Participating Artists 2016


Floyd Beard
Punkin Center, CO


Floyd Beard and his wife Valerie run a cow calf operation on the High Plains of Colorado near Punkin Center. Floyd began writing poetry while out working his cattle in the late 1970’s. Jotting down his experiences and observations while in the saddle, he “smithed” these thoughts into his stories and songs. Floyd was named the 2015 "Cowboy Poetry Idol" at the Columbia River Cowboy Gathering and Music Festival and he also won the Colorado State Fair Cowboy Shoot-Out in 2006. He has presented as far away as Stony Plains, Alberta, Canada, and is the current President of the WMA Colorado Chapter. Floyd’s stories, which he has recited and presented for 30 years, are inter-woven with his western code of high ethics, integrity and sprinkled richly with humor. His philosophy is simple: “Life is a journey not a destination, and is best viewed from atop a good horse.”


Almeda Bradshaw
Huntley, MT


Almeda is one of Montana’s talented Western singer/songwriters. Her love for the life she lives as a western woman is clearly expressed in heartfelt songs and poetry.

Though born a town girl, all she wanted was to be a cowgirl. When her family moved to the country, a young girls dream of having a horse came true and horses have remained with Almeda ever since.

Almeda raised her family in Big Sandy, Montana, where she also raised and showed AQHA performance horses, ran a hundred-fifty cows, finished hogs and operated a seed and feed business. She and her husband, former Marlboro Man, Merritt Bradshaw, now own and operate the M2B Ranch Bed & Breakfast and train performance horses on the Yellowstone River in Huntley, Montana.

Almeda has produced two albums of original songs: "Voices From The Range": Almeda Sings The Poetry Of Rhoda Sivell" and "Lovers', Wives & Mothers: A Western Woman's Voice". Her poetry album "A Way Of Heart: The Big Sandy Years" received a nomination for Poetry CD of the Year by the Academy of Western Artists in 2012.



Mike Dunn
San Tan Valley, AZ


Mike’s extremely proud of his Arizona heritage going back to the 1800s. His personal experiences center along the eastside of the Whetstone Mountains, southwest of Benson, where much of his Granddad’s ranch, the Rail "A" brand, is still in the family today. It was there he learned firsthand what cowboy life was all about and cherishes those memories. He’s worked the ranch much of his life and now as part owner, spends as much time there as life allows.

Much of his original poetry, shared in his book “Somewhere Between Earth and Heaven,” reflects his own experiences, along with the experiences and stories passed down – widely accepted as a tribute to the ranch family. The AWA named it as a recipient of the Will Rogers Medallion Award shortly after its publication. Mike received the Gail I. Gardner Award as an Arizona Cowboy and Poet, been nominated as Cowboy Poet of the Year by the WMA and his latest CD was nominated as Cowboy Poet CD of the Year.

Mike and his wife Linda of 40 plus years, spend much of their time helping to raise grandkids and training horses.


Broken Chair Band
Queen Valley, AZ


Todd, Melinda and Dani Carter ride for the brand as beef producers for TM Ranches. Their all original music and poetry is branded 'Americowboyfolkgrass', and have delighted audiences on main stages and side venues, but are most comfortable around the campfire. Todd leads on acoustic bass and lead vocals, with Melinda on acoustic guitar and vocals, and daughter Dani joins the two to sing lead and harmony vocals and is playing fiddle! Their latest album 'Little Victories' released March 29, 2013 at the Crossroads Gathering in Benson, AZ, and the title song 'Little Victories' has been adopted as the ranch theme. Saddle up and head down the trail with the Broken Chair Band!



Joel Eliot
Sonoita, AZ


Joel has been performing Cowboy Music for about thirty years. Cowboy Poetry followed as a natural extension of working on ranches throughout the West.

He has worked on cattle ranches, dude ranches, and as a farrier and horse trainer for almost thirty years. Joel loves riding horses, especially if it involves a real job like gathering or working cattle, packing into the high country, or starting a colt from the back of a saddle horse. He brings a "goal-oriented approach" and lots of experience to the horses and people that he works with.

One of his mentors, Ray Hunt, often says, "See if you can get your ideas to become the horse's ideas. Make the horse's needs, your needs." Joel takes these concepts with him when riding and finds himself using these to illustrate that working with a horse is a two-way street. With this philosophy and years of experience working horses, Joel helps people and their horses and manages to weave some interesting stories.

His colt training philosophy has been highlighted in Western Horseman Magazine.


