Krista Corner Havre Daily News firstname.lastname@example.org
Country poets and pickers from all over the west will gather in Chinook this weekend for song, poetry, food and fun. The event begins with the Thursday night show and ends Sunday after the Cowboy Church Service. Night shows will be offered Thursday, Friday and Saturday at 7 p.m. with pre-show music starting at 6:30 p.m. The cost to attend the shows is $8 per person, per night. After each show, there will be a free jam session open to anyone who wants to join in. Montana Country Poets and Pickers President Dustin Huestis said the event is the 14th annual fundraiser with all proceeds going to the Chinook Future Farmers of America Club. "This will be the fifth year in Chinook, but it's our 14th annual, and the people in Chinook have just welcomed us in and it's wonderful," he said. "It's a fundraiser for the FFA in Chinook. The money we raise has helped them go to nationals before." The event is more than just a fundraiser for the FFA, he added. "It allows us to get together and have a gathering," he said. "It's not necessarily a show, is our feeling. We get to get together with our old friends and enjoy the acts ourselves." Huestis said country poets and musicians from many different places show up for the annual event free of charge. "We're figuring on roughly 30,” Heustis said of how many poets and musicians will likely show up. "Of course it always depends on the weather and stuff like that. We've got people, that in the past, have come from Edmonton, out of Idaho, North Dakota and from within the state. They all come free of charge they just do it to share." As for how much music and how much poetry to expect? Huestis said it's usually an even split down the middle. "It's usually a 50-percent splilt between different kinds of poetry and old-time-style music," he said. "Lots of people perform their own stuff the vast majority is self-composed. They've actually got their own books, cds and tapes they have for sale to help defray some of their travel costs." In addition to being able to mingle with old friends and share their talents with listeners, there's another more important reason they all gather once a year. "We try to first and foremost to share what we enjoy with people that may not hear it all the time," he said. "And we do it to promote and preserve our western heritage and to provide people with something the whole family can enjoy. Today's entertainment isn't nearly as wholesome as what we can provide." Huestis said anyone can join the poets and musicians at their monthly meeting. The meetings are the first Tuesday of the month at 7 p.m. at the Havre-Hill County Library. "Anyone can bring in anything that's western or counry-oriented poetry," Huestis said, adding that many people see country and western and Think it's not going to be their cup of tea. "It's really misunderstood," he said. "So much of this has come from the 'my stirrups are dragging' to real-life, husband and wife or worldly it's really comedic stuff. It's come a long way in 125 years." Huestis said the tradition started more than a century ago by people telling stories around campfires. For more information about Montana Country Poets and Pickers, call president Dustin Huestis at 265-0622 or secretary Dale Mailand 353-2383.