• Louis Armentaro of Livingston, Montana
     Louis Armentaro - Livingston, Montana's Annual Rodeo  Parade, His 61st Consecutive Year of Announcing.. Back on October 23, 2009, I received an email from Louis Armentaro from Livingston, Montana. He came across my music via my SonicBids EPK. He explained that since 1949, he has operated sound and announcing services for rodeos and fairs. He went on to say that even though he had retired from the road, he still provides the local (Livingston) rodeo and fair with his promotion and sound and announcing services. Since he primarily uses Western Swing music from independent artists for these events, he was requesting a copy of my Western Swing song, “Call Back My Heart TX Moon”. It is not uncommon for me to receive such requests from individuals but what makes Mr. Armentaro's story so remarkable is that he holds the Guinness World Book of Recordsin the category of announcing the same rodeo parade, in the same town (Livingston, Montana) on the same dates for 65 consecutive years as of July 2-3-4 of 2013
         I think what really impacted me about his story is how it stirred up so many fond memories of my childhood attending the Tom Green County Rodeo and Fair in San Angelo, Texas. Such fond memories that have a special place in my heart to this day. In fact, Roger Miller wrote a wonderful song about it:
    The Tom Green County Fair (by Roger Miller)
    You know, it’s funny how certain things stick with you through the years
    Like how it feels to be 10 years old at the county fair
    Hot dog stand, when you’re hungry, hot dogs smell so doggone grand
    Hopping through the sawdust, running with my brothers,
    Head to toe we’re smiling at the Tom Green County Fair
    Rodeo, Tom Green County Fair’s got one fine rodeo
    The cowboys are the greatest, the clown he is so funny
    You bust your britches laughing at the Tom Green County Fair
    Well, a Sunday at the fair can make a memory more valuable than gold
    Especially when you’re 10 years old
    Ferris Wheel, just like an airplane in the sky that’s how you feel
    Look down and see the people, wave your arms and holler
    Everybody’s grinning at the Tom Green County Fair
    Nighttime comes, up there on the bandstand we see Billy Swan
    Everybody’s clapping, Mom and Pop are dancing
    Sawdust is flying at the Tom Green County Fair
    Well, a Sunday at the fair can make a memory more valuable than gold
    Especially when you’re 10 years old
    Time to go
    The pickup truck, it rattles down the gravel road
    And all of us kids sit backwards, looking through the dust cloud at the lights and the laughter, at the Tom Green County Fair
    So this July, Mr. Armentaro will be adding another year to his unbreakable record. I am honored he has chosen my music, to be included in his parade playlist for this momentous occasion. If you are an independent artist, I whole-heartedly suggest you send Mr. Armentaro a copy of your song if you would like to be part of this historical music event. His contact information is at the end of his story.
    Louis Armentaro’s Story (by Gaylynn Robinson)
    As a ten year old, Louis Armentaro was awe struck with his hometown rodeo. The Livingston, Montana Rodeo started in the late 1920’s and grew into one of the largest and well known rodeos in America. For a child, the sites, smells and sounds of a rodeo stimulate feelings of Louis Armentaro and One of His Sound Trucks - July 1955wonderment and excitement and transports the young spectator into a fantasy world that dreams are made of. However, being a spectator wasn’t enough for young Louis. He wanted to be part of this magic. He wanted to be the conductor of Louis Armentaro - September 1945 (Japan)the symphony, so to say, and when he heard the voice of the rodeo announcer booming, larger than life, over the sea of spectators through mammoth speakers, he knew, right then and there, he had found his calling. Louis Armentaro was going to be a rodeo and fair announcer. The epiphany of what his life’s work was to be was set in stone. Young Louis was going to invest in sound equipment to furnish to fairs and rodeos when he grew up.
