Mountain Town Stages to conclude season with Cow Ballet
It’s the kind of mudslinging that would make most politicians blush, but ultimately, organizer’s say, Mountain Town Stages’ annual Cow Ballet lives up to its name.
"We put cows in tutus," Brain Richards, executive director of Mountain Town Stages, said.
The fair-cum-cow pie concert/rodeo is scheduled to take place Sept. 6 from 2-8 p.m. at Woodenshoe Park in Peoa and features a cowboy reading poetry, a silent auction, sack races for kids, beer races for adults, cow pie long jumping, live music and cow pie chipping in which participants see how far they can fling piles of dung using golf clubs.
The family-friendly fundraiser is a cash cow for Park City’s oldest music nonprofit. "It’s the biggest fundraiser for us of the year and it’s probably the most fun," Richards smiled.
The event helps Mountain Town Stages put on more than 140 free concerts in Peoa, Main Street, Deer Valley, The Canyons and in homes from June until August.
Mountain Town Stages’ summer concert series ends this week.
"It’s a really quirky and fun-filled way to end our season," Richards said. "It’s a big picnic and a big thank you. It’s one of the most unique events out there. Once you go, you’re like, ‘How have I never done this before?’"
Richards, who owns Orion’s Music Shop in Park City, said his first year as executive director of one of Summit County’s most visible nonprofit organizations was a positive experience.
"Our season was actually really successful," he said. "We had everything from super popular bands to kids who are just starting out strumming guitars."
Mountain Town Stages brought the Romantics, Trace Wilson and, Richards’ favorite, Trombone Shorty, to local venues in the past two months.
The sluggish economy made it more difficult to attract flagship sponsors, Richards noted, but concertgoers in Park City have continued to open their pocketbooks to support live local music. "This year we’ve gotten tons of donations," he said, "but sponsorships have been hard. If you tell people what you’re doing they’ll throw in a couple bucks."
The Cow Ballet is no exception to big sponsors balking in the face of an economic slowdown. Longtime supporter 7Eleven Stores declined sponsoring this year’s Cow Ballet, opening the door for local businesses eager to ante up.
The 2008 Cow Ballet sponsors are Oakley School, High Star Ranch, Sage Creek Equestrian, Curb It Recycling, Wasatch Beer, Hula Snow, Kumbaya Kitchen and Lexington Law Firm, among others.
"I think [local businesses] understand how important Mountain Town Stages is to the community," Richards said. "That’s what makes a community like this unique. You can go almost anywhere and listen to free music on a summer night."
Organizers chose summer favorite MuddPuddle to perform from 3-5 p.m. at Woodenshoe Park.
Richards took control of Mountain Town Stages following the tenures of founder Randy Barton and Toby Martin. He is the organization’s only fulltime employee and is responsible for marketing, sponsorships and book for venues. "There’s a lot of stuff I’ve learned," he said. "It’s been a learning process. We’ll be an even better organization next year."
Randy Barton, founder and former executive director of Mountain Town Stages, said he has been impressed with the organization in Richards’ charter year. "I thought they did a great job," he said.
Richards noted the continued growth and popularity of house concerts as one of the highlights of the 2008 summer season. The next Mountain Stages house concert is scheduled for Sept. 27 with Po’ Girl.
Barton came up with the idea of the Cow Ballet almost a decade ago. "It’s always bee one of the best events staged in Summit County," he said. "It really helps the organization limp along until the beginning of the year."
General admission to the Cow Ballet is $15. For more information on Mountain Town Stages and upcoming concerts, visit http://www.mountaintownstages.com.
Don’t be late for the Cow Ballet:
The Cow Ballet starts Saturday, Sept. 6, at 2 p.m. at Woodenshoe Park, 4900 North Woodenshoe Lane in Peoa with a silent auction and kids’ games. Arena events such as the Buckarina Ballet and Pas de Deux horseback riding starts at 5 p.m.
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