Monday, October 5, 2009

Rex Allen Days 2009

Doug and I spent the weekend with friends and family of Rex Allen Jr. His dad, Rex Allen, was honored this weekend by the city of Wilcox AZ with festivities that spanned over four days, including a posthumous award. This event has gone on for almost 60 years.

My favorite event was the ceremony inducting 4 men to the Willcox Cowboys Hall Of Fame. I heard there that cattle can scatter from hell to breakfast. These men, all in their 60's, bear the evident wear and tear of the cowboy life. What amazing stories.

Every year, Rex performs for the Willcox Elementary School. This kids could barely contain themselves. Tears came to my eyes as Rex began to sing "I Love Arizona", which he wrote for Arizona, and the kids knew all the words! Rex is accompanied by high school mates, Bix and Joel, who were members of Rex's first band.

Another band mate from high school, the drummer, performed his percussion with pans. His dad, Pedro Gonzales Gonzales, performed the same act with RA Sr, never missing a single event until his death. His son, Pedro Jr, carries on the tradition with Rex. A more open and gentle man you will never meet.

Rex performed two concerts on Saturday night. Along with his routine band members, Bix and Joel accompanied him. 3 of his sons, Wyatt, Logan and Cody, sang on stage with their dad. Lacy J Dalton and Pedro Gonzales Gonzales, Jr performed as well.

Here Curt Allen is preparing to join his brother on stage to sing "Ride Cowboy Ride", the all time perennial western favorite, which they co-wrote. Doug loves Curt like a brother and I've had the pleasure of his friendship for 14 years. This was the first time I saw them sing together.

On display at the Rex Allen Museum is a photo of Rex's high school band. Doug was the sax player. 6 classmates were on hand to celebrate with Rex Jr at Rex Allen Days, Rex's 33rd year. I admire the bond these men have maintained through the decades. Not a bad one in the bunch.

Gordon "Bix"Crary and Doug goof off in the green room between performances. I am reconsidering their sharing a room on future adventures.

Han (Pedro Gonzales Gonzales), Doug and me at the "after party" in the Hopi Lounge.

Doug, Curt, his wife Theresa and Bonita Allen backstage.

Between Tucson and Willcox is Texas Canyon. I have never seen rock formations such as these. Rex told his audience this is where he would like to be buried.

Besides what's pictured, we were part of the parade on Sat and witnessed part of the Rex Allen Days Queen competition. We got to catch up with old friends and make some new ones.

Rex is a Western music superstar and Hall Of Famer. Of course, I have gotten to know him as Doug's friend and not as a celebrity. I discovered how impressive Rex Allen Jr truly is. Everyone in his family in a talent and a joy to know. His contribution to his dad's legacy and Willcox is more generous and selfless than I have seen out of anyone in a long time. He is a consummate professional and he can sing!

How glad I am that Doug looked me in the eye this year and said, "I really want you to go to Willcox this year."

1 comment:

Carey said...

Thank you for a wonderfully touching story. It is always sweet to hear the real story of the other side of celebrity! In the 50s (I was born in '52) my parents took my brother & I to the San Antonio Stock Show & Rodeo every year. Many of those times we saw Rex Allen Sr or Jean Shepard. To this day, I remember what an amazing singing voice that man had! & I was a little kid. TY for this story :)