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April 26–27: Queen City Roundup

of Cowboy Poets, Playwrights, and Storytellers

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Full Event Pass: $75

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Workshops &

Open-Mic Session: $60

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April 26 Evening Show: $15

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April 27 Evening Show: $15

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Schedule of Events

Friday, April 26



1115 N. Roberts St., Room 102

(downstairs by the main entrance)

Conference Check-In: Noon

Workshop I: 12:30–1:45 p.m.

"Marrying Playwriting and Cowboy Poetry"

This unique workshop explores the similarities and differences between playwriting and cowboy poetry. Presenters Pamela Mencher and Gwen Petersen will highlight key concepts in how stories are told through these mediums as well as guide participants through exercises designed to bring the two together in a single work.

Workshop II: 2:00–3:15 p.m.

"Cowboy Poetry: What to Write and How to Write It"

Presenters Margaret Wilhelm and Jim Hamilton will provide some tips on how to focus on the audience and content of cowboy poetry. They will also offer additional tips on how to avoid some common pitfalls in getting those ideas written.

Workshop III: 3:30–4:45 p.m.

"How to Perform Your Writing in a Public Setting"

Presenter Pamela Mencher will lead a discussion of presenting stories effectively in a public performance. She’ll guide participants through practical exercises exploring oral interpretive skills to enhance your natural voice and also practical tips in working with microphones, space constraints and more.



1300 Billings Ave. (west of Helena College, across the street)

Raisin' a Ruckus!


A theatrical reading of the play

"The Haunted Mine at Lonesome Place"

A play by Pamela Jamruszka Mencher, with music and lyrics by Jordan R. Mencher


Sapphire Ferguson Jetty

Tales of Montana

"Roy's Day"

A story by Susan Gunn

"Charley Russell Windshield" and "Why I Stopped Riding Horses" 

Poems by Jay Kettering

Tales of Montana are performed by Bozeman actor John Hosking 

Mike Jetty

Stories from the Powwow Trail


Saturday, April 27



1115 N. Roberts St., Room 102 (downstairs by the main entrance)

Conference Check-In: Noon

Workshop IV: 12:30–1:45 p.m.

"Rhyme and Meter in Cowboy Poetry"

Presenter Gwen Petersen will discuss the background and history of Cowboy Poetry and specifics of meter, rhyme and rhythm used in the form. She’ll also provide a book list and handouts, as well as lead participants through several exercises. She invites you to bring your poems to the session to share.

Workshop V: 2:00–3:15 p.m.

"Oral Traditions in Indian Country"

This session will share background information regarding traditional beliefs and value systems and how those were passed on through the oral tradition. Mike Jetty will provide tribal specific examples of how this method of transmitting cultural knowledge through stories and songs still plays an important role in how individuals and communities maintain and revitalize cultural and language.


Readings of Original Works by Attendees

To sign up for a 5-8 minute time slot, please send an email to and indicate in the message header: “Open Mic Session." We’ll respond to confirm your time. Sign up today to secure your participation.



1300 Billings Ave.

(west of Helena College, across the street)

Fabulous Cowboy Poets


The Divine Bovines!


Cowboy Poets

Gwen Petersen

Margaret Wilhelm

Jim Hamilton

Comedy and Music

Judy Williams and the Divine Bovines


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JIM HAMILTON is a lifetime rancher on the east slope of the Wolf Mountains in southeast Montana.   He’s been married to Marge for a long time and has three grown children, a son, Mike, with us on the ranch, and two daughters, successful in their own endeavors, but who take an interest in the ranch and come and help when possible.  They do their work horse back and try to preserve the old cowboy ways. Jim’s poetry is about what he knows: ranching and the cowboy way of life.  He strives for authenticity and is highly flattered if a real cowboy or rancher tells him, “I could sure see that happening when you told about it.”  Most of his poetry is humorous, but he has several serious ones that he likes to present in the right setting.


Jim has written and recited poetry for thirty years or more, and performed in venues throughout Montana, Wyoming, North and South Dakota, and for the last ten or so years, at several gatherings in Alberta and Saskatchewan.  In April, 2016, Jim was awarded first place in the poetry division in the Cowboy Idol competition at the Columbia River Cowboy Gathering in Kennewick, WA.  Jim has recorded three CD’s and is currently starting to work on another.



