Golden Boot 2017

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Golden Boot 2017 - Justin Crawshaw-Lopton and Ross Crawshaw-Lopton

presentation at Palm Springs Swing & Mix 2017 by Keith Gehrig


July 2, 2017

"The spirit of the Golden Boot Award belongs to everyone. For it is all of us contributing together, sharing our energy, our dedication and most of all our love that is truly the spirit that is honored. When any one of us gives 100% of the best of what and who we are, that is the finest example of the essence of what the Golden Boot Award exemplifies." --Art Smith

I am truly honored (and still a little bit in shock) to be standing up here today in front of all of you and especially in front of my dear friend and fellow boot-winner, Mr. Art Smith. Who is the reason that most of us are here now! Art, could you please stand. I am sad that John and Leo could not be here this weekend. I gave a huge shout-out to them for this honor. As I hugged them last year, I told them I loved them but also hated them a little bit as well. We chatted a bit by email this week and they told me to speak “from my heart”…so here goes! I will do my best but please be patient with me as this is not an easy thing to do.

Why is this so special to me?

My journey here (and in life) is not at all what I expected but I wouldn’t trade most of it for anything in the world

Square Dancing is a major focal point in my life.

I started square dancing 30 years ago and graduated Mainstream in 1988, just prior to my first convention in Phoenix, Arizona. I had only moved to the Seattle area in March of that year and didn’t really know too many people yet. I had started line dancing in Long Beach, California prior to moving so when I got to Seattle, I was looking for a place to dance. I found a group dancing on Thursday nights and almost instantly felt at home. Many of those dancers were also square dancers…who knew? When mainstream lessons started that October of course I signed-up. I made some great friends that first year least one of which is in the room today. Many friends along way and many that I consider family.

Square dancing has become a consistency of my life.

I can mark so many points in my life where I was because of square dancing. How many people do you know that can instantly say where they were on July the 4th, Memorial weekend (or Easter weekend) in say…1990 and 2001 - Vancouver BC, 2002 and last year in Toronto, 1988 and 2004 in Phoenix.

Square dancing is… Part of my history

I met my husband in 1990 at the Vancouver convention. We attended many conventions together including our last one together in 2004 Phoenix as our relationship was ending. In Chicago in 2010 when we placed his badge on the memorial panels.

Square dancing is my family

Most of you would NOT know this but in 1987 as I started dancing, I became estranged with my mother as sadly too many of us do. As time went on we were able to patch things up and in 2005 when convention was held in Santa Clara, my parents came to a Sunday afternoon session and watch and meet many of my friends.

Square dancing helped me find my voice.

My parents brought us up with a strong sense of “giving back” to our communities. Though serving on boards always seemed to be in the cards for me, it was becoming chair of Puddletown Squares and running the club for 5 years and then 10 years on the IAGSDC board that really helped me learn of my strengths and part of what spurred me on to pursuing a Master’s Degree in Arts Leadership.

Square dancing is being in the company of people…much better, more worthy than I

I would not be standing here today if it weren't for many people almost too many too name. The wonderful IAGSDC board members I served with over 10 years. Members of my board at Puddletown. The wonderful dancers who took time out to serve on the Petersen Committee.

There are two however that I must mention because it is clear in my mind that I would not be standing here if it were not for them, neither one are with us today. One of them being Ralph Lorier who administered the Rainbow Trust and my right hand with Petersen, without his help could've not have done the job that I did at the Petersen fund.

The other person, I do not recall if we ever met be he made a profound impact on my life. Joe Petersen who left his estate to the IAGSDC that become the Petersen Fund and because of him, I was able to proudly serve on and as administrator for over 10 years and through that, meet so many wonderful members of our square dance community.

I am in awe to be welcomed into this new company of Golden Boot winners and would like to ask them all to stand up. So many of you are why I can stand here today! Thank you dear friends.

So enough… There are no rules or guidelines for how the recipient should be selected. In the past, the award has been given to individuals, groups, and organizations. They need not be LGBT or Q but certainly allies of our community and advocates of square dancing to all communities. The commitment and the love of square dancing is never in question! It is totally the choice of the winner, such is the blessing and the curse.

A blessing as you get to bestow the honor, a curse as you cannot pick everyone.

I was told I would know who I was giving this to as I stepped off the stage last year…Nope…PTSD I think.

I was told I’d wake up at 2am and know…NOPE…Still couldn’t sleep at 2am. Actually, I spent much of that night crying in disbelief.

I had a “short list”…people who have made an impact locally but internationally as well, visibility, advocacy, selflessness…and especially their joy, all of which weighed into my decision.

I developed a short list. All of the names shared so much of the joy, visibility and love square dancing. All of my top choices are all worthy! That being said, two names remained at the very top of the list.

This year’s Golden Boot recipients are a couple and have been around square dancing for a long time, in fact one of them started dancing before I did. They have both received 10 year medallions, one has received their 20. They are a “power-couple” and brighten the room and the world just by being it. One is a caller and teacher, the other has served on and chaired boards of multiple clubs. Together and separately, they have co-chaired fly-ins, and had involvement with the Honky Tonk Queen contest.

They were instrumental in bringing a new club into our organization and 6 short years later, hosted a convention, and in doing so, they took us somewhere we never thought we would go…to Salt Lake City, Utah!

It is with honor and great pride that we present the 2017 Golden Boot Award to Justin and Ross Crawshaw-Lopton!