Chisholm Trail Cowboy Poetry Gathering

Click here for a full size pdf of the 2018 poster! Cowboy Poetry Poster 2018 

Chisholm Trail Cowboy Poetry Gathering

Snider, Secoy team up to host CTHC’s fourth annual cowboy poetry gathering

DUNCAN, Okla. – Cowboy poets and performers will gather at the Chisholm Trail Heritage Center, Friday, Nov. 16, for the fourth annual Chisholm Trail Cowboy Poetry Gathering. The event is free to attend, but is also a fundraiser for the Heritage Center, a 501(c) 3 nonprofit organization.
Jay Snider of Cyril, and Ron Secoy of Central High, will co-host this year’s event, 5 to 9 p.m. Snider and Secoy are both members of the Chisholm Trail Heritage Center Association, and influential to the poetry gathering since its inception. Promoted as the event that is “under the stars, with good people and good poetry,” this year’s line-up includes experienced performers, Oklahoman’s Robert Beene of Oktaha and Curtis Krigbaum of Dustin, Smokey Culver of League City, TX, and Daryl Knight of Gravette, AR. All but Culver are returning performers, but this is the first year they will be the featured poets. This is Culver’s first appearance on the CTHC stage. There will also be open mic slots available throughout the entire show.
A meet and greet begins at 5 p.m. and is a great chance for people to visit with the performers and register for the open mic. The poetry gathering attracts visitors and performers from around the United States. Anyone wanting to perform in open mic can recite, read or sing their own work, or even that which isn’t their own.
Snider travels across America to perform at cowboy poetry festivals, large and small. He resides in Cyril with his wife Sandi, where they have a business and ranch. He’s also involved in many civic organizations, including serving on the Apache Rodeo Committee. Snider spent his days of youth competing in rodeos, but his dedication for the cowboy verse goes back to about 1996. A published author, Snider pens the tales and experiences of an American cowboy, and then shares those from the stage. He’s performed at some of the top festivals across the country, including the National Cowboy Symposium in Lubbock, TX, and the National Cowboy Poetry Gathering in Elko, Nevada, and he’s been named a Top Male Poet by the Academy of Western Artists.
Secoy brought the idea of a cowboy poetry festival to the Heritage Center’s executive director, Stacy Cramer Moore, nearly four years ago. Secoy has a few published books since beginning his venture into cowboy writing and enjoys attending cowboy poetry events.
Bring blankets and lawn chairs to sit back and enjoy the cowboy poetry. Open mic sign ups begin at 5:15 p.m. If you’re a cowboy poet, or considering trying it out, be sure to join in the open mic sessions and share your words of wit and tunes of trail life “On the Chisholm Trail.”  There’s no admission fee or performerfee, but since it is a benefit for the Heritage Center, a a $20 recommended donation (or more) is encouraged. To learn more, visit CTHC’s website: event has also been created on the CTHC’s Facebook page.

Calling all Cowboy Poets! See Details below, but click here for Cowboy Poetry Contest form 

This year we are hosting our first Cowboy Poetry Contest. It is in conjunction with the Gathering.
The poetry contest performance event will be held in the community building behind Duncan Public Library, 2211 US-81 and is noon to 4 p.m. Mail in registration fees must be postmarked no later than Nov. 9, to the Heritage Center (see below). Late registration will be accepted, 11 to noon at the building, by cash or check. and the event will begin at noon, also at that location. Event is for all ages, and there is a registration contestant fee of $25, due by Nov. 15.  (Send to address listed below and on entry form).
Belt Buckles will be awarded to the top three contenders. Trophies will go to the 4th, 5th and 6th places.
Performance, recited or read, does not have to be original work, but it does have to be cowboy poetry – cowboys, cowgirls, ranch life, livestock – anything about the cowboy way of life.
“It’s all about performance. It doesn’t have to be their own material. They can recite a memorized piece or read it,” said Ron Secoy, event organizer and Chisholm Trail Heritage Center Association board member. Contestants will be judged on theme/structure, writing and performance.
“If they dress right, talk right, it’s about presenting their material, which must be western or rural-related, in a poetic format. They need to use the appropriate accompanying facial expressions, body motions and attire.”
Prizes to be awarded for adults are: Champion, belt buckle and $100 gift certificate to Crutcher’s Western Wear; 2nd and 3rd places: belt buckles and $50 gift certificate to Crutcher’s Western Wear. Trophies will be presented to fourth, fifth and sixth place.
Contestant fee, pre-registration is $25.00. Send check with registration form to: Chisholm Trail Heritage Center, 1000 Chisholm Trail Parkway, Duncan, OK 73533. Memo/Attention: Cowboy Poetry Contest.


A look back at 2017 and earlier years!

