(Based on 42nd Reunion Introduction by Sherry O'Malley)
The Galloping Gossips were formed in 1957, 42 years ago. Many of the riders came from a group called "Barbara Worth Brigidettes" Precision Drill Team. In a move to diversify, the women joined with Adeline York riding weekly at the private arena of Johnny and Virginia Goss. The charter group consisted of Virginia Goss, Evelyn Derrick, Jan Rutherford, Pat Hogue, Opal Eshelman, Adeline York, Flossie Muse, Martha Robertson, Patty Silcocks, Mickey Harwell, Elaine Tenny, Jan Medlin, Opal Immel, Phyllis O'Dell, and Pat Robertson.
With wind in their hair and tenacity in their jeans, they began to build a drill team around square dancing. Their search for a caller led them to the expert calling of Jim Bull. Virginia Goss was elected as their first Director with practices set for Wednesday mornings between 9:00 and 11:30AM. Practice almost always ended with lunch at the Las Palmas or Armando's restaurants in Brawley. These post-practice gathering were to further drill discussion started during practice. Yea, right! It was gossip!!
As times changed, so did the Gossips. Wednesday morning practice evolving around family life became Wednesday or other night "stress relievers" for working women. Practice was now held in the Brawley Cattle Call Rodeo Arena. Before long, the group was asked to perform their specialty mounted square dancing at rodeos or exhibitions throughout Arizona and Southern California. They caught on with the Andy Jurgis Flying "U" Rodeo and were off to fame!
While waiting to perform at one of their early appearances, the butterfly-relieving chatter was loud and brisk. Jan Rutherford's daughter commented that they should be called "Galloping Gossips" and so it was from that time on.
The Gossips have gone through many changes. At first, horse trailers were pulled with family sedans and performances were like mini-vacations involving the entire family. When money became tight, the ladies would double-up and pack three girls to a truck and trailer. Four packed together in a motel room. Families now stayed behind and it became strictly a girl thing. Today, the team has gone full circle like the times, returning to a family affair.
The team has had four wonderful, dedicated callers; Jim Bull, Brownie Luker, J. Leonard Spear (for 29 years), and now, our very own Bob Miller. These men are endeared to the team and have endured a lot. Heaven knows it isn't easy keeping 8-12 women headed in the same direction mentally and physically.
We consider the Gossips as an extended family with very special interests Horseback Square Dancing is an addiction fueled by so many fond memories and shared by a special few.
This history is to salute our alumni...all 86 of them!