Elko's National Cowboy Poetry Gathering to Have Mexican Flavor

Elko is gearing up for its premier event of the year: the annual National Cowboy Poetry Gathering.

The Western Folklife Center's 24th production of the gathering will feature a Mexican flavor when it's held between Jan. 26 and Feb. 2.

Among other highlights, the event known for cowboy poetry, music
and stories will focus on the vaquero of the Mexican state of Sonora.

Rancher Don Beto Cruz of Sonora will perform his culture's version of the cowboy ballad - the corrido.

His corridos will include "El Huaraqui," which is about a horse trainer who died after being thrown off his animal.

Jesus Garcia of Sonora will perform songs about legendary vaqueros, cattle rustlers and tragedies.

The musical group Pablo y su Ventarron will perform music from their Mexican home state of Jalisco as well as songs about their new home of Elko.

While the average age of attendees is 58, organizers said they're making a push to attract more young people to help celebrate the West's ranching tradition.

While familiar faces such as 74-year-old Ian Tyson will return, the event will add Oscar Auker, Ginny Mac and the Quebe Sisters Band to the mix to help represent the future face of the family ranch.

Even though visitors account for much of the revenue generated by the event, organizers are trying to bring back many locals who have not attended because of rising ticket prices.

Working ranchers and ranch hands will be offered day passes so they can again take part in the festival, spokeswoman Darcy Minter said.

"We're trying to get back to our roots," Minter told the Elko Daily Free Press.

The event, whose theme is "The New West: Grabbing the Future by
the Horns," also will explore the role of individual ranchers in shaping the West's future.
Western Folklife Center: www.westernfolklife.org
Information from: Elko Daily Free Press,

(Copyright 2007 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)

AP-NY-12-16-07 1821EST