Cowboy Idol Contest & Open Mic

Trophies sponsored by SANDY’S TROPHIES!

Open Mic Sign-up  -

Sign-up will  be at the event by each stage (Ranch & Home Building and Corwin Ford Building).   Come and sign-up if you are interested in telling your tall tale, reciting your poetry or singing!  Love to have you!  PS:  You could win the “People’s Choice Award”!

Cowboy Idol Contest

Contact Smoke Wade (435) 215-9675  if interested in participating


This is the tenth year Smoke has put on the “Cowboy Idol” Contest for us.  It has become a big part of our event and brings in some really good talent to all three of our stages!   I know you will enjoy the talent he has brought to our event this year plus his own poetry and storytelling!   Enjoy!


2017 Cowboy Idol and Open Mic People’s Choice Winners!

Ed Wahl 1st Place Idol Musician; Linda Nadon 2nd Place Idol Poet, Lois Goodman & Einar Jensen  won People’s Choice; Paul Larson 2nd Place Idol Musician; Dick Warwick 1st  Place Idol Poet.

2018 Contestents!

Poppa Mac – Poet

Poppa Mac (Geoff Mackay) Cowboy Poet, Preacher & Storyteller was born in Manitoba in 1960 and grew up throughout Western Canada. A life-long cowboy, a poet, and storyteller Geoff worked on ranches and at rodeos throughout Western Canada as a wrangler and rodeo clown. Whenever possible, you’ll still find him on horseback in a pasture working cattle, or in a rodeo arena.

Poppa Mac’s poetry and stories are 100% true except the parts that are made up. It’s about the experiences he’s had over the course of his life. He has a way of sharing real life in poetry and stories that connect with others. Sometimes it’s the toughest times in your life that produce the poems and stories.

He has been blessed to perform for audiences at trail rides, rodeos, cowboy churches, concerts and cowboy gatherings all over Western Canada and the United States.

Geoff “Poppa Mac” and his wife Kim live live on a small acreage outside of Winnipeg Manitoba, but he continues to travel extensively Sharing God’s message and performing his brand of poetry.

Poppa Mac;  Past President; Western Wordsmith Chapter of the Western Music Association.   Ordained Pastor; Cowboy Chaplains of America, Cowboys For Christ.  Lead Pa

stor; Fallen But Forgiven Cowboy Ministry Inc.

Lois & Einar – Musicians

Lois and Einar met during a jam at a local pub in Powell River, BC in 2010 and then began to sing together at jams and at the local farmer’s market that summer.

Lois came to Powell River from Santa Fe, New Mexico, where she started singing in high school choir, then in college and later in an adult choir. She was familiar with country music as she had lived in the Southwest all her life, but she found that singing in the company of Einar, the songs came readily and she quickly became a country performer.

Einar had played at west coast jams and musical events for many years and had developed a rather unique guitar style, and being fond of country music from the 40′s, 50′s, and 60′s, was well received by the local seniors.

After meeting and performing with Lois at local music events their music took on a new energy as did their relationship, and by fall 2010 they had cut their first CD. Together they’ve performed at Summerland Music Festival and continue to sing at events both local and in Vancouver BC. In 2017, Lois and Einar won The People’s Choice award at the Columbia River Cowboy Gathering and Music Festival which brings them here to sing in the 2018 Cowboy Idol Contest.

Smokey Culver – Poet

Smokey grew up in Pasadena and Southeast TX.   His poetry is in several publications – one is A “Wrap and a Hooey” Book of Cowboy Poetry – Red Dashboard Publishing; Available on  Another is “I Wasn’t Born a Cowboy” Cowboy Poetry Press.

He was a featured Cowboy Poetry Columnist in the Poolville Post (Poolville, TX)  and a  Guest Poet on Stall 13, World of Horses Radio Show.  Smokey was awarded a finalist in the NFR Cowboy Poetry Contest in Las Vegas in 2014 with “What Makes a Man a Cowboy?”.  He was Poet of the Year in 2013, at the Texas Independence Day Celebration at the Courthouse in Granbury, TX .

A Little bit about his poetry -he writes about whatever comes to his mind, mostly farmers and ranchers and down home folks. He says the Lord has blessed him with an ability to put thoughts into words that generally make sense, and even stir up emotions sometimes. His poems are both happy and sad. He says, “If I make you laugh I have done my job. If I make you cry, I have done my job”.

Grandpa Nord (David Nordquist) – Poet

 Dave Nordquist was born and spent the early years of his life in the rodeo city of Ellensburg, Washington where he developed a strong interest in all things “cowboy”. He has written and recited poetry since his high school days. Finally upon his retirement from Washington State University in 1993, he combined these two interests and became actively involved in writing and reciting Cowboy Poetry. He became an early member of the Palouse Country Cowboy Poetry Association (PCCPA) in 1996, served as president for three years, and has worked hard along with other members of the association to bring cowboy poetry and good old time western music to the university communities of Pullman, Washington and Moscow, Idaho.

