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Great fun and games at this year’s Rose of Tralee contest - From milking cows to playing bagpipes and my wearing high heels

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Rose of Tralee winner Nicola McEvoy

A few days holidays after a few days work - that sounds good to me! As I told you, last week the Rose of Tralee is a marathon and every year I’m a good boy while the festival is on and I’m happy to do so.

My wife, who doesn’t drink, has a great week catching up with her friends, friends she meets only once a year. She stays out of the wee hours. I’m a little jealous because I’m locked away in my hotel room, it’s not that bad though as I was building brownie points and will be cashing them in shortly.

We had some great American and Canadian Roses this year. Anne Marie Lynch wore the New York sash and I have to say she was great. A young lady who was born in NY, raised in Cavan she now finds herself back in the states with her family.

On the TV night she sang the Bruce Springsteen song ’Dancing in the Dark’. This version of the song was very unique. It had a Smokey, folk or sean nós slant to it. It wasn’t like anything I’d had never heard before. You should check it out on YouTube!

I was involved in a lot of the party pieces this year, which is good fun for me. The Texas rose and her family as it happens are great country line dancers so I was talked into Dancing ‘Cotton Eyed Joe’ live on TV.

We got to practice during the day so I didn’t make that much of an ass of myself. The same rose had a fear of big eyebrows, when I donned a pair for the sake of a laugh I realized how big that fear was! I don’t think she’s a fan of Chris de Burgh.

Behind the scenes we really worked hard at the party pieces. When the TV shows are 3 hours long these play a very important part of the show.  To say we were pushing the boat out this year would an understatement. The Ottawa Rose this year came from a farming background, when we met a few months back she said she could milk a cow. I said nothing and went away with an idea in my head.

The team and I met up a week before the festival and I asked the producer if we could milk a cow live on stage for the TV show. This type of stuff would never have been considered before. The producer said we would go for it! Yes I said this is going to be good.

All the health and safety issues would have to be sorted and they were! Avaleigh the Rose in question didn’t know anything about it. She came out on stage and the interview was going to plan and we were having great craic.

I was about a minute from saying ‘Well Avaleigh do I have a surprise for you’ and I got word in my ear that the cow milking party piece was not going ahead. I found out after that the cow got very unsettled outside and that put an end to that!

I don’t think anyone would have expected that we’d milk a cow live on the Rose of Tralee! Avaleigh was disappointed after when she heard that we had put a lot of effect into putting if off. It’s better to be safe I guess.

We did have bagpipes for the first time at the Rose of Tralee this year from our Denver Rose which was a treat and of course I arrived out on stage in 9 inch high heels, which was dangerous to say the least.

I rehearsed in them earlier that day and took a speed wobble and twisted my ankle. I was worried about wearing them on stage after that, but all was good and I must say I looked good in them! It was said to me on a few occasions that it wasn’t the first time I wore high heels and I looked comfortable in them! Haha

It was Luxemburg’s year. A lovely young lady from Kerrypike in Cork, Nicola McEvoy, won the hearts of the judges. For me the Rose of Tralee must be warm before anything else and Nicola is certainly that. She will do a great job I know because she has the personality and the beauty to do it.

Along with all of this she is great fun - just like the Rose of Tralee contest itself.

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