© National Cowboy Poetry Rodeo 2015
Excellence through Competition Eric Borden has been a diesel mechanic, truck driver, and for the last 10years a heavy equipment operator. He and his family live on 43 acres, just outside Drexel, Mo.  He has competed in the Kansas Cowboy Poetry Contest, and performs for the local FFA at their yearly banquet. Eric is more a "Pasture Poet" than a cowboy poet. Cowboys' have his respect and he does not want to say he is something he is not. Eric has this to describe his poetry: "If I can make folks feel good about their life, smile about a situation, or cry tears of joy over a memory...well...I do not care what kind of poet they call me. I am just sharing a gift I was given. All that being said, the Cowboy poets I have met make me feel like this is where I fit."   Eric Borden, Drexel, Missouri 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.   www.cowboypoetryandbagpipes.com       Dr. Dennis L. Hunter Grand Junction, Colorado Tim Keane is Professor of Landscape Architecture 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 in addition to the sustainable management of urban storm water.  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 and in April of 2014 was named “Champion” in the Kansas Cowboy Poetry Contest, Humorous Division.  Keane lives with his wife Sharon and a couple of bird dogs in northwest Wabaunsee County.       Tim Keane, Manhattan, Kansas Floyd Beard and his wife Valerie run a cow calf operation on the High Plains of Colorado near Punkin Center, Colorado.  Floyd began writing presenting poetry in the late 1970’s.  Jotting down his experiences and observations while in the saddle, he “smithed” these thoughts into his stories and songs. Floyd was named the 2015 Kansas State Cowboy Poetry Champion in the humorous and serious categories, as well as the 2015 "Cowboy Poetry Idol" at the Columbia River Cowboy Gathering and Music Festival.  He also won the Colorado State Fair Cowboy Poetry Shoot-Out in 2006.  He has presented as far away as Stony Plains, Alberta, Canada, and is the current President of the WMA Colorado Chapter.  Floyd’s stories are inter-woven with his western code of high ethics, integrity and sprinkled richly with humor. His philosophy is simple: “Life is a journey not a destination, and is best viewed from atop a good horse.”  www.floydbeardcowboy.com        Floyd Beard Punkin Center, Colorado Danny is a day working cowboy.  Along with 3 to 6 other cowboys they work, gather, and catch cattle for area ranchers.  He and his wife Teresa also run a herd of mixed cows that carry their Wagon Rut “M” brand.  Danny wrote his first poem in 1986 after building his first saddle after watching the cowboy poets on the Tonight Show.  Danny, and good friend and cowboy Greg Burke, have been performing cowboy music and poems under the name Cowboy Tradition for the past few years.  Most notably they have performed several times for Lucas Oil and Cattle Co.        Danny McCurry, Ash Grove, Missouri Ron McDaniel has been in dabbling with poetry for the last 9 years. He has been fortunate to tell humorous stories and recite poetry all over the United States.   Ron and his wife Nancy live in NW Arkansas, where they have 3 kids, 3 grandkids, and occasionally some foster children. They have dogs, horses, a donkey, and enough cattle to be in constant debt to the bank. Ron works in the Equine division for an animal health company, and occasionally day works for area ranchers. As a testament to his cowboying skills, the Cowboss’ at Adams Cattle Company said “Hiring Ron was like losing 2 good men”.  Ron and Nancy actively support their church, Horses for Healing, and the CALL which is an organization in Arkansas dedicated to not only raising awareness about the need for families to take in foster children, but is run by members who are foster parents themselves.  Ron is truly grateful to have made his living working in the cattle and horse industry. He enjoys anything that keeps him horseback, reciting poetry, and writing about himself in the third person.     Ron McDaniel Sulphur Springs, Arkansas 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 Sedona, Arizona Carl grew up on a livestock and dairy farm west of Olpe, Kansas.  He graduated from Kansas State University with a degree in agriculture and spent 37 years teaching vocational agriculture and life science in Burlington and Emporia, Kansas, school districts and he was a wrestling coach.  He and his wife, Marilyn, own a family farming and cow-calf business which is located near Olpe, Kansas.  The Stueve famliy consists of five children, their families and five grandchildren and the family was involved in 4-H, school sports and activities as well as youth and high school rodeo.  Carl became interested in cowboys and the rodeo way of life and one of his hobbies has been to participate in team roping and ranch rodeos.  He has announced many youth and ranch rodeos in the area as well.       Carl Lee Stueve, Olpe, Kansas


PW Conway is a cowboy poet, author and entertainer.  His book, Buckaroo Poetry, Cowboy Poems For Young and Old, was nominated for the Western Music Association’s 2014 cowboy poetry book of the year and won the 2014 Will Rogers Silver Medallion Award for poetry book of the year. He is a three-time winner of the Ventura County Cowboy Poetry competition. He has participated in the WMA’s Cowboy Poetry Jackpot in Albuquerque, NM.  PW has performed his poetry at events in Texas, Nevada, Arizona, New Mexico, Washington and California. He has performed at charity events, cowboy gatherings and county fairs. When not writing, PW enjoys team penning and trail riding with his horse Rascal. His second book “Buckaroo Poetry, Welcome To My Campfire” is soon to be published, as well as a CD of “Buckaroo Poetry, Cowboy Poems For Young and Old”. PW lives in Simi Valley, CA     P. W. Conway, Simi Valley, California 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 at Bobwire Poetry by Smokey Culver    Smokey Culver, League City, Texas Grew up in Idaho Springs Colo. And live in Lebo KS. Moved to Kansas in 1985 to go to college on a Rodeo scholarship at FSCC, and on to KSU.  