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Neosho Daily News - Neosho, MO
  • Cowboy poetry, chuck wagon event Saturday

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  • Looking for something to do for the entire family this Saturday? Then cowboy poetry and eating chuck wagon grub might be the thing for you.
    The Cowboy Poetry Gathering and Chuck Wagon Supper will be held at 15663 Highway CC, Neosho.
    “This is a fundraiser for our scholarship, the LeRoy Watts Memorial Agricultural Scholarship Fund,” said Harold Williams, president of the Missouri Cowboy Poets Association (MCPA). “We have a program where we give out several scholarships each year to students in the agricultural field of college. We are having a fundraiser to raise money to help that scholarship fund out.”
    There will be about 15 entertainers at the event, Williams said, which begins at 3 p.m. The dinner begins at 5 p.m.
    “We have got poets, musicians and storytellers from Kansas, southern Oklahoma, and Missouri,” he said. “We will have the chuck wagon supper, a live auction to again help raise some funds for the scholarship fund and then back into the entertainment again. I am really, really excited about the entertainers that we have got coming.”
    So what exactly is cowboy poetry?
    “Cowboy poetry started back in the days of the trail drives – back in the 1870s,” said Williams. “What the cowboys would do – of course they had to keep that herd peaceful throughout the night – a man’s voice, a human’s voice, talking, singing or humming or anything like that was something that settled the cows at night. So the old cowboys got in the habit of talking, and they eventually put those telling stories and finally put them to some of them to rhyme, some of them put tunes too, and they would also sit around after supper around the campfire and tell these stories, too. They have just been handed down throughout the years.”
    Watts, for whom the scholarship was named, was one of four people who started the MCPA. He passed away about four years ago.
    “The creed of our association is to preserve the old traditional cowboys’ way of life,” Williams said. “We do that through poems, cowboy poetry, cowboy songs and the old stories. We have a number of guys that are in the association that do a lot of research and they will go back into old towns of the West and/or certain characters and research a few things that might have taken place in the town. And put that to a story or a poem or something like that. Just tell the story about it. It is real interesting and a lot of fun to hear.”
    Cost is $12 per person, 6-12 year olds are $8 and 5 and under are free. The admittance price includes the entertainment, but also includes the dinner.
    Page 2 of 2 - “A chuck wagon cook is going to cook everything in the old Dutch ovens, over an open fire,” said Williams. “He will be cooking — I think — smothered steaks, mashed potatoes, gravy, green beans and cobblers. Like they did back in the 1800s on the cattle drives.”
    Directions: At the intersection of Highway 60 and CC, go north on CC approximately 8/10 of a mile on east side of the road. From Racine, take CC approximately 3.8 miles south. Bring your lawn chairs.
    For more information, call Harold Williams at 439-6718, Dennis Williams at 451-6598 or Ken Lorton at 918-833-2083.

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