By Rob Vogt, Local Press Writer
The 19th annual Willow Creek Cowboy Gathering is set to take over the Stavely Arena this weekend.
Running from June 14 to 16, it promises to be a weekend full of cowboy poetry, music, and a whole lot more.
Shelley Goldbeck is the emcee and she invites everyone to come out.
“There’s lots to do, lots to see, lots to hear,” she said.
The entertainment starts at 10 a.m. both Friday and Saturday and goes to 9 p.m. The days are broken into two sessions each day, from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m., supper, then 6:30 p.m. to 9 p.m.
After the evening session both nights, there will be a campfire jam session hosted by Noel Burles weather permitting.
Sunday morning from 8:30 a.m. to 10 a.m. will be a pancake breakfast followed by cowboy church at 10 a.m. at no charge.
The gathering also has a trade show all weekend, featuring about 15 local artisans and vendors offering a variety of products such as crafts, jewellery and much more.
There is a concession all weekend and free onsite dry camping.
There is also an open mic at lunch time for anyone interested in trying their hand at getting up on stage.
The performers for the weekend are a combination of poets and musicians.
Nanton’s own John Glawson, or “Ol’ Ugly” as he is also known, will be performing.
“He’s always got some great stories to tell,” Goldbeck said.
Phyllis Rathwell from Saskatchewan is back again this year too.
“She’s quite clever and a joy to listen to,” Goldbeck said.
B.J. Smith, a highlight of past gatherings, is also back.
“You’ll see few performers more clever and refined,” Goldbeck said.
The musicians feature a lot of local talent as well as performers from across western Canada.
Musicians with local roots include Charlie Ewing and Mary Ellen Goslin from Claresholm, and Parry Jacobson from High River.
“We really wanted to take advantage of the local talent we have,” Goldbeck said.
There is also a lot of out-of-town talent, including Ed Wahl from B.C. and Larry Krause from Saskatchewan.
“He’s a fabulous entertainer,” Goldbeck said.
Filling in the gaps when entertainers are not on stage will be a house band made up of John Bacon of Montana, Mike Dygert of Cold Lake, Noel Burles, Charlie Ewing and Shelley Goldbeck.
So Goldbeck welcomes everyone to the gathering.
“We aim to preserve the traditions of the west through music, song and story,” she said.
“It’s a way to walk down memory lane.”
Tickets are available at the door. A weekend pass is $60; a full-day pass is $35; and an evening pass is $25.