Grand Encampment Gathering Cowboys  |

Grand Encampment Gathering Cowboys 

The Ninth Annual Grand Encampment Cowboy Gathering will be held July 15-17 in Encampment, Wyo., with activities ranging from a stick horse rodeo and dutch oven cookoff to cowboy music and poetry.

An evening concert on Saturday, July 17, features 2010 Western Music Association Female Vocalist of the Year Mary Kaye Knaphus, Oklahoma musician Kevin Davis, Utah poet Jeff Carson and Saratoga, Wyo., poet Chuck Larsen. The concert begins at 7 p.m. at the Encampment School. Tickets are $15 and are available in advance or at the door. Cowboy Gathering memberships are also available with prices beginning at $25.

The Gathering opens on Friday, July 15 with an open mic session from 6-8 p.m., hosted by Laurie and Cora Rose Wood, followed by Campfire – which involves more music, poetry and storytelling, hosted by Ken Kreusel. Both events will be held at Grand View Park.

A dutch oven cookoff is slated for Saturday, July 17. 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.

The Cowboy Outfit will hold the annual Stick Horse Rodeo for kids of all ages beginning Saturday, July 17 at 11 a.m., at Grand View Park in Encampment, Wyo. Cowboy music and poetry will be presented on the stage in Grand View Park beginning at noon with performances by the featured entertainers plus a number of other poets and musicians including Steve Moulton, the 2010 Wrangler winner at the National Cowboy and Western Heritage Museum as Outstanding New Artist, Daron Little, Rod Miller, Al “Doc” Mehl, Ken Kreusel, and Laurie and Cora Wood. Master of Ceremonies for the afternoon show is Jerry Paxton.

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 17, events include a cowboy breakfast to be served from 8 to 10 a.m. at Grand View Park followed by cowboy church to be conducted by Ken and Becky Kreusel beginning at 10 a.m. Mary Kaye Knaphus will present a program on the stories, songs and poetry of mining camps at 1 p.m.

 Knaphus was born and raised in the South but her music is rooted in the West where she now resides with her husband and their ten children. Her solo western CD “Clean Outta Luck” opened at No. 4 on the Western charts and her duet CD with Richard Lee Cody, “Way Out West” opened at No. 1. She and Richard were awarded the 2010 Crescendo Award with the Western Music Association.

Kevin Davis played shows from Tennessee to California and Canada to Texas. He has played at the National cowboy poetry gathering in Elko, Nevada, Western Heritage Classic in Abiline, Texas, at cowboy gatherings in Kamloops, British Columbia and Durango, Colo., and during the National Finals Rodeo in Las Vegas to name a few. In the world of cowboy music he has a sound of his own because he writes most of his own music. He started cowboying while still in high school and went on to a full time ranch job. He was also a rodeo cowboy competing in bareback, saddle bronc, and team roping. He lives in southwest Oklahoma where along with playing music. He is a full time firefighter, bit and spur maker, and day worker. He and his wife Sheri have a son Zane and a daughter Jolie.

Jeff Carson (distant cousin of Kit Carson) lives high in the Wasatch Mountains of Utah. Those long nights alone with his mules has led Jeff to spoutin’ poetry and prose like a hot tin coffee pot on a blazin’ campfire. Jeff was born and raised in Utah and has lived in Heber City for the past 18 years with his wife, four daughters, and several mules. His passion in life is spending time on pack trips in the high country and green breaking mule colts. His life experiences have been the inspiration for most of the poetry he writes.

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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