“Remembering the Old West” during the 28th Annual Alzada Cowboy Poetry, Music and Art Show means sitting on the pine benches in the hall built in 1929. The annual show will be Sunday, October 1 at the Alzada Community Hall. The building opens at 10 a.m. for viewing of the artwork which may include paintings of all mediums, photographs, beadwork, quilts, leatherwork and sculptures of stone and wood. The free program of music and cowboy poetry begins at 1 p.m. and traditionally continues until about 5 p.m.
Six people will be featured. Musicians featured are Annie Brimmer, Biddle, Mont. and Bob and Chance Dennis, Red Owl, S.D. Featured artist is Devin Hodges, Hulett, Wyo. Poets highlighted will be Rhonda Stearns, Newcastle, Wyo. and Hap Stuart, Sundance, Wyo. Over fifty other performers and artists are expected to participate from a three state area.
Teri Rae McInerney will emcee the show. Gay Arpan and Chris Maupin have co-chaired the show since it began. Lunch will be served all day.
The Alzada Community Club raises money to support the yearly expenses and upkeep on the hall. It is used for funerals, community meetings, school reunions, elections and many other activities each year.
The annual event was started in 1989 to mark the Montana Centennial and has been likened to a huge family reunion where people gather to reminisce and enjoy the talents of many local folks.
Each year the people attending evaluate the performers and artists and help the organizers select the features for the next year. Time after time, Annie Brimmer has been popular with the audience since she plays on her accordion many old time favorites. Toes will tap and at times the audience will even break into song as they enjoy her talent.
Many years ago when the Alzada Show started, a young cowboy poet from South Dakota took a chance and came to the first show to help the community. That rancher, poet, singer will be featured this year along with his son. Robert “Bob” and Chance Dennis are ranchers, working the land as their ancestors did before them. Chance is the son of Robert and Cindy Dennis.
Robert is the fourth generation on this ranch. He sings popular songs and many that he has written. Robert is still writing poetry and performs a few at most gigs he attends.
Chance has a wife, Hope and three children who are carrying on the ranching traditions. Chance plays guitar and sings songs about life and the west.
Both have too many horses and not enough land and cattle! Both still admire and love good horses and choose them to work the cattle they run. The father son duo organizes and performs at poetry shows in the area.
Hap Stuart has been a favorite at the annual Alzada Show with his poetry and music performances. Stuart’s parents and grandparents homesteaded 40 miles south of Gillette, Wyo. in 1917 and 1918. His parents were married in 1930 and were in the ranching business when he was born in Gillette in 1934. He attended school for 10 years in Campbell County, Wyo. and finished high school in Oregon after his family moved after the “winter of ’49.” After three years in the United States Army, he returned to Wyoming to manage his uncle’s ranch, as he had recently died leaving his interest to Hap and three other relatives. Hap married Ruby Rossi on September 6, 1957. They raised three children on the ranch, Terri, Tina and Troy. Over the years, they bought out his parents’ and aunt’s interest in the ranch and were involved in other business ventures.
In 2007, Hap and Ruby sold the Campbell County ranch to a coal company and bought a ranch in Crook County where they reside in the summers and travel to Nevada to spend the winters. Hap has served on many boards and is a member of the American Legion and Episcopal Church.
Rhonda Sedgwick Stearns is another favorite at the show who came to the first shows in the Alzada Hall to show her support of small communities and to share her music and poetry. She is a native to the Newcastle area and is also a published author. Proud to be a third generation Wyoming rancher, she has spent most of her life with cattle and horses. She was reared within 30 miles of where her ancestors pioneered in the livestock business. She has loved horses as she ranched and participated in rodeos. She is a former Miss Rodeo Wyoming and a 1977 Cowgirl Honoree to the National Cowgirl Hall of Fame at Fort Worth, Texas. She also played the organ for major rodeos in 13 states for more than two decades. In 1977, she began a journalistic career and published several books. She is also a historian. As a cowboy poet, she has been featured in Wyoming, Montana, Idaho, North and South Dakota, Arizona, New Mexico and Texas. She understands the ranch life she writes and recites about in her poetry, having experienced the ranching world from all angles.
Devin Hodges will be the featured artist at the 28th Annual Show. Miss Hodges is a senior at Hulett High School and is already an accomplished award winning artist. She enjoys creating in all mediums and even paints with coffee if she so chooses. Her artwork has garnered her several awards at the Wyoming Art Symposium. At this event held each spring over 5,000 pieces of student art are displayed and judged with only hundreds receiving awards. Devin has won at least six ribbons in her three year career of exhibiting. Devin also enjoys designing and painting pictures on computer programs. She served as the editor of the school yearbook and is also active in Future Business Leaders of America (FBLA). She has attended two FBLA National Conventions after placing in the state competitions in computer related activities. She plays in the school band and also won the cover competition at Wyoming Girl’s State last summer. Devin is uncertain as to her plans after she completes high school.
For more information about the show, contact Gay Arpan (406-828-4517) or Chris Maupin (307-467-5260). The artists and performers will have books, tapes and art work available for purchase at the show.