Weekend full of cowboy poetry and music

Riders in the Sky headline Cowboy Poetry Gathering Aug. 11-14 in Lewistown

New & Notable

The Montana Cowboy Poetry Gathering and Western Music Rendezvous – the second oldest of its kind in the country – was a 2015 inductee into the Montana Cowboy Hall of Fame. The 31st annual gathering brings more than 50 hourly sessions of cowboy poetry and music to Lewistown Aug. 11-14.

Riders in the Sky, a western music and comedy trio featuring Ranger Doug, Joey the Cowpolka King, Woody Paul and Too Slim, perform Saturday night at the performing arts center ($20-$30, or $50 for VIP meet-and-greet). The fellas, award-winning members of the Grand Ole Opry, also share their story and answer questions at 1:30 p.m. Saturday.

The event opens Thursday with a chuckwagon supper and mini-show at Jack’s Hanger, MC’d by cowboy poet Lloyd McKenna and his songbird wife, Meryl McKenna ($20; seating is limited so don’t tarry).

A Western Art and Gear Show is on tap Friday and Saturday. Friday also brings the Charlie Russell Chew Choo Dinner Train at 4 p.m. (535-5436) and a Jam ’n Dance, 6:30 p.m. at Pine Meadows Clubhouse, featuring songwriter Steven Ray Hughes ($5).

On Saturday, the Judith Mountain Players stage a showdown with Rattlesnake Jake on Main Street at 12:50 p.m., and offer “Wanted: One Wife” at 2:15 p.m. Breakfast and Cowboy Poetry Church send visitors on their way Sunday morning.

Tickets are $10 for a three-day, all-event pass (excludes the opening barbecue, Chew Choo Dinner Train and Riders in the Sky concert); call 538-4575 or visit www.montanacowboypoetrygathering.com.