The 13th Annual Mesquite Western Roundup held at the Mesquite Community Theatre on Feb. 8 and 9 was a huge success as cowboy poets and guests were able to wrangle up a full house both days and educate the large audiences on the hard but often humorous life of cowboys.
The event included pre-show entertainment by the local musical group Strings ’n’ Things. Jeff Hoyt once again returned as the master of ceremonies.
Special guest Carol Markstrom, Western Female Vocalist of the Year for both 2015 and 2017, performed her original and traditional western music and song.
Cowboy poets from Colorado, Nevada, Utah and Wyoming performed some of the old favorites as well as some of their own works. Farrel Bott, Lee Kimberlin, Jim Parsons, Hap Stuart, Russ Westwood and Brice Wilson recited poetry steeped in the American West.
Cowboy poetry is a form of poetry which originated and grew out of a tradition of reciting impromptu stories which were carried on by workers on cattle drives and ranches.
After a day of work, cowboys would gather around the campfire and entertain one another with tall tales and folk songs. Illiteracy was common among ranch hands, so poetic forms were used to aid in memory.
Today many of the cowboy poetry comes from rancher’s wives, ranch owners, rodeo cowboys, and folks that hold down a 9 to 5 job but raise cattle on the side and even some who have a deep love for but only aspire to the cowboy lifestyle and just enjoy the art form.
This past week at the roundup, the stories and songs came from many of our own Mesquite residents who had spent years gathering content but now prefer the retired lifestyle to the cowboy one.
It was quite obvious by the large numbers in the audience for the Western Roundup that many of our Mesquite residents also enjoy the cowboy lifestyle or at least listening to the stories the cowboys just love to share.