Having a group of entertainers traveling from around the country to perform in Van Horn, Texas without pay seems about as likely as Willie Nelson stopping over in Sierra Blanca., Texas…voluntarily that is. Making things sound even more unlikely is that fact that half of the nearly thirty entertainers performing at the third Texas Crossroads Gathering in Van Horn are returning performers.
The Crossroads Gathering was conceived as a way to promote the lesser known entertainers of the cowboy entertainment genres, as well as the genres themselves. In three years it has grown from eleven performers to nearly thirty performers. While the entertainers are competing for invitations to several smaller smaller gatherings their main reason in coming to Van Horn is to perform and have a great time. Because of the format, Van Horn will be hosting an unusually diverse range of talent.
On one end of the spectrum are poets and singers Bill Shaw of Yuma, Arizona and Rusty Battenfield of Midland Texas. Bill had never performed on stage before last year, and Rusty’s experience had been singing for friends and around the campfire as a Boy Scout volunteer. On the other end, there is cowboy poet Bob Atkins coming down from Kansas City and returning poet Slim Farnsworth. Mr Atkins has been writing cowboy poetry for fifty years, has had his own radio show, and has performed all over the United States and Canada as well as Europe. Slim Farnsworth, making his second appearance in Van Horn from Hotchkiss, Colorado was the winner of the 2007 and 2009 National Cowboy Poetry Rodeo. Also returning will be Darrel Staedtler who wrote the hit songs, Blame it on Mexico, the Fireman and Eighty Proof Bottle for George Straight. Buck Helton, from Dallas, Texas is making the trip not only to perform, but act as the event MC as well.
To select which entertainers will appear in the Saturday night finals show, each entertainer will be scored by a panel of three judges. Cowboy poet Dave P. Fisher will be coming from Washington. Singer songwriter Evelyn Roper will be coming from Colorado. Judging from the perspective of a regular audience member will be Gary Fuentes, of Van Horn. Each judge will be scoring on a fifty point system with 10 points going for material and 40 points towards entertainment value. The entertainers with the top ten scores will be performing in the Saturday night finals show from which the participating events will be selecting entertainers. The entertainers with the top five scores will also be receiving payback from the first ever Crossroads Calcutta.
Bidding for the Calcutta will take place during the February 3rd mixer and jam session held at the El Capitan Hotel. To make the bidding more interesting, each entertainer will perform their original version of a song, poem, or story with the same title…The Kamikaze Cow. The mixer will begin at 5PM with bidding beginning at 6. When the auction is finished, the first jam session will begin. The jam sessions are open to everyone whether they will be appearing on stage or not.
The local mic will begin at 8AM on February 4th as a venue for local kids and resident to perform their songs, poems or stories. The first half of Crossroads entertainers will kick off at 9am with each entertainer having a 20 minute set. Scores will be tallied and recorded at the end of their performance with the top ten scored posted on the whiteboard. At 6pm the Crossroads dinner show, featuring the first five entertainers to sign up. Immediately following the dinner show, there will be another jam session at the El Capitan. Saturday morning begins with another local mic session, with the remaining entertainers beginning at 9AM. When the last performer finishes, the performers for the finals show will be announced. The finals show is being combined with a dance by Evelyn Roper & Friends. The entertainers receiving invitations, and the inviting gatherings will be announced during the first band break. The gathering will with the Cowboy Church ramrodded by Rev Steven Spalding from Lebanon, Missouri at 10 AM Sunday.
If you live to far away to attend Crossroads in person, this event will also be simulcast to the internet giving these entertainers and the cowboy entertainment genre a worldwide audience.
All proceeds will be split between the local 4H club and Van Horn Homeless shelter. For more information, including locations and tickets, visit the Crossroads website at or call Bob Kinford at 432.284.1553
The video below is Eddy Harrison performing his original song Waltz of The Rainbows. Eddy not only wrote the song, he also built the guitar he plays it on!