Celebrate Cowboy Traditions in Big Bear


Big Bear’s Annual Cowboy Poetry & Music Gathering, Celebrates Life on the Ranch

Big Bear Lake was once a prominent cattle range in the late 1800’s to the mid 1950’s. In the days of yore, wranglers and cowboys rode the alpine terrain to round up cattle during the daytime and gathered round the campfire at night to tell stories and sing songs. Today, the sagas of cowboy traditions live on at the 12th Annual Cowboy Poetry & Music Gathering August 18-21, 2011 in Big Bear Lake.
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The western-style jamboree brings in the biggest names in cowboy music and poetry from across the nation. Featured artists include R.W. Hampton, who is recognized as the #1 cowboy entertainer in the United States and UK; singer/songwriter Belinda Gail, known as America’s Western Sweetheart, has won numerous Western Music Association Awards; vaudeville accordion player Sourdough Slim, brings his super-size comedy routine that is guaranteed to have the audience in stitches. Other performers include cowboy-music extraordinaire Richard Elloyan, and singer/songwriter Nancy Lee. A diverse group of poets are scheduled to perform including Dennis Gaines, Diane Tribitt, and Big Bear’s own horse whisperer Paul Ortuno.

“Big Bear’s Cowboy Gathering is more than an event. It’s a celebration of the heart and soul of America’s western heritage,” said Big Bear Poetry and Music Cowboy Gathering Co-Chair and Director Glenn Stuart. “The best part of course is our pool of talented performers. Be ready for a belly full of laughs and some passionate poetry that will truly speak to you!”

[ad#Google Bottom Ad]The festivities kick off at the Big Bear Lake Performing Arts Center Thursday, August 18. A limited amount of tickets are sold to this exclusive event that includes cocktails and entertainment by Nancy Lee and the Pioneer Town Posse. After the reception is a chuck wagon dinner under the stars featuring tri-tip and chicken with Bob’s Blasted Beans and all the fixin’s. There is a silent auction, opportunity drawing and of course live music and poetry by R.W. Hampton, Belinda Gail, and Dennis Gaines. Location: The Performing Arts Center is located at 39707 Big Bear Blvd. Showtime: Cocktails and Entertainment, 5 p.m.; Dinner, 6 p.m.; Entertainment, 7 p.m.; Admission: $50.

On Friday, August 19, from 12 noon to 2 p.m. is a luncheon to meet the entertainers in person. The luncheon is at Nottingham’s Restaurant, 40797 Big Bear Blvd. Admission: $20. Following the luncheon, mosey on over to the Big Bear Lake Performing Arts Center for some great cowboy entertainment. From 3 p.m. to 4 p.m. Belinda Gail and Diane Tribitt conduct a poetry and songwriting seminar. The cost is $5 (free with Cowboy Gathering collector’s pin). Later from 6:30 p.m. to 7 p.m. singer/songwriter Nancy Lee opens the evening’s concert with her unique blend of singing and yodeling. From 7 p.m. to 10 p.m. performances include guitar strumming Belinda Gail who is always a crowd favorite; the hilariously entertaining Sourdough Slim, a true showman that gives his audience an “accordion squeezin’ good time”; Diane Tribitt, a profound and spiritually gifted poet and storyteller; and Richard Elloyan, an insightful musician inspired by his experience working for the U.S. Forest Service and as a ranch hand. Admission for the concert is $25.

Cowboy Gathering - Big Bear, CA

Cowboy Gathering - Big Bear, CA

On Saturday, August 20, the all-day festival has traditional cowboy music, poetry, storytelling, and authentic barbeque. Nancy Lee kicks off the day with her “Dirty Underwear” fashion show. Next Morgan Seaman conducts The Art of Photography workshop. Storytellers and poets will once again rile up the audience with more chronicles of life on the range. Dennis Gaines teaches folks how to write poetry and Paul Ortuno shares his expertise of horsemanship. Showtime: Fashion Show 11:15 a.m. – 12:15 p.m., Admission $5; Photography seminar 12:30 p.m. – 1:15 p.m., Admission: $5; Natural Horsemanship seminar, 2:30 p.m. – 3:15 p.m., Admission: $5 (all free with Cowboy Gathering collector’s pin);

Saturday evening brings in more talent at the Performing Arts Center. The night features more authentic barbeque under the trees and wildly western entertainment. The featured artist is R.W. Hampton, who captured this year’s Western Heritage award winner in the “Outstanding Original Western Composition” category; Nancy Lee, who is honored with two nominations for her first CD “Cowboy Lullaby” by the Western Music Association; Diane Tribitt brings her poetry and stories about her deep Minnesota ranch roots to the stage; and Sourdough Slim will once again provide honky tonk music on his accordion. Dennis Gaines can tell a story like no other. His hilarious material is guaranteed to get a few laughs. Entertainment is from 7 p.m. to 10 p.m. Admission: $35.

So, if you’re looking for something fun to do over the August 18th weekend, this is one celebration not to miss. Check out their website for up to date information that may post: www.bigbearcowboygathering.net.

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