Nordquist has performed his poetry at local gatherings as well as at other events in the northwest including the Seattle Folk Life Festival, and Cowboy Poetry Gatherings in Lewiston, Idaho and Great Falls and Lewistown, Montana. In 2012 he placed second in the poets division of the Columbia River Cowboy Gathering’s “Cowboy Idol Contest.

Janet Bailey – Musician

Janet lives on a ranch above the Applegate valley in Oregon.  She has traveled extensively, sharing Western music in 14 different countries in venues as varied as pubs to military bases.

“My favorite place to play is at house concerts, where I can meet and talk to like-minded folks.”  She says.  Janet recently opened for Brad Paisley when he toured locally.

She is a songwriter, and loves to write and share story-songs about the people and the land of the American West.

Duane Nelson – Poet

Duane Nelson was born and raised in North Dakota, but moved to Oregon as a teen-ager, and basically has been in the Northwest ever since. Now retired, Duane was in ag-related businesses all his life, from cleaning stalls to wrangling dudes to selling ranch supplies and running grain elevators.  He currently lives on a wheat-and-cattle ranch in North Central Oregon with his wife Lori. Between them they have six children and six grandchildren. Duane takes care of a small cow/calf herd and cowboys for as many local ranches as possible.

Duane started writing and reciting Cowboy Poetry about the turn of the century (21st, NOT 20th!!), and has opened for such performers as Dave Stamey, Juni Fisher, RJ Vandygriff, and Waddie Mitchell, along with many others. He finished in second place at the Kanab Cowboy Poetry Rodeo in the Reciter: Serious, Rising Star Division; won the Rising Star Division at the Kamloops Coowboy Festival in 2014, and was one of the finalists for Male Cowboy Poet of the Year in 2016 and 2017 in the Western Music Association.

In addition, Duane’s CD “Cowboy Lonesome” (Toe Tappin’ Tommy Tucker, award winning Western DJ: “…one hell of an album…”) was nominated for Cowboy Poetry CD of the Year, WMA, in 2016. Duane continues to recite at numerous Gatherings around the country, entertaining people all over with his dynamic presentations of cowboy poetry, old and new.

So now you know all about Cowboy Poet Duane Lee Nelson, whom multi-award winning Bush Poet Carol Huechan has called “…one of the very best reciters around…”. But, to really know the heart and soul of Duane, well, you are just going to have to figure out a way to hear him present his poetry, whether at a Gathering somewhere, or just stop in at the ranch for a visit.

“I thank the Good Lord for letting me be a cowboy, and for giving me the opportunity to share the cowboy world with other people.”

David Wilson – Musician

I was in my early teens in Dayton, Ohio when I learned enough guitar to start a band. We played our first gig at a junior high school dance. The band lasted about 4 months until my family moved to Pine Bluff, Arkansas.

In Pine Bluff, I entered a musical talent contest that was sponsored by someone associated with Johnny Cash. 1st prize was recording studio time. I won the contest but was prevented from accepting the prize because of my age.

Later I joined the Marine Corps and after my service returned to Arkansas. For a time, I worked with a Warner Bros. producer at a recording studio in Little Rock, composing songs for a band. We played colleges, reform schools and bars.

I went on to travel the West Coast with another player who covered Neil Young songs. In late 1979 I settled in the Pacific Northwest and played private parties, family events, VFW, American Legion and Eagles halls solo as David Wilson and sometimes with various local musicians as the ESR (Eight Second Ride) Band. I play mostly 2 step so you could say I’m a Country Western artist.

I’m currently focusing on originals by a local songwriter from Warm Beach Publishing who tends to put a comedic twist to his songs. We’re hoping to get some positive exposure as we release some of them

I hope you enjoy this years’ Cowboy Gathering and especially my performance.

Charlie Root – Musician

Charlie was born in Phoenix, Arizona, but grew up in western Washington.  After a hitch in the U.S. Air Force, he moved to the Moses Lake area, where he has lived ever since.

Charlie developed a love for cowboy music at an early age and started singing in churches, and later began singing in local nursing homes, retirement homes, farmer’s markets, the county fair and has performed at a number of cowboy gatherings in the past few years.

Charlie was the winner of the People’s Choice Award in the open mic segment of the 2012 Columbia River Cowboy Gathering & Music Festival. He is a member of the Columbia River Cowboy Heritage Society, the Palouse Country Cowboy Poets Association and the Washington Old Time Fiddlers. He is current chairman of the Grant-Adams County Old Time fiddlers.

Leave a Reply