September 12, 2013 - 3:42 PM
HAVE YOU DANCED WITH ARNIE AT OK CORRAL?
KELOWNA– If you're an Okanagan woman who likes to two-step to country rock, chances are you've danced with Arnie.
He's likely the only man who can walk into Kelowna's OK Corral cabaret with a guaranteed lineup of pretty girls vying for a dance.
Now 79 years old, Arnold Davis or "Arnie" is nothing short of a hometown legend. Under the curved brim of his cowboy hat, he's spun many a partner across the well-worn floor of the Okanagan's top country bar.
But this is where the music stops. The Corral announced this week that Arnie won't be able to continue and Friday may be his last dance. Over a hundred posts to the bar's Facebook page echo fond memories he's made over the years – and the admiration of fellow men impressed by his easy rapport with the ladies.
Cori Derrickson remembers her first dance with Arnie 15 years ago.
“He had a lineup of dancers (who) wanted to dance with him - and they were all pretty girls,” she says. Among those lining up Derrickson says, “I was like, I have to dance with Arnie once or twice.”
His mischievous spirit and skilled moves are what she remembers best.
“It's because he spins you around at the corner and always has a great smile,” she says.
He's not there to steal the spotlight though.
"He always made you look good," she says. “That's how other people can (tell) you can do the two-step."
For the last twenty years, Arnie has been a fixture at the Corral dance nights, keeping up appearances despite losing some of his hearing. It's not until the past couple months the local legend has been missing in action.
Corral manager Louise Fleming says his 10 p.m. sharp appearances on Thursday, Friday and Saturday nights have tapered off due to his struggle with lung cancer. Davis was not available for this story.
He's typically a man of few words, Fleming says, and not too many know his story other than he was a farm boy on the Prairies before moving to Kelowna.
“He showed me pictures of his first horse,” Fleming says. “He was wearing a cowboy hat sitting on a cow.”
Another friend and Corral DJ Andy Bowie says Arnie spent some time in the U.S. military sometime between growing up in Winnipeg and moving to Kelowna in 1993.
Even for those new to the Corral, it was easy to see Arnie was the star.
“He's never had trouble getting a dance partner,” says Fleming, who started working at there three years ago. “He'll dance with you and then take you back to where you were before - a real gentleman.”
If you haven't danced with him yet, this Friday might be your last chance.
It's the Corral's 29th anniversary celebration featuring free entry, dance lessons and drink specials. While Arnie hasn't been feeling well, Fleming is confident he will accept the invitation.
“He'll be there.”
To contact the reporter for this story, email Julie Whittet at firstname.lastname@example.org or call (250)718-0428.
—This story was edited at 2:26 p.m. to correct the spelling of Arnie Davis's name
News from © InfoTel News Ltd, 2013