Celebrate the rich history, heritage, and diversity of ranch culture through music, poetry, and art.
Create a venue for cowboy and cowgirl musicians, poets, and artists in a very unique western environment.

Mission Statement

The mission of “The Spirit of The West” is to preserve the heritage of the American Cowboy and the pioneer values that distinguish our nation’s history.

The legends of the American West and cowboy culture are romanticized and passed on through stories, songs, poetry, and rodeo yet today.

In the absence of law and order in the unsettled West, cowboys and frontier families practiced unwritten laws which are known as the “Code of the West”.

As we pioneer new frontiers, the Cowboy Gathering here in Ellensburg, Washington strives to perpetuate those same values of honesty, self-reliance, and consideration of others, thus passing on the cowboy code to future generations.

Our History

For over twenty years ago, people from all over the country and beyond met in Elko, Nevada each January for the four-day National Cowboy Poetry Gathering.

The event attracts over 8,000 people and the event generated $7.5 million and a little over.

The Spirit of the West Cowboy Gathering is now an annual three-day event staged in Ellensburg, Washington, and is modeled after the National Cowboy Poetry Gathering in Elko.

Over 70 percent of attendants travel from out of the area, with a full 1/3 from the Puget Sound Region.

The Spirit of the West Cowboy Gathering stormed the Northwest for the first time in February of the year 2005.

The event brought some of the best traditional cowboy musicians, poets, and artists together along with a gear show, workshops, and dances that incorporated the entire Historic Downtown of Ellensburg.

With The Spirit of the West Cowboy Gathering, Ellensburg is continuing its rich tradition of attracting major events, such as the nationally ranked Ellensburg Rodeo, The National Art Show (second only to Cheyenne), Jazz in the Valley (a huge mid-summer success), and now The Spirit of the West.

Each year we attract over 4,000 visitors to hear well-known entertainers like Don Edwards, Waddie Mitchell, Sons of the San Joaquin, Wylie and the Wild West, Cowboy Celtic, and many more national and local entertainers.

Ellensburg continues to be a popular destination city. And like Elko, The Spirit of the West Cowboy Gathering is drawing attention from beyond our region, bringing old west aficionados and new devotees from Oregon, Montana, Idaho, California, British Columbia, and as far away as Maine, to name a few.
Our marketing efforts include:

• 15,000 direct mailings
• 250,000 website hits
• Advertisements in prestigious magazines such as Cowboys and Indians and Western Horseman
• Advertisements in newspapers such as The Yakima Herald, The Daily Record, The Washington Post
• Advertisements in radio including KMPS (Seattle), KXLE (Ellensburg), KPQ (Wenatchee), and KVLR (Winthrop)
• Inclusion in the Ellensburg Chamber of Commerce Directory, and the Daily Record’s “Four Seasons” (seasonally produced with local events)

Your financial participation is instrumental in continuing our mission of honoring the traditions, history, and heritage of the old west in a proven and authentic western environment.

The success and future of The Spirit of the West Cowboy Gathering is brought about through our world-class entertainers, visitors, our community, and generous sponsors.