© National Cowboy Poetry Rodeo 2015
Rocky was born and raised in eastern Kansas.   As a kid he drove his mother crazy riding his horse in places they shouldn’t, across the front porch, for example.  In his heart, he has always been a cowboy.  Rocky has worked as a cowboy managing guest ranches in Colorado and New Mexico.  He is a cowboy historian, poet, and storyteller.  He says “If anyone is willing to sit a spell and listen, I am an Irish cowboy with the initials B.S. if that tells you anything.”  These days Rocky hangs his hat in the Red Rock country of Sedona, Arizona.  He and his wife, Karen, are involved with an award winning old-west reenactment group known as Doves and Slugs. They perform across Arizona and California bringing to life the history of the old west.  The pair are also "chuck wagon" dutch oven cooks and are always looking for more ways to bring the old west ideals and history to the public in the most entertaining ways.      Brian “Rocky” Sullivan Eagle Nest, New Mexico Dove Schmidt is no stranger to the cowboy way of life, and was riding a horse herding cattle at the young age of five years old. She spent much of her time with her uncle who ran a cattle ranch in the Butte Mountains of central California, raised Peter McCue horses and was well known for his purebred Hereford cattle. Dove has worked on ranches from Eastern Oregon to Montana to Missouri, doing everything from working cattle, starting colts and cooking for cowboy crews, so her cowboy poetry is from real life experiences.   Currently, Dove and her husband, Mike have a little horse ranch where they run week long cowboy camps for kids, hosting nearly 300 kids every summer near Bristow, Oklahoma. In their 12th year of doing cowboy camps, they teach kids all about the old West including how to partner up and ride horses, drive a draft horse, rope and teach good work ethics, good morals and making good choices in life. Dove uses the theme "Rope your dreams and dally hard!" as kids come from all over the US to get a taste of the old West in a Christian atmosphere.       Dove Schmidt, Oklahoma Mark is the 2017 National Cowboy Poetry Rodeo Rising Star Serious Poet Champion. His poetic parlance an' rhymsical recitin' is a fusion of bitter-sweet and whimsical cowpoke entanglement with nods to the past, avowal to the present, and hope for the future of cowboy culture. His delivery has been described as "powerfully evocative with equal parts grizzly and honey". Mark's recently completed Day Workin' CD draws it's inspiration from biddin' his skills with horses, cows, cowfolk, and too many fences. You can ride along with Mark on Facebook at Cowpokes Corral.      Mark Munzert Adorpmdacl Mountains, New York Dennis, sometimes called Duke,  was raised in the heart of the San Juan Mountains of Colorado where his family still used horses and pack mules for prospecting the high alpine basins.  After several successful careers, he is returning to his roots, and enjoys working with horses.  He can sometimes be found on a remote trail or helping move cattle as he celebrates the heritage of the American West.  He also embraces his Scottish ancestry, travels and is an accomplished author.         Dr. Dennis L. Hunter Grand Junction, Colorado Jake grew up (for the most part) in the Upper-Arkansas Valley of the Colorado Rockies.  He’s always enjoyed rhyme and poetry, and started writing some in school, however, he’s only recently begun actually finishing poems and sharing them with others.  Much of his work is inspired by rural life, and his ranching and rodeo experiences, but he occasionally ventures out into the realms of philosophy and theology.  He loves the process of putting a story together within rhythm and rhyme, as well as performing his work live for an audience.  He considers himself incredibly blessed to have opportunities to do what he loves.  Jake now lives in Riverdale, Nebraska with "the best wife on planet Earth" and an increasing number of energetic young children.       Jake Riley Riverdale, Nebraska Smokey Culver, the “Coyboy Poet” is author of A Wrap and A Hooey,  Mr. Culver writes about whatever comes to mind, mostly farmers and ranchers, down-home folks, and the Western Way of life.  Smokey’s “What Makes a Man a Cowboy” was selected as a finalist for the NFR Cowboy Poetry Contest in 2014.  Mr. Culver was also named “Poet of the Year, 2014” at the Texas Independece Day Celebration in Granbury, Texas.  “The Lord has blessed me with an ability to put thoughts into words that generally make sense, and even stir-up emotions sometimes.”  You can see his works and information on Facebook.      Smokey Culver, League City, Texas Dennis Russell blends his original western poems and songs as well as sharing some of the classics at campfires or cowboy gatherings.  Dennis and his wife Jana have a cow-calf operation in Redwing, Colorado while they headquarter in Cimarron, New Mexico.  Dennis was appointed the first Poet Laureate of Cimarron, New Mexico. He won the Western Music Association Western Wordsmiths Chapter Cowboy Poetry Jackpot in the Novice Division in 2014. Dennis was elected Vice President of the WMA Western Wordsmiths Chapter for 2015. Nominee for WMA 2016 Cowboy Poetry CD of the year. Western Radio Top 10 CD for 2016.  Dennis is the founder of the Cimarron Cowboy Music and Poetry Gathering held at the Philmont Scout Ranch annually the last week in August.     Email Dennis Russell at drnpoet@gmail.com.       Dennis Russell, Gardner, Colorado
