Young Cowboy Poets take the stage tonight!

Linda Dennis, Program Manager

With Jerry Warren, Georgia's Cowboy Poet
With Jerry Warren, Georgia’s Cowboy Poet

Atlanta, Georgia

Jerry Warren, Georgia’s Cowboy Poet, came up early from his ranch in south Georgia to spend time with this group of young Cowboy Poets, as they rehearsed their original poems.  Thanks to the teaching staff of the Middle School at Brandon Hall and an earlier visit by Jerry to this class of young poets, each came prepared with an original poem.  Prior to beginning Jerry shared a few examples of other poems written at A Backpack Journalist workshops, and also spent time giving examples of communication techniques!  Each youth then took their place on stage, and presented  in preparation for the night’s event.  Jerry was closeby, coaching each, and explaining how to recite.  Basically, it was an on the spot lesson on public speaking.

With Jerry Warren, Georgia's Cowboy Poet
With Jerry Warren, Georgia’s Cowboy Poet

And, then we hear stories of horses,  cowboys in shoot-em ups, and historic reflections of the western lifestyle!

Breaking only for a quick dinner, featuring what’s known as a Cowboy Meal, with pinto beans, cornbread and a pork loin roast, a group of twenty two youth headed to the auditorium to “dress” and get ready!  Black and natural colored Cowboy Hats, and lots of Bandannas to choose from were found on the heads, and then tied neatly around their necks, collars, legs and even waving about!

It was a tough decision.  Each poem contained bits of history and great writing, and the enthusiasm of the presenters was obvious.  So how was the decision finally made??

First, the third place – Travis, spent time in the afternoon thinking he was afraid to speak in public.  He worked on this “fear”, and went on to the stage, and proudly recited.  His proud parents sitting on the front row!  Next, the second place – Ashanti.  Her poem was written about Cowboys and Horses, and her presentation was about “a horse named Mae”  and along the way lots of humor!  The first place was Owen.   His poem, while presented from behind the podium, contained lots of historical relevance and expression, and he cleverly engaged the entire audience!

Now to the Honorable Mention!  Hayden, a FFA member, had submitted his rhyme for an event at the Calvin Center. With that event moved to 2014, he and his family were invited to come join in.  Hayden is an officer of his FFA Chapter (UPSON Lee Middle School), and his poem – Red, White, Blue – was recited on stage from memory and with a lot of expressive hand movement!

Prize money for this evening totaled $700. Each of the top three winners were awarded cash prizes and a gift coupon from Chick-fila!  The honorable mention received a jacket donated by Carhartt!.  All youth who wrote also received a Chick-fil-a coupon, and $5 for their Christmas stocking, plus lots of great looking Bandannas from Carolina Manufacturing Company!

This Cowboy Poetry Competition moves on now to other cities/locations, and the youth involved with us at Brandon Hall, will also move forward to the National Finals – National Cowboy Poetry Competition.

Special thanks for Bankers Fidelity of Atlanta, Georgia for their support!

A full color book, in print and also an “E” book will be assembled from tonight’s event and each youth and their family will also receive a copy!  A short video is also in the works and will be uploaded shortly to our website.  QR codes will take all the readers back to the videos.

TITLE:  Cowboy Poetry Competition at Brandon Hall School!