Old-fashioned story-telling, through cowboy poetry and music conjured up images of sitting around the campfire or working the ranch during the first-ever Cowboy Culture Night June 26, in Harrison, Nebraska.
The event, spearheaded by Harrison residents Tami Hughson, Katie Reece and Annette Oldaker, shined the spotlight on traditional cowboy poetry and music by featured artists Robert Dennis, Yvonne Hollenbbeck and the Ramblin’ Rangers. Approximately 100 people attended the event, and organizers say they plan to make Cowboy Culture Night an annual festivity in Harrison.
Dennis, a rancher near Red Owl, South Dakota,, has been a regular contributor to Cowboy Magazine and has published three books of poetry and short stories, as well as a CD of cowboy music. His poetry and singing have taken him to events across the region, but when he’s at home on the family cattle ranch, Dennis will likely be in the saddle or building one.
Hollenbeck lives on an Angus and Quarter Horse ranch near Clearfield, Nebraska, and uses her experiences as a ranch wife to inspire her poetry, stories and weekly articles in the Farmer-Rancher Exchange. She is also an avid quilt maker and quilt historian, often presenting programs about her collection of family quilts, which span 150 years.
The Ramblin’ Rangers – Brad and Bonnie Jo Exton – worked as rangers in forests, parks and monuments throughout the West, and their music is influenced by their experiences as they honor the western way of life. The group performed several songs, including “One More River to Cross,” which won Song of the Year in 2020 from the International Western Music Association.
Hughson and Hot Springs, South Dakota, cowboy poet Sherl Cederburg served as opening acts for the evening. Cederburg’s recent CD is nominated for CD of the Year from the International Western Music Association. Hughson’s father Dale Brown also performed on a ukulele he made from pistachio wood to kick off the event.