Entertainers and Performers that will be at
the 2017 Kamloops Cowboy Festival

March 16th - 19th, 2017

The Kamloops Cowboy Festival Logo

Our 21st Anniversary!!

It's performers like the followinge that help make
the Kamloops Cowboy Festival
the Biggest and the Best of its kind in Canada!

There is also Open Mic performance spots throughout the weekend. If you are interested just show up.

You can use the following index if you are looking for a particular performer - just click on their name to find their photo and bio, or scroll down the page and check them all out.



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Rising Stars 

2017 Entertainers 

 

Abe Zacharias
Ben Crane
Bernadette Ducharme
Bud Webb
Dave Longworth
Ed Brown
Ed Wahl
Emily Ireland
Frank Gleeson

 

Gordie West
Hanson Family
Hugh McLennan
Jay Snider
Jess Lee
Jim McLennan
Kathy Moss
Kevin Davis
Leslie Ross

 

Matt Johnston
Matt Robertson
Mike Dygert
Naomi Bristow
Phyllis Rathwell
Shelley Goldbeck
The Wardens
Trinity Seely
Wesley Hardisty

There is also Open Mic performers throughout the weekend. If you want to take part just show up.


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Abe Zacharias

Abe Zacharias is an award-winning vocalist and songwriter who has performed in many parts of Canada and the US. His 1993 appearance on the stage of the Grand Ol' Opry and his 1997 Golden Heart Award (Country Gospel Male Vocalist of the Year) are two of his career highlights. Abe has gained a legion of fans through his more than 35 years of making music. He was especially pleased when one of them, country star Paul Brandt, credited Abe as being one of his important musical influences. One of Abe's songs Prairie Homestead from his Songs of the Sage and Saddle album has been receiving extensive airplay by the European Country Music Association. In December 2009 it went to #10 in the Netherlands and #8 in Belgium. Then in January of 2010 it went to #2 in Norway. For info & bookings see his web site at: www.azmusic.ca


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Ben Crane

Ben Crane is a complicated sort of character. As a singer, songwriter and concert entertainer he has been touring western Canada and the US for over 30 years - long enough to know better. As a top-selling illustrator with Leanin' Tree greeting cards he has slathered North America with his brand of slightly twisted humour. He is also a record producer, arranger, engineer, session player and graphic artist. He even had a stint as a regular columnist in Canadian Cowboy Country Magazine for 9 years. He works with Jeff Foxworthy on a line of Leanin' Tree cards, he's shared the stage with most of the western music icons and has even had a musical influence on the Sons Of The Pioneers. In short, he's not sure what he wants to be if he grows up. One thing's for certain, however - he is a family man with a strong faith and a deep love for the western way of life. Still married to his first wife after 25 years and with two daughters who even at the time of this writing don't mind being seen with him in public, one might be tempted to say that he's been successful in life. He does what he loves and loves what he does, and a feller really can't get any richer than that. And his Mom assures us that he really is quite harmless. Ben and his family live near Rocky Mountain House in west central Alberta, high on a ridge with a 150-mile view of the blue Canadian Rockies. For info & bookings see his web site at: www.bencrane.com


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Bernadette Ducharme

Bernadette Ducharme is a guitar playing, singer /song writer who loves a great audience! She is the first place winner of the Northern Star singing competion in Barkerville this year. She has played at music festivals, weddings, funerals, birthday parties,open mics and more. She has written many original songs and several co-written with other artists. Her latest co-creations have been with cowboy poet, Bruce Rolph, also a talented Horsefly local. Bernadette was a very close finalist in last year's Spirit of the West Risng Star Show Case. We welcome her back to Kamloops!

