Congratulations to the winners of the 2019 Kansas Cowboy Poetry Contest!

Left to right:  Humorous Division Champion:  Danny McCurry, Ash Grove, Missouri;

and Serious Division Champion:  Scott Wiswell, Valley Center, Kansas

Final results were as follows:  Serious – 1st, Scott Wiswell, 2nd, Danny McCurry, and 3rd, Colby Richard.  Humorous - 1st, Danny McCurry; 2nd, Scott Wiswell, and 3rd, Mary Powell.


Contestants, left to right (towns in Kansas unless identified otherwise):  Colin Schoonover, Tulsa, Oklahoma; Scott Wiswell, Valley Center; Danny McCurry, Ash Grove, Missouri; Mary Powell, Longton; Betty Burlingham, Manhattan; Don Wagner, Bennington; and Colby Richard, Ellsworth.  Not pictured:  Terry Arnwine, Cherryvale

2019 Judges, left to right: KSNT anchorwoman Brooke Lennington, Kansas Supreme Court Chief Justice Lawton Nuss, USDA Rural Development Director Lynne Hinrichsen, Hall of Fame Coach Bill Snyder, Senator Nancy Kassebaum Baker, Manhattan Mercury executive editor Megan Moser, war hero Mark Nutsch, and Manhattan Mayor Mike Dodson

 Thanks to these sponsors of our contest in 2019: 

Flint Hills Discovery Center Foundation, the Flint Hills Discovery Center, Vanderbilts, R Bar B, Roberts Cowboy Outfitters, Outpost Western Store, Boot Barn, Rittels Western Wear, Symphony in the Flint Hills, International Western Music Association (IWMA) – Kansas chapter, Manhattan Broadcasting, and the Ranchland Trust of Kansas/Kansas Livestock Association

Objectives of the contest:

1)    to encourage and develop the art and practice of cowboy poetry,

2)    to expand outreach in support of this unique form of art and folklore, and

3)    to support local, grassroots events which can promote cowboy poetry and benefit the local economy.

A performer can enter a poem in either the Serious or Humorous category or both.  Only original work is accepted for the contest.  Contestants must be present to perform their own work in person.


At each contest, several judges are asked to individually rank performers  based on the following factors with a maximum of 10 points apiece:  

1.  Quality -  the technical quality of the poem itself. i.e., the rhyme and meter of the poem - does it rhyme well, does it flow/meter well?  

2. Theme - is it truly cowboy/western?  Or just general in topic?  

3. Presentation – delivery of the poem - effective stage presence, polish of the performer, etc.  A perfect score would be a total of 30 points.  Ties are broken based on the scores in the Quality category.

 There is no time limit on the poems.  One does not need to be a Kansan to enter and participate.  Immediately before each contest, a contestants meeting will be held where the contestants will draw cards to determine the sequence of performance.


Email contest chair Ron Wilson