Bill and Juanita, owners of Allenspark Lodge B&B, are living their dream...

running a successful business and riding as often as possible.

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Opening Rodeo, Hoover Dam

We got to Las Vegas about two hours before the first rodeo and got checked into our hotel, actually Motel 6.  This year we opted to stay at a 'regular' motel instead of a casino.  Our biggest complaint has always been having to traipse through the casino every time we wanted to enter or leave our rooms.  Try carrying a lot of horsey type stuff (2-3 trips to the car) through a really busy casino and up the elevators to whatever tower they have assigned you to.  Then you never get complete quiet - guess why.  None of us are gamblers so the only entertainment value is eye-candy for the guys, checking out the skimpy bar hops.  So we opted for Motel 6, which was much more convenient, for all of the above reasons.  (Of course, you have already read Bill's plumbing version of the stay!)

We travel with some friends who have had box seat tickets for the last 25! years. We buy our tickets when we get there because I refuse to pay online prices for them, so we only get to see whatever rodeos we can find tickets to.  It's not a problem, because we actually enjoy seeing some of the action on the big screens in the bars, to get the behind-the-scenes views.  On the off chance of getting tickets for the first performance, being on a Thursday and all, we stopped by Cowboy Christmas and checked the ticket booth.  Managed to scrounge some plaza tickets (just above the boxes) and we were all off to the rodeo.

Reba McIntire sang the national anthem.  Wow!  She still looks great and she sure knows how to do justice to that song. I didn't know that was how she got her start in the rodeo finals.  Then a bunch of fireworks and the most amazing horse act.  With all the fireworks going on and just spotlights, four girls rode their horses out to the 4-point positions and a final rider appeared on a beautiful palomino with a mane that touched the ground (how many hair extensions did that take?).  That horse pirouretted around on his hind legs while his rider did rope tricks from his back, including encircling himself and horse while rearing.  That horse was amazing to let all that go on around him and put on such a performance.  The epitomy of a true actor!
At the beginning of every performance, all contestants ride into the arena and form this type of lineup - by state - and do a formal salute to the audience.  They all raise their stetsons in a cool salute, then they all charge out at a full gallop.  It's pretty breathtaking, to say the least.  However, on the first night, about the tenth or twelfth horse in lost its footing at the far end and bit the dust, dumping the rider.  A little excitement prevailed as the poor, startled horse did NOT want to further participate.  The announcer decided he was a roping horse because of the speed with which he could back away from anyone trying to snag his reins!

The rest of the action was just too fast for my camera to catch; all the images were just blurs.  Remember, this is the top 15 riders (and the best animals) in each category:  bareback riding, steer roping (bull dogging, in the old days), team roping, saddle bronc riding, tie-down roping (calf roping), barrel racing, and bull riding.  Just a note:  the bulls were way ahead of cowboys this night!  Remember when 'bull-fighters' were called clowns, and it was NOT a derision?
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To amuse ourselves during the daytime in Las Vegas, we do day trips, shop, wander, etc. (never sleep).
When we were in Las Vegas last year, we visited the Hoover Dam and were amazed by the construction of the huge new bypass, to keep all the traffic off the dam proper. The magnificence of the original dam project was about to be superseded by this new project: huge concrete and steel stanchions leaning out over a deep chasm – an abhorition in the sky. Now we visit to find all those cranes and stanchions are gone and in their place is a beautiful, arched bridge.

We had heard that when the new bridge opened you would no longer be allowed to cross the dam on the ‘old’ highway, so when we came to the junction, we opted to go across the new bridge, thinking we would have this wonderful view of the world, including the dam and Lake Mead. Obviously, we were in a lineup of cars of similar thinking. Nothing could have been further from the truth; the ‘protective’ concrete walls were at the exact height to completely obscure all vision from short rental cars. Bill figured semi drivers probably had the best - and only – view.
 Old road across the dam, as seen from the new bridge.
 New road as seen from the old road.

We drove back across the new bridge to the junction in the road and went on the old road, across the dam (may be the last time we ever get to do that), turned around and crossed again – for good luck. This time when we came to parking we stopped and walked up the new pathway to the new bridge.
 It’s a really nice path up, either stairs or ramps, and sitting areas along the way.
 Once you get to the bridge, it’s 1.5 miles to cross and back! We walked to the middle, took lots of pictures and headed back.

 It's a looooong way down!
As we walked down the path to the parking lot we noticed cairns people had set up: hundreds of cairns side by side.

Not to be outdone, we added our stones to the cairns.

Well, time to go poke a sleeping dog, errrr Bill.  Both seem to have fallen asleep on the floor in front of a fire, obviously trying out Sophie's new pillow/bed.


  1. I am sooo jealous! Would have loved to seen all that action at the rodeo with you!

    Though I must confess, I think the dam route may have beeb a bit too dizzying!

    And you still have one more tale left... the "never sleeps" part :)

  2. Nice. Those opening performances at rodeos always give me goose bumps. I love to watch them. Hope the fallen rider was okay, though.

    Part of my childhood was spent growing up in Vegas on the Air Force Base there, Nellis, so we made lots of trips to the dam. I haven't been as an adult though. Looks like lots of changes.

  3. Is Bill really sleeping or just checking out more of that crytobyotic dust?????

  4. Rachel, the never sleep stuff is coming up. Trying to do it justice, but I just can't write the way Bill and the girls do. LOL

    Linda, the rider was fine (probably a bronc rider, anyway). Sure made me miss my horses, watching all those elite animal athletes. We always root for the animal!

    Mr. D, I'm not sure now, come to think of it.

  5. Our daughter and son in law live in Vegas. Next year we will have to make it to the rodeo. It sounded like fun.

  6. Got my package...THANK YOU!! That was so sweet of you guys.

    Doing a little back reading and about died laughing at that picture of Bill face down. That is sooooo Bill!

    We will have to plan on getting together over the Denver Stock Show. That's a good rodeo and a little closer to home. ;-)


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