Originally Published: August 8, 2013 6 a.m.
Prescott's own Cowboy Poet, Gail Steiger, will be the featured speaker at the second in a series of Third Thursday Dinner Programs offered by the Phippen Museum. One-hundred Years of Ranching will be the topic of discussion on Thursday, Aug. 15 from 5 to 8 p.m. and dinner will be served by Occasions Fine Catering of Chino Valley Gail's family has been chasing cows locally for more than 100 years, so he will have special insight into how the cow business, the community and the country have changed over the years. And he might even throw in some songs and a poem or two along the way.
Gail worked on his father's ranches off and on while growing up, and later worked full-time on the Cross U and Spider Ranches in Yavapai County for several years. He's also worked for the Yolo Ranch, the 7UP, the DC Cattle Co., and the O6 Ranch. But he also has a strong songwriting background. His grandfather, Gail Gardner, wrote several well-known cowboy songs, including Tying the Knots in the Devil's Tail and The Dude Wrangler.
In 1987, along with his brother Lew and some associates, he made a film about cowboys called Ranch Album. It was ultimately released as a national PBS special and the film was even awarded a CINE Golden Eagle. TV Guide called it "cinematically brilliant and wonderfully constructed" and the Wall Street Journal said it was "a gorgeous film." Ranch Album was also included in The Academy of Motion Picture Arts/ UCLA Film and Television Archive Series of Outstanding Documentaries.
Today, Gail is the foreman of the Spider Ranch; a position he's held since 1995. But he continues to work part-time with Lew on various film and multimedia projects. And he still sings songs and tells stories at cowboy poetry gatherings all across the country, including: Elko, Nevada; Durango, Colorado; Alpine, Texas; and, of course, Prescott, Ariz., to name just a few.
Tickets for this unique dinner program are specially priced at $20 and can be purchased by calling the Phippen Museum at 778-1385. The museum is located just a few minutes north of downtown Prescott at 4701 Highway 89 North. For additional information, visit www.phippenartmuseum.org.