Hal Cannon

Waddie Mitchell

Waddie Mitchell has become an icon of Nevada, of buckaroo culture (cowboys of the Great Basin), and of cowboy poetry. Born in 1950 on a ranch in Elko County, he grew up to be a working cowboy. After the popularity of the first Cowboy Poetry Gathering in 1985—of which he was one of the founders—he realized the impact he had on audiences. He also saw that making day wages as a cowboy, he would never buy the ranch he dreamed of owning. So Mitchell became a professional cowboy poet and entertainer with worldwide tours, logging over 200 days on the road in 2006.

Cowboy Poetry

Cowboy poetry is poetry by or about cowboys. Its direct origins are from the great cattle drives after the Civil War that brought beef from the isolated West to the populated cities of the North and East. This poetry blossomed as an insider's art form at the height of the cowboy in popular culture, the first half of the twentieth century. In 1985, folklorists from the West first staged a forum for cowboy poetry in Elko, Nevada.

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