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Performing Arts

Durango Cowboy Poetry Gathering seeks home stays for performers

Performers have taken to Durango stages for the annual Cowboy Poetry Gathering for the last 34 years. This year, organizers with the Gathering are looking for people to help house some of this year’s performers from Sept. 28 to Oct. 2. (Jerry McBride/Durango Herald file)
34th annual event to be held Sept. 29-Oct. 2 this year

Performers for the 34th annual Durango Cowboy Poetry Gathering are looking for a place to set a spell while they’re in town Sept. 28 to Oct. 2.

Lindy Simmons, president of the board of the Durango Cowboy Poetry Gathering, said the organization is having a tough time finding accommodations for the performers – it’s the same problem it encountered last year.

She attributes the difficulty to a few factors: the continuing challenges from the COVID-19 pandemic, changes in hotel ownership and the face that hotels are consistently full because of the changing nature of travel.

“In the past – it’s been the whole history of the Durango Cowboy Poetry Gathering that the hotels in town have provided rooms, have comped them for us. And it just happened that COVID hit them so hard, last year, they just said they couldn’t make anything available to us. And that’s kind of carried over to this year – I think they’re still making up for what has happened in the past,” she said.

The Durango Cowboy Poetry Gathering is an annual tradition that is held the first weekend in October. It features evening performances and Saturday daytime sessions that include music, poetry and comedy. There’s also the annual motorless parade on Main Avenue held after the Gathering’s famous Cowboy Chuck Wagon Breakfast.

This year, the Gathering is looking for accommodations for about 28 performers for four nights. The rooms can be in a house, a cabin or guest house, Simmons said, adding that accommodations should be either close to or in Durango for ease of travel.

“The entertainers usually start pretty early in the morning and go until late at night, so they don’t want to make a big long drive,” she said. “Durango came through last year, so we were able to find places. People were wonderful last year to offer homes, cabins, whatever.”

Host a performer!

For more information or to host a Durango Cowboy Poetry Gathering performer, contact Lindy Simmons by phone at (970) 946-2460 or by email at mixteca4@gmail.com.

Simmons said people who have hosted performers in the past have found it to be a fun opportunity, and despite the fact that there’s no pressure from either hosts or performers to hang out, everyone seems to enjoy the weekend.

“I think that the people who take in entertainers really have an enjoyable experience. They get to know the entertainers, these are people who are pretty homegrown, they tend to be from farms and ranches, or at least have that kind of rural background. They’re very polite, they don’t want to cause anybody any trouble, and a lot of times, they need to practice playing the guitar a little bit, maybe practice some of their poems, and so the families get a little entertainment from that,” she said. “We don’t require that the family do anything else for them; they don’t have to provide transportation, we ask that they don’t ask them to put on a show, and they don’t have to feed them because they usually manage on their own. But you usually find that some of the families want to offer them something anyway.”

katie@durangoherald.com

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