Grand Encampment Cowboy Gathering |

Grand Encampment Cowboy Gathering

Andy Nelson

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The 10th Annual Grand Encampment Cowboy Gathering will be held July 20-22 in Encampment, Wyo., with activities ranging from a stick horse rodeo and dutch oven cookoff to cowboy music and poetry.

Featured performers are Dave Stamey, the 2011 Western Music Association Entertainer of the Year, Jon Chandler, 2012 Spur Award winner from Western Writers of America for Best Song, and cowboy poet favorites Yvonne Hollenbeck, Andy Nelson, and Chuck Larsen.

To recognize the 10th Anniversary of the Gathering, there will be two night concerts this year. The first, on July 20, will headline Jon Chandler and Andy Nelson, with Chuck Larsen as the master of ceremonies. Also performing that evening are Daron Little, Laurie and Cora Wood, and Jason Swedlund. The night show on July 21 features Dave Stamey and Yvonne Hollenbeck with Larsen as the MC once again. Also slated to perform at the July 21 show are Ken Kreusel and Steve Moulton, the 2010 Wrangler Award Winner as Outstanding New Artist from the National Cowboy and Western Heritage Museum.

The concerts begin at 7 p.m. both nights at the Encampment School. Tickets are $15 each night and are available in advance or at the door. Cowboy Gathering memberships are also available with prices beginning at $25.

Following the two night shows, a Campfire-which involves more music, poetry and storytelling-will be held at Grand View Park in Encampment. This event is hosted by Ken Kreusel.

A dutch oven cookoff is slated for Saturday, July 21. Registration begins at 7 a.m., with judging at 11 a.m. Contestants will compete in three categories: main dish, bread, and dessert. All ages are welcome to participate. There is no entry fee and cash prizes will be awarded to the winning entries in each of the categories. Cooking will be held at Grand View Park in Encampment. For information on the cookoff contact Roxana Johnson at (307) 327-5558.

A cowboy breakfast is slated for Saturday morning, July 22. The Cowboy Outfit will hold the annual Stick Horse Rodeo for kids of all ages beginning Saturday, July 22 at 11 a.m., at Grand View Park in Encampment, cowboy music and poetry will be presented on the stage in the park beginning at noon with performances by the featured entertainers plus a number of other poets and musicians. Master of Ceremonies for the afternoon show is Jerry Paxton.

Western Writers of America will have a book signing at the Grand View Park and the Encampment-Riverside Lions Club will serve lunch at the park beginning at 11:30 a.m.

Following evening events informal music and poetry jam sessions will be held by the campfire in Grand View Park. Anyone interested in sharing music or a poem is encouraged to attend.

On Sunday, July 22, events include a cowboy breakfast to be served at Grand View Park followed by cowboy church to be conducted by Ken and Becky Kreusel beginning at 10 a.m. Dave Stamey will present a program on song writing at 1 p.m.

Dave Stamey, the 2011 Entertainer of the Year for the Western Music Association has been bucked off and stomped by many horses, stepped on by mules and dragged around branding pens by angry cattle of various sizes. He’s ridden in the rain, in the snow, in the rain some more, in pretty nasty heat, and in feedlot pens where the air was thick and decidedly fragrant. He’s even wrangled dudes. He’s an entertainer now. He finds he prefers this.

He has been three times voted Entertainer of the Year, three times Male Performer of the Year and twice Songwriter of the Year by the Western Music Association, and received the Will Rogers Award from the Academy of Western Artists.

Some of the folks Stamey has played for include The Autry Museum of Western Heritage, The Elko Cowboy Poetry Gathering, The Santa Clarita Cowboy Festival, The Live Oak Festival, The Strawberry Folk Festival, Michael Martin Murphy’s WestFest, The Nashville Extravaganza, The National Cattleman’s Beef Association, and The Durango Cowboy Poetry Gathering.

Jon Chandler is widely regarded as one of Americana Music’s premier singer-songwriters and one of the country’s best Western authors. His award-winning CD (and its attendant music video), “Keepers of the Flame,” is the focal point of a national conservation education program. The Starz/Encore WESTERNS Channel has produced a music video of Jon’s song, “Through the Gap,” shown in conjunction with Butch Cassidy & The Sundance Kid.

Handler hosts America’s Soul Live!, a monthly concert series at the Olde Town Pickin’ Parlor in Arvada, Colo., that is taped and syndicated on Rocky Mountain PBS and Frontier Airlines. Notable concert appearances include the legendary Ryman Auditorium in Nashville, the Western Folklife Center’s 20th annual National Cowboy Poetry Gathering, and the Department of Agriculture’s congressional reception for Earth Day in Washington D.C.

Also a writer, Chandler’s first novel, “The Spanish Peaks,” received the Western Writers of America’s Medicine Pipe Bearer Award for Best First Novel and is being represented as a film property by Hollywood-based Red Wall Productions. “Wyoming Wind” was a Colorado Book Award finalist.

As a second-generation farrier, Andy Nelson has the experience and the talents and humor to bring authenticity and entertainment to an audience. Raised in Oakley, Idaho, Andy traveled the Great Basin of southern Idaho, northern Utah and northern Nevada with his father on farrier jobs, from the time he was a child until he went off to college, and while in college at Utah State University, he continued to shoe horses for the USU Horsemanship Program. Now Andy lives in Pinedale, Wyo., where among other things, he and his wife Jaclyn raise horses and children. Andy his farrier brother Jim, co-host the “Clear Out West (C.O.W.) Radio” weekly syndicated radio show, and the brothers are in demand as announcers at regional rodeos.

Yvonne Hollenbeck brings her unique perspective to the Cowboy Gathering. This South Dakota ranchwife raises cattle and quarter horses with husband Glen near Clearfield. The daughter of a National Champion Old-Time Fiddler, Yvonne was herself a professional musician working as a show organist for many large fairs and rodeos. From homesteading to the present, Yvonne writes about women on the ranches of the Great Plains. Her book, Where Prairie Flowers Bloom, is the winner of the Will Rogers Medallion Award for achievement in cowboy poetry, presented by the Academy of Western Artists in Fort Worth, Texas. She has also written Blossoms Beneath the Snow, and has several CDs featuring her work.

Cowboy poet Chuck Larsen realized he loved the “horse and cow lifestyle” after growing up working livestock on his Dad’s place in South Dakota. He began writing and performing in 1990, and has since performed at some of the most well known gatherings in Elko, Denver and Valentine, Nebraska. He is one of the founders of the Grand Encampment Cowboy Gathering and has been emcee every year since its inception.

The Grand Encampment Cowboy Gathering is organized by ranchers, musicians, poets and writers living in the area as a way to help preserve and promote ranching and cowboy culture and lifestyle. It is co-sponsored by the Grand Encampment Museum with assistance from the Town of Encampment, Town of Riverside, and many businesses and individuals in the Platte Valley. Funding is also received from the Wyoming Art Council, National Endowment for the Arts, Carbon County Visitor’s Council, and Carbon County School District No. 2 Recreation Board.

For more information on any of the events contact the Saratoga-Platte Valley Chamber of Commerce at 307/326-8855 or visit the Cowboy Gathering Web site at

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