Monday, February 27, 2012

On the Rodeo

After fourteen years of living just beyond horse country, I spent my Sunday doing what every Jewish, Latin-loving, SUV-driving woman would do with her Sunday afternoon...I went to the rodeo.

I certainly had my misgivings, what with all the calf roping and spur wearing that I knew would go on, but my daughter had been asking for a dog's age (which is actually shorter than a horse's age but just as interminable when your child is whining every weekend).

I have to admit, I had a blast.

One part of me was morally opposed and standing on my high horse (yeah, I went there) while the other part was holding my breath in anticipation of a good lasso and then screaming with excitement when one cowboy finally roped the calf and tied all three legs up in under six seconds. Woo hoo!!!! (Apparently, only three of the four legs are required to be tied. Who knew? Certainly not me.)

The halftime show, if you will, was completely inhumane but nonetheless adorable. One-half dozen rams tore into the arena being chased by a bevy of miniature border collies who deftly herded the rams into a small pen. The dogs did this while carrying small passengers strapped to their backs...teeny rhesus monkeys. I kid you not. The crowd went wild as these little "cowboys" herded their charges into place. I just shook my head in judgment, mumbling this is so wrong while my daughter squealed with joy and recorded it all on video.

After the rams, the dogs, and the monkeys, it was back to business. When the cowgirls competed in the barrel races and their horses took those turns at 45-degree angles to the ground, my heart once more skipped some beats until I could catch my breath and cheer the ladies on for their final gallop into the gate. Good stuff, I tell ya.

The rodeo finished with the bull rides. No excitement to share here since I hated that part and was glad when it was over. Still, I think I enjoyed the afternoon even more than my daughter did. As we walked back to the car, I felt conflicted. But maybe that's what the rodeo is all about...the tradition, the pageantry, the danger, mixed with the domination of man (and woman) over beast. Garth Brooks sang it best when he said:

Well, it's bulls and blood
It's dust and mud
It's the roar of a Sunday crowd
It's the white in his knuckles
The gold in the buckle
He'll win the next go 'round
It's boots and chaps
It's cowboy hats
It's spurs and latigo
It's the ropes and the reins
And the joy and the pain
And they call the thing rodeo


  1. You just quoted Garth Brooks. I am going to assume that's the domestic beer talking...

    1. If I were a beer drinker I'd say, you bet your Bud.