Sunday, February 4, 2018


Hey there Campers;

This is day 4 at the 34th National Cowboy Poetry Gathering. We started off with a beautiful sunny winter day. The weather was just right. Not too cold.

Our first session was Rhymers. The poets were Cal Lewis, Annie Mackenzie, Terry Nash and Rodney Nelson. Cal Lewis was the old timer for this session. He talked about the Chisholm Trail. Well, this was a history lesson that I loved to hear about. Did you know the reason for the cattle drives? Well, the cattle was being sold in Texas for $4.00 a head. That was not enough to feed them during the winter. However, if you could get the herd to Abilene, Kansas where the railroad was the cattle would sell for $40.00 a head.  Now folks, this is not rocket science. Those Texans put the cattle on the trail that was made by Jessie Chisholm. The trail started at Chisholm’s trade store in Red River, TX. The cattle drive was not as romanticized as Hollywood portraits it. Many cowboys died on the way. There were a lot of stampedes.d Job. 

Rodney Nelson recited - A Greedy Cowboys Prayer. Annie Mackenzie did poems she wrote. This was Annie first time reciting in front of a large group. She was really shaking as we all would. She did well. Afterward, Lo let her know she did well and to keep doing what she loved.


On our way to lunch those 4 H kids were back at it with their shoe shine boxes. They were raking in the dough. Ideas pathfinders???

Since we knew we were not going to have time for dinner she decided to have a big lunch. What better place to go than Chef Cheng’s to filler up. We had great food and were stuffed when we were done.

On our way back we found another boot - Red Coca Cola. Of course we had to stop. Great job Nita finding this one.

While waiting to go to the next session we decided to take an Elko picture. Well wouldn’t you know it a guy asked to help. He was one of the performers from yesterday Jake Riley.

Our next session was the Ranch Family Show. This was really good. It showed us non farmers what farmers do for entertainment. The first group was Brigid, Johnny & John Reedy. This family hit gold with their talent. They sang a beautiful song about - When I get to Elko. This song incorporated names of the big performers, etc. The next performers, Caleb Klauder & Reeb Willms  from Shasta, CA. They sang about what would your grab if you had a fire. Rita Hosking & Sean Feder did a dueling guitar and mandolin. Jake Riley (yep the same guy who took our pics) did a poem about a shirt with a pocket. Here is a great quote, “A shirt with no pocket is just a undershirt.” Now that gave one something to ponder over. Annie talked about the winter of 16’. Jake & Annie got scholarships to further their poetry.

Do you know what ranch shoes are? People who grow up on a farm.

We went to the Western Folklife Center for our next session. This center houses the museum for the theme of the year of the. Again, this year’s theme was Basque Cowboys. We got to stand in line with the friends we made this week. Karen (remember the lady with the amazing beaded pants) and her husband and her friends Janet & Tim. I was feeling a little thirsty. I saddled up to the bar (that’s cowgirl talk) and asked for a 7up. I almost fell to the ground when the bartender told me a $1.00 for the drink. Like for real?? I was expecting to pay at least $5.00. You are not in Cally, Dorothy. The Wizard of Oz knows what he is doing.


The session was the - Songster Line Up. This included Andy Hedges, Jack Elliott and my favorite Dom Flemons. These were great performers. Andy sang about his dad. Jack sang - Don’t Think Twice, It Is Alright. Dom sang and told us more about Nate Love. He was a great cowboy who later became a Pullman porter to earn money for his family when cowboy jobs were dying in the early 1900’s. Dom also did a song about Bass Reeves. It was called U.S. Marshall and the Lone Ranger.

Our last session was - Pardners of the Wind. This group consisted of Waddie Mitchell, Michael Martin Murphy and Pipp Gillette. This was a very interesting group. Waddie quoted poems about - The Dance Card. Pipp sang - Could Have Been Worst. We all got to sing with him. The best song of the night was Wildfire by Michael. Yep, Michael was the one who wrote it and first perform it. Google if you don’t remember the song. It will stick in your mind for the rest of the day. It is just a great song.

I just have to thank Bob & Nita Scurria for bringing us to tag along with them. The seats Bob got for us for the major performances were unbelievable. We got front row seats all the time but one and that one was on the second row center. Yahoooooo! Bob.

Well Campers until next time.

Lo & Bren

Saturday, February 3, 2018


Hey there Campers;

This is day 3 at the 34th National Cowboy Poetry Gathering. We started off with - A Rumor of Humor session. This session was so popular Lo & I were one of the last 8 people to get in. Nita & Bob came later and were turned away. Not to worry they went to a great musical session. Our session featured Yvonne Hollenbeck, Waddie Mitchell, Rodney Nelson and Jake Riley. They gave poems on, giving your wife a gift “she” really wants, Quite Before you are Dead, write about what you know (aka being skinny), The Good Old Days before things start to drop and the daughter-in-law. The poets keep us in stitches laughing so hard.
We proceeded to the next session with The Ponies- A Celebration of the Horse performed by Mike Beck. Mike is sort of a horse whisperer. He has a special way of dealing with horses and people. He has traveled the world helping as many horses and people as possible. Did you know that Scandinavians don’t do horses? They think more of soccer.  Mike is a singer and poet. This was a very good show. He is highly recommended.

