If you're into horses and cowboys, La Plata County is the place to be. The Rocky Mountain Horse Expo will take place Friday through Sunday in Ignacio.
As they wrote on their Web site, "You told us what you wanted, and we listened. The fall Rocky Mountain Horse Expo at the Sky Ute Event Center in Ignacio ... brings expert clinicians to answer your requests for a broad array of topics, from colt-starting to carriage driving. The 'Green Ranch College,' sponsored by La Plata Electric Association, will focus on 'greening up' the horse property or ranch with seminars on barn retrofits, composting, solar design and more.
"Goods at the trade show will suit every budget, with tack and equipment you'll use every day, custom and premade saddles, unique jewelry, even home décor - bring your Christmas shopping list. Little buckaroos can get their faces painted, then run the barrels and poles on stick horses. And yes, there will be live horses, too: The expo presents twice-daily breed, discipline and individual horse demonstrations, and brings sellers and buyers together for private treaty sales."
For more information about the expo schedule and who the clinicians are going to be, visit www.rockymountainhorseexpo.com/Ignacio.
The second major upcoming horse/cowboy event is the Durango Cowboy Poetry Gathering, which kicks off Oct. 1 with Baxter Black, who will be performing at the Fort Lewis College Community Concert Hall.
As stated on the gathering's Web site, "As the best known cowboy poet in America, Baxter has been featured on RFD TV, National Public Radio, in Western Horseman magazine and many others. He often refers to himself not only as a poet, but as an 'observer of the cracks in the universe.' He provides a witty and wild look at western lifestyles.
"The Durango Cowboy Poetry Gathering itself has been preserving Durango's western heritage for 21 years. Always featuring top cowboy poets, musicians and artists, it is held in the historic Strater Hotel in downtown Durango. ... Besides Baxter Black, shows will include Yvonne Hollenbeck, Ken Cook, Otto Rosfeld and about 45 other cowboy entertainers. Highlights of the weekend include a special Cowboy Poet Train on the D&SNG and a Cowboy Poet Trailride with Rapp Corral.
"The Cowboy Parade on Saturday morning is a town favorite. Known as a 'motorless' parade, every entry must be horsedrawn, mounted, or on foot. No motorized vehicles are allowed. It goes down Main Street of Durango and the town returns to the heritage of yesteryear as horses are tied up outside the Diamond Belle Saloon, just as it must've looked in 1881. Western art is represented in many local galleries with featured openings at Sorrel Sky Gallery, Toh-Atin Gallery, Open Shutter Gallery and new this year, the Goodnight Trail Gallery.
"The weekend wraps up on Sunday morning with an inspirational show of poetry and music called 'A Cowboy and His Creator.' Many events are free, and all shows are family oriented." For a complete schedule, go to www.durango
La Plata residents need to thank the dedicated volunteers, who give their time throughout the year, to organize both of these events for our education and enjoyment.
Bob Salzer is La Plata County
4-H youth development agent.