Posts from the ‘Rodeo’ Category

Have dream, will travel.

Okay, so most everyone I know has the list of places they want to travel. Some of those places are attainable, some of them are wild hair dreams. I have one of these lists, too. That is NOT what I present to you today!

Today is . . . RODEO WISH LIST! (In no particular order and by no means comprehensive.)

  • Sikeston JayCee Rodeo
  • Cheyenne Frontier Days (I know, I know, it’s so close what is my issue . . . there are more like that)
  • Elizabeth Stampede
  • National Finals Rodeo (Las Vegas)
  • Calgary Stampede
  • San Francisco Cowtown
  • San Juan Capistrano
  • Mountain States Circuit Finals (venue periodically changes)
  • San Antonio
  • San Angelo
  • Who am I kidding?  ANY Canadian rodeo!
  • Australian National Finals
  • Steamboat Springs
  • Breckenridge
  • Mesquite
  • Woodstown Pilesgrove
  • Atlantic City
  • Tonganoxie
  • Albuquerque
  • At least one per PRCA circuit (I know I’m missing a couple circuits on this list)
  • At least one per NIRA region (I think I have ONE on this list . . .)
  • College National Finals (Casper)
  • PAFRA World Finals (venue changes)
  • Rocky Mountain region NIRA show

Anyone who feels the need to donate to my rodeo travel fund will get much love and kisses!

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Olympics bandwagon post!

It seems everyone is posting about the Olympics.  So what am I going to post about?

Why rodeo should be an Olympic Sport (and never, ever will be).  Yup!

Why it should be an Olympic sport:

  • The Olympics are about two things: universality and consummate sportsmanship.  Hello rodeo!
  • Rodeo isn’t just about getting on an animal and hanging on for dear life.  Those who think it is end up getting hurt.  A lot.  Concussion or worse hurt.  The competitors in this sport practice hours every week when weather permits.  When weather doesn’t permit: they practice anyway.  Roping dummies and mechanical horses/bulls (sometimes manual with another competitor making the dummy buck–it’s not super effective but it’s much better than nothing) are some of the most vital equipment pieces for any rodeo practice grounds.  And that level of dedication is from the people who rodeo part-time.  The people who are lucky enough to do it for a living?  When they’re not on the road, they’re in an arena.  It doesn’t matter if that arena is for a school or for a show, they’re there and improving their craft (sometimes as the student, sometimes as the teacher).  There is no such thing as a “day off” in rodeo. Most cowboys aren’t in one, but multiple associations so they can compete as often as possible, and learn from the competition while they’re at it.  As for those schools, there are so many different styles of roping and riding that it makes my head spin.  I know each cowboy tries out a handful of styles before finding the one that clicks.  And sometimes after years of doing it one way, they change everything up and try something else because these men and women are doing everything they can to rope better, ride better, and be better.  One of the best headers in the world (the person who catches the front end of the steer in Team Roping) recently decided to start heeling (catching the back feet of a steer).  Why?  Because he knew he could improve as a competitor if he did.  The last thing he wanted to do was do the sport of rodeo a disservice by getting lazy in his competing, so he decided to challenge himself again.  And guess what?  He’s doing really well.  Scarily well.  Headers should not be able to heel like that!  On top of dedication to sportsmanship in individual events, many competitors go in multiple events.  Those cowboys are called All-Around cowboys.  Each event takes a distinctly unique set of skills.  To compete in one is amazing, to compete in two or three is downright phenomenal.
  • Rodeo is also all over the place.  Some of the best cowboys are from Brazil, Mexico, Australia, Canada, and New Zealand.  One of the best bareback riders currently competing: from France.  We have competitors from Japan.  We have kids from the East and West Coasts here in America.  The West doesn’t make up the entire body of rodeo competitors by a long shot.  Some of the biggest rodeos are in Texas, yes, but many of them are on the coasts as well (Atlantic City, NJ being one–seriously).  There are more countries that would be able to pick up and participate in rodeo than you might think, and it wouldn’t be terrible hard to find a few more countries willing to participate.

Why it never will be:

