By Brad Fuqua
Grand Canyon News Editor
TUSAYAN — There will be plenty of hootin’ and hollerin’ along with laughing and crying songs, rhymes, rhythm and cowboy blues at the first-ever Grand Canyon Hole in the Ground Cowboy Music and Poet Gathering Nov. 10-12 in Tusayan.
Mike Finney, Grand Hotel co-owner, has high hopes for the event.
Buck Schrader, cowboy artist-in-residence at the Grand Hotel, is producing the cowboy poet gathering.
“My goal with this event is for it to become an annual event that grows to encompass the entire community,” Finney said.
Buck Shrader, who shares cowboy culture as the artist-in-residence at the Canyon Star Restaurant and Saloon, is producing the gathering.
Schrader said cowboy poetry gatherings began at campfires, chuck wagons and bunkhouses. Hal Cannon of the Nevada Folklife Center at Elko had the idea that others would enjoy this type of cowboy self-entertainment.
The seed was eventually planted and the Elko Gathering has grown into a huge show covering a week 24 hours a day. Its success has also spawned gatherings in all Western states and few east of the Mississippi.
Finney said such events can draw about 10,000 people in time.
“With the Grand Canyon address, we should be able to achieve that and do great things,” Finney said.
This inaugural year, the gathering will be primarily at the Grand Hotel, and Canyon Star Restaurant and Saloon, Finney said.
“By next year, we’ll be looking for the probability that we’ll have workshops in other hotels and have other activities,” Finney said. “There’s a lot of potential.”
The list of participating artists is impressive and includes Ross and Patty Knox of Grand Canyon. The couple has been entertaining audiences from Nashville to California over the past two years.
Ross Knox is head packer in charge of getting supplies down to Phantom Ranch while his wife runs the Amfac trail crew in charge of maintaining two major routes.
There will be free day sessions on Nov. 10-11 from noon-4 p.m. at the Grand Hotel. Those same days from 7-10 p.m., there will be a dinner show at the Canyon Star ($20 plus tax per person). The event concludes Nov. 12 with cowboy church at the Grand Hotel.
See the Grand Canyon News for more information as the event draws closer.