The Saratoga Sun -

Time to get gathered

Grand Encampment Cowboy Gathering features familiar faces and activities this year


Saratoga's own noted cowboy poet, humorist, storyteller, BS-er and master of ceremonies Chuck Larsen returns after a couple of years absence to emcee as well as star in this year's Saturday night show during the 15th annual Grand Encampment Cowboy Gathering (GECC) Friday through Sunday in Encampment.

Larsen was the featured poet and emcee for 13 of the 15 years of the weekend event sponsored by the GECG-Outfit.

At 7 p.m. he will be joined on stage at the Encampment gym by performers Almeda Bradshaw and Mike Blakely.

Bradshaw is one of Montana's talented Western singer/songwriters. Her love and appreciation for the cowboy life comes through in heartfelt expressions of the west. During her 2009 performance in Encampment, afternoon show host Jerry Paxton waxed about Bradshaw, "Your voice is amazing. It touches something inside me that's hard to explain ... like seeing a painting that really speaks to you."

As a singer/songwriter, Blakely has released 11 CDs and performed all over the U.S. including in Encampment in 2008. Blakely has also made16 tours to Europe. Blaklely is a two-time winner of Western Writers of America's Spur Award-once for best western novel of the year, and once for best western song of the year.

Larsen's unique style of writing and performing his poetry will allow you to "visualize" his cowboyin' experiences as he relates them.

Larsen has been writing and performing his poetry since 1990, and has been featured at many cowboy gatherings around the country.

Larsen's poetry can make you roll in the aisle with laughter or bring a sentimental tear to your eye, as you hear, see and become part of his performance.

Last year, Larsen retired from his full-time job as manager of Carbon Power & Light and he and wife Linda moved to northeastern Wyoming.

According to a spokesman for the GECG Outfit, in addition to Saturday night's all-star show, the weekend of Cowboy poetry, music, events and fun features the following:

Friday, July 14

6:30-8:30 p.m.: Open Mic Cowboy Poetry/Music at Grand View Park, free to the public; 9 p.m.: Campfire Jam Session, featuring all entertainers. Grandview Park.

Saturday, July 15

10 a.m.: Song Writing Workshop under tent at Park open & free to all; 11 a.m.: Kids Stick Horse Rodeo for kids age 10 and under at Grand View Park race track; 11:30 a.m.-1:30 p.m.: Lunch sponsored by Encampment-Riverside Lions Club at park shelter; Noon: Western Entertainment Roundup-free: be our guests for afternoon of top notch entertainment under the tents at Park; Daily tours of Grand Encampment Museum; 7 p.m.: All-Star Show at Encampment gym; selection of raffle winner of R. G. Finney print entitled "Dehorning Day", and presentation of pioneer award to Dick and Peggy Hiser.

Sunday, July 16

8-10 a.m.: Continental Breakfast at Park; 10 a.m.: Cowboy Church under the tent at Grand View Park, led by Ken and Becky Kreusel; All day: Historic Tours of Grand Encampment Museum.


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