Rodeo champ to swap stories with cow puncher Sean Sexton

arts & entertainment

An evening of cowboy poems and tales told around cattle drive campfires will take place when Vero Beach rancher Sean Sexton meets North Dakota bronc buster Shadd Piehl Thursday, May 12, at 7 p.m.  The faceoff, sponsored by Vero’s “Center for Spiritual Care”, will take place at the Garden Club of IRC, 2526 17th Ave.  Reservations are necessary and can be made by calling 772-567-1233.

Shadd Piehl

A widely published poet, Piehl was twice America’s Great Plains bronco riding champion.  He has been a ranch hand, stockyard bird, hog hide shaver, warehouse lumper, teacher, and rodeo cowboy. He is also a sought-after tale-spinner at the Annual Cowboy Poetry Gatherings in Elko, NV.  In addition, he is an Academic Dean at Rasmussen University’s Fargo, ND, campus.

Sexton herds cattle on Treasure Hammock Ranch west of Vero Beach.  He is also one of Florida’s most respected writers and a finalist in currently pending State Poet Laureate selections.  He was recently named President of the Florida State Poets Association.

Sean Sexton

Indian River County’s poet laureate since 2016, Sexton last month narrated the world premiere of R. Michael Daugherty’s “A Florida Story” with the Space Coast Symphony.  The orchestral work was based on Sexton’s story of his grandparents, Waldo and Elsebeth (stet) Sexton, as they built their lives in the frontier town that was Vero Beach.

The May 12 encounter at the Garden Club reunites Piehl and Sexton, who have appeared together in Elko and on Minnesota Public Radio.  The program is being promoted as an extension of April’s National Poetry Month by Center for Spiritual Care director Carol Ludwig.

“A single month is not long enough to celebrate poetry,” says Ludwig, “especially in a town that hosts a foundation dedicated to one of America’s most important poets of the 1930s and an annual poetry and barbecue festival, forthcoming this month.”

The off-site program is being organized by the Center in collaboration with the Laura (Riding) Jackson Foundation and the Community Church of Vero Beach, Ludwig said.  A $10 donation to cover costs will be accepted. 

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