MIKE JETTY is an enrolled member of the Spirit Lake Dakota Nation and a Turtle Mountain Chippewa descendant.  Mike is currently working at the Montana Office of Public Instruction as an Indian Education Specialist. He has been working with Indian Education issues for the past 28 years and has teaching experience at both the K-12 and University level. He has a B.S. in History Education, a Master’s in School Administration and an Education Specialist Degree. In 2008, Mike was honored to be chosen as the Indian Educator of the Year by the Montana Indian Education Association. Since 2004 he has provided over 200 Indian Education workshops for over 4000 educators.  In addition, he has made connections with Indian educators from across the U.S. and has been invited to give keynotes for the following states:  CA, ID, MI, ND, NM, NV, OK, SD, and WY.  Mike resides in Helena with his wife Laura and daughters Rosie and Sapphire.



PAMELA JAMRUSZKA MENCHER returns to Big Sky Country after working as a college professor and arts advocate in Colorado.  She is an actor, director, producer, costume designer and playwright, with twenty-six of her plays performed throughout the United States; and has received many awards recognizing her playwriting, teaching and professional theatre careers.  Since returning to Montana, she has taught at Helena College and offers workshops in playwriting throughout the state.  In December, 2016, she founded the Montana Playwrights Network (MPN) and serves as the President of the organization.  Her next project is to create a brand new theatre facility in Helena called the Helena Avenue Theatre (HAT), intended to serve as an incubator for local and state performing artists as well as a home space for the Montana Playwrights Network.  HAT will open in early May, 2019. 



GWEN PETERSEN is the author of several books including How to be Elderly: A User’s Guide, The Ranch Woman’s Manual and others that chronicle the humorous struggles of life on a ranch as well as a longtime columnist and whimsical poet.  She is the founder of the Montana Poetry Gathering in Big Timber and in the mid-1980s was chosen as one of the first four poets from Montana to perform at Nevada’s first cowboy poetry gathering in Elko, and reappeared there many times over the next two decades.  Gwen also appeared as a guest on The Tonight Show with Johnny Carson in 1986.  Since 2000, she founded Poetry Wintercamp, an event that developed budding poets and folklore in the spoken word. Gwen also stays active by taking fiddle and guitar lessons and continues to fill the weeks and months with writing. 



MARGARET WILHELM lives in White Sulphur Springs where she and her husband raised black angus cattle and two daughters.  Her poetry is not traditional cowboy poetry, although she gets her inspiration from happenings on the ranch, neighbors’ ranches and human observation.  Margaret recently was seen as a featured performer at the Miles City Cowboy Poetry Gathering 2019 in February, and in December, 2018, was a headliner at Jorgensen’s Inn Community Center in Helena.  She believes people should laugh more, particularly at themselves.  



The Divine Bovines


JUDY WILLIAMS, from near Toston, Montana, writes, records and performs songs that tell about the daily adventures of cows on their Montana ranch.  Judy and husband, Tom, raise cattle and hay on the ranch established by his grandfather in the late 1880's. They work together with their children and grandchildren to keep the ranch a viable working ranch.


Judy is a life-time musician/entertainer who sings, plays bass guitar, rhythm guitar and keyboard. She has recorded four Divine Bovine CDs as well as 3 “not cow related” music CDs. She produces variety shows, plays dance music, runs a homebased printing business and enjoys life. A recent new hobby involves creating and applying custom rhinestone designs. A people person, what Judy enjoys most is playing good old country music and making people laugh. If it isn’t fun, she’s probably not doing it.


CARLA AHERN, from Townsend, Montana, adds to the live performances and is credited with putting the “Divine” in The Divine Bovines. Carla is a sales representative for M&F Western, traveling throughout the Northwest. Having spent her life riding good horses, she and her husband, Jim, are valued help when it comes to moving cows.  Carla’s harmony and antics are invaluable to The Divine Bovines.


Together, these gals have more fun than should be legal. They have traveled throughout Montana and parts of Canada to entertain.  Always ready to have a good time, they laugh from the minute their car hits the pavement until they return. Crossing the border into Canada has provided them with many fun stories of their “international travels”.

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