(Karri Bragg) – Citizen Outreach Foundation welcomed Sheriff Joe Arpaio to town on Friday to headline the biggest First Friday event yet! Over 1,000 guests flooded the interior of Stoney’s Rockin’ Country Bar on Friday evening for an opportunity to hear America’s Toughest Sheriff address the crowd and snap a photo with him as he worked the room.
There were more than just friendly faces on hand to greet the Sheriff to town. A group of 200 protesters gathered along South Las Vegas Boulevard to meet Sheriff Joe as he pulled up to the event. Incited by many false and outrageous statements made on radio (including a claim that First Friday is a gathering of Minutemen) , these protesters were surprised to be greeted by the Sheriff himself, who took a few minutes to personally say “hello” to the group.
A hundred yards away outside the door of Stoney’s, excited chatter was buzzing. At any given time from 4 o’clock on, there was a line of 200 or more folks around the side of the building, just waiting for their opportunity to get inside. Security was especially tight, so folks waited patiently as security guards let them in the door one-by-one.
Once past security, guests were not disappointed. Members of the media had gathered in anticipation of Sheriff Joe’s speech, candidates moved throughout the room for their chance at meeting hundreds of constituents in one 2-hour session, and first-time First Friday faces stood in awe of the crowd. In total, over one thousand people had gathered inside of the bar for their chance to meet the guest of honor.
When Sheriff Joe made his entrance, flash bulbs popped from every direction, and an immediate line of supporters formed to shake his hand. It was clearly the biggest case of celebrity that our event has ever experienced!
At 6:30 pm, when the Sheriff took the stage, he was greeted with applause befitting a hero. After speaking for 10 minutes, he was swarmed with an unending stream of well-wishers and fans.
The party continued on past the 7 pm hour until the Sheriff was whisked away to return home to his wife in Phoenix. Our friends and guests kept the bar hopping for an undisclosed amount of time following his departure…
Who could be our next VIP guest to top Sheriff Joe? Send your VIP guest ideas and feedback to firstname.lastname@example.org. And don’t forget to check us out on Facebook.
Photos from the event are viewable on Flickr.
Note: While some of the more dramatic reports from media would have you believe that Sheriff Joe received an invitation to our event as a “pat on the back” for the Arizona immigration bill that he so ardently supports, this is not the case. Citizen Outreach Foundation invited Sheriff Arpaio way back in the Fall of 2009, following a suggestion from one of our favorite First Friday attendees, Matteo Mastrovalerio.
(Karri Bragg is executive vice president of Citizen Outreach Foundation)