We decided to drop in on the Dom Flemmons & Brian Farrow session. While standing in line we met Karen and her husband and her pooch Noodles. She was the lady with the great pants from yesterday. It was good to see her again. Dom and Brian session was an African American Cowboy music program. Dom talked about how the music from the black cowboy affected music in the black & white communities. He sang songs from Led Belly - Old Howard Dead and Gon’. He wrote a song - Lost All my Money But a $2.00 Bill. He also talked about cowboy Nat Love. Nat Love, aka: Deadwood Dick – Greatest Black Cowboy in the Old West. He also discussed Bass Reeves. I was really fascinated with this since I had just read his biography several months ago. Born to slave parents in 1838 in Crawford County Arkansas, Bass Reeves become the first black U.A. Deputy Marshal West of the Mississippi River and one of the greatest frontier heroes in our nation’s history. Did you know the series - The Lone Ranger- was based on Bass Reeves?

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Photo of The Coffee Mug - Elko, NV, United States. Cute outside!

We stopped for lunch. We went to the Coffee Mug. The food was simple but really good. Both couples decided we need to go back to our room and RV to have some down time.

When we came back to the conference center we saw little buckaroos earning money shining shoes. What a ingenious idea since there where lots of boots around.

In the evening we had a session - The Old Ones: Remembering Our Roots. This featured Amy Hake Auker, Pipp Gillette, Andy Hedges, Waddie Mitchell and Randy Rieman. This session talked about poets like Henry Herbert Nibbs, Gwendolyn Haste, Harry Jackson, Bruce Kiskadoon, and Charles Badger Clark. It ended with the poem - When They’ve Finished Shipping Cattle in the Fall. It talks about the end of a cattle drive and all the cowboy has been through.


Since we could not eat at Luciano’s last night due to it being packed we made reservations to assure our seating tonight. The food really hit the spot. Got my treasured spaghetti and Cesar’s salad. It came with 3 meatballs that could have been a meal by itself. Bob & Nita got a chance to enjoy them with their meal. Lo had a “small” salad. 


We enjoyed ourselves with good conversation and called it a night.

Well Campers until next time.

Lo & Bren

Friday, February 2, 2018


Hey there Campers;

I know it has been awhile since you have heard from the Brandy’s. We have taken several little trips and a huge trip to Kenya last year. It was a great trip but internet service was little to none existent. So, blogging was not going to happen.

Well, we got invited by our great friends, Bob & Nita Scurria, to go to Elko, NV for the Western Folklife Center hosting the 34th National Cowboy Poetry Gathering.  We checked into the Double Dice RV Park and proceeded to the Convention Center to check out the sessions. Bob drove us around town to see the sites. We found a place for Lo to take his cowboy boots to get stretched.

Bob & Nita took us to the Pine Lodge Restaurant for a great dinner. It kind of reminded us eating at a restaurant in Alaska. Surrounded by dead animal heads. The booth we sat at had a photo scene of stuffed birds. Even though it was a steak house of course I had my regular “grill cheese sandwich”. It never fails me.


Today, we started by going to Valley Boot & Shoe Repair to see if Lo could get his cowboy boots stretched and tips put on. When I asked the owner the cost, he looked at us and said “well $10.00.” I could not believe it. It cost more than $12.00 just to have tips put on high heels in Cally.

We went to the first session that discussed cowboys Shepherding Stories from Basque West. I found this interesting because my boss at Mt. Zion Hospital was of Basque decent. She had told me many stories of her family life in the Basque area of Spain.

We continued to the next session called  Breaking Up Winter. This included a Cowboy Celtic Band from Alberta, Canada. The harpist really made that harp sing out. It was not the typical harp sound. It was LIVE. There were two hilarious poetry reading by Yvonne Hollenbeck and Rodney Nelson. They both gave a version of cowboy laundry from the wife’s view and the husbands view. We could not stop laughing. The next band was Wylie & the Wild West Band. The music was fun and clap able. The leader also did some Chuck Berry moves. The current cowboy joke is “North Dakota is where Canadians go to Winter.”

We learn a new saying “Buck up & Hack it”. Yep I think that will work when people just need to deal with life.

We decided to have lunch downtown at McAdoos. This was an awesome place. We got a chance to meet a lady who had on an amazing pair of jeans. Now you know I had to find out where she got them. She got them in San Luis Obispo several years ago. Shucks!!! Oh well. My granddaughter, who plans to be a designer, will just have to make me a pair. Go Lani Girl. As we were finishing our lunch the lady with the amazing pair of jeans and her husband stop at our table to say good bye and show us her dog that has its own tailor. Yep!!! The dog has her own “tailor” who makes her outfits. Talk about a dog’s life!!! Woof Woof.


We went back to the convention center. Nita has us looking for the colorful boots located around the city.  

We went to the next session for more cowboy Favorite Classics. There were several poetry reading by Ryan Bell, Joel Nelson, Randy Rieman, and Jack Sammon. The most impressive is these “reading” are not reading. These people get up and quote these poems verbatim.  The poems were from Buck Ramsey, A.B. Paterson (Man from Snowy River), Dorothea Mackellar, etc.

After taking a break (you know I had to get my power nap in back at the Hilton 4 (our awesome RV) we came back for the Bizkala, Boise and Beyond show. It was singing and dancing of the Basque Culture. It was good to see how this culture lived. There was a country and western singer Adrian Buckaroogirl who should be on American Idol. She really could sing.


We finished the night off with going to Dos Amigos for dinner. Good food and great company.

Well Campers until next time.

Lo & Bren