Ozark Viewpoints

Wednesday, July 31, 2013

Stomp dancers

Going along with the Barry County Sheriff's Posse in promoting Rotary's annual rodeo in Cassville in past years was a very talented group of young men known as the Boy Scout Troop 76 Indian Stomp Dancers. They were associated with a number of activities in this area and especially prominent in the rodeo caravans that once traveled a wide area in promoting the rodeo event here.

There would be two or three routes, depending on the availability of participants. Part of their duties was to make as much noise as they could as they entered or departed a town, and while they were there, the Indian Stomp Dancers would do their routine while caravan people distributed window posters in the area.

Costumes

The dancers did their routines in authentic costumes that attracted about as much attention as did their routine. Information on the group is scarce, so I'll be relying on someone who might read this to fill in some blanks.

Members of the group that can be recalled at this time included Charles Wooten, Gary McClure, Carol Ash and possibly Joe Tucker. There were probably four or five more of the group. So, someone come forth with the remainder of the names in the group.

Caravan

Providing vehicles for the caravan wasn't much of a problem in those days, since gasoline was just pennies a gal- lon. That doesn't mean the event didn't have its problems, not along the routes but after the completion of the first trip.

First, there were signs painted on each side of the ve- hicle letting everyone know this was the Cassville Rodeo Caravan. In addition to the noise of horns and sirens upon entering a town, it was visually plain what was hitting town. Once entering the town square or center point of a town, the group would park, the dancers would perform, or at times, a band that accompanied the group would play.

Those in the caravan were encouraged to visit among the town's business people and spread a little good will for Cassville and the rodeo.

Back to the problems created by the signs. One year, ei- ther they were permitted to remain too long on the vehicles or there was some reaction between the sun and the paint, whatever the problem was, when they attempted to wash it off most of the paint would be gone, but a faint outline of the design remained.

Memory doesn't serve too well on this problem, but there could have been some paint jobs that Rotary was asked to bear the expense for after the failure to wash off was discovered.

Another year, in replacing the painted signs, window cards were taped to the sides of vehicles. Again, whether being left on the vehicle longer than necessary or not, the tape left an outline in the paint of the vehicle that remained until some extra effort was made to remove it.

Hospitality

There was hospitality available at about each stop.

The longest route went west to Neosho, then down through towns on the way to Springdale, Ark., which was the point the caravan most enjoyed.

Hospitality in Springdale included a visit from the mayor, all those in the caravan were treated to refreshments, and something that was enjoyed later was a return visit of the Arkansas folks to Cassville to let us know about their up-coming rodeo.