It was a perfect night – warm weather and beautiful evening sunset, for the third year of Campfires, Cattle & Cowboys Gathering (2017) as our headliner performers gathered for a group photo before stepping on stage. From left Francine Roark Robison, Donnie Poindexter, Danny Carl Williams, Cowboy Jim Garling, Jay Snider and Susanne Wooley.

From 2017:
Featured artists include nationally-recognized cowboy poet Jay Snider, cowboy poet laureate Francine Roark Robison, Danny Carl Williams, Donnie Poindexter, and the duo of Jim Garling on the guitar and Susanne Woolley on the fiddle.
Novice performers get a chance to break in their boots on the stage during open mic session interspersed through the featured performers from 6:00 – 9:00pm. Register that night or call for details.  All family friendly spoken or musical poetry welcome.
Meet, mingle and pick up your favorite artists’ books and CDs from 5:00-6:00pm or at their artist table throughout the night.
To warm your innards, there will be campfires, hot coffee and plenty of hot chocolate.  Bring your blankets and lawn chairs for this outdoor gathering. No charge to attend. There is a recommended donation of $20 to help the Chisholm Trail Heritage Center fulfill its mission and continue these types of programs.
For information, visit;
or call 580-252-6692.
Schedule of Performers – Hosted by Ron Secoy

5:00 – 6:00 Artist Meet & Greet / Purchase books & CDs
6:00 – 6:20 Jay Snider
6:20 – 6:30 Open Mic
6:30 – 6:50 Donnie Poindexter
6:50 – 7:00 Open Mic
7:00 – 7:20 Francine Robison
7:20 – 7:30 Open Mic
7:30 – 7:50 Danny Williams
7:50 – 8:00 Open Mic
8:00 – 8:20 Cowboy Jim Garling
8:20 – 8:30 Open Mic
8:30 – 9:00 Finale

Jared Gallagher, a travel blogger with Chickasaw Country, interviews
Ron Secoy at the Heritage Center, to get the inside scoop on our third annual Campfires, Cattle & Cowboys Gathering!

Campfires, Cattle, and Cowboys Gathering

Spend an evening around the campfire listening to stories and poems at the Chisholm Trail Heritage Center! Featured artists include cowboy poets, Jay Snider, Francine Roark Robison, Danny Carl Williams, Donnie Poindexter and duo Jim Garling and Susanne Woolley. For more information:

Posted by Chickasaw Country on Wednesday, November 8, 2017

To learn more about some of these performers, please visit their websites:
Jay Snider

Cowboy Jim Garling –  He also has a section about Susanne Woolley. They perform together throughout Oklahoma.
Donnie Poindexter or visit his Facebook page: Donnie Poindexter on Facebook
Highlights from the first two years, just a few photos and the posters we distributed to promote the event. More can be found on the Facebook page, link below.


Emcee and cowboy/cowboy poet, Jay Snider of Cyril, introduces R.J. Vandygriff of Texas, for the 2nd annual Campfires, Cattle & Cowboys Gathering, held Friday, Nov. 18, 2016, at the Chisholm Trail Heritage Center in Duncan, OK.


Donnie Poindexter was elected president of the Oklahoma Chapter of Western Music Association and began his term in January 2017. Congratulations Donnie! This is a photo art piece of Donnie at our 2015 event; shot and edited by our own Toni Hopper, Public Relations & Marketing Coordinator. Donnie is one of the many great performers who will share his talents as one of the featured artists at the 3rd annual CCC.

R.J. Vandygriff, headliner for 2nd annual Campfires, Cattle & Cowboys Gathering

Our 2016 headliner performer was R.J. Vandygriff, musician, singer, songwriter cowboy.

IMG_8232 jay snider copy

We feel pretty lucky to have Jay Snider back this year 2016, to serve as our emcee. If you’ve met Jay, then you know why we like him so much.

5x7 Ron Secoy_6612 copy

Ron Secoy is a special guest performer during the Open Mic session this year. He has been instrumental in promoting this event from its beginning in 2015.

R.J. Vandygriff was our 2016 headliner performer and is the “real-deal cowboy” who lives by the cowboy code. He’s performed on stage with George Strait, Garth Brooks, George Jones, Red Steagall, Michael Martin Murphy and many, many more great stars. He even spent seven years as “Ranger Mike” on the TV series Walker, Texas Rangers, alongside Chuck Norris. He did a great job entertaining us all. Thanks R.J.!  

We want to say thank you to everyone who came out and participated – whether it was just cuddled under a blanket on your lawn chair listening, or getting up on stage. It is your support that keeps a benefit fundraiser event like this going. Thanks to Chisholm Trail Casino for being a major sponsor, and to Woody Creek Ranch and McCoy’s Lumber for being pen sponsors for the longhorns.  Also, thank you to all the businesses that allowed us to display our poster and counter cards. 

2016-ad-poster-for-webCowboy Poetry Postcard 2016
Click on the image for a larger preview.Click here for the link to our Facebook Events page.