I've been overwhelmed by the energy at the National Cowboy Poetry Gathering in Elko, Nevada these past two days. It's been cold and grey outside, but within the Convention Center there is great activity with lots of performances of music and poetry, and workshops about the ranching world.
Part of the reason I came here was to document the participation in four of those workshops by members of the O'Toole family, who are subjects of "A Handful of Dust." Pat and Sharon have been involved in a facilitated workshop about the future of ranching, and Meghan participated in a panel discussion called "Back on the Ranch." Today, Pat will be on a panel speaking about food production in the West.
Beyond shooting video, I've been fortunate to meet some wonderful people here. Darcy Minter, the Communications Director of the Western Folklife Center introduced to me a number of performers who have graciously agreed to contribute their talent to the documentary. Gail Steiger, Amy Hale Auker, Jessie Veeder, Joel Nelson and Linda Hussa, all luminaries in this world, have shown a generosity that is truly heartwarming.
There hasn't been a lot of free time, and in fact I haven't even made it to any performances. But I've kept my Ricoh GR on my belt and grabbed some little details that caught my eye. The amazing colors, patterns and textures in the clothing is dizzying, and the novelty items in the shops are humorous and endearing.
Today is the last day, and I'm looking forward to it immensely.