Montana Cowboy Poetry Gathering and Western Music Rendezvous, (MCPG), is a 4-day cultural festival, dedicated to celebrating and preserving the history, heritage and values of the cowboy lifestyle of the Upper Rocky Mountain West. Through cowboy poetry and western music lyrics, an oral history of the American cowboy is shared.
Montana Cowboy Poetry Gathering is held annually in mid-August in Lewistown, Montana. About 100 cowboy poets, western musicians and artists primarily from Montana, Wyoming, Idaho, South Dakota, Colorado and Canada, convene to share their talents and perpetuate the traditions of the American West. The Saturday night Grand Stage Show is held at the Fergus Center for the Performing Arts at Fergus High School.
Other highlights of the gathering include 50+ hourly sessions of cowboy poetry and western music, discovery workshops, a Friday night Jam ‘n Dance, and Sunday morning Cowboy Church. Teachers can earn up to six continuing education credits for attending the gathering. A Western Art & Gear Show featuring artists of all genres and their endless western wares, is also produced in conjunction with the gathering.
Lewistown, MT is in Charles M. Russell country. The economy is cattle based, along with wheat and hay production. There are many 5th generation cattle operators and ranches in the area. Over 2,000 people attend various activities at Montana Cowboy Poetry each August. The gathering is an important and validating cultural festival for the central Montana community.
AWARDS AND NATIONAL RECOGNITION
2011 & 2017 – Featured in Patricia Schultz’ travel guide, “1,000 Places to See in the US and Canada Before You Die.” New York Times bestseller book.
2012 – Received Historic Preservation Award of Excellence from Lewistown Historic Society.
2013 – Nominated as Tourism Event of the Year at the Governor’s Conference on Montana Tourism.
2014 – United Airlines features MT Cowboy Poetry in January flight magazine, ‘Hemisphere,’ as a world-wide bucket list item in “24 Strangest Things to Do”.
2015 – Legacy Inductee into Montana Cowboy Hall of Fame for District #6…..an OVER THE TOPHONOR!!!!
2018 – Recipient of Book Award from Montana Humanities for encouragement of the written word in poetry and song lyrics to honor heritage of the AmericanCowboy of the UpperRocky Mountain West.
2019 – Featured as one of the best summer festivals in ’Mosaic Magazine’ a lifestyle publication produced by Morgan Stanley for their clients.
Montana Cowboy Poetry Gathering and Western Music Rendezvous was founded in 1986 in Big Timber, MT. After outgrowing the hospitality amenities of Big Timber, it moved to Lewistown in 1990 where it was produced by the Lewistown Area Chamber of Commerce and the Lewistown Art Center. At the conclusion of the 2010 gathering, it was determined that Montana Cowboy Poetry Gathering, the 2nd oldest in the US, had grown to the level that it required its own non-profit organization with its own Board of Directors, dedicated to working year around to ensure production and perpetuation of a successful and vital gathering each year.
Montana Cowboy Poetry Gathering and Western Music Rendezvous is self-funded and produced by a volunteer Board of Directors, two modestly compensated independent contractors and many local volunteers. Financing for the gathering is derived from gifts, memorials, grants, sponsorships, artist/vendor booth rentals, Saturday night stage show ticket sales, and the sale of 3-day pin passes.
Montana Cowboy Poetry is “Keepin’ It Cowboy,” in central Montana. Please join us as we celebrate the best of the west!