I left my camera behind when I headed upstairs to the Wrangler suite at the MGM Grand to celebrate with the Wrangler National Patriot/American300 team and our Coast Guard guests. I had taken hundreds of photos and produced a short video already live online - my work, for all intensive purposes was complete. When Lucas Hoge pulled out his guitar and Brian Notheis joined him in a rendition of Lucas' song "Shoo Fly Pie" the room was electrified by not only musical talents of the two men, but also the memory of the first time the two met back in May. I pulled out my cell phone and shot a few seconds of video - and from that, this video was born on a flight from Las Vegas to JFK.
It's not often I get to be in front of the camera- but this year I managed to sneak into a few group shots. Scroll down for a few of my favorite memories volunteering for American300 this past year.
In addition to spending 10 days in Washington and Alaska with these fine folks, I also had the pleasure of representing American300 at the Wrangler National Patriot night at the PBR finals a few weeks ago in Las Vegas, NV. Wounded Warrior SSGT Shilo Harris and CSM Paul Bianco were recognized for their service and got to enjoy a night watching bull riding with their families.
I am excited to head back to Las Vegas in a month with the rest of the Wrangler National Patriot team to recognize two of our rockstar Coasties we met on our Memorial Day tour this spring and watch Kaycee Feild compete in the finals!
“With Honor and Remembrance”
For the past four years, the end of May rolls around and I have watched my dad (Robi Powers, Founder of American300 Tours) bring five western folk to visit different branches of the U.S. Armed Forces over Memorial Day. By visiting the U.S. Coast Guard this year, American300 has now visited each of the five branches of the Armed Forces over the past five years.
Jeff Chadwick, the Director of Events and Endorsees for the Wrangler Corporation.
Kaycee Field, 3x World Champion Bareback Rider.
Lucas Hoge, Nashville Country Singer/Songwriter
Maegan Ridley, Miss Rodeo America 2009, Miss Wrangler National Patriot 2011-2014
Annie Bianco-Ellett, World Champion Mounted Shooter
This year, not only was I invited along to produce American300’s media content, but Colonel John Bates Retired joined the team for the second year in a row as a tour leader. Col. John is a 3x Purple Heart recipient, has run 12 ultramarathons and skydives almost every day.
We visited the following U.S. Coast Guard bases/stations in Washington State and Alaska:
Quillayute River Surf Station (WA)
Neah Bay Heavy Weather Station (WA)
Port Angeles Air Station(AS)/Sector Field Office (WA) VIDEO LINK
Base Kodiak (AK) VIDEO
MSD Homer (AK) VIDEO
Station Juneau (AK) VIDEO
AS/MSD Sitka (AK) VIDEO
The trip was busy and full of amazing moments and memories, but if I could name a few… Two mile running race around the Port A runway. Lucas and AST3 Notheis’ duet of “Shoo Flie Pie”. Private Concert for the Unalaska Fire Dept. on the way to the Dutch Harbor Community event. Survival Suit Race at the Kodiak CrabFest. The view from the Homer Spit. Boat ride on a 47 footer to see the Juneau glaciers. Kaycee and Dad getting rescue swimmer lessons in the ocean at Sitka, and then later that evening going out on a boat to watch the helicopter rescue training. Ketchikan- Cowboys and Coasties participating in the Lumberjack show, SAR mission on a surf boat and halibut fish fry!
It was an honor to be able to shake the hands of the men and women who serve this nation’s Coast Guard during Memorial Day week and thank them for their service.