By Trevor Busch
Thwarted in a recent request to the Town of Taber for assistance in resurrecting Taber Cowboy Poetry, organizer David Woodruff reports the event will now be breaking trail to Grassy Lake for March 28.
“The guys who calve early will be done by then, and the guys who calve late won’t be starting,” said Woodruff. “It’s in the middle. I don’t know how many people have cattle — that might not be a concern — but in my world, calves are a big thing, so that’s what I’m thinking.”
Woodruff says Chamberlain School has signed on to host the event, and the chair of Taber Cowboy Poetry says he hopes to make it as inclusive as possible.
“I think we probably should have an open mic, but we’ll get as many people as can contact me on the program so we can find out how many minutes they’re going to need, and what they’re going to do,” said Woodruff. “We’d like to make sure that the kids know that they’re involved, and we definitely want them, but we’re not going to be exclusive. Anybody that wants to come do poetry — whether it’s original or written by somebody else — if you make things exclusive you cut yourself out of a lot of good experience, I think. I’d like to have as much as possible.”
Organizers are looking for local students, youth, adults, or seniors that might be interested in participating in the event as part of the billing.
“We’d like to have kids, especially, compose poetry and music…anybody that can do anything. If they find a cowboy poem that they like and somebody else wrote it, we for sure want them to come read it, or if they can memorize and recite it, that would be great. We’d just like to have the author’s name mentioned so that they get the glory.”
In early January, Woodruff was seeking a waiver from Taber town council for use of the Taber Community Centre Auditorium and the White Room for the event, at a cost of roughly $900.
Woodruff’s application indicated the event could help locals write and perform cowboy poetry and western music, bring in out of town performers to help guide the production, and spotlight local businesses.
Woodruff had indicated local schools had been approached to involve students in writing, composing and performing for the event, and it would include a modified competition with prizes to motivate children.
After a brief discussion on Jan. 13, town council had voted 4-3 to defeat a motion approving a waiver for the event.
Town councillors Garth Bekkering, Louie Tams, Joe Strojwas and Jack Brewin voted in opposition.
“So we think we got it figured out what to do to bring it to Taber for next year. I guess we’ll see,” said Woodruff. “I think there was deadline that got missed, so we’ll be aware of that for next time.”
Woodruff encourages anyone with an interest to get involved or sign up to perform on Saturday, March 28.
Woodruff can be reached at 403-760-0152.
“I have had such a good time going to these things — from Kamloops to Maple Creek to Lewistown, Montana — that I hate the thought of us missing out here.”