By Tim Leeds
The Montana Country Poets and Pickers are holding "A Western Heritage Roundup 2000" in the Havre High School auditorium Friday and Saturday, Sept. 29-30.
Some 35 performers from the Hi-Line area, from around Montana and from as far away as Oregon and Canada are scheduled to appear in the shows.
The shows themselves will feature music, poetry, humor, and probably some tall tales, said Country Poet Arnold Hokanson of Big Sandy, one of the organizers of the show.
The show starts at 6:30 p.m. on Friday, with members of the local Montana Country Poets and Pickers (MCPP) performing for about two to two-and-a-half hours. The show resumes Saturday at 10 a.m., with hour-long shows of four to six performers and different hosts for each hour. There is a pre-feature session beginning at 6:15 p.m, and a special program at 7:30.
There also will be drawings for door prizes, donated by local merchants, and a 50/50 drawing, as well as concessions offered at the school concession stand at the east end of the gymnasium/auditorium foyer.
Some of the featured performers include poet/comedian John (Ol' Ugly) Glawson of Canada, and MCPP members Hokanson, Merlyn Huso, Rib Gustafson, Edith Dolezal, Dave Molitor, Ron Pegar, Arnold Hokanson, Fred Liese and Jim Faber, just to name a few.
Hokanson said the purpose of the show is not just "to bring talented people together and provide entertainment, but to preserve and enhance our heritage of this area."
Pegar said the shows are usually a pretty good time.
"We have a good time with each other, and do pick on each other," he said. "It's all part of the bitter truth."
MCPP usually holds the show during Havre Festival Days, but it was postponed this year to allow members to attend the Maple Creek Convention in Canada.
The group has been gathering as the MCPP since December of 1995, with members from a variety of local areas. Hokanson said members are from "Havre, the Hi-Line, the Bear Paws and even some of those Missouri River Breaks outlaws."
Pegar said they have put these shows on in many areas. He said the places where they have performed include Chester, Big Sandy, Chinook and Kremlin; they have gone to the state convention in Lewistown. Hokanson was even the featured poet at the National Cowboy Poetry Gathering in Elko, Nev. in 1991.
"I don't know how it happened," Hokanson said.
Tickets for this year's Heritage Roundup are $5, with kids under 10 receiving free admission. The ticket is for all of both days' shows, with guests welcome to come and go as they please as often as they want, Hokanson said.