The Guide to IAGSDC Convention Chapters 32-33

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Is it over already?

The last few tips of a Convention are usually called a "Trail Out" dance. (Because we're all "hitting the trail" to head out.) Tips at a Trail Out dance are usually danced at Mainstream level, and it seems to have become a tradition to have each of the staff callers take a turn at calling a dance sequence to the floor.

Breaking down the plastic flooring
Picking up and packing up the floor from the 2005 Convention.

During the Trail Out dance, there often is a special ceremony, in which a set of hideously ugly, beat-up suitcases is passed from the current convention committee to the next year's committee. These suitcases are used to tote convention banners and other materials.

In some years, this has been a formal hand-off. Other years have seen lighthearted ceremonies such as magic acts or specially choreographed "pass the suitcase" tips.

Each year's committee puts its own special spin on transferring these much-derided, much-maligned, but widely-recognized symbols of future Conventions to the next year's committee.

For example ... in 2006, Paul Waters presented a new symbolic gift to be passed from committee to committee: a toy "Tinky Winky" Teletubby to replace the toy originally given to Paul (and subsequently lost) at the 1999 Convention by Morris Kight, a gay rights pioneer.

All too soon, however ... the last tip has been called, and it's time to pack up and go home.

Finding people after convention

What if you meet someone at convention who you want to contact again, but you lose his or her contact information? What if you see someone at convention with whom you'd like to become acquainted?

Use the Bradley Bell directory and the IAGSDC® Website!

What's a "Bradley Bell"? The Bradley Bell is a directory of IAGSDC® square dancers, which is assembled and maintained by volunteers. The Bradley Bell is an affiliate organization of the IAGSDC®. Participation in the directory is voluntary.

The directory – which began annual publishing with its Inaugural Edition in 1986 - contains listings of dancers by location, club, and first name. Recent editions have also included a cross referenced list of email address. There are both print and electronic versions of the Bradley Bell. The print edition is usually published around the end of August.

At Convention each year, you can subscribe to the Bradley Bell directory, which is usually published shortly after each Convention.

As of this writing, it costs $7.00/year to subscribe, which includes both publishing your information in the directory, and receiving a copy of the printed directory.

The 2006 Convention Committee elected to provide free copies of the Bradley Bell to all attendees. This was a decision made by that year's committee, and is not typical of most Conventions. Check with the Bradley Bell folks when you attend Convention to discover the current policy and pricing.

The Bradley Bell table is usually in the vendor area at Convention (and often shares a table with the Medallion Project).

The original "mother" of the Bradley Bell is Freeman Stamper. The current (non-wicked) "stepmother" of the Bradley Bell is Gordon Macaw, from Desert Valley Squares in Phoenix.

The online version of the Bradley Bell is currently free, and does not contain the same information as the printed version of the directory. As with the print edition, participation in the online edition is voluntary.

Freeman Stamper has this to say about the origins of the Bradley Bell: "Bradley Bell is named after the gay square dance Bradley Family of friends who took their inspiration from the Bradley family of the old TV show "Petticoat Junction." Square dance crinolines and petticoats are natural synonyms. Bradley National Holiday has been declared by the square dance Bradley Family to be September 24, 1963 - the date Petticoat Junction first aired. We frequently just call ourselves (as to others) The Bradleys. We are not, however, the "Bradley Belles". The "Belles" are from Denver, are not Bradleys, never will be, and that's all there is to be said."

Find the Bradley Bell online or email them at

What's the IAGSDC® Website? The official website of the IAGSDC® has free registration of dancer profiles ... and in future years, having a registration online will allow online registration for conventions and fly-ins. Very handy, very neat, and you'll only have to enter your information once.

See the official IAGSDC® Website.

(Back to the Guide To IAGSDC Convention Table of Contents.) (Back to Guide Chapter 31.) (Forward to Guide Chapters 34-36.)