Sunday, November 6, 2011

Cowboy Church

I've spent the last few days at the Cowboy Poetry Gathering. This is my third year going... The first year, I spent just a few minutes. I went to the Mustang Makeover Competition, and then wandered over to the end of the gathering... I didn't see much, but I was intrigued.

Last year, I went and spent a little more time. I talked to the fiddler from Prickly Pair, and he encouraged me to never put the violin in the case. "If you just leave it out, you'll pay a ton more." I followed that advice, and he's right. I pick it up when I have just a few minutes and I play around. When it's in the case, I don't take the time to get it out...
(This is Prickly Pair playing my favorite song. I LOVE the fiddle part, and the words are awesome too.)

Over the past year, I found myself looking forward to November... Just because of this event. (Generally speaking, I HATE November. I don't know why, but if I ever fall apart, it has been in November. And then it has taken me six months to put myself back together. To find myself looking forward to November felt very strange.)

It's hard to describe how much I enjoy the gathering. Listening to the poems, stories and music, I feel like... I feel... the way other people describe how they feel going to church. Uplifted. Happy. Like I belong. A part of something. Touched. Loved. Inspired.

It was amazing to me how people could tell stories of losing loved ones, and bring tears to my eyes, and the next story is titled, "I don't look good in a speedo anymore." and I was rolling on the floor laughing.

I love watching fiddles. I play the violin, and have for many years, but my passion, my DREAM is to play the fiddle. After watching all of the amazing musicians this weekend, I have been inspired. I pulled out my book of "How to learn to play double stops" again, and I WILL learn. (Double stops is when you play two notes at the same time on the violin. Pretty important in fiddling.) I don't know what it is about the violin and fiddling... I have been in love with the violin since I was only three. (I don't remember it, but my mom has told me stories of going to hear a violinist, and then begging her for a violin until I was eight. I played in my first orchestra when I was in second grade.)

I love the lyrics to the songs, and the subject of the stories. People talk of their love for horses, land, and nature. They speak of God in terms of the beauty around them. They understand what it's like to love a horse and to have been saved by a horse. I don't have to try to describe how I feel watching Sunny just walk around the pasture, because they already know.

Everyone just seems comfortable as themselves. Some people get all decked out in their shiny boots and beaver hats. I go in my riding boots. The ones that are dirty and scuffed and well-used. Everyone just wears what they want to wear, and it feels good to be around that. I like being around people who are comfortable with themselves.

I enjoyed the "Impact of the Horse" competition. Trainers working with their horses, then showing off the relationship they have. I have worked with Sunny - we're a great partnership out on the trail, but seeing what people and their horses can do together amazes me. Every year, I have left the competition wanting to learn how to work with a Mustang, because I SO want to do that someday.

I loved watching BJ talk with the harmonica player, Gary, and getting personal instruction. Here's Gary playing. He's just awesome to watch. (This song doesn't show off his harmonica much, but I do love the words...)

At the end of the show Saturday night, I loved that the crowd was smaller... I was sitting close to the stage, and Nancy (of Katy Creek) said something to me from stage during the sound checks. After they were done performing, she came to find me.

"You have a twinkle in your eye. Like you know more than the rest of us.... You're just a bit ahead. Like you know the punchline before I tell the joke, or the end to every story. There's just something amazing about you - I hope I get to see you more soon."

I cried. Happy tears. I would have loved to talk more, but she was rushing off to her next show. She gave me her email address, and said to keep in touch. I wonder what HER story is. How amazing she is that she took the time to find me and tell me what she saw.

(Here's Kate Creek. It's old. They have a fiddler playing with them now, but it's the best video I could find.)

There were also a ton of awesome vendors. My favorites were the artists. Paintings, drawings, sculptures, wood carvings... I found myself wanting to be a millionaire. I would fill my world with all of those beautiful pieces.


  1. I like this. We went to a cowboy poetry night up in Lehi just a few weeks after we moved here. There's something about the culture that I really like. It's more laid back, people slow down and enjoy themselves.

    I told Robyn I need to buy a cowboy hat. But, I'm pretty sure it's not the hat that makes the culture. Maybe my fishing hat that I wear when I mow the lawn will do just fine.

  2. I don't think it's the hat... I think your fishing hat will do just fine. It feels good to be in a world where no one cares what you are wearing... and it's just slower...

  3. I like that you are inspired to play the fiddle again. I loved when you played fiddle tunes with Jim Shupe. I like a lot of types of music but I never got into fiddles until I sat in on your lessons. I miss hearing it. When you get going again you will have to play some for me.

  4. :) Good ole Jim Shupe! I can play all the stuff that I could play back then... Bile 'em Cabbage Down especially.

    I just want to add NEW stuff.

    Either way, I'll bring the fiddle with me when I come visit some time.