In the short amount of time that I have been living in the Cariboo, I think I have a fair amount of rodeos under my belt. I didn’t quite get it at first. What was so exciting? What was the attraction? Why did the bleachers fill up with cowboy hats, all shapes, sizes and colours?
I was oblivious to what a rodeo consisted of and the variety of events that take place inside the arena. My first introduction to the rodeo was calf roping. At the time, I don’t think it was the best event to witness right away, but how did I know? I was shocked. I couldn’t believe what was being done to these poor animals. I felt bad. The calves looked so helpless – tossed up into the air, laid down on their back or side with their legs being roped together. The whole experience was probably, well, very uncomfortable for me, the city guy. I didn’t stay for much longer. To be honest, I didn’t care if I ever went back to a rodeo again, but that changed.
I ended up going back but this time,I didn’t have much of a choice. I was working the weekend shift and it required me covering one of the rodeos in the area. I was hesitant but somebody needed to go.
My second experience was much better. The first event was bull riding and let me tell you, I was saying yeehaw faster than the words could come out of my mouth. It was exhilarating and terrifying to watch at the same time. I couldn’t imagine what it would be like to standing above an angry bull while it kicks and grunts underneath you. I couldn’t do it. Not to mention the fact nobody really knows the outcome of the situation.
This past weekend, I witnessed a wild horse race. I have never seen something so chaotic before. Horses were everywhere, cowboys were everywhere. Some horses fell, some cowboys fell. Some cowboys attempted to jump on the horses while others were flown off them. I think the smile on my face gave the impression I was enjoying myself and I wasn’t the only one.
I applaud the people who participate in rodeo events. It must require a lot of skill and training because none of it looks easy to me.
What I learned about the rodeo, is that it draws in all kinds of different people. It doesn’t matter if you grew up on a ranch or are travelling from a city. You don’t have to be a cowboy or cowgirl to attend the rodeo. It is a source of entertainment and every person sitting in those bleachers are there for the same reason – they are all friendly too.
It didn’t take much to fall in love with the rodeo but a bunch of cowboys trying to make eight seconds on the back of a bull. And that was it. I found this part of myself I had never discovered before and it was at the rodeo. I could do without the smell of horse manure but the western attire, the cowboys and cheap concession stand food are worth it.