This time of year always reminds me of the fun we had at the Rodeo of the Ozarks in Springdale, Arkansas every July 1, 2, 3 and 4th. We always rode in the Rodeo Parade on July 1st and the Rodeo Parade on July 4th.
I was thrilled when I finally was allowed to ride in the Grand Entry to open the rodeo every night. The year I was Miss Pea Ridge Riding Club I had to ride with the queen contestants, instead of next to my dad, in both parades. The best part of all the years of rodeo was when my high school friend Laurie and I were members of the Springdale Quadrille. We all had turquoise and white saddle blankets, turquoise and white shirts that we switched to wear one color one night and the other color the next night, everyone wore white chaps with turquoise trim, our horses had leggings and breast harness so they matched too! We looked pretty awesome!
This is a photo of us at the Rodeo of the Ozarks arena in Springdale, Arkansas in 1968. As you can see it was a mounted quadrille. We performed intricate and beautiful interfacing patterns on horseback while going at a full run or gallop. It was much like a military drill team, but really it was square dancing on horseback. We had square dance music that we kept our patterns in time with and that took hours and hours of practice!
We did figure eight or thread the needle, which required the most precise timing to make sure the horses did not crash when going between two other horses. We did a wagon wheel where half of us faced one way and the other half the other way, in a perfectly straight line all the horses galloped in the direction they were facing, resulting in a big circle in the center of the arena. There were lots of other square dance type drills that we did to the delight of those watching.
Our team performed at the Rodeo of the Ozarks, Joplin, Missouri Mounted Drill Team Olympics, Green Forest Rodeo and the Springdale FFA Rodeo in 1968. That was a lot of hauling our horses to and from practice and to and from the performances. Our parents were wonderful to support us because we were not old enough to drive yet!
Springdale Quadrille 1968
Left to Right: Tim Graham, Harmon James, Laurie Vansandt, J.W. Taylor, Candy Fields, Chuck Ferguson, Carolyn Mayo, David Hofforth, Brenda Gastineau on my horse Bear Paw V Bar, Bobby Feagin, LaJean Sharver, Danny Welchel, Linda Legg, Tommy Musteen, Jolene Greenlee. Other members not shown Debbie Legg, Andrea Votaw and Marlis Taylor.
If you ever have an opportunity to go to a rodeo or any place where you could watch a mounted quadrille perform I suggest you go and enjoy their beautiful dance/drill.