Calgary bar rides publicity around Prince Harry
Updated: Thu. Jun. 14 2007 8:33 AM ET
CALGARY Ã¢â‚¬â€ Yippee-aye, yippee-eh!
Like a rodeo champion hanging on to a bucking horse, a Calgary western bar is riding the publicity swirling around Prince Harry's brief frolic with one of its barmaids. Staff at Cowboys have lassoed more than 100 interviews with media around the world since Harry, third in line to the throne, walked through the doors on June 6 and kissed Cherie Cymbalisty on the cheek and lips.
The company behind Cowboys is now helping Cymbalisty, 22, negotiate deals with magazines such as Playboy and Maxim - exposure that is bound to give the prince's royal relatives headaches and help the bar's expansion plans into the United Kingdom.
“It has been a wild ride,” Doug Drummond, manager and part owner of Cowboys, said Wednesday.
“Oh man, 13 requests just yesterday alone. The furthest away came from Edinburgh. They wanted a comment about Cowboys London.”
Penny Lane Entertainment Group, which owns Cowboys, hopes to open franchise outlets in four cities in the U.K. - London, Edinburgh, Cardiff and Brighton.
Scarlet Lee, Cowboy's marketing manger, said there is no truth to stories that bodacious bar staff bushwhacked a hapless Harry as he walked underneath their sign that advertises “Through these doors walk the most beautiful women in Alberta.”
The young prince, a British army officer temporarily posted at a training base neat Medicine Hat, simply came to Cowboys unannounced with a few colleagues and took an immediate shine to Cymbalisty, who works as a bartender, Lee said.
After a few drinks, a few chaste kisses and a question about the brunette barmaid's underwear, their meeting was shaken and stirred by media thirsty for another Buckingham Palace brouhaha.
Since then stories about the couple have been flowing daily in British tabloids and news outlets around the globe.
Rather than being spooked by the spotlight, Cowboys quickly saddled the controversy and is galloping all the way to the bank.
After all, Harry is Cowboys' third prince. (The others were Prince Albert of Monaco and the artist formerly known as Prince.)
“The word Cowboys has been uttered a million times by mouths across the world. Of course it is fantastic,” Lee said.
“This is just something that just happened. Now it has turned into a worldwide media frenzy.”
Cymbalisty, who was to be back at work behind the bar Wednesday night for Ladies Night, was unavailable for comment.
On the advice of Cowboys, the buxom brunette bartender has signed an exclusive media contract with Britain's News of the World that runs until June 24.
Published reports say the deal is worth $30,000, but Cowboys staff don't always kiss and tell.
People Magazine, Entertainment Tonight and other media are waiting for their shot at the story, said Christopher Tahn, Cowboys lawyer who has been retained by Cymbalisty.
Britain's Sun newspaper chain apparently wants her to pose as their Page 3 girl. Such models usually appear topless.
So far the coverage has been very positive and will go a long way toward attracting new customers to Cowboys in Alberta and the U.K., Tahn said.
But the publicity hasn't all been happy trails.
A feminist group in Calgary has called Cymbalisty a bimbo and some monarchists are apparently less than thrilled about the tale of the Prince and the Pourer.
“She has been having a little bit of a rough time over the last couple of days,” Tahn said.
“There has been some rough coverage that has been uncalled for. She did not go looking for this. It just happened.”
If anyone has suffered from the Cowboys-kiss fallout, it has been Harry, who is no stranger to media controversy. The prince has drawn international headlines in the past for pushing a photographer and for wearing a Nazi costume to a Halloween party.
On the weekend the British media pilloried the prince for slugging back booze and snogging with the barmaid.
“DRUNKEN Prince Harry is pictured slobbering all over girls in a sleazy club - just hours after our 150th soldier died in Iraq,” read the headline in News of the World.
There are unconfirmed stories that Harry was briefly confined to the Canadian Forces Base Suffield for the Cowboys incident.
He only surfaced in public again on Tuesday night - at a British Army-sanctioned excursion to a bowling alley in Medicine Hat.
Some women members of the Panorama Lanes' bowling league were apparently smitten by Harry, who declined to give autographs.
While there were no reports of any kissing or drinking, staff at the bowling alley have already been booked to do more than a dozen media interviews.
Ok… I'm gonna imitate Prince Harry!!!
Now what is the likely outcome?
a) I get slapped
b) Some jerko claims to be her boyfriend then takes the fight outside…
c) She screams… calls the cops… And she's like… OMG WHAT A PERVERT!!! AIEEEEEEEEE!!!! Then I go to jail for sexual harrassment
d) all of the above. Since I'm not Brad Pitt or a Richboy or a bonafide Gengsta (or wengsta or guido for that matter!!!).
e) none of the above.