About Jake

Jake Riley grew up, for the most part, in the upper Arkansas Valley of the Colorado mountains. He began roping and rodeoing as a kid, which led to helping out on some local ranches, feeding his love of cowboy culture. He has always enjoyed the magic of poetry, especially after seeing poet Waddie Mitchell at Copper Mountain, Colorado in the mid '90s.  One of the poems Jake wrote for a high school project was published his senior year, and he has continued writing ever since.  Jake first shared his work at his church, and then at the Nebraska Cowboy Poetry Gathering in Valentine, Nebraska in 2016.  Since then, he has performed at events from Minnesota to Nevada, including 5 times at the National Cowboy Poetry Gathering in Elko, Nevada.  Jake's work leans toward the more contemporary, which draws old and young alike.  He loves to share a good story, and his delivery is engaging and often quite animated.  He also enjoys reciting the classics, and considers himself extremely blessed to take part in carrying the tradition forward.  Jake, along with his wonderful wife, and a teeming hoard of youngins, now calls central Nebraska home.

It was truly a pleasure listening to Jake share his stories with his wit and wisdom of the west and the cowboy way of life. From the very beginning of his show, to the very end, he had every one in the audience, young and old, mesmerized and totally engaged! He is “clever,“ “amusing,” a “delightful entertainer” and “truly a gentleman and a gentle soul.” These were all words that members of our audience used to describe Jake. It was an honor to have him at our Cowboy Poetry and Music Gathering!”

— Connie Rossi Rains, California Rodeo Salinas Cowboy Gathering

I have been taking part in Cowboy poetry gatherings for twenty-five years and I am excited to see the young poet Jake Riley come on board. Jake will serve as a vital link in taking the craft of cowboy poetry to the next generation.”

— R.P. Smith, Cowboy Poet and Humorist

Jake Riley is a gifted, thoughtful artist who speaks to the greatest longings and deepest sorrows we all face. He is a writer and orator whose spoken word performances have encouraged me and thousands of others. At the church I lead, his performances have repeatedly touched people in a way my sermons never could. I’ve personally found him to be that rare artist, whose poetry connects with people who are artistically inclined, while also speaking to men and women who are not trained in the fine arts. Perhaps most significantly, I’ve found that his poetry articulates the emotions and longings of ordinary men—in a way that guys wish they could express themselves. Jake’s humility and authenticity come thru in his art. He’s got a gift that God is using to provoke and encourage many.”

— Adrian Boykin, Lead Pastor - Kearney Efree Church