The wife and I traveled the 50 or so miles to Casa Grande to attend a Western Heritage Celebration put on by Jim Olson, who sponsors the show monthly and is a Western blogger and writer. Being the first one attended I can't comment on the previous shows, but if they were anywhere near the caliber of talent of this one, they had to be winners, too.
The headliner was Chris Isaacs, Arizona cowboy poet and author. His routines, and I pluralize it because he had the microphone twice, were recited from memory from his experiences as a cowboy over the years. He was funny, truthful and sad in a couple of the poems. but most of them ended on a comical note and received a loud ovation from the audience. I wouldn't ordinarily spend money to hear someone recite poetry whether is was Western or otherwise, but we both found that we enjoyed what we heard and will probably attend more gatherings like this.
The other headliner was Nancy Ruybal, Western singer, who writes her own material in most cases. She has a real sweet voice and accompanies herself on the guitar. I enjoyed her singing, and you know what, we could even understand the words. She drew a loud amount of applause, too.
For the extra added attractions, there was Janice King Deardorff, Dennis Knill, William Merritt, and Jan Michael Corey. We arrived a few minutes late and missed William Merritt and Jan Michael Corey, which I am sorry to say. Janice King Deardorff was a Western singer and guitarist and she sang and played until her time ran out. She was a fine artist, too. And Dennis Krill was in the middle of his set when we came barging in, but he sings and plays the guitar very well and is a songwriter, too. A late add-on was "Pelon" as Featured Artisan. "A unique glimpse in how they used to do it." He makes all his rawhide equipment from scratch, tightly interwoven and strong. A dying breed in this day and age.
The next celebration is on September 30, 2012, at the Paramount Theater in Casa Grande, AZ, and will feature Gary Sprague, The Singing Cowboy, who will be on stage with his horse and guns singing old Gene Autry and Roy Rogers songs as Jim announced. I will attend if I can and urge everyone to come out and support Jim and these shows. His wife is none other than "Bobbi Jeen Olson, "The Arizona Cowgirl" and loves the Western way of life. She is the hostess of Arizona Country TV and has appeared in numerous western movies, shows, and modeled more western products than one person could use." (Taken from her publicity card.) A real talented family and they deserve all the support they can get putting on these celebrations of the Old West.
I piicked up a copy of Jim's book, "Cowboy Heroes of the Southwest" and expect a good read.