Cowboy Legends fest brims with music, poetry and ugly hats

Cowboy Legends fest brims with music, poetry and ugly hats

Story by Becky Wright , Standard-Examiner staff - May 18 2012 - 3:30am
Tony and Carol Messerly of Green River, Wyo., will perform at the Cowboy Legends: Cowboy Poetry and Western Music Festival at Antelope Island State Park.
Wagon rides by the Utah Western Heritage Foundation are part of the Cowboy Legends: Cowboy Poetry and Western Music Festival at Antelope Island State Park.
Cowboy singer J.C. Needham is one of the performers at the Cowboy Legends: Cowboy Poetry and Western Music Festival.
Performers gather to sing “Happy Trails” as the final number of the day during a previous festival at Antelope Island State Park.

'Cowboy Legends'

cowboy poetry and music festival. Performances 11 a.m.-5 p.m. daily. Dinner shows 6 p.m. May 25-26; dance 8 p.m. May 26. Cowboy church 9:30 a.m. May 27, and campfire potluck dinner 6 p.m. May 27. Benefits the Huntsman Cancer Institute.
11 a.m.-7:30 p.m. May 25, 8 a.m.-end of 8 p.m. dance on May 26, 7:30 a.m.-7:30 p.m. May 27, 8 a.m.-5 p.m. May 28.
$9/vehicle park admission. $16/dinner show.
801-725-4866.

It would normally be downright ornery to tell a cowboy his hat is ugly, but a few folks at the Cowboy Legends: Cowboy Poetry and Western Music Festival would appreciate your opinion -- as long as you let your money do the talking.

An ugly hat contest for charity is a new addition to the annual festival, held each Memorial Day weekend at Antelope Island State Park.

For $5, cowboys and cowgirls can hang an ugly western or cowboy hat on the wall.

"The public can go by and vote with a buck in the bucket," said event organizer Lisa Stubblefield. The winner will be determined by the amount of money in each bucket, as well as a panel of judges.

"The overall winner gets 30 percent, and the Huntsman Cancer Foundation gets 70 percent, of the proceeds from that contest," Stubblefield said.

The Cowboy Legends festival opens at 8:30 a.m. next Friday, May 25, with a horse ride. Cowboy poets and musicians take the stage at 11:30 a.m., and keep entertaining through 8 p.m.

The roundup of western fun continues 8:30 a.m. to 8 p.m. May 26, 9 a.m. to about 7 p.m. May 27, and 8:30 a.m. to 5 p.m. May 28. There is a fee of $9 per vehicle to enter the state park, but most events at the festival are free.

"All of the entertainers are volunteers," said Stubblefield. "They come on their own dime to provide this entertainment, and this festival, in support of the Huntsman Cancer Foundation."

They also perform at the festival to promote and teach about the Western way of life, through cowboy poetry and western music.

Entertainment

Folks who bring their own horses can join rides at 8:30 a.m. each day, except Sunday when the ride starts at 10 a.m.

Cowboy poets and musicians take turns on two stages, from 11:30 a.m. to 4:45 p.m. May 25, 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. May 26, 10 a.m. to 4:45 p.m. May 27, and 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. May 28.

A dinner show is offered at 6 p.m. on May 25 and 26. Buckaroo balladeer J.C. Needham, a multi-year nominee for the Academy of Western Artists "Male Vocalist of the Year" award, performs the first night. Needham, who lives near Rush Valley, performs with poet Marion Manwill, a retired high school agriculture teacher and former rodeo clown from Payson.

Many Strings & Company, the duo of Tony and Carol Messerly from Green River, Wyo., plays old-time western songs on the second night; the two perform with Weber County poet Bob Urry and members of his family.

Admission to each show and Dutch oven dinner is $16.

Sunday morning's events start at 9 a.m., with a cowboy church meeting. The evening entertainment on May 27 is a potluck dinner and music around the campfire. There's no charge -- just bring food to share. The winner of the ugly hat contest will be announced during the potluck dinner.

To raise more money for the Huntsman Cancer Foundation, the Utah Western Heritage Foundation is offering rides in authentic horse-drawn wagons. Tickets cost $10 for adults, $5 for kids 12 and younger, or $25 for a family of four.

"For the grand finale each day, all of the entertainers get onstage and sing 'Happy Trails' together," said Stubblefield.

