As they constantly remind audiences, Riders In the Sky could succumb to various temptations, behave like the stars they are – but that wouldn’t be “The Cowboy Way.” Although Woody Paul, Ranger Doug, Too Slim and Joey the CowPolka King do not take themselves too seriously, they really do believe in the values espoused in the music they perform and the heritage they embody. So no RITS fans will be surprised to learn of the generous hospitality displayed to a local organization during the group’s recent visit to Greenville to present Darke County Center for the Arts holiday show.
Eagles’ Wings Stable, Inc., is a Piqua-based non-profit serving seven counties – Auglaize, Darke, Mercer, Miami, Montgomery, Preble, and Shelby - whose mission is to provide mounted and unmounted equine-assisted therapeutic activities “to achieve functional goals or functional improvement in children and adults with various physical and/or mental handicaps.” One of the organization’s programs assists veterans who are struggling to recover from trauma and injuries; “Horses for Heroes” helps those returning from war to regain lost mobility, balance, strength, and independence.
Eagles Wings’ Stable contacted Riders In the Sky, asking if they would autograph a guitar for an auction raising funds for this program. When Riders In the Sky manager Matt Fox quickly responded that the artists would be happy to do anything they could to help, the non-profit also asked for a letter of authenticity, a CD, and a signed photograph. Not only were those items sent immediately, the package included a guitar pick used by Ranger Doug. It’s “The Cowboy Way.”
And then, the night of the performance in Greenville, two representatives of the organization were welcomed backstage by Woody Paul, Ranger Doug, Too Slim and Joey the CowPolka King. Since the artists had just completed a question and answer session and would be returning to the Henry St. Clair Memorial Hall stage in thirty minutes, Theresa Smith and her mother expected a perfunctory handshake, a quick signature, and little else; but that would not be “The Cowboy Way.” They were warmly greeted, engaged in meaningful conversation, and given as many photo opportunities as they wanted. Theresa summed it up simply: “They are lovely people!”
If you are interested in learning more about the organization that Riders In the Sky helped, you can contact Eagles’ Wings Stables at 937-726-8532 or firstname.lastname@example.org; their Website is eagleswingsstables.webs.com. You could even bid on that red, white, and blue acoustic guitar enhanced with the autographs of four lovely people who do things “The Cowboy Way.”
Riders In the Sky enjoy visiting Greenville; they like to perform at St. Clair Memorial Hall, they greatly admire it’s stained glass windows, they delight in interacting with our local audience. They genuinely give of themselves to make meaningful connections with the public, their sincerity, humor, and authenticity winning new fans and earning deeper affection among seasoned followers. It’s “The Cowboy Way” - an American way of life that sends a message of good will fitting for the Christmas season and throughout the year.
Marilyn Delk is a Director of the Darke County Center for the Arts and can be reached at email@example.com. Viewpoints expressed in these opinion pieces are the work of the author. The Daily Advocate does not endorse these viewpoints or the independent activities of the author.