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Bud Webb

Bud Webb began his professional career in the music industry in the late 60's touring throughout Canada with his band "Bud Webb & The Outriders". By the mid 70's they had two albums under their belt and many successful tours including working with Marg Osborne and Don Messer of the "Don Messer Show". Today, Bud has settled in Lake Errock, BC. In 2002 Bud was inducted into the BC Country Music Hall of Fame. He continues to stay active with live performances and annual Santa Claus appearances. He has released three CDs: "Cowboy-Ography", "Enjoy a Seniors Moment", and "I Just Don't Look Good Naked Anymore". The latter was live from the Merritt Mountain Fest. Now enjoying his eighth decade he'll be back to perform a few sets throughout the weekend.

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David Longworth

David Longworth Dave thanks his Dad and Uncle for starting him in cowboy poetry at a young age, as they both were fond of reciting classic cowboy poetry. At the age of 16 he first went on his own, working on farms and ranches, chasing his dream of becoming an artist, and started into the folk and country music scene. About 1983 the music thing stopped and Dave started to focus more on a career as an actor. Although he had some concern that he had no formal training, after 24 years of bits, feature roles, movies, and TV series, he is now a very estabilished actor! In 1990 he helped produce a cowboy poetry festival in Princeton and in 1991 was a feature poet at the Okeefe Ranch. He gives a good mix of classics as well as his own original poems.

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Ed Brown

Ed Brown Rodeo cowboy, pasture rider, wildlife artist, singer/songwriter, Ed Brown has the perfect background for an original storytelling approach. Poems from the absurd to the thought provoking, and songs influenced by various genres both musically and lyrically, combine to present a truly authentic western performance. In his capacity as a writer, his songs and poems have been performed by several other artists in both Canada and the US. An award winning performer, Ed Brown has headlined at all of the major cowboy festivals in Western Canada. Ed Brown's musical influences include the Spanish and Celtic music which formed the backbone of traditional cowboy music, and also come from a wide variety of other sources. Defying the perceived limitations of the nylon stringed guitar, hints of folk, country, blues and even classical and jazz can be heard sneaking into his playing either when performing one of his own compositions or on those occasions when he serves as a side man helping out some other performer. "I don't believe in being too genre specific. If a lick serves the song, I'll play it."

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Ed Wahl


Ed Wahl has been playing the guitar and singing most of his life. He loves to sing and has a very vibrant voice and stage presence. He has taken first place several times in various karaoke contests and he competed in the BC Talent Search in 2006, making it to the semi-finals. Ed was a Vancouver finalist in the CMT Karaoke Star Show which was televised in 2008. His musical preference has always been classic country, bluegrass, traditional local music and more recently, cowboy music. He released his first CD in 2009, entitled "Off The Wahl - Country Classics by Ed Wahl" and in 2013 released his second CD called "Keeping The West Alive", a collection of cowboy tunes which is getting air play in the US, the UK and New Zealand. He has performed on the main stage at the Kamloops Cowboy Festival, Cariboo Country Night, the 100 Mile Cowboy Concert, the 108 Mile Canada Day celebration, the Barriere Fall Fair & Rodeo, and the Annual Cowboy and Drover Jubilee in Barkerville. In his spare time he makes a living building and repairing commercial fishing boats.

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Emily Ireland

Emily Ireland is a 21 year old girl born and raised in Alberta who moved to Abbotsford in 2015 to continue her work training horses by working for cutting and cowhorse trainer Cayley Wilson. When she isn't on a horse she enjoys spending her evenings writing poetry, story telling, playing guitar, and drawing western art. Her passion for western heritage and culture led her to begin writing poetry and she would like to perform on a regular basis in the years to come. Emily was the winner of last year's Spirit of the West Risng Star Show Case. We welcome her back to Kamloops!

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Frank Gleeson!

Frank Gleeson This Williams Lake rancher is known as the fastest, funniest, cowboy poet in the west. His original poems are delivered in an easy going, humorous style. Frank has entertained audiences across Canada and the US. One of the highlights of his career was an invitation to perform his poetry at a Farm Aid Concert in Atlanta, Georgia alongside famous singing stars. Regrettably he wasn't able to attend, but just being invited was an honour. Numerous dignitaries have been entertained by Frank, including the Lieutenant Governor of BC, the Premier of BC, mayors and council members. He was recognized by the 2003 city council when he was declared "official poet of Williams Lake". On several occasions, Frank has been nominated by the Academy of Western Artists to receive the Will Rogers Award for male cowboy poet of the year. In 2003, he placed in the top five. His songs and poems have been played on radio and television throughout Canada, United States, and Europe.

