Thursday, July 26, 2012

Rodeo's Rodeo - The Events

Of those lovely ingredients to a Rodeo Cake, the events are clearly important (not much of a draw, otherwise, no?). Different rodeos will feature different events. Some are heavily roping focused, while others hit the big ticket events across the spectrum (bareback, saddle bronc, bulls, barrels, bulldoggin', team roping, etc). To some, that may be all sort of jibberish, or even like a code for some odd fetish. While the concepts may be foreign and require rather a lot of research to understand, the spectacle needs no real explanation. I will, however, offer my own interpretation and commentary, whether warranted or no. That's why we blog, eh?

So grab a seat, any old seat...
So I can begin with a bang...
Well, maybe more of a bonk. And an argh. And likely a string of profanity. Not really a great position in which to find oneself. Here I am clearly talking about the fella in the white shirt just above the business end of the bull. Very much like life. You are either being sat upon by a ton of living beef or in danger of getting a cross horn up the tailpipe. And there is always a peanut gallery just hanging about behind you, watching with all the chalance of a turnip. Oh and some clown is showing up late and prancing about in a silly attempt to distract the problem.
Now, bull riding comes from no practical ranch purpose. Well, outside that universal male tendency to do something "because its there." These pursuits are usually fueled by copious amounts of alcohol and boredom-both staples of ranch life. Trials that are much more obviously tied to a genuine ranching skill start with...
Yup. Team roping. Get the head and the heels so you can snabble up the little rotter to administer vet services, place hot metal upon the flank, or whatnot (especially whatnot, but not THAT kind of whatnot - this is a PG blog).
Again, isn't this just like life? Sometimes we all feel a bit pulled in two directions by big brutes who clearly have ulterior motives. Then there is that old "How the devil did I get in quite such a muddle?" feeling to which we can all relate.
Looks like a Wednesday to me...

Next, another event that I find thrilling to watch, but totally mental to attempt. Bulldoggin', or for the sophisticated crowd, steer wrestling. Just like it sounds, this is the jumping off a perfectly good horse (who is running flat out) onto an equally fast steer, complete with horns. Oh and the horns are the bit for which the wrestler is aiming in order to wrestle said steer onto its back to, I guess, give it the old whatfor.
Oh yeah, and your "buddy" is there to watch and "help" (you know he's thinking what an idiot his pal is). And did I mention that sometimes the bull just would rather not be dogged? This looks like a Monday to me. You jump off life's galloping horse onto the steer of your job but that steer zigs as you zag and you end up on your back with trousers full of dirt. Metaphorically speaking, that is.
We've all been there.

The events involving horses doing their best to unseat their riders I shall lump in together. I know, I know...cardinal sin. They are very much different events. One involves attempting to stay mounted on a cross horse for eight seconds with your hand strapped to a small ring on a harness at the horse's withers (and at your crotch). The other involves attempting to stay mounted on a cross horse for eight seconds whilst sitting on a harness with stirrups and only holding a bit of rope with one hand. It is so obvious how different these are. And the judges look for... uh... oh sod it, they judge them the same fool way. Take a look.
Bareback - note placement of right hand....
And this (Oooh with the left).
Now you're just posing...
Hallelujah! Can I get an "Amen!"
Now for the terribly different sport...See the rope?
No, really...see it?
It's just there...
Ooh...rather blurry, that. But my point remains.
Oh lovely! Colour coordinated rope! Very stylish...
And now for some gratuitous shots of that "Oh bother" moment. Again, check out the fella on the right, decidedly nonplussed.
There is really nothing good about being in this particular spot.
I think we have all fallen off a few horses (both real and figurative). But we don't usually have to contend with some blighter with a stopwatch saying "oh, so sorry; all that pain and spinal destruction was for naught. You fell off at 7.899 seconds. Not quite there, I'm afraid." Though actually, that does sound like some yobs I have had the sincere pleasure to work with. Such charmers.

Plenty of other events just don't photograph as well (at least not when indoors with rubbish lighting). That, and the Reno Rodeo (being a PRCA deal...just google that one) only showcases certain of the events. Thus I've not shown and remarked upon Steer Tripping (illegal outside Texas but fun to watch), Team Doctoring (not what it sounds like - get your mind out of the gutter), Pole Bending (boring), Team Penning and Team Sorting (kinda the same), Businessmen's Steer Decorating (just tying ribbons on the tail of a steer... seriously I wish I were joking)

Oh Dear Lord! Somebody stop that sheep from eating that child! Oh the humanity! Send in the Clown!
After all this, despite the "real skill" component of many of these events, if I'm honest there is a rather large "just because its there" factor. Boys will be boys, and cowboys are the worst. Cheshire cat grin, anyone?
Girls are, of course, innocent as the day in this. We just wanna ride (in matching outfits, apparently).