Golden Boot 2023

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Golden Boot 2023 - James Ozanich

presentation at Follow Your Northern Neighbour by Vic Ceder, Debbie Ceder, and Caitlyn Ceder

Caitlyn

Good evening, everyone! My name is Caitlyn Ceder, and these are my parents, Vic and Debbie Ceder. The three of us were the recipients of the 2022 Golden Boot, presented to us by Allan Hurst. Unfortunately, I was the only one of the Ceders in attendance at Minneapolis last year, because these two caught COVID. I nearly didn’t attend myself but thought, “What the heck. I’ll get a 2022 dangle and they won’t. Ha ha.” How little I knew the significance of that last minute decision.

When I saw Allan at convention, he graciously offered my boyfriend David and I seats at the callers’ table that would have been reserved for my parents during the banquet. However, as we were about to sit down, Seth Levine told us they hadn’t planned for us at the callers’ table and there wasn’t enough room. No big deal. We found a table in the back corner with some lovely dancers and that was just fine. Not for Allan though. He painstakingly found us in the crowd and near-insisted Seth didn’t know what he was talking about and please please please just sit up front with the callers; there’s enough room; just get up here now missy! Well, I, blissfully ignorant, refused.

The presentation starts and I see Seth out of the corner of my eye hovering by our table. I thought he was there to apologize, which was ridiculous, because I really could care less what table I sat at. No, no – he was there to make sure I didn’t run away. Because as soon as Allan listed the first hobby of the Golden Boot recipient, I knew who it was. And I really, really wish I had listened to Allan and sat at the callers’ table. I was wearing heels, my legs were shaking, and I had a long way to walk all by myself up to this stage. It was very emotional, and for good reason.

The Golden Boot Award is an honor handed down each year from recipient to recipient. It is presented to a person, persons, or group who has made significant contributions to LGBTQ square dancing. Awardees are people who have been dedicated to the community and to advancing our activity for years, simply out of the goodness of their own hearts. That is the essence – the spirit – of the Golden Boot.

And tonight, we are honored to be able to show you all, for perhaps the first time ever, the original Golden Boot. In 1983, this not-so-traditional Western boot was designed by George Gosselin and presented to Art Smith by Puddletown Squares, a club he helped found. The other half of that pair of boots now adorns the crown of the Honky Tonk Queen. I’d like to think this year’s recipient could probably win that boot, too.

Vic

It’s hard to believe, but this year’s recipient has been involved in square dancing longer than we have! This dancer:

  • Began square dancing in 1969 as a pre-teen and continued being active throughout high school and college
  • Was part of a local teen exhibition group (no, not THAT kind of exhibition!) and danced and toured with them to Romania and Czechoslovakia before the fall of the Berlin Wall
  • Graduated with a West-Coast LGBTQ club in 1984
  • Was a Convention co-chair and co-creator of the first ever Fun Badge Tour in 1986
  • Co-chaired several West Coast A&C Fly-ins
  • Was on the committee for *our* first IAGSDC convention in 1996
  • Served on the advisory board of All Join Hands
  • Attended 34 IAGSDC Conventions, including Ottawa
  • Has been active in both gay and straight square dance worlds for over 3 decades
  • Has coordinated the Memorial Panels project since 2012, going above and beyond the call of duty to hunt down badges for dearly departed dancer friends and has maintained the data in the Memorial Notebook and database

Debbie

By now, the identity of this year’s Golden Boot awardee should be obvious to many people. It is our great pleasure to bestow the 2023 Golden Boot Award to James Ozanich. James, please join us on stage.

A tradition that has grown up with awarding the Golden Boot is a plaque on which the name of the current year’s recipient is engraved, and we have that here for James. But a much older tradition also exists. That of presenting the awardee with a personal gift.

We know that James was a co-founder of the Bradley Bell, and that his drag persona, Blanchie Jo Bradley, was one of the original Bradley family. (PAUSE) Well, if you don’t know that then I invite you to do a deep dive into the IAGSDC History website!

The Ceders wanted to present a gift that both James and Blanchie Jo would appreciate and help to commemorate this prestigious occasion.

We commissioned John Griffin (AKA Nova Starr) of Fierce Drag Jewels to design and create this magnificent brooch, featuring a golden cowboy boot and the initials “BJB” in rhinestones. May you wear it with pride.

Congratulations!