It's Great To Be A Fan!
Saturday, 11 March 2006 14:06

For the past 6 months it seems, I have been a Fan.  A "swing by the souvenir tent"-type of ticket buying event go'er for anything Rodeo or Country.

The funny thing is, I'm not even that big of a Country Fan.  I love Top-40, Alternative and Urban...though XM Satellite Radio's X-Country has made it into my top pre-sets. 

I used to DJ in Country Bars, have even worked for a Country Music Station, and have seen a ga-zillion artists up-close and personal.  I have been within 2' of The Dixie Chicks, Gretchen Wilson, Paul Brandt, Jason McCoy, Corb Lund and so many more...and 9 times out of 10...without going by a Box Office.

Of course, being a rodeo contestant for almost 2 decades, a rodeo clown for almost a decade and an announcer for 3 years I have seen my share of rodeos and bull ridings.  And 99 times out of 100...without a ticket stub (not required when you're in the show...)

However, reflecting on the past 6 months, I've been planning around on-sales, and purchasing tickets for shows.  I've had to wait for gates to open, and make sure that I get my hand stamped.  I've been to a handful of high profile concerts (including about 1/4 of George Jones' Toronto Show) and a couple Rodeos.  Over the last 180 days, I've been in the crowd for half a dozen rodeo performances...which may not seem like much when contrasted to the 50 I announced in the past year, but it is almost a "new" thing for me.

I've become to really embrace the "whole" fan experience.  At the International Finals Rodeo, my brother and I were the #1 Fans at the Contract Act Showcase.  Sure, 90f the crowd in attendance for the showcase were producers, contractors and committees taking notes on potential new hires; but us two Canadian Fans were clapping and cheering on cue for the performers, and were in stitches the whole time.  It was also great during the Finals to watch each ride and run in their entirety, something I'm not able to do while commentating and trying to anticipate the next 3 things to take place; and loudly cheer for our "team" that had qualified as they contested.

My intention in going to all of these events was two-fold.  1st, enjoy each performance as a "fan"; and 2nd, analyse and critique in effort to build on the product that I help deliver. 

There's a common saying between a lot of contestants that, "I don't want to watch a rodeo if I can't ride in it."  Though I've never entirely represented that, I often thought it when I was solely a contestant.  As soon as I became "Personnel"...I totally started to look forward to the chance to actually watch one...and to partake on the "whole experience".

My philosophy stems back to a Garth Brooks Documentary that I think I still have on VHS (the DVD of the 80's).  He walked up to the top of the stadium and sat down.  He said, "I like to come up here when I have the time and sit in this seat.  I ask myself, 'How can I make this show the best for this guy right here?'" (paraphrased).

With a heavy announcing-competing schedule instore for me in 2006, I'm already contemplating on where my "Fan Experience" will take me next.  Today I received both my George Strait tickets for his Hamilton, Ontario show in June, and my PBR Tickets for Detroit, Michigan in April.  It's a pretty inspiring feeling to be looking at each pair of tickets excitedly, counting down the days, imagining what the shows will be like; and to think that there are people doing the same thing with tickets for one of the shows that I'll be announcing and/or competing at.

It's great to be a "Fan", and as much as I'm looking forward to attending my learning excursions/spectator opportunities; I'm equally excited to continue contributing to other "Fans'" experiences.

(now only if Shaggy performs the Opening at the NFR, I'll be set...)