- Associated Press - Tuesday, January 28, 2014

ELKO, Nev. (AP) - Lt. Gov. Brian Krolicki helped kick off the 30th annual National Cowboy Poetry Gathering in Elko by honoring Waddie Mitchell as Nevada’s official sesquicentennial poet in a celebration he said was worthy of the state’s proud, rural heritage.

Monday night’s opening performance at the Western Folklife Center was dedicated to Nevada’s 150 years of statehood.

“We are honored by one of the iconic figures of Cowboy Poetry,” Krolicki told the crowd at the center’s G Three Bar Theater, according to the Elko Daily Free Press (http://tinyurl.com/q7kmo63).

“What better way to have our state’s birthday than to incorporate the activities that are here?” he said. “Rural Nevada is the heart and soul of our state.”

Before he read his poem, “Dame Nevada,” Mitchell said he was honored to be named the sesquicentennial poet, but wasn’t sure what to write.

“If you were assigned to write about your brother, would you be able to?” he said.

His poem spoke of the beauty of the state, which he said can be found by those who look for it.

“If we but live within her wishes, we will prosper and live well,” he said. He talked about Nevada’s history and beginnings during “America’s most uncivil war” - hence the state’s nickname of “Battle Born” - and the pride and love he has for the state.

Nevada is “as tight with her resources as she is liberal with her love,” Mitchell said.

Other performers included Richard Elloyan, who sang a song entitled, “Every Day is Nevada Day to Me.”

“It’s not just a day on the calendar,” he sang. “It’s gold mines and neon signs.”

At the end of his song, Elloyan sang every Nevada city in alphabetical order, explaining there’s “No Q, no X, no Z, but that’s OK ‘cause every day is Nevada Day to me.”

The gathering continues through Sunday, with events during the day and evening shows.

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Information from: Elko Daily Free Press, http://www.elkodaily.com