’s sweetness, heartache and awe.
“We were fairly remote,” said Mitchell of the ranch where he was born and raised.
“We were 62 miles from town – 32 of those on a dirt road – and 14 miles from the nearest neighbor. We didn’t have power,” said Mitchell, who was dubbed Waddie by the cowboys on his father’s ranch.
“It was a great way to grow up. My whole world was around the ranch and the horses and the cowboys and I was immersed in the whole thing.”
Isaacs is a mule packer from Eagar, Ariz., who turns 70 on his next birthday. He calls cowboy poetry an “oral tradition that goes as far back as there were cowboys.”
Isaacs rejects Hollywood’s portrayal of cowboys as gun-slinging rabble-rousers.
“The cowboys I’ve been around are honest, hard-working, patriotic and love their families,” he said.
Parson, from Bakersfield, said, “My songs are life experiences – things I’ve done and stories other people have told me. Real life, current day stuff presented in an old time way.”
Parson, who recently performed with Chris Isaacs at Silver Dollar City, Mo., was discovered and brought to the Loomis Cowpoke Fall Gathering by Bert Braun.
“I was on a trail ride out of Santa Ynez and I was playing some songs standing in the back of a wagon and this guy rode over and introduced himself and said he wanted me to play music at his festival and it was Bert,” said Parson.
“Mostly, I just like to make sure people have a nice time and have a story or two in my songs that they can relate to. I like to entertain people and make them glad to be there,” he said.
To get the annual event underway, a country-elegant Kick Off Gala dinner will be held on Thursday, Nov. 7 at the Red Horse Barn, in Newcastle, featuring the food of Jackson Catering and Events.
On Saturday, at 10 a.m., a free, one-hour cowboy poetry performance, by $1,000 scholarship winner Meghan Baird from Del Oro High School and 12 students from Penryn, Loomis and H. Clark Powers elementary schools, takes place at the Blue Goose Event Center.
Proceeds from the event benefit Jump In, South Placer Heritage Foundation, Ride to Walk and Sutter Roseville Breast Cancer Navigator Program.