ConSarnit 1

June 9th, 2008 | by Sqotty |

ConSarnit 1 proved to a successful event this past Saturday, with about twenty fans of the Western Film in attendance. The convention was patterned using the same model that has been used for fan-run Science Fiction conventions for decades. The Con-Com was not expecting a large turnout for their first time out with the Western theme, thinking that they would attract between 15-30 fans.

John Wayne was selected as the first Western Icon of the Year, and rightfully so. The convention kicked off with a discussion of the Duke’s career touching on some of his key films as well as his B-picture work in the ’30s that led up to his role in Stagecoach, which propelled him into stardom. When people throughout the world think of the Western, John Wayne immediately comes to mind, with stirring images of him sitting Tall in the Saddle. From 1949 through 1973, John Wayne placed in the top 10 most popular American stars 24 out of 25 years; an incredible record.

Eric and Dave, the Con-Com

We were next treated to a presentation by James Roberts who talked about his trips following the trail of Louis L’Amour. L’Amour is one of the most recognized names in Western literature with novels that include the Sacketts series, many of which were made into films featuring Tom Selleck and Sam Elliott.

At lunch, we descended in mass on a nearby grill that was ill prepared to handle one more large party (there were several large groups there already). Although service was slow, the food was good and the conversation better.

Returning to the convention, we then had a panel on the book West of Everything, which proved to be an interesting discussion on the Western hero and why there are so few strong female rows (although there are some).

Next up was Lonesome Ron performing and talking about Cowboy songs and the early Singing Cowboys. Lonesome Ron was dressed in full cowboy rig, with his guitar. One of the songs he sang for us was the one performed as a duet by Dean Martin and Ricky Nelson in Rio Bravo.

Lonesome Ron

John Koblas, the author of many books on the West and, in particular, the James-Younger Gang, discussed the history of the Northfield Raid that broke the gang, leaving two of their own dead in the streets, and the aftermath of the raid. The Youngers were later captured outside of Madelia, Minnesota, with Cole younger having something like 16 bullets in him. The James brothers were not in this gunfight, having split from the Youngers, and escaped into the Dakotas.

John Koblas

The final panel of the day was a results of the Top Ten Best Westerns poll taken of the membership. They were:

The Good, The Bad, and the Ugly
The Magnificent Seven
High Noon
Little Big Man
The Man Who Shot Liberty Valence
Dances With Wolves
The Shootist
Once Upon a Time in the West
Rio Bravo and Stagecoach

Each of these films had been selected by at least 3 members and ranked with good scores (scoring being 10 points for your favorites, down to one point). A list of films had been compiled by the Con-Com from an earlier poll of the pre-registered members that had email.

Afterwards, most of the members retired to the Con Suite to watch Westerns for the evening. Sadly, I had to miss that and return home to take care of Tasha the Wonderdog. I did, however, watch a great Randolph Scott western, Seven Men From Now, in solidarity with the con.

All in all, it was a good event. Hopefully Eric and Dave, the Con-Com, will pull this off again next year.


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