Blanche Evridge
Blanche Evridge

The first thing I saw when I was born was my momma's smiling lips. Even though she was in the hospital through the holiday season, she told me I was the best Christmas Gift she ever received. She showed me how to love being a momma. The second thing I saw was my father's handsome wind-blown features nestled beneath a Western Hat--and I've loved cowboys ever since.

My delivery took place in the hospital at Hettinger, North Dakota--because our piece of prairie in the Northwestern section of South Dakota had no hospital. When entertaining at the Dakota Cowboy Poetry Gathering, Medora, ND, the audience applauded to hear where I was born. BUT when I repeated the same words at the Montana Cowboy Poetry Gathering, Lewistown, MT, the audience was quiet...so I quickly added, "I was BORN in North Dakota, but Momma packed me up as soon as she could and ran back across the border into South Dakota." Then the Montana audience laughed.

For the most hospitable, most congenial Cowboy Gathering to attend, pack your saddle bags and head to Medora, North Dakota for Memorial Weekend. North Dakota "Living Legend" Bill Lowman and wife JoAnn and the Teddy Roosevelt Foundation know how to host a party. (a link to their website is:
www.medorand.com)

Incredible performers take the night stage and pack you back to the Old West: Rancher/1970 NRCA Saddle Bronc Champion turned Poet: Jess Howard. Rancher, Wordsmith--Elizabeth Ebert. Rancher, Poet/Musician--D.W. Groethe. (All of these people can be found on CowboyPoetry.com) Baxter Black and Waddie Mitchell have also graced the Gathering.

Medora is nestled at the Gateway to the Teddy Roosevelt Badlands National Park. Drive through, camp, or sit and rest a spell in quiet wonderment of the "terres mauvaises a traverser"--or "bad lands to cross", as the French explorers said of the multi-colored diverse terrain. The natives called them "Mako Sica" or just plain Bad Land.

I call them Incredible, Spectacular...part of my Dakota heritage. (I've had the honor of performing at six years of DCPG's and held the title of MC, Featured Artist & Sunday Night Performer--thanks Bill and JoAnn!) (NEWS ALERT: I have been invited to perform on this year's Sunday Night Show--May 29, 2005--See y'all there!)--Okay, you missed it. It was great fun.

To attend a full-spectrum, elaborate Cowboy Gathering, reserve your room at the Yogo Inn at Lewistown, MT for the third weekend in September. (Contact the Chamber of Commerce--406-538-5436. I can get a link to their site if I belong to their Chamber)

Conference rooms are simultaneously filled with hosts like Nationally Recognized Poet--Wallace McRae, The Polish Poet--Paul Zarzyski, Storyteller/Musician--Glen Ohrlin, Outfitter/Rancher--Sandy Seaton, and musician, writer Stephanie Davis. (I have more names!) New performers, experienced performers and devoted fans from all over the US annually fill the Inn to overflowing. Even the swimming pool area is utilized by Musical Performers and traders of Original Western Art work. (Hear Stephanie Davis, Musician, Writer who performs with Garth Brooks, Ken Overcast-rancher, musician, yodeler with Radio Shows (
www.KenOvercast.com
), Wyoming Red, "Big Bertha" Bass Player, Larry Pawlowski--so good!!)

Evenings are filled with Big Name Concerts and jam sessions--too impressive to miss. Lewistown is nestled in the Judith Mountain Basin and is a true inspiration to poets and musicians alike...hence my song JUDITH, a tribute to a man's love and dedication to his Western Heritage. (I've had the honor of performing for 5 years in the poetry sessions and music sessions, plus held the title of Music MC. Also, I had the very distinct pleasure of performing for the 'traveling history train', the Charlie Russell Chew-Choo--reservations available from their Web Site or the Yogo Inn.)

A picture taken in 1999. Of Author.