He has been a feature entertainer many times at the National Cowboy Poetry Gathering in Elko, Nevada and the Kamloops Cowboy Festival. In March 2010, Frank was inducted into the BC Cowboy Hall of Fame in the artistic category. Frank writes all his own material and has five books of poetry and has recorded four CDs of his poems and songs.


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The Gordie West Band

The Gordie West Band web site is: www.gordiewestband.com


The Gordie West Band
You may have seen this duo at one of many cowboy festivals in BC and Alberta or promoting the Calgary Stampede throughout North America. Gordie West and Mike Dygert (aka The Gordie West Band) are a couple of guys with a thirst for the folklore of the west and a yen to play good, old cowboy music! Gordie West, who lives a short drive north of Kamloops, began playing in country bands in his teens, spent close to 20 years touring overseas where he released 5 albums and now combines a singing career with life on his land north of Kamloops. He has a voice range that can showcase the ballads of Marty Robbins and the yodel stylings of Wilf Carter. Mike Dygert hails from Cold Lake in north eastern Alberta. When he's not with Gord, you might catch playing with the Western Spirit band or other western music colleagues. He has a dry wit that will leave you wondering "where'd he come from" and "how'd he get there"! Together they make the show come alive with music, song, and good humour.


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Hanson Family

The Hanson Family The stage comes to life with the energy, talent and enthusiasm of Lisa, Theresa and Daniel Hanson from Veneta, Oregon. Dazzling audiences everywhere with new and fresh arrangements, this dynamic trio brings you the best of Western Swing, yodeling mastery, rousing fiddle tunes and blazing harmony. The intricate vocal arrangements and beautiful harmonies of The Hanson Family have gained them much recognition in the music world with their last album reaching #6 on the Western Music Charts. Among other awards, they have had the honor of winning the Academy of Western Artists, 2014 "Group of the Year", the 2013 Kamloops Cowboy Festival "Country 103 Rising Star Showcase", the 2006, 2015 & 2016 Western Music Association, Marilyn Tuttle "Best of the Best" harmony award, and the 2005 WMA "Youth Yodeler of the Year". They have entertained at the Alaska State Fair, Pendleton Roundup, Paramount Theater in Seattle, New York City Center Theater, and hundreds of other events and venues across the US and Canada. Their show is a delight for all ages and one you won't want to miss! Their web site is: www.hansonfamilymusic.com


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Hugh McLennan Photo by Deanna Kristensen

Hugh McLennan and his wife Billie live the life they love - shared with their cattle and horses in some beautiful country! Hugh has spent a lot of years training horses for the public and specializes in starting colts and developing them for ranch work. He spent many years working in radio and TV but his heart was always in ranching and cowboy life. Sixteen years ago Hugh started the Spirit of the West radio program with the objective to bring the livestock industry to the general public using the real words of the people on the land along with the music and poetry of the west. As well as many other awards, Hugh's show was named Canada's Best Agricultural Radio Program in two different years. His speaking engagements take him all over North America. Hugh's web site is: www.hugh-mclennan.com


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Jay Snider

Jay Snider was born and raised in the southwest Oklahoma and calls Cyril, Oklahoma home. Born to a ranching and rodeo family, his dad a top roper and rodeo cowboy and his granddad a brand inspector for the Texas and Southwestern Cattle Raisers Assoc. He rodeoed throughout most of his early years and now stays busy raising ranch horses, cattle, and team roping. Jay is a six time nominee for male poet of the year by the Academy of Western Artists. Jay appeared on Country Music Television's, "Christmas in Cowboy Country" hosted by Clint Black. He was a Silver Buckle winner at Kanab, Utah's Cowboy Poetry Rodeo in 2004 and was a feature cowboy poet at the Ozarks Fall Roundup Cowboy Gathering hosted by Shepherd of the Hills Outdoor Theater in Branson, Missouri. Most recently, Jay was awarded the "Best of the Best" trophy at Kanab, Utah's Cowboy poetry rodeo and was invited to be a feature poet at the National Cowboy Poetry Gathering in Elko, Nevada in February of 2006. Jay's newest cowboy poetry CD, "Of Horses and Men" was named "Cowboy Poetry Recording of the Year" by the AWA for 2006.


