Mesalands Rodeo Team makes TV debut

By Tova Fruchtman: Quay County Sun

Fans of the Mesalands Rodeo Team won’t have to wait until next season to see them preform again. In June, they can watch them in the comfort of their own home.

About 20 students and coach Danny Garcia had roles in the Turner Network Television’ 12-hour six-part series “Into the West.”

According to the series’ Web site, it is produced by TNT, DreamWorks Television and executive producer Steven Spielberg.

“This dramatic tale of the adventurous exploration of the American wilderness, the clash of two cultures, the rush to riches in a new land and the building of a new civilization features a starring cast headed by Matthew Settle (‘U-571’, ‘Band of Brothers’; Skeet Ulrich (‘Miracles,’ ‘As Good as It Gets’); Michael Spears (‘Dances with Wolves’, TNT’s ‘Broken Chain’); Tonantzin Carmelo (‘King Rikki,’ ‘187 Shadow Lane’); George Leach (‘Dream Keeper,’ ‘After the Harvest); and Zahn McClamon (TNT’s ‘Crazy Horse’ and ‘Cooperstown’),” reads the Web site.

But the rodeo team did not know what they were in for until they arrived in Santa Fe for three days of shooting — guns and cameras — beginning at 5 a.m. each morning.

While at a rodeo in Canyon, Texas Garcia received a call requesting he bring some members of his team to the set. It was Friday. They needed to be there Monday at 5 a.m.

“When something happens that I need them, they’re always ready to go,” said Garcia, who brought 20 team members to the set.

And their willingness to go paid off.

“All of our guys had some kind of part,” Garcia said, pointing out that many people there didn’t get to be in shots, or perform the kinds of stunts team members did.
“We were really in the shots,” he said.

Eric Mascarenas and Chance Towner, two students who attended, said not only did they enjoy being in a movie, they had fun performing on the set — especially the fight scenes.

Garcia said Mascarenas expected that the set would be boring, having been an extra before, but for the second and third days, the Mesalands team members, dressed the part make-up and all, and actually participated in the fight scenes.

“We just did whatever we wanted, it was crazy,” said Towner, who wants to be a movie star after the experience.
Garcia said, he hopes to take the team back to the set once finals are over, and Towner and Mascarenas said they want to go.

“They’ve been calling us every week to ask us to go back,” Garcia said.

It’s an experience he thinks anyone who gets the chance should take advantage of.

“It’s something that I don’t think a lot of people get to do,” Garcia said.

“If somebody has never been to something like that; they need to. It’s exciting.”

“Into the West” will begin airing in June, and the Mesalands Rodeo Team will be in the sixth episode aired.

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