Cowboy poets return to Meeker June 2

MEEKER | The indoor Meeker Cowboy Poet Gathering occurred from 1999-2009. Proceeds from the show went to local organizations or projects between 10th and 12th grade. Held in February each year, it drew an audience from throughout Colorado plus Wyoming, Nebraska and Utah, supporting an attendance of 200 at the matinée and 400 for the evening show. The talent for the show ranged from a spot for locals to nationally recognized cowboy entertainers.
This year the Heritage Culture Center Committee is organizing a comeback event in the same spirit. As a fundraiser for the Old West Heritage Culture Center and the local Future Farmers of America (FFA) chapter, the line up promises a load of “out west family fun.”
Fred Ellis, cowboy poet and preacher, moved to Meeker in the 1980s and in 1988 stumbled on some kindred spirits during a cowboy poetry recital at the Silt HeyDays Festival. From there, he put together a one-man act called Cowboy Up and toured the country with it. Ellis journeyed from coast to coast and performed in more than 20 states. He was instrumental in putting together the original Meeker Cowboy Poet Gathering, involving the FFA in the show to help with their projects and getting nationally recognized cowboy poets to come to Meeker. Today, Fred and wife Elaine live in Penrose, Colo., and plan to return June 2 for Fred to add his own flavor of cowboy poetry to the event.
Caitlyn Taussig is a real cowgirl from Kremmling, Colo., a fourth-generation rancher who runs cow-calf pairs with her mother and sister on their high-country cattle ranch. She draws inspiration for her songwriting from her own ranch experiences.
Taussig has been singing since childhood and has performed at ranch brandings, cowboy gatherings, and ranch ropings and even the famous National Cowboy Poet Gathering in Elko, Nev.
Local business manager Carly Thomson remembers Taussig from high school and is enthusiastic about her visit to Meeker.
Vic Anderson is known as “cowboy troubadour.” A Montana born cowboy, Anderson is a singer/songwriter and a fantastic entertainer. He’s a two-time Western Music Association Yodeling Champion Finalist for the Will Rogers Award of Academy Western Artists.
He is considered a “world class melodic whistler” among the top 20 whistlers worldwide. He has been performing professionally for 60 years.
Rapidgrass, playing Sons of the Pioneers, is also coming to the show. This talented front range Colorado ensemble uses classical, gypsy, bluegrass, pop, swing and other world rhythms to create their original mountain music influenced by an active, outdoor lifestyle. Brought together through music and love for the mountains, they define modern, acoustic, Colorado mountain music. For the Meeker show, they bring their talent in the form of some Texas-style fiddlin’ and collection of old classic cowboy songs Roy Rogers and the Sons of the Pioneers performed back in the day.
Dan McQueen from Rifle, Colo., is a proficient author of cowboy poetry and will debut a couple of his poems.
Added to all this exciting performance will be local youth talent. Auditions for grades 1-5 are on April 27 at the elementary school cafeteria at 6:30 p.m. with Shana Holliday and Kay Bivens searching for the top five winners to be in the June 2 show.
With sponsors like ERBM Recreation and Park District, who are also committed to supporting cultural heritage and are responsible for bringing in the main three cowboy poets, White River Electric Association Inc., Sable Mountain Outfitters, the Lodging Tax Board plus supporting sponsors Blanco Cellars, Country Raised, Giovanni’s Italian Grill in Rangely, Home on the Rangely Magazine, Meeker Chamber of Commerce, Meekerpalooza, Meeker Hotel and Cafe, Mexican House Suzan Pelloni of Steamboat Sotheby’s International Realty, the Rio Blanco Herald Times, White River Inn and Wyatt’s Sports Center—we are able to invite top notch entertainers and advertise to the surrounding areas.
Weekend events include:
June 1: Meeker rodeo on Thursday night at fairgrounds; June 2: Meeker Cowboy Poet Gathering at Meeker High School from 6:30-9:30 p.m.; June 3: Meeker Farmers Market Downtown from 8-12 a.m.; Park to Art Race at Paintbrush Park, Meekerpalooza at Ute Park, second annual Metal Arts Competition; Old Timers Reunion at Fairfield Center.
Doors open at 5:30 p.m. on June 2 with some pre-show fun. There will be Western art for sale in the lobby by FFA, entertainers’ music for sale and Casserole Beans band will be cranking up early on stage with their awesome bluegrass music.
Meeker Cowboy Poet Gathering tickets went on sale May 6. Purchase tickets at the Meeker Colorado Chamber of Commerce, Blanco Cellars or Country Raised. Advance tickets are $10 ($12 at the door), and $5 for students and seniors over 70.

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