A trip to Elko, Nevada forever changed the lives of Bert and Carol Braun.
Bert and Carol first moved to Loomis, California in 1975. They purchased 5 acres and a feed store which Bert ran for 30 years. They were always active in the community, starting with their involvement in the Chamber of Commerce, volunteer fire department, and local schools. After making a trip to Elko to see the National Cowboy Poetry Gathering, they were inspired to introduce Loomis to this fantastic art form. The Cowpoke Fall Gathering was born in that car ride home.
Founded in 1995, the annual Cowpoke Fall Gathering event celebrates cowboy poetry, music, and storytelling. By exposing audiences to Western folklore, entertainment, and experiences, they honor the “cowboy way” and help preserve Western heritage. Since that first year, the event has grown five times bigger and moved into a larger venue.
“When the Cowpoke Fall Gathering took off, we knew instinctually that we would pay it forward, we just needed to figure out how,” said Bert and Carol. “We contacted our CPA and formed The Cowpoke Foundation, we set it up so that no compensation is taken by the trustees.”
The Foundation has donated more than $340,000 to 24 beneficiaries over the past three decades, including many scholarships to local high school students who perform original poems. According to Bert, “We are deeply inspired by our community and believe that the ability to support these organizations in a meaningful way is a gift.”
Bert was first introduced to the Rangeland Trust through a friend and fellow Ranchero Visitadores rider who knew how aligned the organizations’ missions were in perpetuating a love for the land and our shared Western heritage. The connection and urgency were apparent right away.
Carol explained, “We believe that preserved open spaces and rangelands contribute to a greater overall well-being for our state, and during the past 30 years, we have seen land and open space devoured by developers who have little to no imagination. We believe land that is preserved becomes a treasure. We also believe that preserved rangelands assure a resilience to future generations in a way they might not see.”
Their firsthand experience, passion, and involvement with cowboy culture led Bert and Carol to get more deeply involved with the Rangeland Trust. They are longtime supporters of the Rangeland Trust’s signature A Western Affair event and annual Silver Spurs donors as well. Aside from donating, the Brauns volunteer their time and ranching connections in the greater Sacramento Area. The support and respect for Western heritage is mutual as the Rangeland Trust helps sponsor the annual Cowpoke Fall Gathering event every November. You can learn more about the event at: www.cowpokefallgathering.com
The Brauns are proud to be part of the Rangeland Trust community and donate towards its mission. The way they see it, “Without land for cattle and livestock, this way of life and the hardworking values of honesty, loyalty and courage are in danger. [The Rangeland Trust] helps keep these places alive so that new stories can continue to emerge.”