Spurs and saxophones.
That's probably not a likely combination anywhere except in southwest Kansas, and special events involving both are coming up soon right here in Garden City.
People who appreciate jazz riffs and those who follow calf roping or bull riding can all count on some exciting entertainment in the days just ahead. That's because of two once-a-year opportunities:
* The 45th Annual Garden City Community College Intercollegiate Rodeo
* The 2012 Garden City Jazz Festival.
The rodeo is getting under way Friday, with more than 450 riders converging from universities and colleges across Kansas and Oklahoma. Public performances are set for 7:30 p.m. Friday and Saturday, plus 1:30 p.m. Sunday, all at the Horse Palace indoor arena at the Finney County Fairgrounds.
The jazz festival is concluding with a public concert at 7:30 p.m. Monday in the auditorium of the Pauline Joyce Fine Arts Building, featuring Wichita saxophone performer Robert Young with a group of local musicians known as the Southwest Kansas All Star Big Band.
For the rodeo, admission to any one performance is $8 for adults, $4 for children ages 6 to 12, and free for accompanied children age 5 and younger. Tickets will be sold at the gate.
In addition to staging the competition, the GCCC men's and women's rodeo teams will be involved in the area events, since they began the spring segment of the National Intercollegiate Rodeo Association's Central Plains Region circuit just 13 days ago at the Kansas State University Rodeo in Manhattan.
Men's events at the Garden City rodeo will include:
* Tie down roping, formerly known as calf roping
* Steer wrestling
* Bareback riding
* Saddle bronc riding
* Bull riding.
Team roping takes place as a co-ed event, and women's competition will include all of the following:
* Barrel racing
* Goat tying
* Breakaway roping.
Rodeos on the NIRA circuit include Friday and Saturday night performances, each called a "long go," followed by a championship round on Sunday, called the "short go," for top contenders from the two preliminary rounds.
The action at the fairgrounds will offer people in the Garden City area their only chance of the year to see the local team compete at home, and also to take in the longest-running community college rodeo in Kansas. The GCCC event dates to 1967, and where — other than the home of the Broncbusters — could anything be more in keeping with local tradition?
The jazz concert is sponsored in partnership by GCCC and The Garden City Telegram, admission this year is free, and it will be taking place in the auditorium of the Pauline Joyce Fine Arts Building.
The guest performer earned first place in the Josie Etta Daley Young Artist Competition, and he has appeared on stage from New York to Detroit and Michigan to South Carolina. Schooled in chamber music, as well as classical and modern jazz, he now serves on the Wichita State University music faculty, where he leads the WSU jazz ensembles and teaches everything from applied saxophone to improvisation.
He earned a doctor of musical arts degree from the University of Michigan, where he also completed a master of music. He finished a bachelor in music from the University of South Carolina, studying with American saxophone great Clifford Leaman.
Before the concert, the visiting musician will work throughout the day with music students at GCCC, using techniques he has employed in workshops and as an assistant professor of music.
GCCC hosts the jazz festival each year, with backing from The Telegram, as a way of exposing Southwest Kansas instrumental music students to top jazz figures and offering live performances to the public.
Listeners shouldn't be disappointed. Young became a semifinalist in the 2009 Concert Artists Guild International Competition in New York City, and earned a silver medal in the Fischoff National Chamber Music Competition. He took third place among a wide field of performers in the North American Saxophone Alliance Quartet Competition, as well as first in a recent Society of Musical Arts competition. He also has earned a half-dozen additional awards over the past seven years.
There is, by the way, also a free public performance at 7:30 p.m. Thursday by the GCCC Concert Band, also taking place in the auditorium of the Pauline Joyce Fine Arts Building, and the public is welcome then, as well.
With all of these items on the agenda, we hope to see you in the days just ahead, saddling up for the 45th consecutive GCCC Intercollegiate Rodeo at the Horse Palace, and settling into a seat on campus for the Garden City Jazz Festival.