Tickets to the National Cowboy Poetry Gathering on Sale to the General Public October 5

34th Event Features “Basques & Buckaroos:
Herding Cultures of Basin, Range and Beyond”

The 34th National Cowboy Poetry Gathering is January 29-February 3, 2018, in Elko. Tickets go on sale to the general public on Thursday, October 5 and can be purchased at or by calling 888-880-5885. Produced by the Western Folklife Center, the National Cowboy Poetry Gathering is the nation’s original cowboy poetry and music festival. The 2018 Gathering will honor contemporary culture and heritage of Basques and buckaroos in the Great Basin.

Many Basques came to the American West to work on sheep and cattle ranches as herders and buckaroos.

2018 National Cowboy Poetry Gathering, Elko NevadaToday, many Basque families successfully own and operate their own ranches and carry rich stories of immigration and adaptation. Among Basque communities overseas and in the American West, traditions of music, improvised poetry, literature, dance, and foodways are flourishing.

“The National Cowboy Poetry Gathering has long honored other herding cultures around the world while also spotlighting and contrasting the cultural traditions and contemporary heritage of ranch life in the American West,” explains Kristin Windbigler, Western Folklife Center Executive Director. “The 34th Gathering will focus on the interesting intersection of international Basque culture, the Basques of the Great Basin and the buckaroo culture that we honor each year.”

Among the Basque traditions that will be presented at the National Cowboy Poetry Gathering are: bertsolaritza, an improvised poetic art form where two bertsolaria improvise and exchange poetic verses while trying to cleverly one-up each other. These verses are sung to melodies and created on the spot in response to a given theme. The Gathering will also feature workshops in traditional Basque cooking, dancing, musical instruments and carving, and storytelling sessions from Basques and buckaroos who work ranches in the Great Basin. A special exhibition in the Western Folklife Center’s Wiegand Gallery will showcase the art, history and contemporary culture of Basques in the American West.

The National Cowboy Poetry Gathering is an international festival that honors the arts, culture and traditions of the rural West, and features poetry, music, storytelling, dancing, workshops, exhibitions, discussions, food and fellowship. Since 1985, aficionados of the American West have traveled to remote Elko to meet others who love the West, be captivated by poets and musicians whose art is an expression of their life on the land, participate in creating traditional Western gear and art, learn about current challenges and creative solutions in Western land management, and kick up their heels and enjoy a week filled with entertainment, learning and laughter. At the 34th annual Gathering, nearly 50 poets, musicians and musical groups from the U.S., Canada, Australia and the Basque country will perform on nine stages at four different venues. A full list of artists and their hometowns is listed below. For artist bios and audio samples, visit

Tickets to the National Cowboy Poetry Gathering can be purchased at, or by calling 888-880-5885. Press passes to the Gathering are available. Please contact Darcy Minter at for more information.

The 34th National Cowboy Poetry Gathering is supported by NV Energy, Newmont Gold Corporation, Barrick Gold of North America, Nevada Humanities, Nevada Arts Council, National Endowment for the Arts, Elko Convention and Visitors Authority, the City of Elko, the Elko County Recreation Board and many more foundations, businesses and individuals.

34th National Cowboy Poetry Gathering – Featured Poets and Musicians

Amy Hale Auker, Prescott, AZ
Mike Beck, Monterey, CA
Ryan Bell, Seattle, WA
Muzzie, Willy & Cody Braun, Clayton, ID
Adrian Buckaroogirl, Ventura, CA
Caleb Klauder Country Band, Portland, OR
Cowboy Celtic, Victoria, British Columbia, Canada
John Dofflemyer, Lemon Cove, CA
Carolyn Dufurrena, Winnemucca, NV
Maria Lisa Eastman, Hyattville, WY
Ramblin’ Jack Elliott, Marshall, CA
Dom Flemons & Brian Farrow, Hillsborough, NC
Jean Flesher & Amerikanuak, Holladay, UT
Patricia Frolander, Sundance, WY
Pipp Gillette, Crockett, TX
Martin Goicoechea, Rock Springs, WY
Jesus Goni, Reno, NV
Kristyn Harris, McKinney, TX
Andy Hedges, Lubbock, TX
Yvonne Hollenbeck, Clearfield, SD
Rita Hosking & Sean Feder, Davis, CA
Oihana Iguaran Barandiaran, Gipuzkoa, Basque Country
Ross Knox, Midpines, CA
Maialen Lujanbio Zugasti, Gipuzkoa, Basque Country
Betty Lynne McCarthy, Buffalo, MO
Wally McRae, Colstrip, MT
Waddie Mitchell – Twin Bridges, NV
Mercedes Mendive and Elko Ariñak Dancers, Elko, NV
Michael Martin Murphey, Walden, CO
Terry Nash, Loma, CO
Joel Nelson, Alpine, TX
Rodney Nelson, Almont, ND
Shadd Piehl, Mandan, ND
Vess Quinlan, Florence, CO
Henry Real Bird, Garryowen, MT
Brigid Reedy, Whitehall, MT
Riders in the Sky, Nashville, TN
Randy Rieman, Cascade, MT
The Rifters, Cimarron, NM
Matt Robertson, Okotoks, Alberta, Canada
David Romtvedt & Caitlin Belem Romtvedt, Buffalo, WY
Ruby Mountain Ardi Baltza, Elko, NV
Jack Sammon, Condong, New South Wales, Australia
Sean Sexton, Vero Beach, FL
Sand Sheff, Moab, UT
Andy Wilkinson, Lubbock, TX
Wylie & the Wild West, Conrad, MT
Paul Zarzyski, Great Falls, MT

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