Cowboy Entertainment Brings Music and Comedy to La Junta, Colorado

Share Article

Another “Doc” Jones and Co. Productions event is on its way to La junta and southeast Colorado Saturday, May 24, from 9 AM to 9 PM at Delbert “Doc” Jones’ Bunk House in North La Junta. Following the success of Jones’ first annual Chuckwagon Cookoff last October and his 31st annual Farm Days in March, this Cowboy Poetry and Music Gathering promises to be a crowd pleaser in the tradition of the American West.

For those who follow the Cowboy music genre and know its outstanding entertainers, some of the “headliners” in this first ‘Doc’ Jones Poetry and Music Gathering are Bill Barwick, Susie Knight, and Carin Mari with the Pony Express.

When “Doc” Jones and Co. holds its first annual Cowboy Poetry and Music Gathering Saturday, May 24, some of the best and best known performers of Western entertainment will be coming to La Junta for the weekend.

Throughout the day at Delbert “Doc” Jones’ Bunk House, 28100 County Road 809 in North La Junta, eight bands with popular vocalists are scheduled to perform real cowboy music in a real cowboy setting. The eight bands will be performing in 45-minute sets with six cowboy poets delivering their original poetry and humor for 20-minute sets in between. An evening show featuring several of the outstanding performers of the day begins at 8 p.m. A jam session is expected to follow.

There will be a one-time in-and-out gate fee of $10.00, which may be purchased on location any time during the day. As Jones says, for this “one money, folks get a day of Western fun and entertainment. This will be the real Wild West with stories that are true—no color added.”

In addition to the entertainment, beginning at 9 that morning and continuing throughout the afternoon and evening, there will also be booths of Western Art for sale, along with Cowboy Memorabilia, such as bits and spurs, and “great Cowboy Fixin’s available on the grounds all day” when hunger strikes, according to Jones.

Included in the lineup of entertainers are the following:

Bill Barwick is an accomplished western music singer-songwriter and guitarist, who was nominated for Entertainer of the Year for two years, and Male Vocalist of the Year for three years by the Western Music association; they also nominated his “Cowboy Standard Time” for Song of the Year. The Academy of Western Artists named him Male Vocalist of the Year in 2005 and 2008 and named his CD “Cowboy Billl and Other Stories as the 2007 Western Music Album CD of the Year. He has performed regularly since 1984 at Denver’s historic Buckhorn Exchange Restaurant, declared the “Best Saloon of the West” by True West Magazine.

Susie Knight is a cowboy poet, singer, and songwriter who has been hailed as “Colorado’s All-Around Cowgirl Entertainer.” Starting to ride a pony and perform at age three, she has since competed in horse shows and barrel racing. She has worked on ranches and performed for kids in classrooms and adults in concert halls across the West. It is said of her that “Her original story-like cowboy poetry and western songs capture a woman’s perspective on ranching, rodeo, remudas…and romance.” In 2013, she was a Top 5 Finalist for the Academy of Western Artists’ Will Rogers’ Award Western Song of the Year (“The Spirit of Buffalo Bill”) and their Will Rogers’ Award for top Cowgirl Poet of the Year.

Carin Mari, who was raised in the mountains of Colorado, is barely over 20, yet she is a National Yodeling Champion and a very diverse artist who can include a wide variety of music in her shows, including Western, bluegrass, classic country, and folk. Whether playing with her band of two brothers, called Pony Express, or as a solo entertainer, she offers pleasing vocals and intricate guitar skills. Carin Mari’s musical life changed dramatically when she met Michael Martin Murphy, who is now a friend and mentor. They have performed on stage together. At his suggestion a dozen years ago, she began singing “I Want to Be a Cowboy’s Sweetheart,” and western music became a passion. Area residents will remember a concert played and sung by Carin Mari and the Pony Express at the Grand Theatre in Rocky Ford several years ago. Their most recent CD is “Life – Love – Legends,” which features three of her original songs.

