For 30 years, the Durango Cowboy Poetry Gathering has made a concerted effort to build our outreach to local schools at all grade levels in Durango, Bayfield and Ignacio.   During the Gathering we send cowboy poets and musicians to perform in classrooms and assemblies.   Last year, they performed over 45 times in in two days at these schools, including at the Denier Youth Services Center for juvenile detainees.


Cowboy Poetry and music is presented in the local Durango, Bayfield, Mancos and Cortez schools.  Also at the 55 Plus Center, to Mercy Medical patients, at Sunshine Gardens Assisted Living, Cottonwood Inn and in Ft. Lewis College classes.  These performances are done at no charge in order to allow all ages the opportunity to listen to poets tell the story of Western culture and lifestyle in poetry and song.  The poets and musicians generously perform free at these venues for two full days.

Cowboy poet and musician Sid Hausman performed a special week-long educational program at
Park Elementary School in Durango to teach the children how to write poetry and write and
perform their own cowboy songs.

Young performer Krystin Harris singing in
the Poets in Schools program.

The goodwill provided by these poets is beyond compare.  The history they impart gives an education about our Western Culture to many children and people in our community who cannot otherwise attend performances at our venue in downtown Durango.

Cowboy Poet Sid Hausman with students that he taught how to write their own poetry
and sing their own songs.
  Krystin Harris said there is nothing better than "hearing 350 school kids
sing Home on the Range!"

In February each year, local FFA student leaders make a formal presentation to the Durango Cowboy Poetry Gathering Board of Directors requesting funding for their Chapter.  In 2018, the FFA will use the grant to assist in getting the students to the State Convention and National FFA Conventions.  It was also used to assist students with their SAE projects which are all agricultural in origin, such as raising livestock, starting an Ag related business or starting and Ag related job. 

FFA advisor Gina Baker has skill and enthusiasm to keep the FFA students active and inspired as they learn ag industry business skills, public speaking, marketing and finance as well as traditional farming and ranching vocations.

Funding from the Durango Cowboy Poetry Gathering helps support the Agricultural Education program of the Durango High School FFA Chapter

In return for the Cowboy Gathering grant, the Durango FFA students volunteer at several of the Durango Cowboy Poetry Gathering events. You’ll see them ushering at the evening poetry shows and assisting with the Cowboy Parade in their distinctive blue and gold FFA jackets.

The DHS FFA chapter is dedicated to community service, leadership and promoting agriculture. Their members are becoming valuable citizens in the new Western lifestyles of America and the Cowboy Gathering is proud to assist them. 

Executive Coordinator of the Durango Cowboy Poetry Gathering, Linda Mannix, presents Durango High School FFA President Brittany Stevens, and Treasurer Taylor Moore, a check to support all the FFA activities










For the 11 years in a row, the Board of Directors provided grant funding to the La Plata County 4-H Council.  These funds were used to assist with their annual 4-H Horse Camp which was held at the La Plata County Fairgrounds in May 2018. Forty youth, including 4-H'rs from Cortez, Pagosa Springs and Durango, attended with their horses. With adult supervision, the attendees camped out at the Fairgrounds for three days and had full responsibility for themselves and their mounts.


Empty Saddles

The Durango Cowboy Poetry Gathering has supported the La Plata County 4-H Horse Council for ten years.  This year an unfortunate loss occurred when Cody Ledford passed away the day before 4 - H Horse Camp was to start in May.  His mother, Rhonda Ledford has been a stalwart of the 4-H organization in La Plata County.  His father, Marshall raises and trains quarterhorses.  Cody lived his life on a ranch with horses and many agricultural jobs and projects. 

He had a zest for life and a smile that engaged all those around him.  A student at Escalante Middle School, he enjoyed wrestling and football.  Cody was also actively involved in all the 4-h leadership camps and conferences.  He raised pigs, showed horses and was involved with shooting sports.  He had a "catch-it" heifer and was proud that he caught his calf first, out of all the 4-h members who participated.  Cody loved hanging out at the La Plata County Fair each summer, and would spend every waking hour there. 

This year, the 4- H Council started what is known as the C.O.D.Y project.  This is "Community Overcoming Depressed Youth".  Through educational seminars and meetings, parents, teachers and young people become more aware of the signs of depression and possible suicide.

The goals of the 4-H Horse Council are to develop leadership abilities, build character, and create responsibility and pride in the caring of a horse.  Participants in the 4-H Horse Camp learned to work in groups, and individually, with their horse. Volunteer instructors taught horsemanship, safety and friendly competition in barrel racing, gymkhana games and Western horsemanship patterns. 

For more information on 4-H activities in La Plata County go to

The Durango Cowboy Poetry Gathering provides funding to support the La Plata County 4-H Horse Council and provides scholarships for their annual Horse Camp.  The 4-H youth learn horsemanship, responsibliity and leadership.
Girls love horses and the La Plata County 4-H Horse Council provides a safe environment for them to learn about horses and leadership.

The Board of Directors of the Durango Cowboy Poetry Gathering has taken important steps to insure that the culture and lifestyles of the American West will continue through these valuable youth programs.

Adults volunteer to help youngsters improve their horsemanship at 4-H Horse Camp