    A few years past and Louis Armentaro did what most young men of that era did; he joined the army. As a combat infantryman, Louise Armentaro's - The Bronze Star Medal Award for Pacific Theater Dutyhe fought all over the Philippine Islands during World War II. When the war ended, he was stationed in Japan for a year during the occupation. It was there he was transferred to Special Services and put in charge of the movie theatres for his regiment. During this time, he furnished sound equipment for military parades and ball games in Japan. This was the beginning of Louis’s dream. He was learning and honing his craft. It was in Japan, an ocean away from Livingston,Montana, that Louis began his work in the sound business.
    The Rhythm Ramblers, July 1957.  (L to R) Oscar Bergsing, Louis Armentaro, & Frank Armentaro
    Back in states, it was in 1949 that Louis Armentaro started his rodeo and fairs sound and announcing business, ‘Sound Over The West’, in Livingston. Initially, he worked a three state area, maintaining a busy schedule but keeping him close enough to home as opposed to having to travel all around the country. A year later, he became interested in steel guitar, and The Rhythm Ramblers were born. With a custom built Bigsby steel guitar (now worth between $30,000 to $40,000 but no longer in his possession), Louis became bandleader for the four to five piece group which consisted of his brother, Frank Armentaro (vocals & bass) and Oscar Bergsing (rhythm guitar & vocals) as the core of the band. The Rhythm Ramblers played the kind of music young Louis fell in love with at his hometown rodeo.
    Over the years, Louis Armentaro has become a Louis Armentaro - Steel Guitarist since 1959 - Livingston, Montanafundamental part of the annual Livingston Rodeo Parade. His voiceLouis Armentaro's Granddaughter, Robyn Marie Betley wearing one of Louis' fancy western suits and learning to play her grandfather's pedal steel guitar - July 2006 and music can be heard booming out larger than life through his sound truck over the sea of spectators just like in his childhood memory. However, Louis is more than just a rodeo and parade announcer; he is a visionary. He realized that in order for his childhood experience at the rodeo be preserved just as he experienced it, he must in essence become a curator of his early rodeo experience. To accomplish this, he knew beyond a shadow of a doubt, it was the music that held the greatest intrinsic value for achieving such a feat. This is why the music he broadcasts over the speakers of his sound truck to this day remains that of his childhood era. That is the key to capturing a little piece of American history without losing the authenticity and nostalgia of the event itself. Because of his vision, generations of rodeo fans have had the pleasure of being transformed back in time through the magic of the music Louis broadcasts during every rodeo and rodeo parade he facilitates.
    Incredibly, Louis and Donna Armentaro - Parade Marshall for the July 2, 2004 Livingston, Montana RodeoLouis Armentaro holds the Guinness World Book of Records in the category of announcing the same rodeo parade, in the same town (Livingston, Montana) on the same dates for 65 consecutive years as of this past July 2-3-4 of 2013. This July’s Independence Day celebration will make Louis Armentaro at His 56th Consecutive Year Announcing The Livingston, Montana Rodeo Parade - July 2-3-4, 2003it 66 consecutive years. When making his song selections for his broadcast, he chooses independent artist cuts in the genre of the “good old music” from his childhood. His philosophy of preserving this treasured sound as well as promoting independent artists in that music genre is the antithesis to the mainstream music monopolies’ philosophy of ignoring independent artists in that genre of music and abandoning a timeless music that will live on despite their intolerance to it. It is indeed the music that brings back the magic of the rodeo from his childhood memories. This is why Louis is so adamant about the songs he selects for his program. Louis Armentaro is the consummate rodeo and parade announcer of by-gone days and a true hero for his effort in the preservation of Western Swing music. ♦
    If you are an independant artist in the Western Swing or Classic Country genre and you would like your music considered for Mr. Armentaro’s historical rodeo parade playlist scheduled for this Independence Day Celebration, July 2-3-4, 2014, in Livingston, Montana, contact him via email or send a copy of your independent release to the following address:
    Louis Armentaro
    Sound Over The West
    624 North Yellowstone St.
    Livingston, MT 59047
    Please tell him Gaylynn sent you. Feel free to use this article as you please, but don’t forget to give credit where credit is due. The link to this article is http://gaylynnrobinson.bandvista.com/louis-armentaro.

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