One great Paisley tradition will kick off festivities for another this year, as the annual Sunny Hancock-Leon Flick Memorial Cowboy Poetry show has been moved to late July to coincide with the Mosquito Festival.
The Cowboy Poetry event began several years ago as a fundraiser to provide a scholarship and emergency medical needs fund for local cowboys, who often work without medical insurance. Originally coordinated by renowned cowboy poet Jessica Hedges, the event included an auction and several cowboy poets twisting their fascinating linguistic tales of western life and cowboys for an eager Lake County audience.
The event was an instant hit, and quickly became an annual August tradition. It has grown in popularity and scale, now incorporating live music, a barbecue and dance, alongside the show and auction.
Held at the Paisley Community Center, this year’s Cowboy Poetry show will take place on Friday, July 27, doubling up the fun as a lead-in to Paisley’s biggest annual community event – the Mosquito Festival. The three-day Mosquito Festival July 27-29 has been a long-standing Paisley tradition combining a multitude of fun activities as a way to raise funds for community mosquito vector control costs. The festival has garnered national notoriety, as an oddball and uplifting community celebration in the heart of rural Oregon for a good cause in an area known for growing annoyingly large and nasty mosquitos.
Activities for the Mosquito Festival include a rodeo, community fun run, parade, a greased pig contest and much more.
This year’s Cowboy Poetry show will begin with a barbecue at 4 p.m., followed by silent and live auctions. Auctioneer Craig Mills will begin the live auction at 6:30 p.m., followed by the show at 7 p.m.
Author Cathy Moss will act as emcee for the show — winner of the Keeper of the West award, People’s Choice award, Kamloops Canada award, and member of the Western Music Association and Women Writing the West. The show will feature music by Brenn Hill and Andy Nelson, cowboy poets and musicians. Last January they performed in Lakeview at the historic Alger Theater for a fundraiser.
Hill was a friend of Leon Flick, Lake County poetry legend and longtime Paisley resident. He encountered Flick’s wife, Billie, at the Oregon Cattlemen’s Association Convention last year, who asked the duo to perform at her husband’s annual memorial cowboy poetry show. They agreed, and added that tour schedules would place them in Reno, Nev., in January and would be available for a performance in Lake County if Flick could coordinate it, leading to the Lakeview performance earlier this year.Following the cowboy poetry performances, live music and dancing will be provided courtesy of the Jody Cooper Band. Tickets for the event are $25.
For more information contact Billie Flick at 541-947-2635 or Kevin Leehmann at 541-408-0919.