After 3 years of touring non-stop across Canada & Europe with Miss Quincy I finally have an answer to the question, “What is the strangest gig you girls have ever played?”
Deep in the heart of Lancashire, UK there’s a bar called Fort San Antone. Fort San Antone lies within the Great Birchwood Caravan Park, which is one of those RV parks that you can both vacation and live in. The first thing you’ll notice upon driving in is that the whole RV park is American cowboy themed. The cowpokes who permanently live there all have trailers decked out with little AstroTurf lawns and Americana decorations. The one and only store in Great Birchwood is The Trading Post, where you won’t find any basic supplies but will be able to stock up on fringed shirts & skirts, shiny buckled boots, cheap sparkly cowboy hats, and kitschy country knick knacks.
Fort San Antone alleges to be Europe’s largest county & western “facility” and in its heyday was over-packing its 1500 capacity with bus loads of people who came to see Elvis impersonators and bands like Dr. Hook. Today, two main demographics frequent Fort San Antone – The Line Dancers and The Settlers.
The Line Dancers take their country cha chas, watermelon crawls, and boot scootin’ boogies very seriously. Apparently there are 30,000 steps you need to learn to be a line dance master, and while perhaps not masters, I’m not exaggerating when I say these leather frilled Brits politely danced a different line dance to every single song Miss Quincy & The Showdown played.
The Settlers come to the saloon in their buckaroo best, wearing spurs, chinks, leather vests, sheriff badges, and 10 gallon hats. During Miss Q’s set break they took to the dance floor for the one and only reason they come to Fort San Antone — the cap gun shoot out. Two at a time they paced off across the dance floor, drew their cap guns, and shot at each other when prompted by a remote light on a tripod. Fortunately this was a game of speed, not accuracy, because if they were actually shooting real bullets the only things that would have been gunned down would have been a couple rogue audience members and the line dance floor.
Coming from actual cowboy country it’s strange & amusing to see this European interpretation of the wild west. If only they knew we grew up learning to two-step on our fathers’ feet around the kitchen table, that we line danced in school gym class, that Miss Quincy’s first job was on a fence-less cattle ranch in the Chilcotin Mountains, and that her father was a hunting guide/outfitter who instead of going to church on Sundays went to the rodeo.
View of the Great Birchwood RV Park from the balcony of The Pioneer Motel.
The Great Birchwood Sheriff’s House.
One of Great Birchwood’s permanent residents.
Another one of Great Birchwood’s permanent residents.
Fort San Antone.
Click on the photo for a better look inside Fort San Antone.
Miss Quincy & The Showdown on the Fort San Antone stage.
The Line Dancers.
The Settlers’ Cap Gun Shoot Out.
Moderator of The Cap Gun Shoot Out.
Miss Q teaches the owner of Fort San Antone to two-step.
There’s no better way to end a night at Fort San Antone than by inventing a new drinking game called Shot-Put.