Thursday, March 31, 2011

Bull Riding and Goat Tying and Steer Wrestling, Oh My

A couple of weekends ago I read in the local paper that TAMU had a Rodeo Club, and that Club members would be competing in a regional competition in Bryan (College Station’s sister city) the following Saturday night. We met up with friends who have kids the same ages as Will and Hallie, and set out to enjoy an evening of bull riding, bareback riding, barrel racing, calf roping, goat tying, and steer wrestling. (Read more about the rodeo here – it’s really quite interesting.)

Our trip to the rodeo coincided nicely with Rodeo Week and Cowboy Day at Will’s preschool, so Will was, thanks to the real-life cowboys who demonstrated their roping skills for the kids, pretty pumped to see more cowboys in action. Hallie was also excited, but mainly because she really likes “ho-sees” and “MOOOOOOOOOO cows” and not because she had any idea about what a cowboy or a rodeo actually is. Oh, and Hallie throws her support behind any event to which one should wear boots.

This little buddy DID NOT like me taking his picture.

Before the rodeo started we sang The National Anthem AND America the Beautiful AND said a prayer. I consider myself to be fairly patriotic and will admit to tearing up during the singing, but the pomp and circumstance of the opening was a little much, even for me.

I bet a took 50 pictures trying to get one good one during this event - this is the best I could do.

The first TWO riders were injured. Neither of our children will be joining the rodeo circuit.

A little play-by-play of Calf Roping. As the horse and cowboy race past the starting line the calf is released (or perhaps shot out of? I'm not sure how they get the calves to run so fast) from the shoot.

The cowboy lassos the calf, and at that exact moment the freakishly-well-trained horse stops on a dime to keep the calf from continuing to run (the end of the lasso rope not connected to the calf is connected to the horse). Before the horse comes to a complete stop the cowboy dismounts.

The cowboy runs down the rope to the calf...

...and whips (for lack of a better word) the calf onto its side with what appears to be super-human strength.

And finally, the cowboy ties up three of the calf's legs and raises his hands into the hair to signal that he's finished.

I wasn't expecting to enjoy the rodeo - going that evening was more about experiencing something "Texas" and helping Will understand what he'd been learning about in school. But let me tell you, it was AWESOME. We are definitely going back, but without the kids so that we can really focus on the competition. (We spent a good portion of the evening trying to keep the two older kids from disturbing the spectators around us and the two younger kids from falling off the steep bleachers.) Oh, and just so you have a point of reference, the cowboy in the photo series above, from beginning to end, took only about 14 second to rope that calf. It was amazing.

And just because I love this picture, here's my little cowgirl that night.

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