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Rodeo opening ceremony to feature traditional Western patriotic theme linked to recent events

November 01, 2001|By JIM McVICAR, Special to this newspaper

In rodeo, the "big production number" comes at the start of the show. The idea is to build excitement and put the crowd in a festive mood for the rest of the performance.

The "grand entry" or opening ceremony — in contrast to the "grand finale" of theater and movie musicals — includes a cast of hundreds of men and women performing choreographed routines on horseback, with a stirring musical accompaniment and dramatic narration by the rodeo announcer.

This year, the Cattle Call Rodeo Committee is planning a special opening ceremony for the performances at 2 and 7 p.m. Nov. 10 and 1 p.m. Nov. 11.

"We will adapt our traditional Western patriotic theme to current and recent events," explained Curt Rutherford, committee member.

"We'll honor the memory to the victims of Sept. 11 and pay tribute to the heroes, not only in New York, but also our local firefighters and rescue agencies.


"Additionally, we want to assure our nation's leaders and our military that ‘united, we stand' as they strive to bring terrorists to justice," Rutherford said.

The "cast" of the grand entry will most likely include the Galloping Gossips, the Cattle Call queen and two princesses, cowboys and cowgirls competing in the rodeo events, local cowboys entered in team penning, and riding groups and individuals from the parade that precedes the rodeo.

The riders will perform an intricate serpentine routine around the arena, leading up to a the climax, the flag presentation and the singing of the national anthem.

"We expect to have an especially thrilling finale," Rutherford said. "I don't want to give away the details, but I think the crowds will find it inspiring.

"We've always prided ourselves on producing an original grand entry that rivals the ceremonies of much larger rodeos," said Rutherford, who succeeded Dick Smith, a founding member of the committee who retired a few years ago.

"Dick is a true showman and always came up with imaginative ideas," Rutherford said.

"We always want the ceremony to be fast-paced — hopefully to be no more than 12 minutes.

"That can be difficult when we have so many people and groups involved. But we always work toward that goal because fans are anxious to see the beginning of competition," Rutherford added.

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