Eight members of the high school’s drama department, led by Larry Boon, auditioned and were selected to perform cowboy-themed poetry and songs. They performed alongside seasoned cowboy poets and singers Joel Hayes, Charlie Holloway, Bill Turnipseed, Wayne Corley, Tom Kerlin, Steve Porter and Jerry Warren, named by the Georgia Senate as “Georgia’s Official Cowboy Poet.”
Members of the school’s drama department, were given the name “Cowboy Poet Kids” by the organizers of the event.
The “kids,” all new to the world of cowboy poetry, included Bria Belton, Derrion Burse, Brooke Gray, Sierra Gunter, Ciarra Henderson, Lanese Love, Chelsea Reese and Ivan Washington.
“We’ve been trying for 17 years to get kids involved,” said Charlie Holloway, local author, poet and cowboy historian.
“It is important to pass on the cowboy culture to a new generation,” said Winston cowboy musician and balladeer Corley.
The event organizers said they reached out to the students to encourage young people to learn about cowboy poetry and carry it forward.
One of the highlights of the cowboy poetry readings was by student Ivan Washington, who read the humorous account of a cat who “kept coming back.”
Douglasville residents Tom Stavran on Appalachian Mountain dulcimer and Ellen Downey on guitar entertained before the show and during intermissions.
Drew Boon, son of Chapel Hill High School drama teacher Larry Boon, sang an original song during the cowboy poet gathering.
Stavran, who teaches dulcimer lessons at the Cultural Arts Center in Douglasville, told the audience, “The dulcimer is a musical instrument for non-musical people such as myself.”
Frank Wood, a graduate of Douglas County High School, who now lives in Parrott, Ga., served as master of ceremonies for the event. Wood has been performing cowboy poetry for the past 45 years and is known as a cow camp cook.
A “cow camp cook” is a chuck wagon cook such as those who used to cook on cattle drives.
Cowboy poets Doc Stovall of Lithia Springs and John Linville, who passed away in 2012, were honored by their own throughout the gathering with readings and memories.