“You ask me Why I Love Her?
Well, give me time. I’ll explain.
Have you seen a Kansas sunset
Or an Arizona rain?
Have you drifted on a bayou
Down Louisiana way?
Have you watched a cold fog drifting
Over San Francisco Bay?
Have you heard a bobwhite calling
In the Carolina pines,”
It’s the first stanza in the poem “Why I Love America” by John Mitchum written in 1973, and for one weekend in July, it comes to life by John Wayne in the flag ceremony at The Legend of Rawhide Pageant. This year, Sadie Sturman will begin taking over the flag ceremony from her elder sister, Jessie (Sturman) Reed, “I think it is really cool and I am really excited that the Board thinks I am the right person for the job and I hope everyone enjoys” comments Sturman. Sturman has been active in The Legend of Rawhide since she was an infant where her mother, Heidi Sturman, carried her in the wagon train. Later, “When I got old enough to ride, I started riding my mule and making fun of Kate who ironically was my sister [Jessie]” and this year, in addition to heading the Flag Ceremony, Sturman will begin shadowing for the role of Kate for next year.
While she will move into the lead role holding the American flag in the ceremony this year, it will not be the first year that Sturman has performed the set, in fact, she’s worked with Lexie Dockery in previous years under the direction of her sister Jessie. “I feel like I have big shoes to fill since she [Jessie] has been doing it for such a long time and doing such a great job” says Sturman. During the flag ceremony, Sturman will be accompanied by Hailie Weber and Peyton Kottwitz and will be on one of her three horses, Jewel, Lucky, or Fancy. Like Sturman, both Fancy and Jewel have performed in the ceremony before whereas Lucky has not.
Following the display of the Wyoming flag and The Legend of Rawhide flag, Sturman will step forward and take her horse around the arena twice to the conclusion of John Wayne’s reading where she will then stop her horse in front of the other two as the National Anthem is sang Friday night by Wyoming Representative Hans Hunt and Saturday night by Tris Munsick of the performing band Tris Munsick and the Innoncents.