Montana’s Tough Fire Year as Told Through Cowboy Poetry
It's been a tough year for everyone. It's been an especially tough year for Montana farmers and ranchers. Words can hardly describe the impact of the drought, fires, grasshoppers, and the markets- unless those words come from a cowboy poet.
We took in part of the Montana Cowboy Poetry Gathering in Lewistown and ran into some great folks. In the photo above, Karen Kuhllman reads a poem she wrote in tribute to the Pioneer women who dot the plains even to this day. She's been a Cowboy Poetry Gathering "trail boss" since the early 2000s.
We also got a chance to meet Lloyd McKenna, who wrote the cowboy poem "If 2020 Was a Buckin' Horse." He wrote a new poem called, "A Tough Year to Make a Living" in which he talked about neighbors helping neighbors, and the need for supporting our farmer and rancher friends. Here's an excerpt:
It burned off to the east and they finally put it out, He lost his summer pasture, so now there was no doubt, There was no hay, the pasture's gone, the cattle looking poor. He'd have to sell a hundred head, then maybe sell some more. He watched the cattle hauled to town and thought about his dad. How hard he'd worked to build this place, it made him really sad. So he leaned upon his wife and she leaned back on him. They held onto each other cause their chances now we're slim
Click below for the audio of Lloyd McKenna reading the poem live on the air:
Also featured in the podcast above is a poem read live on the radio by Sareena Murnane from Choteau, Montana. She just graduated high school and has already been published in the New York Times.
Here's Sareena Murnane and her dad John:
Our setup inside Fergus High School for the Cowboy Poetry Gathering:
Sculptor Steven Lillegaard has a gallery in Stanford, Montana featuring larger than life bronzes as well:
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