Cowboy Poetry celebrates 25 years

Diana Jorgensen
Staff Writer

This year marks a very important year in the saga of Cowboy Poetry gatherings at the Sierra Grange Hall in Vinton. It’s the 25th year of performances of an event so popular it spilled over into a second yearly event in the summer.

The original March event typically heralds the beginning of spring in eastern Plumas County and this year’s performances will be held March 18 – 19.

In honor of the event, the Grange has arranged for a sure-fire trio of returning performers. At the top of the list, Waddie Mitchell, who appeared at the premier performance of the Vinton Cowboy Poetry Show, will return with his tradition of cowboy stories that originated growing up on Nevada ranches. Mitchell was one of the organizers of the Cowboy Poetry Gathering in Elko in 1984, the only Cowboy Poetry show older than the Vinton show.

Mitchell’s talent and longevity as humorist and poet earned him the Wrangler Award, presented by the Oklahoma City Cowboy Hall of Fame in the National Cowboy and Western Heritage Museum.

Another popular artist featured at previous Vinton shows, Sourdough Slim, brings humor, yodeling and cowboy songs to the stage in March. He has been performing since 1988 — at the Kennedy Center, Carnegie Hall, the Lincoln Center and, yes, the Elko Cowboy Gathering.

Accompanied by accordion, guitar, ukulele and harmonica, Sourdough’s music is part of a fast-paced show where whimsical humor meets vaudevillian camp in a uniquely cowboy way. Sourdough Slim, also known as Rick Crowder, has a gift for connecting with audiences.

Gary Allegretto appeared in Vinton in 2009 and was an instant hit with the audience. So, he and his harmonica are back once more to please our local crowds. American Cowboy Magazine says, “This good-natured cowboy singer-songwriter blows you away with his talent on that mouth harp. You’ve never seen or heard anything like it.”

Allegretto is a five-time Western Music Association nominee, was considered for two Grammy awards and has been featured on soundtracks for major motion pictures.

He will provide a special treat by offering his popular harmonica workshop at 2 p.m. Sunday, March 20, at the Grange. The cost for the workshop is $20, which includes a harmonica and sheet music. Deals like that don’t come around every day!

Tickets for the Cowboy Poetry Show are $20. Performances are scheduled for 7:30 p.m. Friday and Saturday night with a Saturday matinee performance at 1 p.m.

The dinner bell will also sound on both days — on Friday from 5 to 7 p.m. and between Saturday’s performances from 4 to 7 p.m. On Friday, the crew at the Grange will be serving their famous corned beef dinner, while Saturday’s menu will feature roast beef. Dinner tickets are $12.

Treat yourself to a delightfully entertaining performance and wonderfully tasty dinner — all in the tiny town of Vinton on Highway 70.

To order tickets or for more information, call Betty Ramelli at 993-4692.



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