Sunday Morning Coming Down

It is the most anticipated event. BBQ-Karaoke night. The evening is organized as a thank you to the riders and their families. For one night, the competition is set aside for Texas hospitality and the best BBQ.


It began when a few riders gathered on BBQ night to sing their favorites of the moment. A couple years later, it became a signature feature of the evening. The hidden talent was their music backgrounds. The vendors assembled swag bags for them, someone asked if there would be interest if it became a singing contest. Those riders said they would give it try. That was five years ago.

With 165-180 riders regularly attending the show, around 15 signed up for the contest in its first three years. Two years ago, only 11 riders signed up. They gained a 12th rider at check-in time, my daughter, Elizabeth. A smaller contestant group meant a stronger performance was required. And, each gave one. Elizabeth was very surprised when she won. She thought of her performance as sub-standard, saying her voice was a little rough from her perennial battle with seasonal allergies.

The Song

Aiming for her third consecutive win of this contest, this past May, Elizabeth was good-naturedly called the “favorite to win” by her fellow contestants. They were appreciative of her talent. Yet, she saw the challenge it presented – more success brings greater expectations. Elizabeth became a little more nervous when both moms came for the weekend. Moreover, she loves how her mom, Andrea, sings – no one is any better.

This year’s music theme was the “Great American Songbook”. For music aficionados, the selections are many, and the artists who perform them are many as well. Elizabeth fretted about which song she should do, combing through the multi-page list repeatedly. She couldn’t recognize any from the title alone, and too many to search on YouTube. After winning a hunter class late in the afternoon, Elizabeth scanned the list once again. Two pages separated showing another page of possible selections. On the “new” page, she recognized four or five songs immediately. The others, not so much.

A Night In Tuscany

Walking past the Grand Prix ring, many stopped to watch the festival lighting being hung for the night. On a very warm and humid day, it was the only activity that didn’t make you sweat. Most wondered, though, how it would look when dark – intimate or bright. When they came on just before dusk, the lighting had a very intimate feel. Tara called it a night in Tuscany, or at least how it should look there.

In the blind draw, Elizabeth drew #3 out of 16. Though not the best start position, all she had to do was sing her song choice as the showstopper. The song Elizabeth selected was “This House Is Empty Now” by Burt Bacharach and Hal David.

And, she did sing her heart and emotion out of it. Mom loved it, wiping the tears from her eyes a couple of times.

Elizabeth, call her three-time champion.


Elizabeth used the original Bacharach arrangement of “This House Is Empty Now”. A video, as performed by Dutch singer, Trijnte Oosterhuis, can be found here.

The songwriting team of Burt Bacharach and Hal David wrote more Top Ten Billboard hits in the 1960’s, 70’s and 80’s than any other person or team. Bacharach noted, “a good song is a good song,” and will transcend time. He toured as recently in 2014, at age 86. A medley, from his 2008 tour, can be found here.


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