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A new year provides a chance to look ahead
Editor's note: This story was originally published in The Oklahoman on Wednesday January 2, 2008.Looking back is trendy this time of year. And granted, I enjoy that, as well. But, for the fun of it, I thought I'd just look ahead to a few of the things happening in 2008. These aren't ranked; they're just some items that came to my attention or popped into my head, and all who know me would agree that inside my head, random is the rule. One thing that came to mind is George Strait's concert Jan. 11 at the Ford Center.
More than an entertainerNow, Strait coming to Oklahoma isn't news. But it got me to thinking about the days I covered rodeos and related events such as team roping. If the weather in Oklahoma was as easy to predict as George Strait hits, life would be much different. The latest numbers I could find show that while he's had 55 No. 1 songs, Strait has also had 74 top-10 and 78 top-20 hits. Of course, that could change about any given day. In a career spanning more than 25 years, he's sold more than 65 million albums. So what does this have to do with team roping? One day I was covering the U.S. Team Roping Championships at State Fair Arena and heard Strait was in the building. A little while later, I was walking between State Fair Arena and the barn behind it, and after a couple of glances, I realized the guy next to me, who I think was wearing a hoodie and a cowboy hat, was Strait. The setting seemed relaxed, so I just started talking. And for the next few minutes, we did that — talked. We talked about how he used to come through Oklahoma City in concert around Halloween. He said that was because he was usually working his way back to Texas at that time of year. I walked away thinking that I had always liked his music, and now I liked the man behind the music as well.
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Clem McSpadden is scheduled to receive the Chester A. Reynolds Memorial Award on April 12 during the Western Heritage Awards at the National Cowboy & Western Heritage Museum. BY JOHN CLANTON, THE OKLAHOMAN
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