I have been writing  cowboy poetry since I was 12, or 13 years old , and this year I turned 49. (June 14) Most of my poetry is based on my life’s experience with my rodeo career that spanned over 28 years. I am a Cowboy first and foremost ! All of my poetry is original work and I am Proud of the contribution I am making to help save our culture, and pass the heritage on to the next generation.       Sam Kiefer, Lebo, Kansas Russ Westwood was born in the red rock country of Moab, UT and grew-up in Utah, Oregon and Idaho.  He was raised on a mink ranch but spent a lot of time around horses and rodeos.  Russ has served as the director the “Mesquite Western Round-up, in Mesquite Nevada, and performs regularly in their shows.  He is a retired firefighter/paramedic and travel agent.  He has been performing cowboy poetry since 2007.  He especially enjoys reciting the poetry of his great uncle S. Omar Barker.     Russ Westwood, Mesquite, Nevada Butch Bailey was raised down where northern Louisiana, southwest Arkansas, and East Texas meet.  Growing up on the old westerns, he routinely engaged in shoot-outs with his younger brother, who insisted on playing like Jesse James.  Mostly just a trail-rider now, Butch works these days teaching college....on a pure side note, a cowboy poet with a captive audience is either a great or a tragic thing, depending on what side of the room you happen to be on.  Butch aspires to write poems that make us laugh, or cry, sometimes stumble upon something that feels true…always in the service of telling a good story.  He and his wife Becky live in Northwest Arkansas where they use their retirement to fund a small herd of Missouri Foxtrotter horses, and spoil their two grandsons.  Butch is working on a book of cowboy poems and stories, entitled ‘A Strength That Never Fails.’      Rodney “Butch” Bailey, Russellville, Arkansas Paul Bliss is a cattleman, horseman, family man, livestock driver, and a former champion rodeo rider from Salem, Utah, whose poetry is charged with authenticity, personality, and uncommon artistry.  And with the release of “Pure Bliss”, Paul’s second album of cowboy poetry, we see for the first time Paul Bliss the songwriter and singer, performing with the same authenticity that marks his poetry. “Pure Bliss” is fifteen glimpses into the remarkable life and imagination of a sixth-generation American icon. The tracks include poems Cowboy Poetry in Motion, California Dreamin', Resting Springs, Salem On The Mountain, Dream Mine, There'll Never Be Another Ewe, Turtle Soup, Old Doug, Hagen, John Hard Hack, Appy Spots, and The Bust, and songs Bronc Ridin' Shuffle, Bull Boogie, and the traditional The Old Four Holer On The Hill.     Paul Bliss, Salem, Utah Betty Burlingham grew up as a townie with dreams of becoming a scientist.  While making that dream come true, she accidentally fell in love with her major professor who was an avid cattle rancher.  Betty went to "graduate school" with him again--this time on the ranch.  She's been ranching full time for 35 years and couldn't have dreamed of a better life. Betty and Byron own and maintain ranches in KS and NC.  She's been writing and sharing poetry about her amazing and everyday experiences for four years.  Her other hobbies are diverse and include caramel making, square dancing, and stacked dry stone wall construction.     Betty Burlingham, Manhattan, Kansas Ron Ratliff and wife Iva Gail have been in the ministry for 27 years and now pastor the Tenth Street Baptist church in Trenton, Mo., where they have been for four years. They live 18 miles west of Trenton and run a cow/calf operation. Involved in the horse and cow business most of their lives, they have a deep love for the land and the people of rural America as well as the life style. The ministry is Ron's great love, with cowboy life second. He says, "There's only one thing I enjoy more than saddling a good horse and checking the banker's cows, and that is preaching the Gospel of Jesus Christ!"  Ron preaches revivals and writes and recites cowboy poetry when time and opportunity permit. He has recorded a CD of his original cowboy poetry.          Ron Ratliff, Gilman City, Missouri Ol' Jones didn't get far three years ago when he first entered the Cowboy Poetry contest at Strong City where he finished dead, dead, dead last.  The old boy was a fast learner though finishing second at the 2015 Kansas State Finals to National Cowboy Poetry Rodeo champion, Floyd Beard.  Now in 2016 after becoming the Kansas State Champion in the serious division, Ol' Jones is ready to try at the National level.  A regular listener to Red Sovine on radio's Cowboy Corner,  Jones tries to apply the down-home manner that makes Sovine, Trey Allen, Geff Dawson, Ron Wilson, Don Welborn, and Tim Keane so entertaining.  Ol' Jones doesn't know much about out of state cowboy poets, but he still admires Floyd Beard.  Retired from 42 years as a basketball coach, 22 at the college level; Jones is in Athletic Hall of Fames at Salina's Kansas Wesleyan University and at Baker University in Baldwin.  He now would like a little fame as a cowboy poet. Raised in tiny Vermillion back in Marshall County, Jones is a Kansan born and bred and here to stay.  Visit his website at:  jonesthecowboypoet.com      Jerry Jones Salina, Kansas
We have an amazing line up of contestants this year for the 2016 Contest.  Their bios and pictures are below.  Join us for the NCPR. August 4-6, 2016  - Shockey & Landes Building, Abilene, Kansas  19th Annual Event Presented to you by Rawhide Portable Corrals, Abilene, Kansas Shockey & Landes Building, Abilene, Kansas