The 35th annual Durango Cowboy Gathering, formerly known as the Cowboy Poetry Gathering, takes place September 28 - October 1, 2023. Cowboy poets and musicians from all across the West will gather in Durango to celebrate poems and songs that capture the spirit of the American West and the people who live and work there. True West magazine for 3 years in a row has named the Cowboy Gathering as the Best in the West! The Durango Herald recognized the Gathering as one of the top 3 annual events in 2022. Events will take place in various venues around Durango including the VFW, the Strater Hotel, Wildhorse Saloon and Four Leaves Winery as well as Toh-a-tin and Sorrel Sky Art Gallery.
Durango Cowboy Poetry Gathering
The 4 day event includes a variety of family friendly activities. Many of the daytime performances are free and tickets for the other shows and music range from $15 to $45 depending on the performer. Poets and musicians will perform poetry and songs that will make you laugh, cry and appreciate the traditions of the cowboy lifestyle.2023 Event Info
If you love poetry and music in the Wild West lifestyle, come to Durango this fall and let yourself be charmed by some of the very best cowboy performers in the country.
The Motorless Cowboy Parade
One of the highlights of the Durango Cowboy Gathering is the largest motorless parade in Colorado. This much anticipated event takes place downtown on Saturday morning following a delicious chuckwagon breakfast that begins at 7:30 a.m. The parade starts promptly at 10:30 a.m. The colorful procession does not involve any vehicles—just historic wagons and carriages, lovely ladies & gents dressed in period costumes, buckaroos on stick horses, Native American dancers, and lots of horses.
Nine trophies are presented for the most impressive parade entries, including Best Horse Entry, Best Mule or Donkey Entry and Judges' Choice. Anyone is welcome to enter the parade and there is no entry fee. So why not get dressed up and join in the fun? If you can't enter, come on down that morning and cheer on those who do. In addition to a cowboy breakfast, there will be live music at every street corner. You'll have a great time and will be supporting Durango's western heritage.
Guided Trail Ride
Plan on joining Bears Ranch Stable for a beautiful 2 hour trail ride through the San Juan National Forest where you will travel through stunning aspen groves and enjoy breathtaking views of the mountains. There is no better way to see Colorado and feel inspired by the scenery than from the back of a horse! After your ride, you will return to the stable where you will enjoy a delicious cowboy lunch provided by Lone Spur Café.
Durango Music & Poetry Train
Enjoy some real western poetry, music and historical narration on the Durango Cowboy Train. Taking place on Friday, the train ride will bring you through some beautiful fall foliage while you listen to stories and songs that will make you both laugh and cry. This special Durango train excursion can be reserved by calling (970) 247-2733.More 2023 Event Info
What Is Cowboy Poetry?
When the cowboys and ranchers of the old west would sit down around the campfire at the end of a hard day's work, they would entertain each other with folk songs and tall tales. These stories would usually be in poetic form, as this would help them to be more easily remembered and passed along by cowboys who might not know how to read or write.
These poems would be stories about life on the ranch, descriptions of the landscape of the west, & humorous tales and memories of times gone by. Some of the most famous cowboy poets include S. Omar Barker, Curley Fletcher, Bruce Kiskaddon, Joel Nelson and Wally McRae.