You can imagine that growing up in Camden, New Jersey, there wasn’t a lot of rodeo in my youth. The only horses I saw were those of mounted Philadelphia police officers attempting to keep order. Since then, I’ve lived in Delaware (not many cowpokes there), North Carolina (rural-ish but much more farming than ranching), Chicago (meat-packing but no steer-wrestling) and San Diego.
So, it was with quite a bit of curiosity this past weekend, we braved ~100 degree heat to attend The Poway Rodeo, which apparently has been taking place for nearly 40 years at a small fairgrounds not too far from The Aerie. You see, a friend’s friend’s daughter was riding in the drill team there and she asked us if we’d like to go. Being of the “I’ll try anything once” mentality, I figured why not?
Now, have you ever heard the expression “It’s not my first rodeo”…? I hadn’t, but apparently it’s a comeback to someone who seems to be doubting your knowledge or experience. For example, if my colleague asked me “Do you need me to do that assay for you?” I could reply with derision “Hey, this ain’t my first rodeo, you know…”
Prior to Saturday, I’d never ever heard this expression and the Beloved took great pleasure whenever we were talking to people manning stands or booths (or taking tickets or just walking by…) in pointing to me and saying “It’s his first rodeo.” And they’d all look at me and snicker.
Anyway, I’m here to say that the rodeo was pretty awesome (you know, except for the 2.5 hours of 100 degree heat, in blinding sun with no shade) – and I really enjoyed it. There was what I imagined were the typical events: bronc busting, steer wrestling, steer roping, barrel racing (for the ladies), and the drill team did a nice intermission of coordinated-riding. We were sitting right up by the fence and got to see a lot of the action.
I have to say that 8 seconds doesn’t sound like a long-time, but watching those cowboys absorb the spine-jarring bucking of those horses and bulls – well, I can see why they all walk like they’re being held together with chewing tobacco and ace bandages. Maybe I’ll just stick with tennis.
However, I have to say that my favorite event by far was “mutton busting” – something else that I’d never heard of before Saturday. In mutton busting, you take a kid aged 3-7, dress them up in protective jacket and head-gear, place them onto the back of a sheep, and release it from the gate and see how long said kid (heretofore known as a wool-rider) can stay on. I am now trying to talk everyone I know with kids that age to enter for next year’s rodeo.
Because let me tell you, we’re going – and maybe I’ll be lucky enough to find someone to go with us so that it will be their first rodeo…