Wes McKinley and Billy Wittfield have been playing and singing together for many years. Folks have most likely heard them when McKinley was on the campaign trail for his four terms as Colorado State Representative from his home in Walsh. McKinley is a cowboy who believes small business owners, working families, and family farmers and ranchers should be the major influences in our state government. He is co-owner of Kirkwell Cattle Company, a cattle and horse touring company that provides guided tours through southern Colorado and nearby states. As his press kit says, “Rep. McKinley is an old and crusty cowboy, born a long time ago when times were tough, much like they are today.” Billy Wittfield has been a musician, as “Doc” Jones says, “for a long, long time.” He is a Kansas rancher, who at one time played backup for Roger Miller.

Evelyn Roper is a singer-songwriter-guitarist living in the heart of the Colorado Rocky Mountains. Born and raised in southeastern Arizona, her music reflects the unique sound of the West-Southwest. She is an eight-year member of the Waunita Hot Springs Wranglers—a Western Show Band that performs once a week throughout the summer months at the Wauneta Hot Springs Guest Ranch of Gunnison. She also plays a western solo “gig” at the Powderhorn Guest Ranch in Powderhorn, CO.

Sergio “Trigger” Schaefer was born in Dallas and raised in Colorado Springs. Here, he helped friends with branding calves and other regular day work. At the end of the day, he enjoyed throwing a poem out to the folks he worked with on ranches. Although he had always written poetry, he was further encouraged when the manager of the Winter Hawk Ranch, where he worked, urged him to perform his poems publicly. He took part in the first Cowboy Poetry Gathering in downtown Colorado Springs in 1996, and from there, he has recited his poems in almost every western venue imaginable. His poetry celebrates the stories of the old west and mountain adventures he loves.

Kurt Corsair and Floyd Beard are working ranchers in southeastern Colorado, and both are in large measure responsible for suggesting this Cowboy Poetry and Music Gathering to “Doc” Jones and engaging many of the entertainers with him. Corsair does voice work on ads for KCEG Radio 780 AM out of Fountain and produced many of the ads promoting this weekend in North La Junta. He has made three albums of cowboy songs with a fourth on the way. One single, “American Story,” is about the Army’s expansion into Pinon Canyon. Beard has performed poetry for 30-plus years to gatherings where his stories and style receive rave reviews. Often compared to Baxter Black, he has a genuine storytelling manner, reciting poems born in the business of everyday ranching. He is the current Colorado Chapter President of the Western Music Association. Floyd’s poetry is about his own experiences and his observations of the western way of life. His philosophy is simple: “Life is a journey, not a destination, and is best viewed from atop a good horse.”

Leon Davis (Professor Leo Picatune) is a La Junta resident who is a skilled musician on bugle, accordion, piano, the penny whistle, and other instruments, as needed. However, for “Doc’s” Poetry and Music Gathering, the Professor is offering his special Medicine Show, complete with comedy, music, and special prices on an array of snake oil. As a particular “health feature,” he is selling—at reasonable prices—a variety of convenient outhouses. (No demonstration models will be available, however.) Davis—out of character—has performed at community gatherings and theatre performances from La Junta to Denver, and is a regular interpreter at Bent’s Old Fort NHS.    

“Trey” Allen will be appearing on the program with his daughter, aspiring singer-songwriter Shandee Allen, who often performs songs and poetry with her father. “Trey” Allen began writing and reciting cowboy poetry to amuse himself, then a few friends, then started attending gatherings such as this one. While in high school, he worked on ranches and in rodeos, where he began picking up stories, which he subjects to—as he says—“Quality Truth Improvement” in case they seem too tame. He still likes to work at friends’ ranches while performing frequently from the deep South to the West. He is a native Texan who makes his home in Oklahoma.

Others on the day-long program are Cowboy Poet Fred Ellis of Meeker, who started Christian Cowboy Ministries nearly 10 years ago, traveling to prisons and trying to encourage inmates to turn their lives around; Jim Young, who is called “the pride of Southern Colorado’s ‘singer-songwriters,’” whose voice and guitar for 25 years and in nine CDs hint a bit of cowboy, a bit of country, a bit of Spanish, and images of the Plains; Dwayne Wilson is a working cowboy with a ranch on U.S. Highway 10 near La Junta; and Susie Solomon is a singer-songwriter.

Sponsorships for this exciting all-day show are invited, and contributions may be made by calling “Doc” Jones at 719-469-3030.

Share article on social media or email:

View article via:

Pdf Print

Contact Author

Ryan Stevens