National Cowboy Poetry Gathering Hosts Spoken Word Poetry YouTube Competition

(LAS VEGAS)— The Western Folklife Center and its 30th National Cowboy Poetry Gathering today announced the launch of a spoken word poetry competition, Expressing the Rural West: Poetry of the Next Generation, on


Poets between the ages of 18 and 35 are invited to submit videos which include an artist introduction and do not exceed four minutes in length. Submissions may not contain curse words or explicit imagery and must be original compositions. Content should have a rural focus and poems should be performed and not read.


Poets must be currently living in one of the following states: Arizona, California, Colorado, Idaho, Kansas, Montana, Nebraska, Nevada, North Dakota, New Mexico, Oklahoma, Oregon, South Dakota, Texas, Utah, Washington and Wyoming.


Poems will be judged by the public as well as by a committee of two professional poets and two staff members of the Western Folklife Center. There will be a winner of the public vote and a winner of the juried competition.


The winner of the public vote will receive two free 3-Day Deluxe Passes to the 30th National Cowboy Poetry Gathering and a free Gathering poster. The winner of the juried competition will be given a performance slot at the event and must be able to travel between January 29 to February 2, 2014. Travel and lodging will be paid by the Western Folklife Center.

Guidelines for the competition can be found on the  Expressing the Rural West—Poetry of the Next Generation competition channel: Participants should tag their entries: 2014 Cowboy Poetry Competition. Public judging will end on December 19 and our judges will select a winner by Dec. 21.




The National Cowboy Poetry Gathering turns 30 years old in 2014, and the nation’s greatest celebration of the American West, its people, culture and traditions, will turn its focus to the future of the region. From Jan. 27 to Feb. 1, 2014, in Elko, Nevada, the Gathering will present poetry, music, fine western gear, films, workshops, dances and discussions with a clear focus on encouraging the next generation and working together to ensure the sustainability of the occupational and artistic traditions of the rural West.


The theme of the 30th National Cowboy Poetry Gathering is “Expressing the Rural West—Into the Future!” Through performances of poetry and music, thought-provoking films and fruitful discourse, artists and audiences of all ages will share their art and their opinions on meeting the challenges of rural life in the modern West. In particular, the next generation of cowboy artists will present their work and discuss their brand of ranch life—with one hand on the reins and the other on the cell phone.


More than 50 poets, musicians and musical groups from the U.S. and Canada will perform on seven stages at four different venues. The 30th Gathering line-up includes cowboy poets Baxter Black, Paul Zarzyski, Waddie Mitchell, Yvonne Hollenbeck, Joel Nelson, Doris Daley, Pat Richardson, Randy Rieman and many others. Music is as integral to the Gathering as poetry; the musical line-up includes Ian Tyson, Michael Martin Murphey, Riders In The Sky, Don Edwards, Dave Stamey, Jeffrey Broussard & the Creole Cowboys, Caleb Klauder Country Band, Martha Scanlan and more. For a full list of participating artists and much more information, visit