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Gathering keeps cowboy poetry, music alive

Rod Hoffman of Belle Fourche prepares a cauldron of genuine cowboy chili for Jim Thompson's Cowboy Gathering at the Black Hills Stock Show. (Photo courtesy of Black Hills Stock Show)

RAPID CITY -- Jim Thompson has been promoting genuine cowboy poetry and cowboy music for more than 15 years. That made the South Dakota radio legend the perfect host for The Black Hills Stock Show's Cowboy Gathering Friday.

Starting in 2011, Thompson teamed with Open Range Cowboy Cookin' owner Rod Hoffman of Belle Fourche and cowboy poets from around the West to provide entertainment for Stock Show visitors. This year, with the help of Great Western Bank, those visitors were treated to real cowboy chili, peach cobbler and a taste of some genuine cowboy poetry from Yvonnee Hollenbeck, of Clearfield, and New Mexico's cowboy singer Randy Huston.

The event began around 1 p.m. when Hoffman started preparing his ground round in a genuine U.S. Calvary cauldron that was government issued to every Indian village around the turn of the century. His chuck wagon is the real deal, too, from the 1890s.

Thompson said he's always proud to promote an event that showcases the nearly-lost art of cowboy cooking, poetry and song.

"The music and poetry is a tremendous reflection of the lives these Stock Show guests lead," Thompson said.