We took the kids to a rodeo today. In my mind I knew I wanted to take them for the experience, but also I was thinking: rodeo=country western torture.
I've been to a few rodeos before. The small town next to the small town where I grew up had one every summer. It was always hot and super dusty, and everyone got to sit on rickety-ish old stadium benches that didn't have backs. Also, you had to make sure you didn't wear flip flops, because they could fall under the benches and get trampled by the waiting bulls. (Seriously, there were bulls below us once - I was like 9, it scared the poop out of me, I thought my shoes were goners.)
But the rodeo today? SUPER AWESOME. I would bet money that I had a better time than my kids did.
(And they didn't even play that much country music, which is great, because I think that would have ruined the whole thing for me.)
First of all, it was indoors. And at noon. And had special family pricing so that it only cost $16 for all six of us. And it was a "professional rodeo", which apparently makes a huge difference in quality of performances. (Or I'm just not remembering past rodeos right - but I can recall yawning, which just caused me to breath in loads of dust, which probably caused my eyes to water, which probably caused me to not see the performances anyway, so who really knows if they were good or not?)
And being from a small town near more even smaller towns, there were cowboys and riders today that are from where I grew up. Which I hadn't thought about before, but excited me enough that when they announced a bull rider from Santequin UT I let out a really loud "WHOOOOOOOOO!" Which embarrassed Husband since I was kind of the only one cheering in the whole stadium at the time. I'm just sad they didn't catch it with a camera and play it on the big screen. That would have been way more embarrassing for my whole family, which is mostly my goal whenever we're in public.
(By the way, and for the record, I am not from Santequin. I am from Payson. HUGE difference. Ok, not really.)
One of the coolest parts of the whole rodeo today was at the beginning. Right after the mutton busting (which is always entertaining) they darkened the arena and a lone horse came out with a big spotlight on the American flag. Everyone stood, there were a lot of cowboy hats removed, we sang the Star Spangled Banner and the announcers spoke about freedom and religion and Jesus Christ and faith. It was amazing. How many events and games (or anything other than church, really) can begin that way?
And why don't they?
I'm pretty sure that was the highlight of the rodeo for me. With bull riding as a close second, because how seriously nuts do you have to bed to strap on some tight jeans and hang onto a disturbed bull for 8 seconds? I'm pretty sure it's the small town girl inside of me that thinks bull riding, despite being insane, is incredibly impressive...but definetly not worth putting on wranglers.