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Rosewood Drill Team ready for Saturday debut
Debbie Warren choreographs performances
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Rosewood Drill Team coach Debbie Warren instructs the riders during a recent practice at Rosewood Ranch. Drill Team riders and horses are: Chris Devine/Ozzy; Jesse Kerns/Clyde; Mary Minear/Daisy Duke; Krystal Thorne/Flashy; Josh Trimmer/Rocky; Melissa Trimmer/Moe. Serving as a Rosewood Drill Team alternates are Charles Bortz, Shawn Ledesma, and Josh Pike. - photo by COURTESY PHOTO

When the Rosewood Drill Team performs Saturday afternoon at Great Bend Expo III Arena during the Rosewood Rodeo, it will be a first on several fronts. It’s the first time for Rosewood to feature a horse-riding drill team and it’s a new experience for the riders comprising the team. It also marks the first time that a seasoned coach will showcase an equestrian team.
Thirty-six years of coaching collegiate cheer and dance doesn’t exactly prepare Debbie Warren for the challenges of choreographing performances on horseback. But Warren, who has discovered a second career as Studio Arts manager at Rosewood Services, is enjoying the new experience.
“The first time I saw our riders do their first formation, it was just as rewarding to me as competing for national championships in cheer and dance all of those years,” Warren said. “Honestly, it gave me goose bumps.”
Warren has been practicing on Thursday afternoons with six riders and an alternate since early June, preparing for an 11-minute performance that spectators will witness at approximately 1:30 p.m. Saturday.
The practices have come with many challenges, said Warren, but she feels the team is now ready to perform publicly. With 22 formation changes in the routine, Warren had drill team members jogging around the arena for the first six weeks before ever trying any maneuvers on horseback. Finally moving to horseback, Warren then relied heavily on the Rosewood Ranch riding instructors to solidify the performances of her riders.
“I’ve ridden a little and grew up in Dodge City around horses,” explained Warren, “but this would have been impossible to pull together without the assistance of the ranch riding instructors. I have the utmost respect for Eric (Hammond), Melinda (Suppes), and Juan (Bodine) for how and what they have taught the riders.”
The team has one last Thursday practice, and then a Friday dress rehearsal before the performance on Saturday. Warren said she’s excited for the riders as they prepare for their debut.
“I’m so proud of all of them,” said Warren. “They are taking this very seriously and they’ve shown great improvements over the weeks. I have no doubt that when it comes to the actual performance, they will turn on and do the routine like clockwork. They are ready to shine.”

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