Written by Patty Decker Tuesday, 04 September 2012 13:45
More than 40 people listened as Max Ewert, a published cowboy poet, read some of his favorite selections Thursday at the Marion Historical Society.
A 1960 graduate of Marion High School, Ewert said he has done a lot of things in his life, but prior to retirement, he spent 24 years working at Crested Butte Ski Resort in Colorado.
“I was in maintenance and my job description was doing what nobody else wanted to do,” he joked. “Actually, we did a little bit of everything.”
While he said the area was beautiful, he was ready to retire.
Now Ewert is doing one of the things he loves most: writing and reading cowboy poetry. It wasn’t until about 1994, he said, that he started dabbling in it.
“A good friend of mine, John Nelson, an outfitter in Gunnison, Colo., started doing it and I followed along doing a little (reading) now and then,” he said.
Ewert said he really doesn’t know how long cowboy poetry has been around, but one reason it emerged was because some cowboys couldn’t sing—so they wrote poetry.
“I had the opportunity to learn guitar and had a great teacher in high school, but I didn’t take the time,” he said.
One of Ewert’s poems was about the Class of 1960, which he read at the 40th reunion.
He is also published his poem, “Riding on the Great Divide,” through Gunnison Inside Outside. Ewert said he wrote that for his wife, Gerri.
In his collection of poems, Ewert said, he has written about 10 or 12.
“I like to do funny poems,” he said. “I like to see people laugh.”
During his reading, Ewert read selections written by his friend in Gunnison, Baxter Black, Les Bethune, Bill Jones and others.
Ewert said he also likes attending cowboy poet gatherings. He has been to Colorado Springs and met Black and went to Aurora, La Veta and other places to hear or perform along with other poets.
He said writing cowboy poetry is something that just happens.
“When I wrote ‘Riding the Great Divide,’ it just came to me one day,” he said.
He and Gerri live in Gunnison, but are planning to move to Tincup, Colo., in the spring.
“We built our house in Gunnison in 1980,” he said, “and now it’s time to remodel and fix it up.
“We have a cabin in Tincup and that’s where we want to live most of the time.”
Having made the transition to the mountains many years ago, Ewert said he doesn’t want to move back. But he added that he and his wife are also getting to the age they might need someone to look after them.
Ewert was introduced by his brother, Gary Ewert of Marion, before his presentation.
Prior to and following his reading, Mike Moran and Doug Kjellin provided entertainment; cookies and refreshments were provided by the museum.