Helena concludes Summer Reading Program with Wild West finale

By GRAHAM BROOKS / Staff Writer

HELENA–The finale of the Helena Summer Reading program ended in a big way on Wednesday, July 12, as kids and parents saw a fun-filled show with a Wild West theme.

Cowboy Bruce Brannen was decked out in a white cowboy hat, red button down shirt, a gold belt buckle, blue jeans and boots as he and his partner were the focal points of a western show at Helena City Hall to close out the eight week Helena Summer Reading program.

The show began with Helena Library Director Dan Dearing announcing prizes to the top readers of the summer by giving out an iPod shuffle with headphones, a $75 gift certificate to Zone 1 Movies and Games in Helena and more.

Once the prizes were announced, it was time for the show to begin as Brannen began by singing the western song “Back in the Saddle Again,” as kids sang along.

Kids then joined in with instruments as the song “She’ll Be Coming ‘Round the Mountain” was played followed by a western story Brannen read to those in the audience.

The highlight of the show came when Brannen broke out some authentic cowboy roping skills that was an instant hit with those in attendance.

Brannen slung the rope around in circles and progressively did harder roping tricks the longer the show went on. He concluded by stepping through the rope a handful of times while still keeping his rhythm to a song playing in the background.

Third grader Alexis Lawson participated in the Helena Summer Reading program this summer and said her favorite part of the show was the rope swinging tricks.

Another fun part of the show was when Brannen broke out a whip that he cracked on the floor and then proceeded to break foam targets with the end of the whip.

Audience members applauded each time he broke a target.

The show concluded with having several kids in the audience participate by dressing up as cowboys, cows and a cook to resemble life on the range. Brannen and the kids sang, “Home on the Range,” to finish out the fun western show.

Other parts of the show included western game stations that included tic-tac horseshoes, a photo booth with western props and a tumbleweed toss.

Even though this marked the end of the Helena Summer Reading Program, Dearing reiterated that books can still be checked out from the library at any time and children should still focus on reading as many books as possible.

The Jane B. Holmes library hosts “Story Time with Ms. Jennie” every Tuesday and Thursday at 11 a.m. and regularly updates the library calendar with upcoming events.

For more information, visit Cityofhelena.org/Default.asp?ID=168&pg=Public+Library.

To view more photos, visit Shelbycountyphotos.com.