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Idaho Enterprise

Cowboy Poetry returns to Iron Door

The "calming" influence of Dave Anderson.

Members of the Cowboy Poets of Idaho and the International Western Music Association returned again to the Iron Door Playhouse to share their love of poetry, humor, music, and the history of the west over the weekend.  The event had the additional goal of raising funds for the repair of the historic theatre’s roof.  

The weekend of cowboy poetry brings together a group of performers of many types—some more serious, some less so.  Some younger, some…well, less so (as they themselves joked with one another).  The full weekend offered a range of moods from the fanciful and comic to the serious and reflective, with a number of personal stories shared and songs with deeply personal messages shared.

The event involved a number of free to the public afternoon shows, in which performers were welcomed to try out material, practice or try new pieces, get used to the building’s acoustics, or respond to certain themed hours.  The four o’clock hour on Saturday, for instance, was set aside for Patriotic poems and songs, and featured a number of touching songs and poems based on the experiences of the writers, several of whom were veterans themselves and presented pieces on their experiences as such.  

The evening performances followed a set program, and mixed musicianship and the spoken word throughout, until culminating at the end of the performance with a grand finale in which the evening’s performers all took the stage together.

Fans from around the valley as well as farther flung places streamed in and out as the afternoon sessions went on—though most who came ended up more in than out, as the rapid quick sets meant that a visitor was treated to a very different tone, style, and personality before many minutes had gone by.    

The Iron Door Playhouse is one of Malad’s most cherished historic locations, and has needed roof repairs for many years.  Performances throughout the year are used to raise funds toward that end, and the Cowboy Poetry Festival is one of the most important on that calendar.  The large number of sponsors for the event attests to the value placed on the building by the community.  An auction held on Saturday included donated items and added to the pool of funds to be used for the repairs.  

This year’s Malad performers included Venessa Carpenter, Many Strings, Saddle Strings, the Fall River Boys, Panhandle Cowboys, Sawtooth Mountain Boys, Chris Mortensen, Bob Jackson, John Sidle, Bobbie Hunter, Robin Arnold, Sam Matisse, Bob Urry, Gordon Champneys, Dakota Holdaway, Ken Wellard, The Romriells, John Reekie, Zach Martinez, Thatch Elmer, and David and Jenny. Brian Arnold was the emcee for the nightly shows.

The event was sponsored by Malad Plumbing Repair, Millstream Custom Cutting, Greer’s Hardware, Volcano Girls, the Malad Valley Welsh Festival, Hair By Lisa, Just for Fun Toys, gifts, and Collectibles, Scott’s Taxi Service, Albert’s Service, Up the Creek, Last Mile Wireless, Jeni Aiken of IFA, Hotel Malad, Bamma Wamma’s, Hess Lumber, Daisy Hollow Floral, Kanine Korner, Ward’s Ace and Country Store, Hess Napa, Nell J Redfield Memorial Hospital, Gene and Kay Caldwell, The Idaho Enterprise, The Malad Drive-In, The City of Malad, Radio Amateur Club of Oneida Neighbors, Oneida Family Dental, ATC, Iron Door Smokehouse, Chat and Chew Bar and Grill, Mountain Valley Realty, JPeak Propane, Robbins Locksmith, Lincoln Financial Advisors, Mollies Café, Ron Keller Tire, Inc, Vickers Western Stored, Inc, Sinclair Central Service, Edith’s Collective, KJ’s Superstores, Physical Therapy Solutions, Malad Dental Clinic, Singing Wolf Art Gallery, Thomas Market, Allen Drug and Variety, Arrowhead Tree Service, American Legion Ernest W. Jones Post 65.    

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