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Cowboy poets, storytellers and singers gather again in Golden

29th Colorado Cowboy Poetry Gathering takes place Jan. 19-21

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It’s that time again to get a taste of the old west in contemporary style at the Colorado Cowboy Poetry Gathering.

The gathering “captures the lifestyle of the cowboy heritage,” said Susie Knight of Conifer, an award-winning cowboy poet and singer/songwriter. But “it’s new sounds with a Western connection.”

The 29th annual event takes place Jan. 19-21 at the American Mountaineering Center in Golden.

It will feature 16 acts — some are local to Colorado, others come from across the U.S. and a few are international acts, traveling from as far away as Australia.

This will be the fifth year that Knight has performed at the gathering, and each year, she looks forward to seeing familiar faces and meeting new fans.

“It’s a reunion, almost,” she said.

The late Liz Masterson, an award-winning Western singer who was one of the main organizers of the gathering for more than 25 years, lost her five-and-a-half-year battle with cancer in December.

“She was the heartbeat of this gathering,” Knight said, adding that although Masterson will be missed, Masterson’s wishes are that people enjoy the gathering as usual.

“Performances will range from hilarious stories to exceptional songs and old-fashioned yodeling,” Knight said, adding that all are family- friendly.

New this year is a film showing of a documentary called “I Found my Tribe,” about Canada’s Doris Daley, an award winning cowboy poet who is performing at this year’s gathering in Golden.

One thing that Vic Anderson, a singer/songwriter and cowboy poet for more than 60 years, enjoys the most about the Colorado Cowboy Poetry Gathering is the outreach.

This year, Anderson will be going to three local elementary schools to show students what cowboys really do, he said, and peak their interest in the agriculture industry.

“Without the ranchers and farmers, we’d starve,” Anderson said.

The kids enjoy the fun things, he said, so he teaches them to twirl a rope and his act includes whistling and yodeling.

“They have fun laughing with each other,” Anderson said.

This is the second year in a row that the Flying W Wranglers will be performing, and the band had a blast year so they’re looking forward to being a part of it again this year, said band leader David Bradley.

The Flying W Wranglers consists of Bradley and Adam Gardino, both on guitar; Luke Tripp and Ron Jones, both on the fiddle; and Verolen Kersey on the upright bass.

The performances carry on the traditions of the silver screen cowboy and their stellar performances to the real American cowboy of yesterday and today who live the ranch life.

“It’s just real,” Bradley said. But, he added, “you don’t have to be a cowboy to love it.”

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