What has become a world-famous gathering of cowboy poets hits a major milestone this year in Elko. The National Cowboy Poetry Gathering celebrates its 25th anniversary with the January 24-31 2009 event, and they make sure to do it up right. Along with the usual lineup of hilarious and beautiful poetry, this year’s gathering will feature a few interesting additions. Of particular note is the keynote speaker, former U.S. Supreme Court Justice Sandra Day O’Connor. O’Connor’s childhood on a ranch in Arizona should provide for some fun anecdotes and a good look at what shaped one of the country’s great thinkers over the past 20 years. All of the performances require tickets. Also included this year is an art exhibit entitled, “Between Grass & Sky: Trappings of a Ranch Life.” The joint exhibition, developed by Elko’s Western Folklife Center, home of the gathering, and Reno’s Nevada Museum of Art, “brings together the work of some of the region’s finest contemporary gearmakers, poets and artists to illustrate the connection between artistry and our sense of place in the West.” The Reno exhibit will feature the artwork created around those works and will be on display simultaneously. The National Cowboy Poetry Gathering is truly a great event, and there is no better home for it than Elko, a town built from ranching and the cowboy way of life.