Kansas Cowboy Poetry Contest finals set for June 10

Cowboys and couplets will take the stage in Manhattan on June 10 as they recite all-original cowboy poems and compete for the championship of the 2022 Kansas Cowboy Poetry Contest. The contest finals will take place at the Flint Hills Discovery Center in Manhattan at 7 p.m. June 10. There is no admission fee and the public is invited.

“The field is set for the finals,” said poetry contest chair Ron Wilson of the Lazy T Ranch near Manhattan. “The top contestants from two regional qualifying contests will come together to compete for the coveted governor’s trophy buckle and cowboy poetry bragging rights,” he said. “We’re also mighty pleased that our 2021 Youth Roundup runner-up, Hannah Foster from Eskridge, will be here to present her cowboy poetry,” he added.

Qualifying contests were held in Fredonia and Hays. “We had 28 entries from four states,” Wilson said. Finals contestants are as follows (towns in Kansas unless listed otherwise): Serious poem category: Betty Burlingham ofManhattan. Jerry Jones of Salina, Tim Keane of Manhattan, Colby Richard of Ellsworth, Dove Schmidt of Depew, Oklahoma, and Scott Wiswell of Valley Center. Humorous poem category: Burlingham, Jones, Keane, Kyle Lyons of Scott City, Schmidt, Depew, Oklahoma; and Scott Wiswell of Valley Center.

State champions in each category will receive the Saddlejack Bradrick Award, the coveted Governor’s Buckle, 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.

The cowboy poets will be evaluated by a panel of celebrity judges, including former Kansas Supreme Court Chief Justice Lawton Nuss, Kansas Tourism Director Bridgette Jobe, Manhattan City Manager Ron Fehr, and Mike Day, head of the Kansas State University Animal Sciences and Industry Department. Honorary chair of the judging panel is former U.S. Sen. Nancy Kassebaum Baker. Musical entertainment will be provided by Jeff Davidson and Brad Hamilton.

“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, Ranchland Trust of Kansas, and our locally-owned western wear donors: Vanderbilts of Wamego, Roberts Cowboy Outfitters of Salina, R Bar B of Topeka, Rittel’s Western Wear of Abilene, Outpost Western Store of Manhattan, and High Call Outfitters of Great Bend .”

State contest committee members include: Orin Friesen, president, International Western Music Association – Kansas Chapter, Benton; Jeff Davidson, Eureka; Brad Hamilton, Hoyt; Martha Farrell, Towanda; and Ron Wilson, Manhattan. For more information, visit www.cowboypoetrycontest.com.