“Spirit of the West Riders” to Perform in Honor of the John Wayne Cancer Institute

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SANTA MONICA, Calif.–(BUSINESS WIRE)–March 15, 1999
The “Spirit of the West Riders” will perform in honor of the John Wayne Cancer Institute at the Cowboy Poetry and Music Festival.

The event takes place in the City of Santa Clarita at Melody Ranch on Saturday afternoon March 27 and Sunday afternoon March 28, 1999.

With their authentic and colorful portrayal of the equestrians of the Old West, the team pays tribute to John Wayne’s legacy of the American West, and the pioneering spirit of the John Wayne Cancer Institute in their quest to find a cure for cancer.

Since 1981, the John Wayne name has been committed to cancer research and treatment by the Wayne Family in memory of the much-loved actor who died of cancer in 1979. The John Wayne Cancer institute was officially opened on July 1, 1991 at Saint John’s Health Center in Santa Monica as a non-profit center for cancer research and treatment, focusing in particular on melanoma, breast cancer, lung cancer, sarcoma and liver cancer, among others.

Numbering 16 strong, the Riders represent the men and women who tamed the wild frontier of the 1840-1920 period. Each of these equestrians embodies the spirit of the American Frontier with their colorful, old-time outfits, saddles and gear. All dedicated historians and top equestrians, they (and their horses) are completely outfitted in authentically reproduced clothing and equipment.

The group is led by Group Marshall Phil Spangenberger, who has served as historical consultant to such top stars as Will Smith for his upcoming movie “Wild, Wild West,” and Mel Gibson for his role in “Maverick.”

Other key “riders” include co-organizer Jim Nichols, attorney and founder of the “Cowboy Lawyers Association;” Group Deputy Marshal Larry Brady, who serves on the board of directors of Catalina Caballeros and Los Caballeros; Shannon Meyer, an ink and paint artist in the animation industry and a Reserve Deputy with the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Mounted Posse; Linda Spangenberger, an accomplished equestrian who performs with her husband Phil in wild west shows; and Denise Darr, a breeder of Missouri Fox Trotter horses.

The sixth annual Cowboy Poetry and Music Festival is a celebration of western heritage held at historic Melody Ranch Motion Picture Studio. Festival-goers can relive the magic of the Old West and enjoy musicians, poets, chuck wagon cooking, old-time Western Films, shopping, panning for gold, horseback trail rides, western swing dancing and a cowboy campfire.

For event and ticket information, individuals can call 805/286-4021.

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