Excellence through Competition Tim Keane is Professor of Landscape Architecture, Distinguished Graduate Faculty, and Director of Research, Scholarly and Creative Activities in the College of Architecture, Planning, and Design at Kansas State University where he has served since 1984.  His research involves the study of rivers, creeks, gullies and erosional/depositional processes.  While this all sounds quite pretentious, he attempts to remain pragmatic, half-handy, and on occasion, entertaining.  Tim has been attempting to write “cowboy poetry” for twenty years or more. In 2014 and 2017, Tim was named “Champion” in the Kansas Cowboy Poetry Contest and in 2016 he was Reserve Champion at the National Cowboy Poetry Rodeo (NCPR).  Keane lives with his wife Sharon and a couple of bird dogs in northwest Wabaunsee County, KS.        Tim Keane, Manhattan, Kansas Danny is a day-working cowboy and rancher.  He feels very lucky to live his dream of being a cowboy and working with cows horseback almost every day.  He loves sharing his stories and poems around campfires and cattlemen’s meetings.  He has been competing at the NCPR since 2015 and he says the poetry there is amazingly good and the people, he now calls friends, even better.        Danny McCurry, Ash Grove, Missouri

2018 NCPR CONTESTANTS

Paul Brown is a rancher, shepherd, hunting guide, certified wool classer, wool-mill operator and poet.  He and his wife raise mohair goats, fine wool sheep, and cattle, not to mention dogs, cats and chickens on their working ranch in Independence, Texas.  Whether reciting at hunting lodges, sheep shearing’s, spring works, or fall gathers, his poetry is reminiscent of a time before iPads and smartphones occupied our minds, when we found camaraderie in one another’s company.  Paul is currently working on his first book of cowboy poetry and accompanying CD.       Paul Revere Brown III Brenham, Texas Betty Burlingham ranches with her husband, Byron, in the beautiful Kansas Flint Hills where they are custom grazers.  Betty is the chief cattle mover--doing it all on foot and uphill both ways!  She loves to write poems about contemporary ranching (well since 1980, our methods will seem nostalgic in 100 years) as well as historical pieces.  She has shared her poetry in diverse venues this year, from festivals to community gatherings to the riverboat American Empress.  Three of her poems will be published this fall in a new anthology, Looking West, Sally Bates, editor.  Betty and Byron also own a ranch in North Carolina and a farm in Iowa.  Their adult children and spouses live in Connecticut, North Carolina and Arizona.  Traveling is required.       Betty Burlingham, Manhattan, Kansas
We have an amazing line up of contestants this year for the contest.  Their bios and pictures are below.  Join us for the NCPR. August 3-4, 2018  - Shockey & Landes Building, Abilene, Kansas  21st Annual Event Presented to you by Rawhide Portable Corrals, Abilene, Kansas Eagle Communications
Lifetime rancher on the east slope of the Wolf Mountains in southeast Montana.   Married to Marge for a long time.  Three grown children, a son, Mike, with us on the ranch, and two daughters, successful in their own endeavor’s, but take an interest in the ranch and come and help when possible.  We do our work horse back and try to preserve the old cowboy ways. My poetry is about what I know, ranching and the cowboy way of life.  I strive for authenticity and am highly flattered if a real cowboy or rancher tells me, “I could sure see that happening when you told about it.”  Most of my poetry is humorous, but I have several serious ones that I like to do in the right setting.  I have written and recited poetry for thirty years or more. Performed in many venues throughout Montana, Wyoming, North and South Dakota, and for the last ten or so years, at several gatherings in Alberta and Saskatchewan.  In April, 2016, I won first place in the poetry division in the Cowboy Idol competition at the Columbia River Cowboy Gathering in Kennewick, WA.  I have recorded three CD’s and am currently starting to work on another.         Jim Hamilton Decker, Montana Ron Wilson grew up near Manhattan Kansas on the Lazy T Ranch where his family resides today.  His cowboy poetry is featured regularly in the newspaper, radio, and television.  Ron chairs the annual Kansas Cowboy Poetry Contest and hosts the television show “Cowboy Up” on Cox cable systems across Kansas.  He is the only cowboy poet in the history of Kansas to present a cowboy poem at a Governor’s inauguration.  Ron has been named Horizon Award winner by the Heartland Chapter of the Academy of Western Artists, one of 50 Kansans You Should Know by Ingram’s magazine, Poet Lariat” by the Governor of Kansas, and Ambassador for the National Multicultural Western Heritage Museum in Fort Worth, Texas.        Ron Wilson Manhattan, Kansas Scott was born and raised in Kansas where he enjoys Kansas history and the western lifestyle. He resides in rural Sedgwick County with his true love that grew up in Dodge City, so a lot of family time is spent on the high plains of Kansas and in the former “wickedest town in the west.” Scott has been chasing outlaws as a lawman in Kansas since 1981. Cowboy poetry and storytelling has become a consuming joy for Scott. As an elder at Countryside Christian Church in Wichita, Scott enjoys working for the Lord and sharing his poetry with city folk who think that a cow is only something you milk, and steaks just come from a grocery store.          Scott Wiswell Valley Center, Kansas Rittel’s Western Wear Abilene, Kansas I've worked on Cow Outfits in Texas,  Oklahoma,  New Mexico,  Arizona, Colorado, Wyoming and Montana.  Including The Bells, Pitchforks,  Binions, O RO's and many more.  I've worked for Pete and Tawn Mangum, at the North Rim of the Grand Canyon mile rides.  Me and my wife, Rachel, currently live in Murray County Oklahoma, where I was raised. Still day work a little, rope and shoe a few horses and haul my Beautiful  granddaughter, Wormy Butt, to a few rodeos.    Shawn Williams Murray County, Oklahoma