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Jess Lee

Jess Lee was signed by RCA in 1980 as the lead singer of the Midnight Rodeo Band. He recorded his first solo album Honky Tonk Love Affair in 1990. This album included 5 Canadian chart hits including the #1 hit "Crowhill Road". The title track was featured in the movie Harmony Cats, was voted song of the year by the BCCMA, and garnered Jess Lee the Country Male Vocalist of The Year Award. In the mid-90's Jess returned to his aboriginal musical roots, and together with songwriter Bonnie James wrote the album Sacred Ground that was nominated for a Juno Award in 2004. Jess Lee has appeared on numerous award shows and television shows including "Native Voices", and "The Tommy Hunter Show." In 2011 Jess Lee was inducted into the BCCMA Hall of Fame. Jess has a new album out called "I Am All of This". Dennis Charney, Country Music News, said "The best pure country voice in Canada".

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Jim McLennan

Jim McLennan Jim's reputation as a fingerstyle guitarist, composer and arranger has produced an enduring legacy as one of Alberta’s finest guitarists. He recorded for Stefan Grossman's iconic Kicking Mule record label in the 1970s, and has been featured in Guitar Player magazine. Jim's first solo CD, Six-String Gumbo, was a Western Canadian Music Award finalist for Instrumental Recording of the Year. US National Fingerstyle world champion Bob Evans says this about Jim's acoustic playing: "Jim has one of the smoothest fingerstyle guitar deliveries I had ever heard." Jim will be playing backup guitar for who ever wants him throughout the weekend.


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Kathy Moss

Kathy Moss lived an interesting life in Baker City, Oregon. Though this life was not glamorous, it helped shape Kathy's character and gave her a sense of humor. Her love for horses grew into a passion to understand them. After graduation from high school, she continued to study horsemanship and animal science. She likes to gentle mustangs and train colts every now and then, time permitting. Her heart longs to feed in the morning, care for her horses, and preserve life experiences over a cup of coffee with pen in hand or friends across the table. Writing as soon as she could put thought on paper, her works have been tales and experiences about herself and others. She brings stories to life in rhyme and rhythm that are enjoyed by young and old alike. She loves to make people laugh and challenges them to think and remember. Kathy has published three books in a series called "...in the Making".


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Kevin Davis

Kevin Davis can be described with one word, Cowboy. Born and raised in southwest Oklahoma he started working for area cattlemen while still in high school. After graduating he started competing in bareback riding and team roping events across the state. He went to work for Anderson Ranches in Empire Oklahoma until 1995 when he became a fire fighter. In his spare time he started playing guitar and writing songs about his life as a cowboy. You can listen to the words of the songs he has written and know they come from the heart. He has played shows with Merle Haggard, Red Steagall, Tracy Lawrence, Michael Martin Murphy, R.W. Hampton and many others. He has performed at gatherings in Elko, Lubbock, Abilene, Amarillo, Oklahoma City, Nashville, and Las Vegas. Kevin still lives in the small town of Walters with his wife of 23 years and their 2 children Zane, and Jolie.


