Cowboy poetry gathering more than sagebrush serenades |

Cowboy poetry gathering more than sagebrush serenades

Heber City and Midway will show how the West was won when the towns host the 17th Cowboy Poetry Gathering and Buckaroo Fair next week.

The event, which will run from Wednesday, Nov. 2, through Sunday, Nov. 5, will feature the Buckaroo Fair at Wasatch High School that will host painters, hatters, saddle makers, belt, chap and spur crafters.

In addition, the days and nights will be highlighted by music from artists such as Riders in the Sky, the Bar J Wranglers and Michael Martin Murphey and poetry by Jeff Carson, Yvonne Hollenbeck, R.P. Smith and Andy Nelson in venues throughout the town and adjacent Midway.

New this year is the PBR Bull Riding Competition that will serve as a finale for the gathering at the Wasatch County Event Center on Saturday, Nov. 5.

Award-winning country and folk singer Suzy Boggus is looking forward to making the trip from Nashville, Tenn., to perform at and be part of the gathering and fair.

"We had a blast last year," Boggus said during a phone interview with The Park Record from her home. "Heber is a beautiful place to stay. I mean I woke up early every day just so I could look around and enjoy the sights."

This year, Boggus has another reason she why she’s anxious to return her new CD, "The American Folk Songbook," a collection of Americana cover tunes, which was released in August.

The CD is comprised of songs Boggus sang as child while growing up in Aledo, Ill.

"Most of them were songs I had sang in music class in school when I was a kid," she said. "I had that class three days a week and it was like recess. I remember skipping down the hall just to get there. Ninety percent of the songs on the album were from my fifth-grade songbook."

With her childhood memories intact, Boggus began working on the CD last year.

"I had an idea of what songs I wanted to do," she said. "I thought I would record a demo and then pitch the idea to the Cracker Barrel restaurant and stores to be sold in for their music program."

Boggus quickly recorded four songs and took the samples to Cracker Barrel.

"They loved the idea, and, from there, I started to select more songs and finally solidified what I wanted to do," she said. "Through that process, certain songs kept repeating in my mind. Two of them were ‘Tom Dooley’ and ‘Banks of Ohio," which were kind of murder ballads."

Boggus didn’t want to do too many of those types of songs.

"I thought people would start thinking I was morbid," she said with a laugh. "Then I started researching the songs, and the more research I did, the more fascinated I became to the point where I decided I needed to write a book as a companion piece to the CD because some of these songs are really not what people expect. A lot of them deal with the history of America and the songs were written to go along with what was happening at the time."

Boggus chose "Rock Island Line," because it reminded her of her family

"I wanted to do a train song, because I grew up in a little town where my grandpa was a depot master," she said. "I also did ‘Erie Canal,’ because I wanted to do a cowboy song, because cowboys are what I really love about America."

As the songs lined up, Boggus found herself in a dilemma.

"It was becoming a very personal album for me to the point where I remember that I thought about shaking my finger at myself and asking myself if I was vain by choosing the songs that were like a collection of my favorites, but that’s what made this record so fun to do," she said with a laugh.

Not only was making the CD fun, it was fairly easy.

"All I really had to do was hone down the verses," Boggus said. "I mean, ‘Froggy Went a-Courtin" has 171 verses and I didn’t really want to put all of them on the record."

Boggus did, however, decide to include the songs’ sheet music in the book.

"I did some shows and added some of the songs into my set and found that the audience enjoyed and missed hearing them," she said. "As I thought about it, I decided to include the sheet music in the book, so people could follow along with the CD and have a good time.

"Who knows, maybe these things will inspire some people to pick up instruments they used to play, or give them the incentive to learn an instrument," she said. "Who knows? People may be hootenannying in their living rooms. That’s my goal, at least."

The 17th annual Cowboy Poetry Gathering and Buckaroo Fair will run Thursday, Nov. 2, through Sunday, Nov. 6, in various venues in Heber and Midway. Tickets for the Buckaroo Fair and continuous music and poetry are $10 at the door. (See accompanying schedule). Concert tickets range from $14 to $37 and are available online at or Day’s Market in Heber City. Tickets also available by calling (435) 654-2352. For more information on event times and locations, visit