  • Hello logistics: stock.  Oh my goodness.  Can you imagine the nightmare it would be getting rodeo quality stock across international borders?  Or to convince breeders in the host country to start breeding animals that would be used (essentially) one and done?  It’s not like you can train the rodeo out of an animal.  I shudder to think.
  • Hello legalities.  There are some events that are illegal in certain states in the US, not to mention internationally.  Tie-Down (or Calf) Roping is the event most commonly banned.  Countries who put in a bid for the Olympics would either have to spend the next several years getting exceptions to laws (it can be done, London did for the shooting events this year) or not have the laws in the first place.
  • Hello logistics: arena.  Rodeo arenas aren’t exactly easy to put together.  The dirt has to be just right (too deep and it’s a danger to the animals and people, too shallow and it’s a danger to the animals and people), it has to be a certain size and there has to be ample room for stock pens, not to mention loading and unloading the stock or grazing areas or . . . you get the idea.  A rodeo arena is much different from an equestrian arena.  They would not be able to double up, so there’s one more event venue that would have to be found, approved, and/or constructed.
  • Hello animal activists.  I’m sure someone protests the Olympics every year on some level.  But adding rodeo?  We’re talking picketers and angry animal rights people condemning the USOC if they were to join.  Who knows?  Some countries who have strong animal rights sensibilities might refuse to go at all if rodeo were included on the program (countries have certainly refused to attend before for other reasons, though those have been mostly political)
  • Hello logistics: events.  There are, currently, seven events for Professional Rodeo and one Women’s Professional Rodeo event recognized at the National Finals Rodeo (females are welcome to compete in PRCA events, but they don’t do so often).  However, on the high school and college levels, there are several more women’s events and one less traditionally men’s event.  Many competitors in the Olympics are of those younger ages.  Which event would the USOC run?  Which ones would they say weren’t qualified?  How would teams be determined as rodeo, on the professional level, is very much so an individual sport, but, on the college level, is a team sport as well?
  • Hello misconceptions.  This is the one that breaks my heart the most.  There are so many misconceptions about rodeo: that it’s just a bunch of dumb hicks from the US that compete, that we hurt the animals for our enjoyment, that it isn’t a sport in general.  None of these are true.  I can’t make any arguments that haven’t been made, so I won’t try.  Rest assured that this rodeo fan is educated, cares for animal rights, and has witnessed the athleticism and commitment it takes to be a rodeo competitor.

So, while I’d love to see rodeo be recognized, I’m afraid it’ll be several lifetimes and then some before it the possibility could even be brought up.

Sigh.

P.S.  This post is written about rodeo, but understand there is also an underlying rage about the exclusion of baseball and softball.  Come on, people!  Just because the US is pretty consistently the winner does not mean it doesn’t have international appeal.  Sore losers.

Those boots are here!

So, those boots I talked about?  Here’s that perfect picture:

I kinda think they're prettier for the bang-ups, personally.

 

I think this is a great post for the first weekend of Cheyenne!  Happy Frontier Days, everyone!

The Art of Scars and Bruises

Let me tell you, it took me forever to come up with a decent blog post.  I must have false started ten times before stumbling (somewhat literally) on this subject.

I worked with a rodeo team for three years.  Before that, I lived in my house.  Bruises and scars have never been anything to fuss over, except maybe an extra kiss from Momma.  Coach just looked at it and said, “Look at this one!”  Rule number one of injuries: Coach always has cooler ones than you.  There are two schools of thought when dealing with injuries that I have come across in my dealings with people.  One: help it heal as neatly as possible, we don’t want any scars.  Two: help it heal as messy as possible, these are our badges of honor!  I must admit, I’m more part of the second group than the first, I hate seeing my memories disappear, though I won’t go so far as to pick at my scabs to make the scars bigger.  I’m not quite that hard core.

But I do love the memories, the journal that is our collection of scars.  I have a long scar on my left hand that I got before Rachel’s eleventh birthday party because I pissed off the cat.  I went to the party—a pottery painting party no less—with the shallow gash still open on my hand.  No bandage was big enough.

I don’t think the skin on my knees ever gets to be more than a couple years old, I’m such a klutz.  Three years ago, it was a dance tryout: blister, pop, scab.  Last year, it was stumble off of stairs onto asphalt: scrape, grind, scab.  It didn’t help that I danced and played catcher on those knees soon thereafter.  The years before that make up the many attempts to learn to ride a bike, crawling up and down the cliff across the street from my house, and massive rug burns.

I have a scar on my right arm that looks for all the world as if I’d self-inflicted.  I didn’t.  I got it in Stagecraft (shop class for Theatre students).  The Technical Director had closed up shop and left for dinner not five minutes before.  I didn’t even feel the screw gouge me.  I just showed up to dinner, sat with the TD (who is still a great friend), and was promptly asked, “What did you DO to yourself?!”  My shocked look at the raised and bleeding stripe on my arm got me another exasperated exclamation, “This just proves I can’t leave you alone for five minutes!”

I even remember some bruises, long since gone, that were, simply put, epic.  A serpentine rope burn/bruise from my high adventure course in high school that began at my knee and ended uncomfortably close to more sensitive areas.  A toast-sized bruise mid-thigh serving as an accent to bepurpled knees (they kind of get beat up a lot . . . I fully expect to replace them before I’m forty due to extended and persistent abuse) because I tripped up the stairs doing laundry, then fell onto the edge of the stage the next day.  A bruise so deep, once again mid-thigh, that all my mom had to do was brush her hand across it for me to jolt awake, crying.  That was from landing on the corner of cement platform.  That platform dug deep into the tissue, I was limping for days.  The weird thumb-print shaped bruise on my arm that caused me to tease my roommate about abusing me.

