Sunday, May 07, 2006

May 7, 2007
Our neighbors invited us to the Eleventh Annual Sonoran Symphony Concert last night, down at Rancho Manana, featuring Riders In The Sky. It's sponsored by the Desert Foothills Land Trust and is a fund raiser to help preserve the narrowing pristine desert that's left from bulldozers. So far they have successfully saved the cave that Cave Creek is named for, and are working on Spur Cross Ranch, a sprawling and beautiful section of land that land developers have eyed for years.

As I said, the concert is held every year, down at Rancho Manana Resort, on part of the golf course, and makes for a very nice outdoor setting for a high end dinner and music under the stars. I believe it's $150-$250 a ticket and my neighbor (a major lawyer and decent roper) bought an entire table (10) and we sat at table no. 3, which was right in the front and to the side of the stage.

The dinner was catered by the chef at Tonto Bar & Grill and included a nice filet, and a chile pepper loaded with some exotic vegetables, mashed potatoes, numerous bottles of top drawer wine, dessert and decaf coffee. Very tasty.

The Phoenix Symphony led by Michael Christie, opened the show and played a John Williams (he wrote Star Wars theme) rendition of "Cowboy Overture" from John Wayne's The Cowboys, then a long Aaron Copeland piece From Rodeo which included Bucaroo Holiday, Corral Nocturn, Saturday Night Waltz and Hoe-Down.

Next up came Riders In The Sky and they announced this was their 5,286th performance, and that they had been performing together for 28 years. Amazing. They were quite good, and with the symphony backing them they ripped through all the classics, including Ride, Cowboy Ride, Back In The Saddle Again, Cool Water, Yellow Rose of Texas, South of the Border, Rawhide (my personal favorite), Red River Valley, Ghost Riders in the Sky and, as an encore, Happy Trails.

Their set made me damn proud to be a Westerner, and when I get like that I feel nothing but pity for those who aren't.

True West was a sponsor, so we had mags at each table and a coupon offering $10 to the land trust for any subscriptions. I got two handed to me personally before we left and Bob and Trish Brink, who were also there, were speculating how many we would get. I'm guessing a dozen or so. We'll see.

Minnesota Mike came over Friday after work to pick up his camper shell, which I have been storing for him in the tractor garage. He's trading in his old F-150 and asked me what I thought a new one ran, and I guessed $25K and he laughed and said, "That's what I thought, but there's four levels of F-150s now and the one I want, a King Cab, runs $55K! For a Ford pickup!" Last night when we met our neighbors at their ranch house, they showed off their new roping-trailer-RV-combo-diesel truck, which they bought used for $92K (new $150K!). What's the world coming to? Pricey, that's what. My uncle Bud Linn bought his first ranch for $75K and now a pickup is more expensive? Yikes!

Working hard today on the Whambam Buffalo Soldier Ridge Fight. I really want to capture the fog of war, with a ton of black powder floating in the air. I'll post a rough here tonight.

Deena Bell celebrates her 26th birthday tonight with a dinner at Taco Villa. We're all meeting there at five, so I have to get to work.

"Drawing is working through an invisible iron wall that seems to stand between what one feels and what one can do."
--Vincent Van Gogh

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