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Laura Dahl, Director
P.O. Box 430, Goodwell, Oklahoma 73939
Phone: 580-349-1354 * Fax: 580-349-1350
Email: lola@opsu.edu

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Trell Etbauer, left, and a member of the Oman Royal Calvary exchange headgear. - photo courtesy Trell Etbauer

**For Immediate Release**
Etbauer Participates in Cultural Exchange
-released by OPSU Campus Communications 01-23-2006
by Laura Dahl

Goodwell, OK- Trell Etbauer, OPSU sophomore and co-winner of the 2005 College National Finals Rodeo Steer Wrestling title, spent ten days in the Middle Eastern country of Oman over the holidays. He joined citizens from all over the world in Oman’s 30th annual Royal Equestrian & Camel Festival to demonstrate American rodeo events.

The annual New Year’s Day event, sponsored by His Majesty the Sultan Qaboos Bin Said, celebrates horse cultures worldwide. Countries represented at the 2006 festival were Morocco, France, Spain, Germany and Japan and incorporated displays of a variety of horsemanship skills including polo, archery on horseback, circus acts, races, and rodeo. The production also included a variety of military bands and choirs as well as the Royal Oman Symphony Orchestra.

Omani culture includes deep-rooted traditions that feature horses, particularly Arabians, and camels prominently in their epic tales of heroic events, and the animals are identified with manhood, pride and honor. In addition, horses and camels fulfill an important economic role as a means of transport for people and goods. Horse and camel breeding remain an integral part of Oman’s heritage.

As part of the American rodeo team, Etbauer and Bronc Rumford demonstrated saddle bronc riding and team roping skills. The pair accompanied 10 American Quarter horses to Chicago, loaded the horses on a cargo plane, and flew to Brussels, Belgium. They flew on to Abu Dhabi in the United Arab Emirates where they landed and loaded the horses in a trailer and drove to the capital of Oman, Muscat. The American horses remain in Oman where they will be trained and used by the Royal Calvary.

Etbauer said all of the participants in the show rehearsed every day starting on December 24. Rehearsals began at 5:00 p.m. and sometimes did not end until midnight. Approximately 4,400 individuals participated in the show plus 2,000 horses and 800 camels. Thousands more worked behind the scenes to ensure everything ran smoothly. One goal during rehearsal was to get the entire show completed in about 2 hours.

The rodeo portion lasted less than 10 minutes and was divided in two different time slots. Etbauer and Rumford showed the Omani people saddle bronc riding and bareback riding complete with pick-up men, and yes, Trell stayed on the full 8 seconds, but no score was posted!The second performance displayed barrel racing and team roping, or as explained in the program, “Barrel Display and Cow Catching.” Rumford and Etbauer team roped two Brahma cross steers with Bronc heading and Trell heeling. In addition, two American children showed off their mastery of trick riding and trick roping.

As guests of the Omani government, the American group was requested to wear “traditional” American cowboy attire while in the country. No hardship there, the ten Americans donned starched jeans, boots and hats for all the official functions. They participated in a number of events including Christmas and New Year’s Eve parties, a deep-sea fishing expedition, and tours of palaces and a fort. The group stayed in a five-star hotel right on the Gulf of Oman courtesy of the Sultanate of Oman and enjoyed beautiful vistas, warm weather and plenty of sunshine.

Etbauer said he was struck by the friendliness of the people of Oman. The Americans had a full-time interpreter with them, but Trell said many Omani people speak excellent English and asked questions about the American people and customs.

Because rodeo is not part of Omani culture, Etbauer and Rumford oversaw the building of bucking chutes and an alley. The two Americans provided plans, and Omani workers were assigned to build the equipment. A frustrating situation for two men used to taking care of things themselves, the pair ended up finishing the job rather than explaining every step.

On New Year’s Eve, participants staged a free dress rehearsal that over 5,000 citizens attended. The following day, the “real” event was put on for the Sultan and his 2,000 invited guests. Tickets were sold for the remaining seats. The Al-Fateh Stadium, where the show was held, was huge with the perimeter measuring nearly one mile.

Etbauer said the extravaganza was a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity and hopes to participate in more international shows of this type.

-30-

Trell, with his ostrich skin boots on, learns about riding camels. A member of the Oman Royal Calvary rides a horse for the first time - barefoot.
 
Muscat skyline. - all photos courtesy Trell Etbauer

 

 

 

 

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