” We, the undersigned cowboys of Canadian River, do by these presents agree to bind ourselves into the following obligations, viz -First, that we will not work for less than $50 per month and we furthermore agree no one shall work for less than $50 per month, after 31st of March. (1883)” – declaration of cowboy’s Strike in the Panhandle
The 21st annual National Cowboy Symposium kicks of in September and if you’ve never been, consider yourself scolded. The best in Western music, Chuck Wagon Cook Offs, gear sales, awards, storytelling, cowboy poets, parades, lectures, trick roping demonstrations, special presentations and more can be found here in Lubbock each year and its really worth your time to plan to attend the event in its entirety.
A little on the history of the symposium:
The National Cowboy Symposium is part of an American folklore revival that had its beginning in 1985 when Hal Cannon and other folklorists from our western states started the Cowboy Poetry Gathering in Elko, Nevada. The second such event was the Texas Cowboy Poetry Gathering that was started in 1987 on the campus of Sul Ross State University at Alpine, Texas. Other events were started at Prescott, Arizona in 1988 and Roswell, New Mexico in 1989. In 1987 Alvin G. Davis participated in the event at Alpine, Texas as a cowboy poet and determined at the time to start a comparable event at Lubbock, Texas. He, with a group of other like minded folks, put the Symposium together June 2-4, 1989 on the Campus of Texas Tech University at Lubbock.
In addition to the daily literary sessions, the Symposium also included evening performances, exhibits and activities such as a book fair, arts and crafts, gear and trappings, music, cutting and roping. Among the participants in the first event were writers Elmer Kelton, John Erickson, and Max Evans; cowboy poets Baxter Black, Paul Patterson and Clay Lindley; western artists Tom Ryan, Gary Morton, Keith Avery and Clay Dahlberg; rodeo cowboys Toots Mansfield, Larry Mahan, Jim Shoulders, and Harry Tompkins; ranch managers from the Pitchfork, 6666, Waggoner and Bell ranches; working cowboys Tom Blasingame, John Gaither and Buster McLaury; horse trainer Ray Hunt; western musicians Red Steagal, Don Edwards, Frankie McWhorter, Buck Ramsey, R.W.Hampton and Ray Reed and cowboy cartoonist Ace Reid.
The event starts on thursday, September 10th and runs through Sunday. Featured performers this year include the Flying J Ranglers, San Antonio’s Biscuits O’Bryan, “Harmonica Ludie” Stone from Amarillo, and R.W. Hampton.
Frontier Texas! is the closest we 21st century visitors can come to experiencing the sights and sounds of West Texas from 1780 to 1880. During that time the Comanches’ – “horse Indians” dominated the area now known as West Texas as the Europeans and other Americans encroached on their territory and those hundred years end with the coming of the Iron Horse – the railroad.
The tour begins with an introductory video narrated by Buck Taylor from the Gunsmoke TV series. You’re introduced to eight “spirit guides” – representing some of the different people and perspectives on life on the frontier.
The life-size exhibits include a sound and light show – giving visitors a you-are-there feeling. The museum’s technology puts you smack dab in the middle of attacks by Indians and wolves, stampeding buffalo, a card game shootout and a prairie thunderstorm, even a lovely spring evening filled with fireflies.
At the end of the tour, you’ll see an exhibition of Guns that Won the West. More than 70 Winchesters, Colts, Sharps and other guns from the Fort Phantom Hill Foundation’s collection of frontier firearms are on display. You can see these various weaponry through the end of 2009.
Open Monday – Saturday from 9:00am to 6:00pm and from 1:00pm – 5:00pm on Sundays. Adults $8, children $4.
625 North First Street
I don’t enjoy writing about people I am remotely acquainted with, let alone people I know well. I’ll do it, but I have a tendency to gloss over their foibles while canonizing them for accomplishments like, oh, taking out the trash. So for the first installation of ‘5 Stupid Questions With:’, I asked my intern to write a bio on our subject, Zac Crain, and I received the following email reply to my request:
“I honestly have no idea how to write a bio. A bio is about a person and there is so much more to a person than an event. Especially since I know he might read this, I wouldn’t want to do an injustice to him since he seems like such a varied, interesting person. I know you asked me to do this to better me and see what I can do, and I appreciate that. Please do not be upset at me.”
After promising Leon that I would refrain from causing him bodily harm and would gladly help edit (heh) his work, I sent the frightened young scribe a fantastical series of links he could use to explore the wonderful world of Zac Crain. He researched, scoured, pried and compiled all the facts and figures he could to define the man.
And I must say, together we did a damn fine job. Read more