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20ogBook Reviews45g absent minded, Eckhardt arrived in the capítol a sketching, bicycling, seersuckerclad lawmaker. Rather ironically, as Keith explains, similar reactionary political circumstances to those during Eckhardt's rise helped bring his political demise, especially the backlash to the Carter years and particularly the oil and gas crises. By his 1980 reelection campaign Eckhardt found himself a target for die Reagan Revolution. Cast as a liberal and, in die words of his young opponent Jack Fields Jr., representing "everything that is wrong with this country," Eckhardt lost reelection in 1980, ending a storied legislative career (298). At first glance this is a celebratory account of Eckhardt. Yet Keitii balances this with some of Eckhardt's flaws, including extramarital affairs and failed marriages , drinking, political failures, and ego. While some may find the chapter subheadings distracting to the narrative and others might balk at the description of the "angry sociopolitical movement" of the New Right, this is solid and impressive scholarship (295). Eckhardt: There Once Was a Congressmanfrom Texas stands as an invaluable addition to our understanding of recent U.S. politics, in Texas and nationally. This brand ofwell-researched and written biography works. Augustana College, Sioux Falls, South DakotaJeffrey A.Johnson Ropin' the Dream: The Story of the Ken Lance Sports Arena, 1964-1994. By Ruth Lance Wester andJune Proctor. (Kearney, Neb.: Morris Publishing, 2007. Pp. 186. Illustrations, notes, bibliography. ISBN 9780970576706, $16.95 paper.) Part memoir and part institutional history, Ropin' the Dream tells the story of the Ken Lance Sports Arena, a mainstay of the Oklahoma and Texas rodeo circuit between the 1960s and 1990s. Located near Ada, Oklahoma, the sports complex served an important role in supporting regional as well as national rodeo talent. Music, too, played a part in the arena's story as Ken Lance brought in popular (or soon-to-be popular) country music acts to perform throughout the year. The authors—including Lance's former wife—provide an insider's perspective on the trials and successes in die big business of southwestern rodeos. Although focused on die particulars of the annual rodeo competitions (from best roping times to prize amounts), much of the book's value is found in its discussion of the variety of country-western acts that came through town to support the rodeos. Many of these performers came from the Oklahoma and Texas area, and played the arena (or at least at the nearby dance pavilion) early in their career as they relied on regional tours then returned later as larger draws once they became famous. The authors center much of their attention on Reba McEntire, as she had her start on this circuit, but other musicians such as Gene Watson, Moe Bandy,Johnny Rodriguez, and the Kendalls also appear tiiroughout die book. Many of these musicians rarely receive the attention they deserve even within country-music historiography. As much as the authors delight in reciting the accounting figures for the arena's cashbox during these years, the real joy of the book is in placing diese musicians into a larger framework of rodeo culture. 460Southwestern Historical QuarterlyApril Wester and Proctor do not take full advantage of the potential these accounts provide, but the book does include some interesting vignettes—especially memorable is one with a pre-fame, short-haired Willie Nelson receiving a clause in his performer's contract to allow him to "get there early and practice calf roping" (39). More of a focus on similar stories would enhance the appeal of die book. From die peculiarities of running a business in die 1960s with a party line to an unfortunate incident involving roping a coyote (and subsequent rabies inoculations ), Wester and Proctor provide a personal tale of promoting and running die Ken Lance Sports Arena. Still, for a book written by two women and focused in large measure on all-girl rodeo competitions, the issue of gender remains surprisingly elusive and the book fails to examine any of die more obviously gendered elements of rodeo culture. This omission seems even starker considering diat the memoir-related sections stress a number of stories that relate direcdy to a business run by a married woman, female singers performing...

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Additional Information

ISSN
1558-9560
Print ISSN
0038-478X
Pages
pp. 459-460
Launched on MUSE
2011-07-06
Open Access
No
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