cochiseSue Harris
Southern Arizona celebrates Western heritage and music plus a hearty dose of humor in Sierra Vista February 12-14, 2010. This is the 18th year for the Cochise Cowboy Poetry & Music Gathering – one of the best in the West. Saturday’s daytime sessions, 10am-5pm, are free with 50-plus talented musicians, poets and storytellers from all  over the US and Canada.  Eight, 50-minute, themed sessions run concurrently throughout the day. The artists appear in round robin sessions with themes ranging from “Saddle Songs” and “Laugh A Lot” to  “Cowboys and Sweethearts” – the theme for this year’s gathering. Appropriate for the Valentine weekend, don’t you think? Hours of engaging entertainment aJoni Harmst no charge.

Tickets for headliner performances Friday and Saturday evenings and Sunday afternoon cost less than $20 – a great entertainment value.  Some of this year’s headline performers include Bill Barwick  – the Western Music Association 2009 Male Performer of the Year, Joni Harms (right) who has appeared from Nashville’s Grand Ole Opry to New York City’s Carnegie Hall, and Bob’s favorite Arizona songstress Sue Harris (above). All gathering events are held at the Buena Performing Arts Center except late evening jam sessions at the Windemere Hotel. Everyone’s welcome to sit back and listen as the performers play into the wee hours of the mornCochise Jam Sessioning.

The Cochise Gathering organizers and performers introduce Western Heritage and cowboy poetry writing to students in Cochise County Schools each year. Thousands of children from third grade through  high school have submitted their poems to the yearly contest. Winners recite their original creations during the evening and Sunday matinee Headliner Stage Performances. Every year I’m inspired by the results of this program and the perception and talenCochise Kid Poetst of the students.

Round ‘em up and head ‘em out to Sierra Vista at any time of year but especially for the Cochise Cowboy Poetry & Music Gathering .

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Visit Cochise County

Sierra Vista is approximately 75 miles southeast of Tucson at the foot of the Huachuca Mountains. Legendary Tombstone is 16 miles to the east. The eco-crossroad of mountains and deserts supports an abundant variety of wildlife and hundreds of bird species. While in the area check out the Nature Conservancy’s Ramsey Canyon Preserve and the San Pedro Riparian National Conservation Area. Arizona’s outstanding Kartchner Caverns State Park, 19 miles north of Sierra Vista, should also go on one’s itinerary. Cochise County fills the southeast corner of Arizona with an amazing array of history, nature and recreation – we find something new with every visit. View the slide show for a sampling of what awaits in Cochise County.

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