Third Thursday; rodeo dancers

Just when there’s a dose of withdrawal from Rodeo Week…

Along comes the second Third Thursday Street Festival tomorrow night.

The fun begins at 5 p.m. with live music, exhibits, booths and our farmers market kicks off as well on Grinnell Street, in front of The Sheridan Press.

Sponsors: Bank of the West, Ed Hammer Chevrolet, Streetwear Clothing & Baby Too, Warehouse 201, Sheridan Travel and Tourism, city of Sheridan.

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Aside from all of the thrills and spills of the nightly Sheridan-Wyo-Rodeo last week, one performance, worthy of ink.

Between events last Saturday night, professional rodeo clown Crash (Ash) Cooper challenged J.T. Craft, one of the highly respected and popular local musicians, to a dance contest, right there in the center of the ring.

Craft jigged and moonwalked ala Michael Jackson to “Billie Jean,” then took a turn as a John Travolta-esque Vinny from “Saturday Night Fever.” He tore it up. Then Cooper, on stilts under his clown outfit, high-stepped and kicked and moon walked as well. The crowd loved it! Laughter and cheers reverberated through the fairgrounds with each man being cheered on heartily by the sellout crowd. Just the perfect dose of entertainment at the right moment.

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I see by the paper……

Willie Nelson celebrated his 40th anniversary of his legendary Fourth of July picnic this year in Fort Worth. Willie turned 80 earlier this year and is still going strong.

The first picnic was in Dripping Springs, Texas, in 1973 and featured Willie and his pals, Waylon Jennings, Tom T. Hall, Kris Kristofferson, B.W. Stevenson, among others. I’ve seen Willie perform at festivals, in fairgrounds, in honky-tonks, and in fancy hotels (the Wort in Jackson, for example). The first-ever picnic had some half-hearted ticket taking, but after the first day the fences were down and organizers pronounced it free.

A couple of memories from that day:

• Willie’s always been approachable by fans. Everybody loves him. (Except maybe the IRS.) He was enjoying the shade of a large live oak tree when a female fan came up and asked if he would autograph one of her body parts. Willie agreed and both came away from the experience smiling. (She wore a yellow Shiner beer tank top, a bit on the snug side.)

• Back then, you couldn’t get a Coors beer south of Dallas; the scarcity of the Rocky Mountain refreshment made it highly popular. A friend of mine and I went into Dallas, bought up all the Coors and ice we could afford, put it in the back of a U-Haul truck and headed toward Willie’s picnic. We paid $4.40 a case and sold it for $1 a can and it sold out quickly. As it turned out, there were other “entrepreneurs” selling stuff out of the back of other vehicles, too, some of it kind of smelly.

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Quotable

“Be careful driving home. There are a lot of crazy people out there, and we know most of them personally.”

— Willie Nelson, in a usual farewell from the stage

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