The Western Folklife Center, which hosts Elko, Nevada's National Cowboy Poetry Gathering--made famous when Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid warned it might lose funding--is up for another grant from the National Endowment for the Arts.
Few would have known of the thriving community of cowboy poets--let alone that they receive federal funding--if not for Reid. The Nevada Democrat in April lambasted a Republican budget proposal that would have cut the NEA, which has awarded grants to the festival for decades.
"The mean-spirited bill," Reid said, referring to the Republican budget that never passed, "eliminates the National Endowment of the Humanities, National Endowment of the Arts. These programs create jobs. The National Endowment of the Humanities is the reason we have in northern Nevada every January a cowboy poetry festival. Had that program not been around, the tens of thousands of people who come there every year would not exist."
The NEA helped kickstart the annual program in the 1980s with a $50,000 grant and awarded the group more educational grants throughout the 1990s. For the past decade, the Western Folklife Center has received federal funding for various projects every year expect 2004. (It received an extra $50,000 through the 2009 stimulus package.)Read More »from Cowboy poets likely to survive latest round of budget cuts