In far West Texas, anticipation is building in Alpine.
As the third weekend of February approaches, the finishing touches are being made to the Lone Star Cowboy Poetry Gathering’s inaugural event on the campus of Sul Ross State University.
Picking up the torch of the previous Texas Cowboy Poetry Gathering, the new nonprofit organization has invited cowboy poets and western songwriters from across Texas and other western states to participate in an event known for its attention to tradition. This year, except for one afternoon and an evening show Friday and Saturday, all performances are at no charge.
Among those scheduled to perform, Jean Prescott, a native Texan, looks forward to sharing her life-long love of music. “I started singing to the radio with my granddad when I was about two,” says Prescott.
As a teenager living way out in Glasscock County where her family could only pick up one radio station, Prescott taught herself guitar by playing along with the country songs. As a result, country music naturally became her genre of choice. In 1989, after attending the original poetry event, she was so enamored, she began to transition her style from country to cowboy. Love struck again in 1993 when Jean met Gary around a campfire in Alpine. The cowboy with a black mustache and a black hat was to be her future husband.
Fast forward a couple of decades or three, and the couple is scheduled to sing in a joint performance February 21 at Spicewood Restaurant on the west side of Alpine – a new venue for the Gathering’s evening show. “I am absolutely beyond thrilled that this group has picked this up and is going to carry it on,” Prescott says about the group now organizing the Gathering.
Bob Saul, Event Producer of the Lone Star Cowboy Poetry Gathering says “At a cowboy poetry gathering you can make new friends easily with people literally from all over the world. The subject matter stirs openness and comradery.” Cowboy poetry is storytelling at its best, says Saul, because “it is born in the dust of hard work… Cowboy poetry is a primary part of our western heritage and history [and] authentic cowboy poetry gatherings keep it alive today. It is a historical treasure.”
The Lone Star schedule includes a choice of two night shows each evening, six free sessions including two open mic options, two Chuckwagon Breakfasts, a keynote and “Let’s Talk Poetry and Songwriting” session with Joel Nelson and a “Taste of the Gathering” session with 12 performers. One of the highlights is sure to be a “Banjos in the Cowcamp” session Saturday afternoon in Marshall Auditorium.
The first Lone Star Cowboy Poetry Gathering | Alpine, Texas | February 21-22
Cover photo courtesy Jill D. Miller
Julie Tereshchuk is the Editor-in-Chief of Texas Lifestyle Magazine.