By Traci Chapman
Mustang Western Day organizers hope to establish a new tradition this year with a contest that combines tunes, two-step and treasure.
“We had such a positive response last year when we brought back the street dance that we thought we could build on that even more by organizing a two-step contest,” Mustang Chamber of Commerce executive director Renee Peerman said. “It just seemed like the perfect complement and a lot of fun – and a chance to offer up some cool prizes.”
BancFirst’s Elida Winston and Barry Robison loved the idea and stepped up to sponsor the contest, set for Saturday night during the street dance headlined by Rider’s Ford and sponsored again by 99.7 HANK FM in its second year. Judges are lined up and prizes arranged to two Stockyards City businesses – the couple that takes first will be awarded a $100 Langston’s Stockyards City gift card; runner-up will receive a McClintock Saloon & Chop House $50 gift card.
The issue now is contestants, and organizers said they wanted to get the word out so anyone who might be interested in taking part in the two-step contest has the chance to do so.
“It’s just fine if couples want to sign up the night of the contest, but we want to make sure everyone who’s interested is able to do that – and that they know they have the option to register online and use their debit or credit card for the $20 registration fee ahead of time,” Winston said. “Anyone who enters the contest that day or evening must pay cash.”
The street dance and two-step contest will take part in Cash Savers’ parking lot, located in the northeast corner of the intersection of state Highway 152 and Mustang Road. It’s a great location for the live music of Rider’s Ford, a red dirt country band founded in 2008, which is returning for the Western Days’ dance’s second year, Peerman said.
“We’re really excited about having something to kind of end up Western Days on a fun and different note – after the rodeo,” Peerman said. “It seemed like a logical way to answer what people said they were looking for and maybe missing.”
Those missing pieces came into focus for organizers after they devised a questionnaire asking for feedback about what kind of activities people wanted to see return or developed – and “in looking at the answers people gave us one of the most popular things they’d missed was the street dance,” Peerman said, which returned last year. Winston and Robison thought bringing the two-step contest into the mix would make the revived dance even better, not only appealing to longtime Western Days attendees but also newer festival aficionados who might like something new and different.
“Western Days is one of those things – we are always about the tradition, the things people always love about the event, but we’re also looking for new things to do and ways to make it even better,” Peerman said. “This just seemed so perfect because everyone loves music and dancing.”
The street dance will be held from 9 p.m. until midnight, with the two-step contest set to begin at 10:30 p.m. The dance is free of charge; contest entry is $20 per couple and winner and runner-up will be announced at 11:30 p.m.
Rider’s Ford is named for a low-water crossing on the Verdigris River. Founded in 2008, the band’s first studio album, the 2014 release, “Shot in the Dark” included the group’s first Top 40 track, “This Ain’t a Song.” The band was nominated for a Texas Regional Radio Report’s Newcomer of the Year award that year and in 2016 released its second Top 40 song, “Home to Oklahoma,” described as a Bob Willis-inspired swing.
Founder and lead singer/acoustic guitarist CJ Stayton and bass guitarist Paul Sechrist both work at Tinker Air Force Base – Stayton as a 72nd Operations Support Squadron air traffic controller and Sechrist as a sheet metal mechanic with the 551st Commodities Maintenance Squadron.
For more information about the dance or two-step contest contact Peerman at firstname.lastname@example.org or via phone at 405-376-2758.