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Leslie Ross

Leslie Ross credits the women in her family for passing on a love of music, and says her Dad passed on his love for horses when he brought home a pony and taught her to ride when she was six. A year later when her folks bought her a guitar, she started picking and singing, and well ... the rest is history! Living in the Cariboo for almost 30 years, working on guest ranches as an entertainer and teamster on countless hayrides and sleighrides, and working with some interesting cowboys and characters along the way, have given Leslie some real-life stories to share in her song writing as she currently works on her 1st album. She has enjoyed performing main stage at cowboy concerts, dances, Canada Day celebrations, and the Cowboy Drover Jubilee in the historic town of Barkerville. Leslie was a close finalist in the past couple of year's Spirit of the West Rising Star Show Case. We welcome her back to Kamloops!


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Matt Johnston

Matt Johnston Matt's song writing talent and love of the cowboy culture have produced some wonderful songs. Matt has been writing and performing at Cowboy Festivals, concerts and gatherings for over a decade. In 2002 and 2003 he was nominated for the "Rising Western Star Award" by the Academy of Western Arts in Fort Worth and again in 2010 for the "Male Western Vocalist". His debut recording features eight of his original songs and is put together with twenty three poems by Canada's Cowboy Poet, Mike Puhallo. After focusing on his homestead and family life for a few years Matt is shifting his energy back towards music and is currently working on a new album. Matt hangs his hat in Upper Clearwater which is surrounded by Wells Gray Park. Matt and his wife Ursula are both farriers and do trail rides in Wells Gray park. He devides his spare time between family, homestead, horses and working in his saddle shop.


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Matt Robertson

Matt Robertson Quote, "I want to influence people with my music that is why I write songs", and that he does. Cowboys and cowboys-at-heart, from age 3 to 83, are able to personally connect to the poetic tunes of Matt Robertson. Matt is a singer/songwriter whose lyrics are shaped by real life experiences gained from rodeo, cowboying, horse training and ranch work in Wyoming, Montana, South Dakota, and Alberta. Matt recorded his first CD 'Old Roan Horse' after winning the 2008 Rising Star competition at the Kamloops Cowboy Festival. This album includes fun songs about going down the rodeo trail in his '1985 Lincoln Town Car' riding 'Them Broncs' while 'Chasing Those Dreams Made of Gold', along with songs that reflect his time on the range, like 'Call Me Cowboy' and 'Old Vaquero'. Since then he has performed at various venues and Cowboy Festivals throughout western Canada and the United States. In 2012 Matt release his second CD, 'The Voice'. This album is a compilation of easy-listening, heart-felt songs ranging from almost gospel to ballads of the western lifestyle. Through songs like 'Horseman' and 'Kickapoo' he describes the close bond between horse and rider, while songs like 'Good Times' and 'Cowboys Wife' describe a cowboys desire for 'Living the Dream'. If you've been searching for music with a meaning then you've found it.


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Naomi Bristow

Naomi Bristow is a 19 year old cowgirl with a great love and talent for singing country music. In the past few years Naomi has travelled across the countryside in Canada and the United States performing for thousands while being rewarded with kindness and admiration from folks of every age. Naomi's love for old tyme traditional country music lead her to self taught yodeling. When Naomi was 8 years old she saw a little girl on television yodeling and decided it was something she would like to try, so she sent away to Nashville for a tape and booklet of "Margo Smith Learn to Yodel". For the past four years Naomi has spent endless hours practicing and improving her yodeling techniques. She has been adopted by the Queen of Yodeling "Janet McBride" whom has offered immense support and greatly appreciated direction. Naomi was featured in the top 200 across Canada for the Canada's Got Talent 2012 season. She gained exposure and notoriety from the amazing experience. Also among the many accolades received the past years Naomi cherishes the "Fans Choice Award" from the Havelock Jamboree, the "Country 103 Rising Star Award" at the Kamloops Cowboy Festival and The Western Music Association "Youth Yodeler of the Year". On Canada Day Naomi received awards from Municipal, Provincial, and Federal Governments for her outstanding achievements in music.


