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Prescott Valley Tribune | Prescott Valley, Arizona

home : features : features October 3, 2015

6/12/2013 8:39:00 AM
Cowgirl author offers free writing workshop at Dewey-Humboldt gathering
Amy Auker believes that sitting in an office will not make one a great writer. She’ll share writing tips during the Dewey-Humboldt Cowboy Gathering and Western Heritage Festival.
Courtesy Photo
Amy Auker believes that sitting in an office will not make one a great writer. She’ll share writing tips during the Dewey-Humboldt Cowboy Gathering and Western Heritage Festival.
Courtesy Photo
Schedule for the Dewey-Humboldt Cowboy Gathering and Western Heritage Festival on Friday-Sunday, June 21-23
This distinctive event begins at 6 p.m. Friday with a show at Mortimer Family Farms at Highways 69 and 169, Dewey. Local favorite Don Fernwalt from Mayer opens the show followed by Prescott resident and Western singer and poet Gail Steiger headlining, and performances by Tony Argento, the Broken Chair Band, Slim Farnsworth, Jim Dunham and the Rusty Pistols, Deanna Dickenson McCall and Peggy Malone.

Evening show tickets are $10, and a barbecue dinner also is available for purchase. A campfire open-jam session follows the show and is open to the public.

Saturday, June 22, features performers at free sessions at Humboldt Elementary School every hour from 10 a.m.-4 p.m., and includes a writing workshop by award-winning writer and Prescott resident Amy Hale Auker, trick roping, fabric spinning, saddle making, Yavapai tribal history and old-time ranching, with Western music, poetry and storytelling.

Handmade crafts, Western art and photography exhibits (including works by George and Lynn Phippen) and book signings by authors from Five Star Publications also take place in the gym. Special guest Ben Costello, author of Gunsmoke: An American Institution, will make an appearance.

Saturday evening entertainment begins at 6 at Mortimer Family Farms with Arizona cowboy poet Mike Dunn opening the show. Performances by Suzi Killman, Sue Harris, Terry Nash, Vic Anderson, Mountain Saddle Band and Jessica Hedges follow. Western stars Juni Fisher and Prescott resident Belinda Gail will close the show, with a campfire open-jam session following. Tickets are $10 with a barbecue dinner available for purchase.

Sunday morning starts with a chuck wagon breakfast at 8 a.m. followed by a Cowboy Church at 9:30 a.m. at Mortimer Family Farms featuring many of the performers from the gathering.

For more information, call 928-499-9862 or e-mail Tickets for the evening shows are available at the door or online at

Sue Tone

Amy Auker believes that sitting in an office will not make one a great writer.

"We all think we have to have time to write. Time is important, but if we are not living, if we are not getting out there, listening and paying attention, then what do we have to write about?" she said. "The great writers of the American West have not locked themselves in their office."

Auker is one of several free workshops offered Saturday, June 22, during the Dewey-Humboldt Cowboy Gathering and Western Heritage Festival, which takes place over three days, June 21-23.

Saturday's workshops run from 10 a.m.-4 p.m. at the Humboldt Elementary School and include Auker's writing workshop, Trick Roping with Vic Anderson, Fabric Spinning with Gisela Gminder, Yavapai Tribal History with Frieda Eswonia, Old-time Ranching with Chino Valley cowboy Joe Briggs, and Saddle Making and Leather Crafting with Jon and Jon-Alan Martin.

Auker's first book, Rightful Place, contains essays about her life as the wife of a cowboy rancher, cooking for Texas ranch hands, raising two children, and loving the land and life. Living in Arizona for nearly five years now, she is married to Gail Steiger, cowboy poet who will be performing Friday night (see schedule).

Auker has a second book, a novel called Winter of Beauty, due out in late September through Pen L Publishing of Arkansas.

"A lot of people are daunted by writing. They don't know how to begin. So I tell them to give yourself six sentences and we will go from there," Auker said.

She said she uses this idea of distilling the idea down to its very essence in her poetry, scenes in a work of fiction, and her essays.

"If you don't have six sentences of things to write about each day, you need to be out there. Go outside and write about the broccoli in the garden that's bolting, count how many ladybugs on the spinach leaves. You have to get outdoors if you have nothing to write about."

For workshop times and more information, call (928) 499-9862 or e-mail

Related Stories:
• Photo & gallery: Cowgirl in training

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