Range Call rounds up a variety entertainment

The Honky Tonk Tailgate Party Tour will provide the 118th annual Range Call celebration with the largest variety of entertainment thus far in the history of the community event.

Meeker's 2003 celebration will highlight a concert at 7:30 p.m. July 5.

The Honky Tonk Tailgate Party consists of four accomplished country musicians. Launching in 2001, the group consisted of Rhett Akins, Daryle Singletary and Jeff Carson. The tour continued in 2002 with Wade Hayes replacing Carson. This year, Chad Brock is joining the tour.

Range Call Committee President Rayola Rust said Thursday that the information she has received states that the group is really pleasing crowds.

"We were excited to hear that Country Music Television is running spots highlighting the tour," she

said.

Rust said Chad Brock and Rhett Akins have entertained at Range Call in the past, and the response to them was a good one.

"We're hoping for a big crowd this year," Rust said. "In the past, we've had only one entertainer, and I think this variety of individual talent will really draw people in."

Range Call Celebration, which began as a rodeo, is the oldest annual rodeo in the state of Colorado,

Rust said.

"We started as a rodeo, and we've kept adding to it," said Bill Jordan, entertainment coordinator.

Jordan said the event in its entirety is not only a historical celebration but it functions as good public relations for the community of Meeker. He said the Range Call Royalty is comprised of individuals who enter a contest in order to represent the event, and eventually attend other functions around the area.

Other highlights include a pageant, which reenacts the Last Ute Indian Uprising, otherwise known as the Meeker Massacre. Rust said many of the participants have been a part of the pageant beginning when they were children.

"This celebration is dear to the hearts of family," she said.

Rhonda Hilkey and Ryan Stewart coordinate the pageant, which includes dance hall girls, horses, a fire, and the reenactment of the battle.

Rust said horse owners need to be certain their horses can handle the commotion.

"There are blank shots fired during the battle," she said.

The planning and work behind the three-day event is phenomenal, according to Rust. She said she is grateful to the community's response in volunteering to serve on committees, prepare food, and welcome guests from all over.

Other events include a kick-off party with an ice cream social and entertainment at 6 p.m. Thursday at the fairgrounds. On Friday there is a parade, several races, a rodeo, and a barn dance at 9 p.m. After the concert Saturday night, another dance will conclude the celebration.

For a full schedule of all events, please contact the Meeker Chamber of Commerce at 878-5510, or visit the website www.meekerchamber.com.

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