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Phyllis Rathwell

Phyllis Rathwell was hatched on a hot rock between the Cypress Hills and the Great Sand Hills of Southwestern Saskatchewan and now raises good Angus cattle in south central Saskatchewan. Refusing to give in to BSE, drought, grasshoppers, cranky men, or common sense, she loves the ranching way of life. Her sense of humor and "been there, done that" experience with ranch life delights audiences. She claims to be equally (in)competent at workin' cattle, checkin' pens, fencin', balin', cussin' gates an' ridin' the grub line. Her poetry reflects the reality of living and working with critters, men and kids. Phyllis has been a featured poet at many large gatherings on both sides of the 'Medicine Line'.


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Shelley Goldbeck

Shelley Goldbeck is a Distinguished Toastmaster who recently discovered Cowboy Poetry and she's in love! Shelley grew up on a horse ranch in Central Alberta and has been writing poetry since she was eight years old. She is the current editor of the Barbwire Dispatch, the official newsletter of the Alberta Cowboy Poetry Association. Shelley was a very close finalist in last year's Spirit of the West Risng Star Show Case. We welcome her back to Kamloops!


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The Wardens

The Wardens With performances equal to the mastery of the ranger trade, The Wardens - Scott Ward, Bradley Bischoff and Ray Schmidt - are a Banff National Park-based trio whose stories rise from the very land they've protected for the past 30 years. Born in the remote wilderness, their music immediately connects with anyone who has a love of landscape. Saddle up for horseback patrols in remote valleys, get dangerously close to grizzly bears and pay homage to those who gave their lives to wilderness conservation. Audiences laugh and cry as they become intertwined with the stories of the places that belong to them. Through superb musicianship (lead guitar, rhythm guitar, bass), haunting three-part vocal harmonies, rich on-screen images and a chilling delivery, The Wardens bring the showcases of our nation to audiences from around the world.


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Trinity Seely

Trinity Seely's life has taken her to many wonderful places that she has called home. From British Columbia, to Alcova, Wyoming where she currently resides and works with her husband and 4 children on the Rex Ranch. Ranching and agriculture have always been a part of Trinity's life and it has embedded in her a love for all things cowboy. Trinity writes and sings from a very personal perspective as a ranch wife, mother and cowgirl. She takes you on a ride, through the sagebrush seas, depicting with her music a spot on experience that exists in her daily life. Trinity has received nominations with the Western Music Association for the Crescendo Award in 2012, 2013 and 2014. She just received the 2014 WMA award for "Song of the Year" for her song "Cowboy Hat". She was nominated for the Top 5 Female Vocalist of the year and Best Album with the Academy of Western Artists in 2012 and 2013. Her Song "Old Poly Rope" was nominated best western song with the Western Writers of America for 2014. She was an invited performer in 2013 at the National Cowboy Poetry Gathering in Elko and has headlined many gatherings throughout the US. Trinity's self-titled debut CD was released in November of 2011, and she released her second CD, "Old Poly Rope" November of 2013.


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Wesley Hardisty

Wesley Hardisty is a fiddler, guitarist, singer and composer whose music blends rock, country, folk, Celtic and Métis sounds. His passionate playing is compelling to watch, his love of music evident. Wesley is from the Dene First Nation in the North West Territories. Largely self taught, he took up the fiddle at age thirteen in his hometown of Fort Simpson, NT through the outreach work of the Kole Crook Fiddle Association. Wesley has come full circle and has taught fiddle with the Kole crook Association. Now 23, he has an impressive resume, with hundreds of gigs, festivals and TV performances. His debut CD won the 2012 Aboriginal Peoples Choice Music Award for Best Fiddle CD. Wesley creates emotionally evocative music and is a soulful, natural musician.


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Open Mic

We can't hire everyone, so our Open Mics allow others a chance to perform at the Kamloops Cowboy Festival! This includes the already known professionals and up-and-coming talent! Every year we end up hearing new entertainers on the open mics and quite often invite them back as paid performers the following year! If you are interested in performing on the open mic just show up and add your name the list!

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The BC Cowboy Heritage Society
Box 137, Kamloops, BC, Canada, V2C 5K3
Phone:1-888-763-2221
Email: cowboys@bcchs.com


 

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