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Second City Outlaws two-stepping the Parade with Pride

The Second City Outlaws, a local non-profit charity organization, bring the best in country dance fun and entertainment to every performance – including the annual Chicago Pride Parade, set for Sunday, June 30.

The Outlaws will be two-stepping the two-mile route, starting at Sheridan and Broadway, going through Lakeview and ultimately ending in Lincoln Park.

“Everything is falling into place for the parade: we have shirts for our volunteers; we have out handout cards; and Macy’s is back again this year as our sponsor,” said Ricky Martel, the treasurer/creative director for the popular Chicago-based dance crew that was founded in 2017 after the Windy City Cowboys disbanding in 2016.

Martel has been a dancing Outlaw since day one. And it never gets old for him. “It’s my social life,” he said. “If there’s anything I want to do in my free time, it’s dance, be with people and have fun.”

“At the parade, going through the crowd, hearing the crowd, having fun … there’s nothing like it, especially since we’re doing something different (from other parade entrants).

Ricky Martel

The Outlaws, during the parade and at every other performance, hand out information cards that showcase all their sponsors. “We strongly believe that as a community it is our responsibility to be supportive of each other. We are stronger together,” Martel said.

“The Second City Outlaws performances are proud to represent the best of country music old and new.”

So, for the 2024 parade, the Outlaws will be dancing to Jake Owen and Kassi Asthon. Owen released his debut studio album in 2006; Ashton is signed to MCA Nashville and Interscope Records. The Outlaws also will be dancing to two legends: Willie Nelson and Beyonce.

“We’re spreading the best in country, fun and entertainment,” said Martel, who bill sport a cowboy hat for the parade pageantry … at least for part of the time.

The Second City Outlaws push audience participation, particularly with easy line dancing lessons.

There will be 14 Outlaws dancing in the parade, up from 10 last year.

They have been practicing their routine since early March.

Volunteers are welcome to walk alongside the Outlaws, “which is a way to be a part of the fun,” Martel said.

Membership in the Second City Outlaws is free and there is no annual membership fee. “Just invest your time, not your money, in the Second City Outlaws.”

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Feature article written by Ross Forman

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