Kansas Cowboy Poetry Contest to resume in person

Riders with rhymes will once again be gathering across Kansas, as the Kansas Cowboy Poetry Contest will resume in-person in 2022.

“We are mighty pleased to be able to gather and share in person again, beginning May 6 in Fredonia and May 20 in Hays,” said poetry contest chair Ron Wilson of the Lazy T Ranch near Manhattan. “In addition to the adult cowboy poetry contest, we will offer a youth division for those age 18 and younger. We invite current and aspiring poets to enter our regional contests where they would perform their original poems,” he said.

Qualifying contests will be held as follows: May 6, 7 p.m., Rollin ‘Red’ Vandever Memorial Park, home of the “Wilson County Old Iron Club,” 10392 Jade Road, Fredonia; and May 20, 6 p.m., Hays Public Library, 1205 Main Street, Hays.

The top qualifiers at each of the two regional contests advance to the finals which will be held at the Flint Hills Discovery Center in Manhattan on June 10. State champions at the finals will receive the Saddlejack Bradrick Award, the coveted Governor’s Buckle, discounts and gift certificates from leading western wear stores, free membership in the International Western Music Association-Kansas Chapter, and two tickets to the Symphony in the Flint Hills plus an opportunity to present their poems in the story circle after the symphony. Youth winners will also receive scholarships.

“We are much obliged to our sponsors who make this possible,” Wilson said. “Many thanks to the Flint Hills Discovery Center Foundation, the Kansas Farm Bureau, the Western Wordsmiths and Kansas chapters of the International Western Music Association, the Hays Public Library, Lawton Nuss, and our western wear donors.”

Contestants can enter online at www.cowboypoetrycontest.com. There are two categories: Serious poems or humorous poems. Contestants can recite a serious poem, humorous poem, or both. Only the contestant’s original work is allowed. Awards will be presented in both categories plus youth. The finals will be held on June 10 at the Discovery Center on the night before the Symphony in the Flint Hills.

There is no admission charge and the public is invited to attend all of these events. For more information or to enter a regional contest, go to www.cowboypoetrycontest.com.