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Front Page » September 6, 2011 » Emery County News » Cowboy poetry night is a big hit
Published 1,150 days ago

Cowboy poetry night is a big hit


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By PHIL FAUVER
Staff writer

Emery County Historical Society held their annual Cowboy Poetry Night Aug. 25 at Castle Valley Outdoors near Emery.

A threatening rain and wind storm failed to keep over 175 people from attending this great event. Only a few drops of rain fell and the wind became calm as the Fire House Five Band began to play and sing country western songs. The evening turned out to be warm and pleasant for the end of August in a beautiful Utah mountain valley setting.

The guests came to Castle Valley Outdoors with their collapsible chairs, jackets and blankets to sit on the lawn facing the east side of the big lodge to enjoy the Country Western music and entertaining Cowboy Poetry. The band was using the east side of the lodge for electricity to operate their electric guitars, the sound system and for a stage. The Fire House Five Band is made up of Bob Baker, Randy Lake, Lew Larson, John Sehestedt and Ross Christiansen. Some of the old Western songs they sang were formerly sung by Marti Robbins, Johnny Cash and other Western song writers. They also sang some of their original songs. The songs played on the guitars brought many memories.

Dottie Grimes, President of the Emery County Historical Society, after opening the meeting invited Merlin Christiansen of Emery to come forward and receive the Preservation of Emery County History award. Grimes said, "This award is to recognize Merlin for the notable contributions he has made to the town of Emery. Such as restoring the historic church building in Emery. That church building is very unique. It is a clapboard building built New England style. It is one of five historic buildings we have in Emery County. He has archived all of the registered brands at Emery from all of the cowboys we are celebrating tonight. He has gathered photos of every war veteran in Emery and has been instrumental in creating a War Memorial for them at Emery. Now he is recording and mapping every house that was in Emery and listing who lived there."

Grimes then introduced the Fire House Five Band and Sam DeLeeuw the notoriously funny and talented Cowgirl Poet who regaled the group with ranch experiences around her husband, farm vehicles, and animals that brought much laughter and tears to some who recalled days gone by. As a rancher's wife, she's herded horses, cows, sheep, and daughters. Her poetry is filled with those experiences.

DeLeeuw is a charming, woman. This evening she was wearing Western attire, including a Stetson hat and boots, decorated with silver stars set in gold.

DeLeeuw reported she started writing about her experiences when she was a kid and said, "I created the character Hilda who was 6' 5". When I was working as a Juvenal Court Probation Officer I went across the hall and talked to Ivan Christian the Sanpete County Theater Arts Director. After I read the poetry to him about Hilda, he invited me to read my poetry at one of their meetings. We do not read we perform. From that event I was invited to several places to perform. I continued my education and have taken courses on how to write stories and poems. The instructors informed me to write stories of things I know the most about.

"I retired after 30 years at the Juvenal Court in Manti and have moved to Roy. Now I travel full time, I play and have a good time. It is so much fun to travel. Whereever I go I ask for a host family. I do not want to stay in a hotel in this way I make many new friends," said DeLeeuw.

Deleeuw's sister Irene Mead lives in Ferron and was excited to have Sam come for a visit. Mead said, "I grew up with Sam but her name was Brenda then." Sam is Irene's younger sister. They were born in Blackfoot, Idaho and then moved to Utah according to Irene.

About Sam DeLeeuw

Brenda "Sam" DeLeeuw was born in Blackfoot, Idaho, just off the Fort Hall Reservation. She had her first horse when she was 4 and spent hours riding the reservation with her Indian friends and even more hours on the tributaries of the Snake River. She continued to ride and rodeo during her high school years and then attended Snow College in Ephraim, on the rodeo team.  While at college she took as many livestock classes as she could, often the only girl in Feeds and Feeding, Livestock Management and Selection, etc.Now single, Sam was married for almost 20 years to a man who raised cattle and sheep.  She can run a squeeze chute, innoculate cows in the heat of the day and spend cold nights checking first time calving heifers by headlight.  She can keep a calf warm on the floor of her truck or the floor of her kitchen, and keeps the scour medicine in her fridge separate from the dressing she made for last night's supper. She can also keep a sense of humor and make a good story out of any of the happenings experienced with the stock. Sam is the past president of the Cowboy Poets of Utah, and is now serving on its Board of Directors. She is a member of the Cowboy Poets of Idaho, Cowboy Poets of Wind River, and the Utah Chapter of the Western Music Association. Sam won three of four events in the National Cowboy Poetry Rodeo in Kanab, held in August of 2006 and was named the 2006 Silver Buckle Category winner. This information istaken from Cowboy Poetry.com.

Some of DeLeeuw's recent credits are as follows: 2011 Pioneer Heritage Award, Cowboy Poets of Utah, in the 2010 Hall of Fame Cowboy Poets of Idaho. Her CD was #1 on WMA " Top 10 Western Play List, Women of the West. She won the 2006 Buckle winner at the Kanab, Utah, Cowboy Poetry roundup. She was named Female Poet of the Year by the Utah Chapter of the Western Music Association.

One of the first stories Sam told, was about milking the cow, the cream at the top of the milk and the floaters in the milk after the cream had been skimmed off. One morning her mother did not have any cheese cloth to remove the floaters. So she went to the store to get cheese cloth for the floaters. When she returned. Sam was eating cheerios and milk. Her mother asked Sam how she had strained out the floaters. Sam said she had used the fly swatter to strain the milk for her cheerios. Then she told her mother not to worry as she hadn't used the new one.

The following story is about how Sam DeLeeuw got her first name changed from Brenda to Sam.

When Sam attended Snow College she went on a blind date to a dance. The boy she was dancing with couldn't seem to remember her name was Brenda. After several tries she finally told him to call her any name he could remember. He said I have a hound dog with brown eyes like yours named Sam. I will call you Sam and she have been called Sam ever since.

One of Sam's most interesting skits was called Spreading Sunshine. This story was about a woman from the East who thought a manure spreader was a work of art and her encounter with the owner of the manure spreader. Sam made several rapid changes of her hat and theatrical teeth to play the part of both the woman and the old farmer.

The meeting of the historical society turned out to be one of the best Cowboy Poetry nights presented.

Those that wanted were able to purchase CD's of DeLeeuw's Cowboy Poetry.

After the program the historical society served wonderful Dutch Oven cobbler made of peaches or strawberries with a big scoop of vanilla ice cream.

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September 6, 2011
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