Bulls, broncos and barrel races are sure to delight audiences during the 2018 National Western Stock Show rodeos, but the roping and riding wouldn’t be complete without a proper introduction: the national anthem.
Back in July, the National Western held an online contest for singers to have a chance at performing “The Star-Spangled Banner” in front of about 7,000 people. Interested performers submitted videos of themselves singing, then the National Western released its favorites in a public poll.
The winner, evening WeatherNation TV meteorologist Meredith Garofalo, who moved to Colorado in June, won the competition with 3,294 votes. She’ll perform at the Denver Chute Out PBR Bull Riding event at 7 p.m. on Jan. 9.
Garofalo recently spoke to The Denver Post about her upcoming performance. The interview has been edited for length and clarity.
Q: How did you get into singing? Is it related to meteorology in any way?
A: If you ask my co-workers, some might call me the “singing meteorologist” because of the amount of times I break out in song — and sometimes dance — behind the scenes and during commercial breaks. But in all honesty, in addition to weather, singing has always been a big passion of mine. My grandfather had his own accordion band in Cleveland, and I think I was blessed with his love for music. I found Fischer Price tape recordings of me as a toddler making up my own songs, and throughout school, I was always in the choir and auditioning for solos for our performances. I think the first time I sang the national anthem was in middle school at a sports event.
Q: What is your motivation behind wanting to sing at the Stock Show?
A: I’ve performed our national anthem more than 100 times now at sporting events, charity fundraisers and holiday ceremonies. This will be the biggest crowd I’ve ever performed in front of, and I’m honored to do so.
Q: By your calculations, do you think Denver will be pummeled by the infamous “Stock Show weather” this year?
A: The weather looks to be great on Opening Day Saturday, with temperatures in the upper 50s and mostly sunny skies to start and increasing clouds during the day. For Sunday, there’s a chance for light snow showers in the forecast and temperatures will fall into the 40s during the day. Monday and Tuesday, expect more sunshine with temperatures in the upper 40s to low 50s.
Q: What do you plan to wear for the performance?
A: Definitely my cowboy hat. The rest of the outfit, well, you’ll just have to attend to see what I pair together.
Q: How do you feel about the opportunity to perform at the Stock Show?
A: Anytime I get the opportunity to perform our national anthem, I feel proud to be an American. It’s a privilege and honor to represent our country, and I put my heart and soul into it to bring out the emotion that Francis Scott Key had when he wrote those powerful words. When you get an opportunity like this, it’s not about the singer, it’s about our nation and all of those who fought and continue to fight for our freedoms. I perform it the way it was written, no need to add anything extra.
Q: Is there anything you would like to add about the upcoming performance?
A: I feel so fortunate to call Denver my new home and for my job here as evening meteorologist on WeatherNation. I look forward to more opportunities to sing when I’m not weather forecasting, and hope that in 2018 I can bring my talents to the field, court or ice to perform our national anthem to kick off a home team sporting event.
To purchase tickets to Garofalo’s performance and the PBR Bull Riding event, visit bit.ly/2CaBCXy.