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Sun, March 29

Schrader legacy lives in Tusayan<br>

Kevin Johns and Kip Calahan sing at the Grand Hotel in tribute to the late Buck Schrader.

Held Friday and Saturday at hotels in Tusayan, the event featured a number Buck’s colleagues and people he also considered family. including “Hole in the Ground” regular, poet, humorist and storyteller Chris Isaacs and longtime friend and poet Ross Knox.

“We brought together poets, singers, storytellers and liars,” said Ty.

For Buck’s family and longtime associates, the weekend was bittersweet.

“It pulls at your heartstrings,” said Ty. “This is what my father lived to do, to hang out with his friends.”

Buck’s wife and Ty’s mother, Ginger Booth, agreed.

“It’s emotional but good,” she said. “We’re glad we could do this. Cowboys are great people and they were willing to do this at the drop of a hat. These are the kind of people Buck liked to be around.”

The artists were sponsored by local businesses and by patrons of cowboy arts from as far away as Florida. Ty said Grand Hotel and Canyon Star general manager Steve Paul was instrumental in organizing the event.

“He’s a big reason this is happening,” Ty said.

The artists offered free performances at Tusayan hotels in the afternoons and performed at dinner shows in the evening. The event culminated Saturday night with a live and silent auction and the dedication of the stage at the Canyon Star Restaurant in Buck’s name.

“This was his home,” said Paul. “This was his stage. He was our official ambassador of song.”

Since the Canyon Star opened in 1998 and until his death, Buck has been a fixture on its stage, where he sang and told stories about the cowboy way of life and kept alive the spirit of the American West.

“Buck Schrader started doing his cowboy poetry here five years ago,” said Paul. “But the tradition goes back hundreds of years, to the original cowboys of the West.”

Singer Kit Calahan of New Mexico was one of the artists returning to pay tribute to Buck.

“I’ve known Buck three years,” she said. “When I first walked into the Canyon Star, it was kind of hard without him here.”

Another Gathering regular, Kevin Jones, said the tribute was a fitting one.

“It was great,” he said. “We got to see a lot of good, old firends, hear some great stories and steal new material.”

According to Ty, the proceeds will go into the memorial fund, where they will be used for school, fire district and other community needs.

Serving on the non-profit’s board of directors are Ginger Booth, Nancy Booth, Ron Clayton, Clayann Cook, Brenda Halvorson, Ross Knox, Steve Paul, Ty Schrader, Rebecca Southard, John Thurston, John Vail and Ron Williams.

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