Horse Crazy Cowgirl Band
Winthrop, WA


Horse Crazy Cowgirl Band is an award-winning trio plumb full of hot licks, harmonizing, and kick-your-cowboy-boots-up Western Music. The band formed in 2000; through the years, they have created an unmistakable sound. They have five albums to their credit, and numerous awards including the Western Music Association’s Group of the Year (2015), Crescendo Award (2009), Harmony Trio of the Year (2010) and the Marilyn Tuttle “Best of the Best” Harmony Award (2014). These girls have performed extensively in the United States and Canada. Judy Coder, Jennifer Epps and Lauralee Northcott share a special chemistry, and you won't want to miss the next "Horse Crazy" performance. Keep up with their escapades on Facebook. Check their website!



Jon Messenger
Sierra Vista, AZ

Arizona singer/songwriter Jon Messenger brings to his audiences a hearty stew concocted from the influences of an eclectic musical background. Jon’s original Folk and Western tunes have been well received by audiences at festivals and gatherings throughout the West. Bringing a unique approach to today’s Cowboy and Western Music, Jon’s vocal and acoustic guitar stylings blend together to bring to all his audiences an authentic portrait of cowboy life, past and present. Interspersed with the fine Western Music are some wonderful selections of Cowboy Poetry, some by traditional authors, and some original poems from Jon’s pen. 

Jon has written some of the most hauntingly beautiful songs of our time. Jon’s songs have been recorded by a number of Western artists; Jim Jones, Allan Chapman, Jean Prescott, Chelsea Beck, Mark Brooks, and Call Of The West, with whom he performs regularly (but that’s a whole different story…)

Jon's music is "A journey through the west" - "A night with the blues"- "Bluegrass Sunday Mornings" - and "The conscience of folk music in the traditions of the troubadours of old." 


Many Strings & Company
Salem, UT

Tony and Carol Messerly make their home in Salem Utah at the foot of the Wasatch Mountains. They are “Many Strings and Co.” Their music and songs are often referred to as vintage western with a twist of vaudvillian fun, sometimes quirky and rarely serious. They were among the top five finalists for the 2012 Western Duo of the year by the Academy of Western Artists as well as a 2013 nominee for Duo of the year by the Western Music Association. In 2013, Tony was named the Western Music Association’s Male Yodeler of the Year.

So, pour yourself a cup, toss another log on the fire and enjoy the tunes.



Mountain Saddle Band
White Mountains, AZ

"Trail dust, creaking saddles, fire red sunsets, campfires, the smell of worn leather, horses and star filled nights are just a few of the things you will think of when you hear Mountain Saddle Band. Their sound will recall the days of the Old West in your heart. A unique blend of mostly old, some new, cowboy music, gospel music and cowboy poetry with a cowboy touch that will have you swayin' in the saddle and yearin' for more."

The Mountain Saddle Band includes singer, songwriter, and a radio personality Stephen Harrington, western artist, harmonica player, and poet Steve Taylor, and musician Kenneth Bucy, whose mastery includes clarinet, sax, bass, and percussion.  All are proud WMA and AWA members. Stephen and Steve are members of the Western Wordsmiths Chapter and Stephen is the Arizona Territorial Director for the International Cowboy Church Alliance Network. Steve toured with the Trinity Ambassadors Quartet. Between 2006 and 2011 Kenneth played with "Sentimental Journey," which soon morphed into "Journey West." 

They have traveled extensively playing cowboy music and cowboy gospel music throughout the west.


LeeLee Robert
Paradise Valley, AZ


LeeLee Robert, nicknamed “Jewel of the West,” is an Arizona native who started performing professionally at age 16 and eventually worked her way up to singing with a 13-piece orchestra at the renowned Fairmont Hotel in San Francisco.

She is a graduate of Arizona State University and over decades of performing and mastering many genres of music in a wide variety of venues, she developed her original "Cowgirl Jazz" style that takes the colors and textures of jazz and blues and combines it with the lyric strengths of traditional Western Music about laughter, landscape, and love.

LeeLee’s latest CD, “Jewel of the West,” was voted Best Western Album of the Year by the Academy of Western Artists. In addition to being an award-winning singer-songwriter, she is a storyteller, and a writer and media personality who believes in using the power of influence for good.



Washtub Jerry
Fort Davis, Texas


Self taught, Washtub Jerry began ukulele in college and later began designing, building, and playing washtub bass. Jerry regularly performs with many groups, which has led to many recordings and CDs. A sought after sideman, he has backed Yakov Smirinoff, Riders in the Sky, Patsy Montana, Ramblin’ Jack Elliott, Peter Yarrow, Charmaine Neville, Santiago Jimenez Jr., and Johnny Gimble to name a few. He was a featured soloist with the Midland-Odessa Symphony Orchestra, and participated in cultural exchange tours in Russia, Ireland, and Germany.  Jerry’s conservative playing style and extra low notes greatly enhance the lead musician’s performance.

Washtub Jerry was voted 1999 Instrumentalist of the Year by the Western Music Association and received an American Cowboy Culture Award in 2013.

Take a look at the four books Jerry has authored and published.