Saturday, August 22, 2009

The Norwich Cattle Roundup

Earlier this week, I was listening to one of my favorite radio stations, CKDK-FM (a.k.a. "The Hawk") on my way to work. CKDK-FM is a classic rock/oldies station (yes, I realize I'm showing my age). Because their target audience is mainly baby boomers such as myself, they play heavily on nostalgia. "If your record collection is bigger than your CD collection, then you've found your radio station" boasts one of their promos.

The Hawk's morning show features a daily contest called "Stuck on Forty-fives". The announcer plays a short snippit of some classic hit song which repeats several times, like a scratched 45-rpm record might. Listeners call the station and try to identify the title of the song and the artist in exchange for fabulous prizes.

As I said, I was tuned in when the time for the daily contest came along one day last week. A listener called the station, correctly identified "Clap For The Wolfman" by The Guess Who, and won the fabulous prize ... two passes to the Norwich Cattle Roundup.

I cannot convey how relieved I was that I chose not to call the station and try my hand at their contest. Dear God! The Norwich Cattle Roundup? I try to picture myself returning home later that afternoon, had I called the station and proven successful, throwing open the door and proudly announcing to my wife and daughter, "Yeeee-HAAAAAA!!! Clear yer weekend schedules, ladies! We're a-goin' to the NORWICH CATTLE ROUNDUP!" I would now be either a born-again bachelor or the newest resident of the nearest sanitorium. Perhaps both.

Understand that I had never heard of the Norwich Cattle Roundup before that very moment, but it sure didn't sound like something that I would want to waste two of the very limited number of days in my life experiencing. I don't need to experience certain things in order to know that they're not my cup of tea; things like novocaine-free root canals, prison sex, getting pepper-sprayed and a weekend spent at the Norwich Cattle Roundup.

The prize might have been understandable were CKDK-FM a country music station, but it isn't! I'm guessing that a large percentage of their listening audience would be just as horrified as I to win such a prize. A better strategy might have been to threaten to send the caller a pair of tickets if they incorrectly guessed the record's title and artist, sparing them only if they got it right. Of course, then no-one would have called the station, so the announcer would have to be careful not to spring this on the caller until after he had them on the line and had taken their home address, telephone and social insurance number. In the words of Jack Nicholson as the Joker (yes, I know that was my last post, but I like to milk these things), "Better be sure!"

Now, I pride myself on not judging anything until I know something about it, so I've since looked up the Norwich Cattle Roundup on the internet (as can you by simply clicking the link that I've just thoughtfully provided). The web site proclaims it to be "THE WORLD'S GREATEST CATTLE ROUND-UP" Somehow, I find that less than reassuring. I wouldn't care to go and see "THE WORLD'S GREATEST TOENAIL FUNGUS SYMPOSIUM" either. Some things get acknowledged as the "World's Greatest" simply because the bar had been set pretty low to start with.

The web site describes the event as "The New Seventh Annual Norwich World Roundup". I don't quite follow. If it's the seventh one, then what's new about it? Was there a previous seventh annual Norwich World Roundup and, if there was, then wouldn't this be the eighth annual Norwich World Roundup? Perhaps not a single soul attended the first seventh annual Norwich World Roundup, so the organizers decided to pretend it never happened, which is why this year's became dubbed the "new" seventh annual Norwich World Roundup.

According to the web site, this annual event commemorates a catastrophic fire which broke out at the Vankerrebroeck Ranch back in August 2002. During the fire, 300 cattle escaped into the surrounding countryside. It took more than 15 cowboys over 40 days to lasso the cattle and return them to temporary penning after which someone apparently said "That was fun! Let's do it again next year!" The rest, I suppose is history.

Browsing around the rest of the website, it becomes clear that this event is really more of a rodeo. I humbly suggest that the organizers might improve attendance if they simply called it that. "Rodeo" evokes images of cattle rustling, bronco bucking, bull riding, clowns and other enjoyable cowboy pastimes. "Cattle Roundup" evokes images of watching a whole lot of cows being herded around a field.

I also suggest that the management of CKDK-FM needs to have a heart-to-heart talk with their marketing people.

1 comment:

Tubes said...

I don't get it. What's not to like? : )