As the sunset settled on the evening of Feb. 29, the Phoenix congregations joined together with pep in their step and a twang on their tongues. It was the first annual Checker Buster Barn Dance, a square dance hybrid created to cater to newcomers and pros alike. To kick the event off, the Phoenix East congregation hosted a country fair buffet with southern inspirations, setting the mood for a cozy, jubilee-filled evening.
When the sun set, people began to strap on their boots and don their ten-gallon hats. Everyone from age four to 85 joined for some boot scootin’ fun.
Brian Gabbard, a member of Phoenix Northwest congregation, had this to say about the origin of the dance: “Legend has it that the Checker Buster Barn Dance was made by a singing cowboy named Buster, his horse named Dan, a shadow called Tall and his posse: the Candy Bandit, a girl named Danger, Whimsy the jackelope and a butterfly named Dottie.”
Bringing the legend to life with their pizazz and funky moves, the instructors of the dance were the young adult volunteers of both congregations. The dance was so much fun and appealed to so many that the Phoenix churches hope to make it an annual regional event. Find a horse and pony on down into the sunset toward Arizona—we’ll be waiting for you next year! Y’all come back now, hear?