Performers

Robin Arnold -- Roy man, who won "Cowboy Idol" for his music at the Columbia River Cowboy Gathering in 2011, sings at 3:15 p.m. May 25; 10:45 a.m. and 12:45 p.m. May 26; 11 a.m. and 2:45 p.m. May 27; 10:45 a.m. May 28

Paul Bliss -- Cowboy from Salem, performs poems at 12:45 p.m. May 25; 11:15 a.m., 2:45 p.m. and 4:15 p.m. May 26; 11:30 a.m., 12:15 p.m., and 3:15 p.m. May 27

Bob Christensen -- Cowboy poet from Syracuse, on stage at 2:15 p.m. and 3:45 p.m. May 25; 2:45 p.m. and 3:30 p.m. May 26

Coyotee Moon -- Ogden-based western music trio, on stage at 4 p.m. May 25; 12:45 p.m. and 2:15 p.m. May 26; 1:15 p.m. and 2:45 p.m. May 27; 2:45 p.m. May 28

The Drifter & Miss Judy -- Layton couple Jan and Judy Erickson, sing at 1:30 p.m. and 3 p.m. May 26; 3:30 p.m. and 4:15 p.m. May 27; noon and 2:15 p.m. May 28

Jan Erickson -- Cowboy songwriter, poet and singer from Layton performs at 11:30 a.m. May 25

Arden Gailey -- Ogden native who now lives in Idaho's Bear Lake area, performs poems at 1 p.m. May 25; 10 a.m. and 3:45 p.m. May 26; 11:45 a.m. and 1:15 p.m. May 27; 1:30 p.m. and 3:45 p.m. May 28

In Cahoots -- Cottonwood Heights group performs western standards at 1:30 p.m. and 3 p.m. May 28

Johnson Creek Band -- Husband and wife from the Salt Lake Valley perform western music at 10 a.m. and 2:15 p.m. May 28

Many Strings -- Green River, Wyo., music duo plays 1:45 p.m. May 25; 10:45 a.m., 4:30 p.m. and 6 p.m. May 26; 2 p.m. and 4:15 p.m. May 27

Marion Manwill -- Poet from Payson performs at noon, 1:30 p.m., and 6 p.m. May 25; 10:30 a.m., 2 p.m., and 3:30 p.m. May 26; 12:15 p.m., 1:45 p.m. and 2:30 p.m. May 27; 10:30 a.m., 11:15 a.m., 2 p.m., 2:45 p.m. and 3:30 p.m. May 28

Chris Mortensen -- Singer/songwriter from Avon performs at 3 p.m. and 4:30 p.m. May 26; 12:30 p.m. and 2 p.m. May 27; 10:45 a.m. and 4:30 p.m. May 28

J.C. Needham -- Cowboy singer from near Rush Valley headlines at 6 p.m. May 25, and plays again at 12:45 p.m. May 26

Richard Olsen -- Pro rodeo competitor and singer from Hooper performs at 2:30 p.m. May 25; 10 a.m. and noon May 26; noon and 3:45 p.m. May 28

Kylee Price -- Utah fiddle player performs at noon and 1:30 p.m. May 26; 11 a.m. and 12:30 p.m. May 27; 10 a.m. May 28

Saddle Strings -- Hooper-based cowboy band plays at 11:45 a.m. and 3:30 p.m. May 27; 12:45 p.m. and 4:30 p.m. May 28

Steve Spencer -- Cowboy poet from Eden performs at 11:15 a.m., 1:15 p.m. and 4:15 p.m. May 26; 11:15 a.m., 12:30 p.m., 1:15 p.m., 3:30 p.m. and 4:15 p.m. May 28

Troy Ross -- Singer/songwriter from West Point performs 12:15 p.m. May 25; 2:15 p.m. and 3:45 p.m. May 26; 12:45 p.m. and 3 p.m. May 28

Stan Tixier -- Cowboy poet from Eden, named "Cowboy Idol" for his poetry at the Columbia River Cowboy Gathering in 2011, performs at 10:30 a.m., 12:30 p.m. and 1:15 p.m. May 26; 1 p.m., 1:45 p.m. 3:15 p.m. and 4 p.m. May 27

Bob Urry and Family -- Weber County cowboy poets perform at 6 p.m. May 26

Casey Woods -- Retired firefighter and cowboy poet from Park City performs at 3 p.m. May 25; 12:30 p.m. and 2 p.m. May 26; 11:30 a.m., 1 p.m., 2:30 p.m. and 4 p.m. May 27; 10:30 a.m., 12:30 p.m., 1:15 p.m., 2 p.m. and 4:15 p.m. May 28

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