The list could continue into forever.  I actually used to call Spring “the Season of Spontaneous Bruisings” because I bruise so easily, but so slowly, that I’d forget what happened by the time the bruise showed up.  Sometimes I didn’t even know what caused the bruise because I mark so easily.  Seriously, marshmallows should not cause bruises, even at semi-high speeds!

But there is an art to these injuries.  There are stories for them to tell.  Those hard-core kids who actually delay their healing process for the “better” scar know this with a certainty.  There’s even a song about it!  As painful as being injured can be, all the memories that come with the leftovers tend to be good.  I know that when I bruise myself, I look for the mark.  I used to hide them, but now I revel.  And that’s the truth of the art of scars and bruising.  It’s not the size or severity of the wound that matters.  It’s how we treat the memory that comes with it.  If we’re ashamed, and try to hide the scar, how can we expect to do anything but try to hide the event that brought it about?

The art of scars and bruising is learning.

Isn’t it amazing?

Over

Heart AttackSo rodeo week is over.  I’ve moaned, groaned, smiled, laughed, whooped, hollered, cheered, and sung until my throat has run up the white flag of truce, wonder what in the world it could have done to deserve such treatment.  I’ve been burnt watching hours of performances and slack.  I’ve wandered around, feeling useless and guiltier when people thank me during those down times.  I’ve had my yearly dose of overlapping heart attacks and the resulting HOURS of sleep that still don’t feel like a decent recovery.

And somehow, this is new to me.  I’ve always had another year to look forward to with this team and coach.  But that’s not the case this time.  I’m a senior – very happy to be one, in fact – but no more rodeo.  This stage of my life is over.  It’s very hard for a paper pusher to stay hyper-involved through their adult years, and I’m about to graduate into adulthood.  After this season, I am relegated to the position of “friend of rodeo.”  They’re needed and appreciated, but very background.  That’s a hard thought.

I kind of already miss it.  I don’t miss the throat torture, or the sunburn, or the down time, or the series of perpetual heart attacks that last for three days.  But I miss how it feels, the pure joy of it.  The fact that I’m needed and wanted in this place.  The smell of horses and rodeo dust.  And how loved I feel, the family I am part of, because that’s what’s rodeo’s given me.  My life and my family in a foreign place.  And THAT will never be over, I thank my lucky stars.

Of English, Classics, Creative Writing, Chemistry, Dance, Music, and Theatre

I am never alone

Ugh.  Look how long that title is!  I am a hopeless idiot when it comes to filling my day, my life really.  I fill, fill, and fill.  There is no such thing as a down moment, because when I have one, I immediately find something else to fill it with.  While hardly an all inclusive list, that there represents the degrees (or minors attached to them) I am getting and honor societies that I am part of.  In fact, that last one just signed me up to be the creative mind behind the “science room” at the horror house we’re putting on.  There’s a reason my name means joy – horror is not something I’m so great at.  But, I’m part of Alpha Psi Omega (Theta Sigma chapter, woot!) and therefore, I am bound to help out.  Hopefully the inner chem geek will come out and shine here.  Hopefully.

Sometimes I wonder why I do this, realizing how frazzled I am and how many times I’ve been told I’m “obviously not handling everything very well in the past few weeks.” (The count is at five, in case you were wondering.)  Then I get some down time and one of two things happen: I sleep and nightmare about everything or I wallow.  Not saying that I naturally tend to self-absorbed wallowing and poking around the dark parts of my mind – or even that my mind is darker than the average person’s!  We’ve all got the “bad side of town” part of our brain.  But, my danger zone loves an empty room.  Gives it space to spread out and weigh me down.  That empty room becomes the embodiment of the neighborhood that I have no intention of visiting alone.  Let me tell you – it’s not the long list of “things to do” that mutates in my head daily that has me “obviously stressed,” it’s those moments of lonely quiet when all my fears come out.  I’m frazzled because so much can go wrong, because so much has been going right.

And so, I fill.  I fill my life with activities, associations, friends, family, events, and engagements.  I never give myself time to think about the paranoid fears that can fill a room, and I run around like a mad scientist – hair flying out of my ponytail and talking to myself, keeping myself company in those short moments of solitude.  And then, when I’m sure of myself and of everything going as well as it can, I plan my alone time.  I fill my room with excitement and endless things to do – movie marathons done the right way*, books to re-read, books to discover, glorious naps free of nightmares, internet searching about some fascinating new subject, and writing.  I fill my alone time with me and myself.  I am never alone.

So I suppose the title misrepresents.  It should state “of me.”  That is what this blog is, what I am, what all this can be!  Here is my battle cry: To enjoy every day, to make it come from me and be part of me.

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*The right way to do a movie marathon is to pick the next movie dependent upon who the actors are in the current movie.  You get bonus points for coming full circle, your last movie having an actor that was in the first movie.  Some of these marathons can quickly get pretty epic.