Aside from the sound of chew hitting the floor and barkers calling "Peanuts! Popcorn! Ice cream!" and "Cowboy boomerangs!" the crowd of 8,000 is quiet throughout the three-hour show. Even during segments featuring a self-deprecating midget named Charlie Too Tall and an English whip-and-lariat master named Vince Bruce, the audience remains contained, clapping appreciatively when appropriate, critiquing the events when necessary.
"This is serious business for most of us," says Russell Harris, who sports the largest belt buckle ever seen on a living human. "It reminds people of the way life used to be out here -- folks working together, open sky, wild animals. For some kids, this is as close as they'll ever get."
The Grand National runs through Nov. 2; call 469-6065 for information.