The endless stream of high-end condominiums and single-branded athleisure storefronts is enough to challenge even the most ardent of Summit County’s cowpokes, ranchers, miners, mountain men and frontiersmen. The men and women of the Western Music & Cowboy Poetry Gathering (WMCPG), however, refuse to yield.

Heber Valley will host the twenty-fourth annual WMCPG from October 24-28. The five-day event is an homage to the area’s western traditions featuring musicians, poets, horsemen, shooters and craftsmen. The Gathering also offers plenty of opportunity to spend your hard-earned buffalo nickels on memorabilia like hats, boots, belts, paintings and sculptures while chowing down on semi-authentic frontier grub.

General admission to each day of the festival is only $10 and includes unlimited access to the Cow Camp and Chuck Wagon Stages. A rotating cast of musicians, poets and storytellers will take the stage every 30 minutes to regale attendees with sounds and stories of a bygone era and lifestyle. Thursday October 25 is community night when the public will have free access to performance stages, the Mountain Man Trader’s Camp, Buckaroo Fair Vendors and Tom’s Cabin, which presents Gathering founder Tom Whitaker’s genuine collection of cowboy artifacts.

Premier performers will hold ticketed shows throughout the event. Shows cost between $15-$45—which includes general admission for the day of the performance—and feature everything from award winning poetry to a performance by Western Music Association Hall of Famer Jack Hannah of The Sons of the San Joaquin.

Perhaps the most anticipated event of the Gathering is the Mounted Shooters Competition, which combines horsemanship and shooting into a timed competitive event. This western-themed biathlon takes place from 10:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m. on Saturday, October 26 and is free to the public.

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