Are you a cowboy? Do you like poetry? Then consider taking part in Dodge City's first ever cowboy poetry contest. The event will take place at the end of the month at Carnegie Center for the Arts, as part of their Final Friday celebration.
"Ron Wilson, the chair for the contest, approached me about hosting preliminaries in Dodge," Summer Bates, executive director of Carnegie said. "So, that's how the whole thing began."
The statewide Cowboy Poetry Contest has been held for a few years already.
"Dodge City seems the perfect place to have an event like this in western Kansas," Wilson said in a press release. "We encourage cowboys and poets to enter, and we invite folks in the area to come out and enjoy the performance."
In addition to Dodge, preliminaries will also be held in Wellington, as part of their Chisholm Trails Wild West Days, and Fort Scott, as part of their Echoes of the Trail event. First, second and third place winners of each preliminary event will be invited to the state finals held Friday June 14, in Alma in conjunction with the Symphony on the Flint Hills. Winners of the state round will receive the coveted Governor’s Buckle, two tickets to the Symphony in the Flint Hills and the opportunity to recite their work again in the Patron's Tent at the symphony.
"We will have two divisions that people can enter their poems into," Bates said. "Serious and humorous. Winners will be selected for each division."
All poems must have a cowboy or western theme, but other than that there are no guidelines for entrants. Though Bates does suggest that poems be kept to a reasonable length.
"Anyone interested in entering can pick up a registration form on our website, our facebook page, in person or by visiting cowboypoetrycontest.com," Bates said.
There is a small entry fee of $15 for one poem or $25 for two. The fee increases by five dollars if you're registering after May 20.
Everyone who registers for the contest will have the opportunity to read their poem as part of the Final Friday event on May 31. Each poem will be judged and the winners will be announced at the end of the evening. Winners will have the opportunity to perform their poems again at Boot Hill the following day.
"We hope this will be something that will draw some new people out to Final Friday," Bates said, "and it'll be something different for our regulars too."
For more information about the contest call Bates at (620) 225-6388, or visit cowboypoetrycontest.com.