Candy Moulton: On the Trail 7-2-12 |

Candy Moulton: On the Trail 7-2-12

Forest fires are consuming thousands of acres of both dead and live trees, and, unfortunately, hundreds of homes as high temperatures and dry weather pervade the West. The fires in Colorado (from Colorado Springs to Fort Collins and to literally the corners of the state), Utah, and Montana, have drawn national attention. Blazes are burning in Wyoming and other states, too.

Reading the posts by Facebook friends, it is quite clear that the drought is affecting a wide region. Finding pasture for livestock is a true worry for ranchers. Hay and crop production in many areas will be far less robust than usual due to a lack of irrigation water and very limited natural moisture. Watching the news where flooding has severely damaged the Duluth, Minnesota, zoo and homes in that region, and where even more extensive flooding occurred in Florida as a result of the tropical storm Debby, it makes you want to just shake old Mother Nature. Can’t she see giving some of that rain to the West would benefit those of us who live and work here, and also benefit those in flood-ravaged areas?

With all the concern of fire, drought, and the economy, I’d like to recommend setting aside the worry and taking part in one of two great cowboy events.

Friend Gwen Peterson (you know her from In a Sow’s Ear), is inviting anyone in the vicinity to visit Big Timber, Montana, July 15 for the Get Along Little Doggies Whoop Up! This is a celebration and benefit for the Montana Cowboy Hall of Fame & Western Heritage Center, honoring the cowboy life, tradition and values and preserving that heritage for future generations. Over a hundred individuals have already been inducted to the Hall.

Many free events are planned for the day.

An afternoon event starts at 1 p.m. at the Big Timber Fairgrounds. The outdoor cowboy activities include horseshoe pitching, ring toss, bean toss, roping demos. There will be raffles, a critter petting pen, and cowboy grub. An afternoon stage show will feature the music and poetry of Open Range, Cowboy Troubadors, and the band Heiferette and the Bum Steers.

A second show will be held at 7:30 p.m. that will have more music and poetry from performers from the Prairie, Montana, Melville, and Passing Strangers.

For more information contact Gwen at or e-mail

The Grand Encampment Cowboy Gathering in Encampment, Wyo., July 20, 21-22 celebrates its 10th anniversary this year with two night shows, a dutch oven cookoff, cowboy breakfasts, a stick horse rodeo for the kids, campfire poetry and music, and a free afternoon concert.

Performing July 20 at the first of the two night shows are Jon Chandler, a Spur Award winning song writer from Colorado, accompanied by Ernie Martinez, a genius playing anything with strings, South Dakota poet Yvonne Hollenbeck, Saratoga, Wyoming poet Chuck Larsen, and musicians Daron Little, Jason Swedlund, and Laura and Cora Wood. The event starts at 7 p.m. at the Encampment School. Tickets are $15 and will be available at the door.

Dave Stamey, 2011 Western Music Association Entertainer of the Year, headlines the Saturday night show, joined by Pinedale, Wyoming, poet Andy Nelson. Also performing that evening will be Ken Kreusel, Chuck Larson, and Steve Moulton. This show also requires a $15 ticket, which will be available at the door.

Most other events at the Grand Encampment Cowboy Gathering are held at Grand View Park, without charge. They include campfire singing and poetry following the night shows July 20 and 21, and a free afternoon concert from noon to 3 p.m. on July 21 featuring the night show performers and other poets and musicians. Stamey will conduct a song writing workshop on July 22 following a cowboy breakfast and cowboy church led by Ken and Becky Kreusel.

Any cowboy poet or musician who wants to take part in the Grand Encampment Gathering is invited to the campfire sessions. There are also a limited number of slots available for the July 21 afternoon show. If you want to take part, send an e-mail to or to me at

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