Danny Dietz Memorial Classic continues to grow

New, favorite activities to benefit Navy SEAL Foundation

(Submitted photo)
Navy SEAL Danny Dietz in Afghanistan shortly before Operation Redwings.

The 8th Annual U.S. Navy SEAL Danny Dietz Memorial Classic returns to the Fort Bend County Fairgrounds in Rosenberg on Memorial Day weekend.

Each year this event has grown in activities, attendance and money raised for the Navy SEAL Foundation (www.navysealfoundation.org). Last year the Professional Rodeo Cowboys Association (PRCA) sanctioned bull and bareback riding was a big hit and returns in 2017.

The top 24 riders in the world will compete in the events on Saturday, May 27. This action-packed competition joins barrel racing, team roping, youth roughstock and mutton busting in our rodeo line-up.

New for 2017 is an authentic old west shootout presented by Lone Star Gunslingers (https://www.lonestargunslinger.com/). Gunmen from across the region will compete beginning at 9 a.m. Saturday with the finals being held on Sunday. There is even an opportunity for the public to try their hand with a six-shooter during “Town Folk Alley” from 4-6 p.m. on Saturday.

Also new this year is the Danny Dietz Memorial Market in collaboration with the Zapp Hall Antique Show. Zapp Hall vendors are bringing their famous collections and all the fun that comes with them to the fairgrounds all day Saturday.

Additionally, there will be a barbecue cook-off, a car show, a greatly expanded arts and crafts plaza and live music. Lt. Col. Allen West will be there throughout the weekend.

Memorial Day weekend activities kick off with a live auction plus entertainment at Michael Berry’s Redneck Country Club (www.theredneckcountryclub.com). All other activities can be found at the Fort Bend County Fairgrounds.

Throughout the weekend, attendees will have a chance to meet representatives of the Navy SEAL community, including surviving spouses. It is an opportunity to thank them for their families’ sacrifice to protect the country. Admission to the fairgrounds is free for children under 14 and all veterans and military families. Tickets for all others are available for $10 at the fairgrounds gate or preferably at www.dannydietzmemorial.com. Tickets for Friday night at the Redneck Country Club will be available at www.theredneckcountryclub.com.

Navy SEAL Danny Dietz’s story is told in the book and hit movie, Lone Survivor. Dietz enlisted in the U.S. Navy on Aug. 31, 1999. He was admitted to Basic Underwater Demolition/SEAL training and graduated with Class 232 in 2001. In April 2005, Dietz deployed with his special reconnaissance element to Afghanistan to support Naval Special Warfare Squadron Ten in the prosecution of the global war on terrorism.

On June 28, 2005, SEAL Team 10 was assigned to kill or capture a high-ranking Taliban leader in the Hindu Kush mountains. The SEAL team was made up of Michael P. Murphy, Marcus Luttrell, Dietz and Matthew Axelson. Luttrell and Axelson were the team’s snipers while Dietz and Murphy were the spotters.

According to the U.S. Navy, the team was “spotted by anti-Coalition sympathizers, who immediately reported their position to Taliban fighters. A fierce gun-battle ensued between the four SEALs and a much larger enemy force with superior tactical position.” The SEALs radioed for help, and a responding Chinook helicopter was shot down by a rocket-propelled grenade, killing eight more SEALs and eight Army Night Stalkers. It was the second worst single combat loss for the U.S. Navy SEALs in their history. Dietz was the first casualty of the battle, and was killed before the helicopter’s arrival. He was posthumously awarded the U.S. Navy’s second-highest award for valorous actions in battle, the Navy Cross, on Sept. 13, 2006. To see more about this event or to learn more about the Navy SEAL foundation go to www.dannydietzmemorial.com.

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