Chadron State College English instructor Deb Carpenter received the Master Storyteller Award at the Buffalo Commons Storytelling Festival in McCook on Saturday, June 11.
She was presented a bronze casting of children seated around a campfire listening to a storyteller. The award was created by sculptress Sondra Jonson of Cambridge.
This was Carpenter's third appearance at the Buffalo Commons Storytelling Festival. This year she shared a session with cowboy poet "Driver Dick" Haag of Indianola, father of Justin Haag of Chadron.
Carpenter was one of four "headliners" at the festival. She competed against songs of the Plains sung by Andy Wilkinson and Amanda Shires of Lubbock, Texas, and tall tales spun by Bill Lepp, five-time winner of the West Virginia State Liars Contest.
Carpenter presented a combination of original stories, poems and songs about personalities on the Plains such as Mari Sandoz, Sitting Bull, Doc Middleton, and Annie Oakley. She also did a song, "Try to Get By," that she wrote during high school about her grandmother and performed her trademark "Cats Kept a Bitin' All Night."
In addition, she included the character pieces she's written about women's journeys---"Faith," "Grace" and "Comfort" ---and worked up a new story about her nephew Kane.
Carpenter returned to McCook this week to conduct a songwriter's camp for middle school students.
More information about the Buffalo Commons Storytelling Festival can be found at www.buffalocommons.org.
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