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Cowboy Poets Gather In Nevada With Eye On Oregon Conflict

(AP) - As troubadours, fiddlers and scribes head to northeast Nevada for a national gathering to celebrate cowboy poetry and culture, the topic of the sometimes tenuous relationship between the Old West and the realities of the New West will be more than campfire conversation.

The 32nd National Cowboy Poetry Gathering opens Monday in Elko, a rural community halfway between Reno and Salt Lake City that is similar in its turbulent history to the place about 200 miles away in Oregon where a national wildlife refuge has been seized by armed men protesting federal ownership of land.

The weeklong festival features a slate of speeches and discussion panels about many of the wide-open spaces where conservation is a good word, but environmentalism sometimes is not; where patriotism is revered, but the U.S. government is often despised.