Real Old West Events & Chuck Wagon Grub Spell Family Fun at Weekend "Dewey-Humboldt Cowboy Gathering and Western Heritage Festival"

By Mariah Fleming

JP Gorham and Gail Steiger

In the picturesque little towns of Dewey and Humboldt near Prescott this weekend, the good ol' west is going to come alive for Dewey-Humboldt's first ever Cowboy Gathering and Western Heritage Festival. From June 21 through 23rd, many first rate Western entertainers, musicians, writers, storytellers, artists and poets from all over the country are coming together for a weekend of bona fide cowboy camaraderie. You can learn trick roping, take a gander at saddle making and see and hear lots of other things at the festival. It’s the real McCoy. There's even going to be Cowboy Church. The festival is a fundraiser for the Dewey-Humboldt Historical Museum. Tickets for the 6p.m. Friday and Saturday night shows are $10 each. They're available at the event or through the historical museum at Saturday daytime shows from 10a.m. to 4p.m. are free.

Holding a Cowboy Gathering and Western Heritage Festival in Dewey-Humboldt is the idea of Prescott resident, writer J.P Gorham of Mountain Brooks Publishing, who is producing the event. The Dewey-Humboldt Cowboy Gathering and Western Heritage Festival features a smorgasbord of both evening and daytime events. "The variety we have at this gathering is as wide and diverse as the people who settled the West in the first place." says Gorham. "These are all people who have extensive knowledge of the history of Arizona and a fantastic ability to bring it to life for the listeners!" Down home family fun is key at the festival. "It's a simple, down to earth, family friendly event." Gorham emphasizes. "We have Scoopz Restaurant providing sandwiches, drinks and ice cream throughout the day at the school on Saturday. And Mortimer Farms is making BBQ dinners available on Friday and Saturday evening. Then on Sunday morning there's a chuck wagon breakfast at Mortimer Farms."

The evening shows take place in Dewey at Mortimer Farms (formerly known as Young's Farm.) The daytime shows are at Humboldt Elementary School from 10a.m. to 4p.m. Gail Steiger, internationally recognized Western singer, storyteller and poet, who has appeared on A Prairie Home Companion, headlines Friday evening's show. Opening Friday at 6p.m. is local favorite Don Fernwalt. Joining Steiger for Friday night's show will be performers Tony Argento, The Broken Chair Band, Slim Farnsworth, Jim Dunham and the Rusty Pistols, Deanna Dickenson McCall and Peggy Malone. A BBQ dinner will be available for purchase, and the evening show will wind down with an open jam session to which the public is invited.

Sue Harris

On Saturday from 10a.m. to 4p.m. there will be performers on multiple stages hosting free day sessions in Humboldt at the Humboldt Elementary School. Included in the day's activities will be a writing workshop with award winning writer and Prescott resident Amy Hale Auker. Other workshops include trick roping, fabric spinning and saddle making. Hand made arts and crafts will be displayed, along with western art and photography exhibits, including works by George and Lynne Phippen.

On Saturday evening Arizona rancher and cowboy poet Mike Dunn opens the show at Mortimer Farms. The line up also includes performances by Sue Harris, Suzi Killman, Terry Nash, Vic Anderson, Mountain Saddle Band and Jessica Hedges. Headliners and Western stars Juni Fisher and Prescott resident Belinda Gail will close the show and an open jam session will follow.

Wrapping up the festival Sunday is a chuck wagon breakfast at 8a.m. followed by Cowboy Church at 9:30a.m. under the cottonwoods at Mortimer Farms. "Cowboy Church is a simple down-to-earth church featuring many of the performers from the gathering who will be performing songs, poems and stories," says Gorham.

Not losing sight of our true western heritage is front and center to Gorham's mission. "I want to provide a window to a world that is slowly fading away and taking with it the fabric of what made this country great in the first place." he explains. "At the festival there will be folks like Joe Briggs, who has been a working cowboy in these mountains for over 75 years. And Frieda Eswonia, a historian for the Yavapai tribe, will be sharing her remarkable stories and will even teach a little of her native language…and you can count the people who are fluent in it on one hand!"

The performers and guest artists Gorham chose for the festival represent an authentic experience of the American west. "I chose my performers from years and years of performing at Cowboy Gatherings around the country, and from knowing the authenticity and talent of many in the field of Western entertainment." he says. "I also added as much Native American influence as possible. Since it's a Western event, we're trying to bring awareness of what the West was really like and what we can still learn from its heritage today."

Well known Arizona Western Folksinger Sue Harris, who has participated in many cowboy poetry and music events in Arizona and Canada, sums up the allure of these events like this: "It is said that cowboy poetry and music gatherings are like a family reunion...except you actually LIKE everyone there! They are not like any other sort of festival. Whenever I go to one, I always have the feeling of 'coming home'."

For complete information contact or go to the museum website at

Dewey-Humboldt Cowboy Gathering and Western Heritage Festival

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