DEAN SMITH CELEBRITY RODEO
The Dean Smith Celebrity Rodeo was a benefit for the American Cancer Society held in Graham, Texas. From Peter, "Dean was one of the top stunt men in the business and now raises and trains horses. I've known him forever."
THURSDAY: It started with practice sessions and my thanks to Ronnie and his stepson Jerry who decided, on instinct and pure faith, to trust me to help warm up horses for the celebrities. Talk about a cool vacation! Alex Cord's wife Susannah complimented me on my mare Quad and we had a nice chat about horses and jumping (we both jump) as we rode...nice girl.
Thanks to Nancy for her eyewitness account of the event.
That night was the gala and auction. Jackey and Travis, who provided the wonderful chuckwagon dinner, put me to work serving. Then, Jackey decided to find Peter for me, since I'd travelled all the way from Montreal to see him. He not only came over to meet me, he gave me a big hug and posed for a couple of pictures with me. During the autograph signing, I also had a chance to chat with him. I met my idol and he turned out to be bright, articulate, funny, definitely charming...and an awfully good sport.
FRIDAY & SATURDAY: We had practice sessions in the morning. I rode again, Quad and her half brother R.L. plus one of the "real" cowboys (an ex-Texas Ranger named Brantley Foster) had me ride one of his horses as well. Incredibly, these people were thanking me for riding their horses.
Unfortunately, the Alex/Peter team was eliminated from team penning the first night (one second over the allowed time of 2 minutes) Don't ask Peter about that darn gate! Susannah's team had the second fastest time of the competition (55 seconds, I believe) with Susannah riding "our mare" Quad. She may be the one person there who had almost as much fun as I did! Alex also competed in cutting and team roping, but didn't do as well as the host Dean Smith. He must be over 70 but if there were an award for "Best All-Round Cowboy," he would've won it. Peter and many of the other celebrities were there due to their friendship with him, an amazing man.
Peter competing in Team Penning
Apart from the celebrities and the pro ropers, we had musical entertainment (HSU Cowboy Band, Johnny Western, Craig Chambers), specialty acts (One Arm Bandit, trick riders, trick ropers) and great food. (I may be prejudiced since I helped the caterers at the gala and the girls at the concession stand the rest of the time, it's a very small, very friendly town.) The autograph signing wasn't as well organized as it should have been but it was the first time they'd done anything like this. They'll do better next time. There were too many celebrities to name them all but I was happy to see Peter, Alex, Bruce Boxleitner, Marty Kove, Annie Lockhart (just to hear her squeal during the practice sessions for cutting - "scary fun" according to her) and James Drury. I also met western artist Jimmy Don Cox, who sat at the table next to Peter signing autographs. I made friends everywhere. Call me the Queen of Graham, Texas....what an incredibly friendly town.
ADDENDUM: After reading the above, Nancy had a couple of things to add. "Of course, now that I see it in print, I've started thinking of all the other things I should have told you. For example, Lynn Anderson. She came in on horseback, at a canter (sorry, lope - gotta think western now), singing the National Anthem. Later I was astounded to see her competing in team roping. I never knew she was a real cowgirl! Then there were the teams (six-up) of Clydesdales and Percherons, talk about impressive. How could I forget the weather?! For the record, it was miserable...cold and rainy the whole time. Of course when I got back to Montreal, there was snow on the ground, just to bring me back to reality!"
Thanks to Gerald Baumann for this photo
of Peter with James Drury
Official Peter Brown Fan Site