Marlene Bussma tells the tale of the Bushwacker Bull Ballet during the Fourteenth Annual Mesquite Western Roundup held at the Mesquite Community Theatre on Feb. 21 and 22. The event was sponsored by Mesquite Arts Council, Primex, Desert Gold Realty, The Eureka Casino Resort and the Mesquite Western Poets. Photo by Teri Nehrenz

The Fourteenth Annual Mesquite Western Roundup sponsored by the Mesquite Arts Council, Primex, Desert Gold Realty, The Eureka Casino Resort and the Mesquite Western Poets, held at the Mesquite Community Theatre on Feb. 21 and 22 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.

Cowboy Poets Russ Westwood, Hap Stuart, Jim Parsons, Farrel Bott and Mark Kerr, under the leadership of Trail Bosses Lee Kimberlin and Marlene Bussma, illuminated the audiences with humorous and perhaps exaggerated but true tales of the occupational life of a cattle rancher. Stage Managers Marge Westwood and Bunny Wiseman kept everything running smoothly backstage while Bob Thacker and Deborah Peter-Wilde kept everyone well-lit and heard; nobody wanted to miss the stories written and told about life on the range.

Jeff Hoyt was a masterful MC and stand up comic. He has many stories about his family and growing up on a Michigan farm. Hoyt is now a snowbird who lives in Oregon. The father/daughter duo of Dave and Jenny Anderson entertained the crowd with some familiar and not so familiar songs. This duo has been the only folks asked to return for the past several years.

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 Fourteenth Annual Mesquite Western 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 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.