I think we had a lot of fun--I know I did. Before the rodeo actually started, they had the 'mutton busting'--where people stick their little kids on sheep and see how long they can stay on. The little guy who won that was 7 years old and terribly cute in his cowboy shirt, boots, belt and hat.
In the grand entry I saw M. with his granddaughter seated in front of him and N., a girl who works at Smith's. I haven't seen her in quite a while. I didn't know anybody else.
The first event was the bareback bronc riding. I am very impressed with how those guys can stay on with no stirrups! I certainly couldn't...I don't think.
The second event was the bull-dogging. I think the first guys out the gate did the best. I found myself tensing and grunting a little in an effort to help the fella's flip the steers--it's funny, but it happened unconsciously!
The third event--my most favorite--was the saddle bronc riding. I think I figured out that when the horse bucks they are supposed to get their legs at full extention along the neck and when they come back down stab the horse with their spurs. It is amazing how long 8 seconds is when watching somebody bounce around on the back of an animal (equine or bovine).
Fourth was team roping--where one guy catches the animal's head and the other one catches the hind feet (I learned today that it is supposed to be both back feet--I had thought one was alright. It is, but it knocks you back 5 seconds.) I was actually surprised at the lack of catching done...I believe only 2 of the 8 or so teams actually caught their calf.
The next event was the calf-tying. Some of those guys roped the calf and as they hopped off their horses, the horses backed up with such speed as to completelely flip the calf! With calf-tying the man must throw the calf himself, so if it's down, he has to get it up and then throw it again...which of course, takes up some of your time and gives you a lower score.
I think here was the "Gatorboys"--stunts with an alligator. I'm not kidding...some of it was crazy! I'm sorry...you couldn't PAY me to stick my head into a gator's mouth! The thing about a gator though is that if you don't touch the inside of his mouth, he won't shut it...that's kind of interesting.
They had a break while the big John Deere tractor drug the arena in prep for the second half which started with the barrel racers. The way those women and girls charge around those barrels at breakneck speed is pretty amazing...I can't get Snip to turn that tight yet! Not that I'm saying I want to be a barrel-racer. I don't. I'm just getting re-comfortable with going at a fast lope/slow gallop and doing a wide turn with that, so I was just admiring the speed.
Then they had a local group dance on horses--I think they call it a quadrille--but it's a lot like the grandmarch and english country dancing just on horseback! It's pretty cool to watch. Oh, and your horse had to be well-trained. :)
They finished up the rodeo with the bulls. One of the bull-rider's was riding with a fairly bad busted rib (or so I heard)...why??? Oh well, it's his rib, not mine! The guys who placed (there were only two who did) were both from Lousiana--so the announcer said, "It's a Cajun Saturday!"
Throughout the entire thing there was music (some more obnoxious than the rest), the announcer talking about this, that, and the other, teasing his fellow announcers and some of the cowboys, cracking jokes, and really working the crowd (which he said was a record number). You know you are in small town USA when the cracks are of a politically conservative nature and the crowd LOVES it. During the first half of the show, during breaks, he was asking, "Who's from (Indiana, Wisconsin, Michigan, etc.)?" Well, when he got to Illinois, he said, "Do us a favor in about three years, okay?" and the stands erupted! It was hilarious! Then he's up there laughing, "I didn't even have to say what I mean..." Huh...it was pretty down-right obvious! ;)
I really did have fun even though I got kinda sore from sitting on that hard wooden bleacher for nigh on four hours. I think my aunt did too...
I met the County Commissioner and a retired cowboy--both of whom are old friends of my aunt...In fact, the County Commissioner faried us to and from our seats. :) Getting back to the truck, I found the doors locked--we don't lock the door because I haven't a key to unlock them--but my aunt didn't know this so she locked her door (which locks both). It didn't even occur to me to tell her not to lock the door. So, I started to call Savannah, but about the third ring, Auntie looks across the bed at me and says, "Can you get that window open?" referring to what my cousins call the 'beer window'--even though, like they say, they only toss soda cans through it. I hung up and promptly jumped into the back of the truck, slid the window open (it doesn't lock shut and is always at least a 16th of an inch apart--it doesn't close completely), grabbed my Moon-bat whacker (a piece of PVC pipe), leaned in, and hit the button. The doors now unlocked, I vaulted out of the truck bed and in minutes we were headed home.