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Sunday, October 14, 2007

Magic Dancer Diaries 

Posted by Sasha at 9:01 AM ET

OrlandoMagic.com: The Orlando Magic Dancers were invited to participate in the NBA's State Fair Tour. Danielle kept some notes as the Dancers traveled to Pueblo for the Colorado State Fair and here's a recap of the experience.

Day 1 - Friday, August 31
ANY opportunity to travel as an Orlando Magic Dancer is both a Blessing and an Honor. While I TRULY mean that from the bottom of my heart this was also the pep talk I was giving myself when my alarm went off at 3:30am today. We are to meet at the United Airlines Ticket Counter at 4:30am for our 6am flight to Denver. Kim C., Kim M., Erin and I are traveling to Pueblo, CO for the NBA State Fair Tour.

We did an event just like this last year in Jacksonville, FL and it was a BLAST so I was incredibly excited, and honored to be involved with the event again this year. The Colorado State Fair is in Pueblo, I have never even heard of Pueblo, CO but after some quick internet research I find that its about 100 miles South of Denver in what appears to be a lovely, quiet town.

We arrive in Denver ready for coffee and breakfast but realize the Denver airport is enormous and we need to find our gate. We find ourselves in this TINY wing of the airport and I find myself getting a little nervous. We all start to realize we’re in that part of the airport where you have to walk out to get on your TEENY TINY plane. Soon we all discovered just how teeny tiny in the fact that there were 19 TOTAL seats in the plane and all I had to do was speak loud enough to ask the Pilot a question. Let me preface all this with A) I do not in any way shape or form get nervous to fly and B) I have never in my life been Motion Sick.

As the plane took off I thought it was going to be a ROUGH flight but much to my surprise we touched down in Pueblo 25 minutes later and it was a breeze. After gathering our luggage we waited to meet our Contact Andy Agosta with the NBA so he could take us to the hotel and we could figure out our schedule of appearances for the day. (And if I had MY way, get some breakfast!)

We arrived at the Marriott, where Andy informed us they had a great breakfast, but couldn’t check in because apparently the Colorado State Fair is a REALLY big deal and the hotel has been completely booked for weeks! We ate Breakfast and walked around downtown Pueblo waiting for our rooms to be available. Downtown Pueblo was quaint with restaurants and interesting little shops filled with all sorts of things from clothing to hemp bags. Being there stereotypical women we are it was NO problem passing the time wandering from store to store. By the time we made it back to the Hotel we were exhausted and THRILLED to hear that our rooms were finally ready. We all got checked in and had time to relax before our appearance that evening.

Once arriving at the NBA site at the State Fair we were excited to get started! We played some Basketball games with the Fans, Danced, Signed Autographs and even tricked everyone into a Dance Competition by making them think they were coming onto the court to shoot baskets and then turned on music and asked to see their BEST moves! It was AWESOME. Also, while we were there we got introduced to Mutton Bustin. This is not something that ANY of us had heard of but we were eager to learn what its all about.

Apparently, Mutton Bustin is a HUGE crowd gatherer, and basically they put a child (under 50lbs) on the back of a sheep and tell the child to hold on. They then release the sheep so it can run around and the child that holds on the LONGEST wins not only a Gold Buckle but also a $1000. (Plus the Bragging Rights of being the Mutton Bustin Champ!) I have NEVER in my Life laughed harder at the expense of a Minor or Livestock. If you have never seen it go find a video or something because it is QUITE entertaining! Now, obviously this is how people get started in Rodeo but I had NO idea it even existed.

After the EVENTFUL evening at the fair we went to grab some dinner at a local restaurant (Angelo’s – The BEST Italian Food I’ve had in a LONG time!) and off to bed so we can be well rested for the next 2 days of appearances and MUTTON BUSTIN at the Colorado State Fair!

Day 2 - Saturday, September 1
Our first appearance of Day Two brought much of the same from the night before, lots of basketball with the fans and a dance performance. We even walked around the fair promoting the NBA site and taking pictures with Fans. For a minute I actually thought we might be JUST as exciting as the Mutton Bustin that everyone loves so much! It was a great first appearance and its always such a joy to work with and for the NBA. We had a couple of hours to rest, workout and eat some lunch before we had to be for our evening performance.

JUST as we finished getting ready and were about to gather in the lobby to meet Andy for our Final appearance of the day we realized it was POURING down rain outside. Shortly after, we got a phone call that they were not going to come get us so we had the evening to ourselves. We chose to watch movies and get to bed early since the following morning was the final appearance of the trip and then straight off to the airport to come home.

Day 3 - Sunday, September 2
After finishing our appearance at the State Fair Andy took us to the bustling Pueblo, CO airport so we could catch our flight to Denver and then back home to Orlando. If you remember I stated early that I’m not scared to fly and I never get motion sick…until this flight. We got back on the TEENY TINY plane and truthfully after the first flight I didn’t even thing twice about it. I promise you that was the LONGEST 25 minute flight of my life and at one point I starting looking for the “vomit bag”. It was slightly comforting to know (once we touched down in Denver) that every single one of us was INCREDIBLY nauseous and I wasn’t alone.

After regaining some sort of stomach we grabbed some lunch and boarded the plane to come home. Although short it was an AMAZING trip and any opportunity to represent the NBA is an incredible honor. MUCH THANKS to the Orlando Magic, the NBA, the Colorado State Fair, and Pueblo, CO for all of your hospitality. This is truly a trip, and experience I don’t think ANY of us will soon forget!

Looking forward to seeing all of you at a game this season! GO MAGIC!

Danielle

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