ANTELOPE ISLAND -- Many people, when they meet Sam DeLeeuw at cowboy poetry events, tell her how much they love her costume.
Decked in blue jeans, boots, a bandanna, button-up shirt and topped with a cowboy hat, she is the quintessential cowgirl. But she said she never wears costumes or makes up stories when she performs at the events -- that's just her normal everyday life.
"It's who I am," she said. "People say, 'You have such an imagination.' But every story is from a factual happening. It's just who I am and I enjoy it."
DeLeeuw shared several of her poems Saturday at the sixth annual Cowboy Poetry and Western Music Festival. An estimated 6,000 people will filter through the Fielding Garr Ranch at Antelope Island over the weekend to listen to cowboy legends being told through songs and verses.
But don't call it country music, DeLeeuw said -- it's cowboy music. The difference, she said, is cowboys are a unique group of people who are down-to-earth, want to preserve the land, and love hearing cowboy stories.
"It's also about family," she said about the event. "Nothing is vulgar. A true cowboy would never insult himself or his audience with vulgarity."
Laddie and Eileen Pruett, of Roy, said they enjoy the historical aspect of cowboy poetry and music.
"I like the cowboy music and we knew there would be western food," Laddie said while munching on a pulled pork sandwich. "It's a fun thing to do, and doesn't take you far to get here."
Garrett's Good Stuff, a Dutch oven catering company based out of Syracuse, served pulled pork, chicken and roast beef at the event.
Clay Shelley, curator for the state park, said there are three stages at the event this year, allowing for more variety and room for everyone to sit and listen to music and legends.
"It's a real treat to have this event, and to hear stories of the West in songs and verse," he said.
Shelley said there will continue to be events through Monday, including a potluck dinner Sunday around the campfire. The festival is free to attend, but patrons must pay to enter the state park, which is $9 for most vehicles. For a schedule and more information, visit www.cowboylegendsai.com.
Shelley said they are seeking sponsors for next year's event. Any interested sponsors can visit the website to contact the committee.