Cowboy FestivalThe Torrey Cowboy Poetry and Music Festival, held annually on the park-like grounds of Robber’s Roost Bookstore in beautiful Torrey, is traditionally a great destination to listen to ranch verse, soak in authentic cowboy song craft, and maybe even jam a bit or learn a new lick or two in a low-key, friendly workshop atmosphere.

This year’s event, to be held Saturday, May 26, features an expanded line-up with old and new favorites, as well as a workshop that will seek to answer the elusive question:  Just what is cowboy music?

This year’s tentative schedule is as follows.  Tickets are available in advance or at the gate.

1:30-2:30 Cross Town Cowboys: “What’s this Cowboy Music Really all About?”

3:00-4:15  Old Leather

4:30-6:00 JC Needham

6:15-6:30 Wayne County High School Poetry Winners

6:30-8:00 Mary Kaye

8:00-8:30 Jeff Chappell

8:30- 10:00 Cross Town Cowboys

The Cross Town Cowboys write and perform original western music with an inspirational message. The Action, California-based act’s debut was nominated for Best Cowboy/Western Swing album for 2008 by the Western Music Association.

Old Leather is a Utah-based act featuring well-known old-time music stalwart Jim Witherspoon.  This trio combines cowboy music and poetry for a free-roaming exploration of song and verse.

J.C. Needham, the Buckaroo Balladeer, has notched multiple nominations as “Male Vocalist of the Year” by the Academy of Western Artists.  From his home base in Utah’s remote West Desert, he ropes, ranches, and writes songs about the life he knows.

The Wayne County High School Cowboy Poetry Contest winners will share their original verse about life in Wayne County, where the ranching tradition remains strong to this day.

Returning this year is Mary Kaye.  A native of Texas, she now lives in central Utah with her husband and children. Mary Kaye was recently awarded The Academy of Western Artist’s 2011 Western Female Performer of the Year. In addition, in 2010 she was named Female Vocalist of the Year by the Western Music Association.

Jeff Chappell is as authentic as a pair of well-worn batwing chaps.  A general practitioner at Wayne County’s medical clinic, he is also an in-demand musician.  A native of Wayne County, his performances have a lived-in feel that cannot be faked.

For more information on the May 26 festival,  visit

By Steve “Saddle String” Lutz