Golden Boot 2024

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GB 2024 JamesOzanich JimBabcock.jpg

Golden Boot 2024 - Jim Babcock

presentation at Carolina Twirl by James Ozanich

Saturday, July 6, 2024

Good evening, everyone and Yellowrocks to each of you! I am James Ozanich from Sacramento, California. This is my 35th non-consecutive convention. My pronouns are he/him/his. I would like to start by thanking, and cursing, the Ceder family: Vic, Debbie, and Caitlyn for their Grand Square gesture. As you know, they honored me, and my work with gay square dancing, last year with the Golden Boot Award.

[point to brooch] This brooch was my physical gift which I wear proudly.

Last year, in Ottawa, I noticed all three Ceders doing a Pass Thru the anti-room before the banquet wearing gold shirts or blouses. I immediately knew why they were wearing gold – they were the presenters of the Golden Boot. I had no idea they were Motivated to name me as the next recipient later that evening.

Today I am wearing this golden outfit to continue what I hope will become a new tradition of future presenters. I am also wearing this as it belonged to my dear and longtime friend of nearly 40 years Freeman Stamper AKA Steffany, AKA Mama Jo Bradley, who was the sixth Golden Boot recipient in 1989, at Peel The Apple in New York City, and passed away this past October. Freeman is with us one more time here tonight. Happy heavenly birthday tomorrow.

I also want to acknowledge two other previous Boot recipients we lost in the last 14 months, Art Smith in May 2023; Art was the very first recipient; and Keith Gehrig just a short time ago in April 2024.

I also want to acknowledge my non-dancer husband, Tom Erickson, who Makes Magic by putting up with me for nearly 20 years and supporting my dance related activities. ILY. At this time, I would ask all previous Golden Boot recipients to stand and be recognized again for your contributions to the IAGSDC. As the 38th recipient, I am honored to be in your company and Swap Around with you.

[Not read aloud] Those previous awardees here tonight include the South Florida Mustangs, Scott Carey, Karl Jeckel, Harlan Kerr, Bill Eyler, Kris Jensen, Darrell Ertzberger, Betsy Gotta, (Happy 50th wedding anniversary to you and Roy); Rick Hawes, Ett McAtee, Seth Levine, All Join Hands Foundation, Scott Phillips, John Faulds, Sandie Bryant, JW Paulson, Phil Davis, Justin & Ross Crawshaw-Lopton, Barry & Pam Clasper, Allen Hurst, and the Ceders].

Now, get your pens and pencils out.

As many of you know, because I have asked you, or certainly asked someone in your club leadership, I currently coordinate the physical Memorial Panels Project, located in Meeting Room 3, down the hallway this year. I have been doing this since 2012. And I work closely with the IAGSDC wiki team members to update the online memorial throughout the year.

So, putting on that hat for a moment, I want to talk about your personal square dance legacy. Please, please, please. let your family, your loved ones, and your club members know NOT to discard your square dance club badge(s). Let someone know where you keep it when you are not dancing. Remember, when the time comes, we want the physical badge for the memorial. Yes, we accept recreations, but the original is so much more meaningful. If you have questions about the memorial project, see me privately sometime this weekend.

Pens and pencils ready? Write down this email address: Again, I-N-F-O-@-I-A-G-S-D-C-H-I-S-T-O-R-Y-dot-O-R-G. Use it anytime you have information to share about our dancers, living or deceased. Send pictures, send dates, send announcements. It will eventually make its way online to the wiki. Not only decedent information but also any club or personal history. Thank you! And go look at the wiki and use it as a resource. It is not complete but with the info you supply it will be so much better.

[place original Golden Boot on podium]

Now, let us move on to the reason I am standing up here tonight -- The Golden Boot Award. The Golden Boot Award is an honor handed down each year from recipient to recipient. The boot 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 – or the spirit – of the Golden Boot.

It is not an official IAGSDC award but is passed from one person or group to the next. Recipients have included men, women, couples, groups, lesbians, gay men, and straight allies. There are no specific criteria or guidelines – each recipient chooses who to pass it on to. That can be a curse, like Fractional Tops, but also a blessing like an Allemand Left.

The recipient I have chosen this year:

  • Has Passed Out as a long-time contra dancer and Passed In to square dancing from that activity. Lavender Country and Folk Dancers
  • Has been a previous marching band member and leader; playing a brass instrument. (Trombone.) Big Apple Corp
  • Currently Swaps Around between four-square dance clubs. Times Squares (NY), Independence Squares (PA), Motiv8ors (NJ) and Heads to the Center (OR).
  • Is a Wheel Around specialist, making club nights smooth like water; and has a calming influence on those around the activity.
  • Asks questions of others but does not dictate; has excellent common sense.
  • Is a past club president for five consecutive years. Times Squares
  • Is Attending their fourth IAGSDC convention this year in Durham. Carolina Twirl
  • Prefers a mountain vacation over a beach vacation.
  • Personal quote: “Something’s always happening somewhere.”
  • Helped Coordinate club fly in four years. Peel the Pumpkin
  • Zodiac sign: Taurus-Gemini cusp.
  • Co-chair of club and international pride parade contingent. Square Up at Stonewall 50
  • Is employed as a university library services supervisor. Columbia University
  • Is the current club treasurer. Times Squares
  • Has Paired Off with the Current Convention committee. Carolina Twirl
  • Is current IAGSDC officer. Secretary
  • Hobbies besides square dancing: The family history/ bug bit hard in 2012, an arsenal of research techniques was the Wheel and Deal for entry into the IAGSDC History Project Wiki.
  • Serves on the IAGSDC History Project, Circles Left and Right researching content to preserve our collective history and has created multiple videos. Fistful of Firsts
  • Desired Superpower: to travel through time to rescue the 1890 US Federal Census.
  • Likes to wear suspenders and knee-high socks.

Yes, I am talking about our friend and all-around good guy and excellent researcher: Jim Babcock of Times Squares!

[applause] Jim, please Promenade up to the podium. A tradition that has grown up with awarding the Golden Boot is a perpetual plaque on which the name of the current year’s recipient is engraved, and I have that here for you Jim. You are also receiving a Golden Boot dangle to be worn proudly on your club badge.

Another tradition also exists. That of presenting the awardee with a personal gift. My personal gift to you consists of three elements: golden suspenders with matching bow tie, golden knee-high socks, and finally a golden boot brooch from the personal collection of Freeman Stamper. Please wear them all fondly and with pride and happiness. Thank you for your contributions to the IAGSDC and gay square dancing. Yellowrocks, Jim.

All Golden Boots present, please join a group photo to my left.