ELKO — It’s a spaghetti western this year at the National Cowboy Poetry Gathering in Elko.
Italian and Italian-American ranchers are highlighted at the event, which began Monday, Jan. 28 and continues through Feb. 2.
“This is one of many cultural exchanges we’ve had,” Darcy Minter of the Western Folklife Center, which puts on the event, said.
This year, the center brought in ranchers from Italy’s Maremma region to share their stories and traditions; it also hosted media from Italian publications, with staff support from the Nevada Commission on Tourism.
The Gathering itself includes workshops on western arts such as rawhide braiding; dances and dance workshops (in case you don’t already know how to do the Texas Two Step or the Great Basin Swing); and plenty of music and cowboy poetry.
If you’ve missed this year’s event, get your fix of cowboy lore at the Western Folklife Center, open throughout the year. Located at 501 Railroad St. in Elko, in the century-old Pioneer Hotel, the Western Folklife Center houses the Wiegand Gallery, which has Western-themed exhibits and a 20-seat black-box theater where you can watch a 16-minute video about the cowboy life. Also take in the renovated bar, which features art and memorabilia from past poetry gatherings, and the gift shop, which sells books, CDs and other items related to western culture.
Also in Elko:
J.M. Capriola Co., 500 Commercial St., Elko. In business since 1929, Capriola’s sells saddles, Garcia bits and spurs, boots, hats and other items essential to the bona-fide cowboy. The retail section is on the first floor, but visitors can go upstairs, where saddles are made and other leather work is done. Click here for more on saddle making at Capriola’s.
Northeastern Nevada Museum, 1515 Idaho St., Elko. The 40,000-square-foot museum is known for its extensive collection of work by artist and writer Will James. The Canadian-born James lived in the American West during the first part of the 20th century, a colorful life that included a stint in the Nevada State Prison for cattle rustling and winning the 1927 Newbery Medal for children’s literature for his book, “Smoky, the Cow Horse.”
California Trail Interpretive Center, eight miles west of Elko off Interstate 80. Run by the Bureau of Land Management, the center has exhibits, video and more on America’s westward expansion.