Last weekend Cindy and I went to the 98th Annual National Western Stock Show and Rodeo. I was reminded of why "he's country" is such a complement.
I usually hate being forced into close proximity of many thousands of humans… even tens of humans, but the rodeo crowd bothered me very little.
There’s a reason and it’s also why rodeos are better than ball games ….
… people around you tend to say, “thank you,” and “yes sir,” and “howdy.”
…. People aren’t drunk and only the rodeo clowns paint their faces.
…. There are no bolts driven through people’s eyebrows, noses and tongues.
….. Folks at rodeos know the difference between a “heifer” and a Hereford.”
…. When Ole Glory is presented, people at rodeos rise silently; they don’t seem to find it taxing to remain still for three and a half minutes; the caps and hats come off and the hand go over the heart. People at rodeos face the flag--don’t just stare off in space, and the person given the honor of singing our National Anthem does so respectfully… they don’t treat it as an opportunity to audition for a Death Row Records contract. And the only hoots and hollers came AFTER the last note fades in the coliseum, not 30 seconds before.
… Unlike ball players, these athletes wouldn’t know a steroid from a… well, you get the idea. These hard young men keep the names their momma give ‘em… like Ty and Cutt and Foley. And even after accomplishing the hardest eight seconds in sports, they may wave to the crowd and lift their Stetsons, but the don’t “celebrate” ‘cause it hurts too much and there’s another ride comin’ up. Besides, it’s a matter of dignity… and acting like your were raised.
--- There’s something grounding about watching the black and white flash of a Border Collie control a bunch of cattle as if by magic, or standing next to a massive Percheron or a Clydesdale, or several head of Highland or Limousine cattle…. even if Limousine are French . A cattleman I once knew would invariable say of the announcing odor from nearby stockyards… “Know what that smells like?…. Money.”
---- Farm and ranch kids no more than 12 or 13 leading 800-pound critters into the show ring…. A year’s work of the type that would make city kids cry or run away from home. Life’s lessons are all there for those kids… a year’s labor, hoping to win, but dreading the sale…and its obvious, but necessary aftermath. That’s how you grow up tough… and real.
---- No wonder I don’t go out much… I only get to be around these people at rodeos…. and when I go to Texas.