Sunday, July 25, 2010

A Day at the Rodeo

What could be better than a day at the rodeo? Hot sun, the rough and tumble live action of cowboys looking for eight seconds of fame, and the smells and sounds of livestock bucking against the chutes, determined to win the battle of man vs. nature.

Even the mud from heavy rains that turned the parking lot (i.e, field) and the arena into a soupy mess played a part in the atmosphere. What is it about mud that brings out the good nature in people anyway? Even if we don't have a cowboy hat, the clown's corny jokes seem funnier and the stranger sitting next to you seems like a your long lost cousin. Maybe the mud makes the spectators feel like they are sharing in the adventure to a small degree. Like really, what's a little mud sucking at your flip-flops compared to the mudbath the cowboy get treated to every time he's thrown (repeatedly!) from a bucking broncho or snorting bull?

My picture taken on my cell at the rodeo this gorgeous Sunday isn't the best, but I never take good pictures at events where there is action or something I don't want to miss. This is an event like that. I can't do it, but I have a friend who documents everything with pictures and I'm never quite sure if I'm envious of her for preserving the moment or feel sorry she missed being 'in the moment. ' There is so much to be missed!

So, I don't really have a message to relate the rodeo to writing. Only that the experience itself, as a live event, is something to absorb as a shared experience. No notes, just a feeling to capture using your senses and awareness of that feeling of nothing being staged. At any moment, something can happen and you feel a part of it. This is the feeling that gives meaning and sincerity to the singing of the national anthem and, in the case of a rodeo, the "Cowboy's Prayer" (from the North Star Stampede programme, Effie, MN):

Our heavenly father,
We pause, ever mindful
Of the many blessings
You have bestowed upon us.
We ask that you be with us at this rodeo,
And we pray that you will guide us in the arena of life.
We don't ask for special favors,
We don't ask to draw around a
Chute fighting horse, or to
Never break a barrier.
Nor do we ask for all daylight runs,
Or not to draw a steer that won't lay.
Help us o lord,
To live our lives
In such a manner, that
When we make that last inevitable ride
To the country up there,
Where the grass grows lush and green
And stirrup high, and the water runs clear,
Cool, and deep,
That you, as our last judge,
Will tell us that our entry fees are paid.
Isn't that lovely? :) I came away from the rodeo without a lot of technical knowledge, but I think those things can be picked up with research. Feelings to go with the facts? Not so much. :) Those intangible things are a little harder to find.


  1. Oh, I'm so jealous! I love rodeos and it's been years since I've had a chance to go to one. (I'm on the East Coast now and I've barely seen a cowboy HAT let alone a cowBOY. LOL)

    You're right about the mud being a great equalizer -- I hadn't thought about it like that before. And I agree with you about pics. I waited forever to get a camera and almost never use it, even though I'd like to have pictures, because I'm more interested in experiencing it the first time around. :)

    Great post. I love reading what you have to say. :)

  2. Thanks, Donna!

    Yes, not too many cowboys out East. LOL And yep, mud is a great equalizer. Think Woodstock? :)

  3. I am another jealous body here. I'd love to attend a rodeo and have the experience. Of course, I'm writing a few books where I could use the experience for research.

    I love the prayer!

  4. Renee, I almost didn't go because my eight-year-old son kept saying he'd be "bored" before we even got out the door and repeated it on the 40 mile drive, and again during the wait in the stands before the action. Kind of took the fun out of it, ya know? LOL Then when he got excited it was all worth it. :)


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