A Rodeo Primer
When Juanita and I get tired of watching people and animals at the lodge, we take a break and go to a rodeo. Where we watch people and animals in an arena. This year we were not able to go the the Rodeo National Finals in Las Vegas, missing it for the first time in years. But we are still thinking about it.
Some of you may not know much about rodeos so here is a short description of the events.
Rough stock events: Bareback, Saddle Bronc and Bull Riding. Cowboys try to stay seated on an animal that is trying to get rid of them. They attempt to ride for 8 seconds in a row. Half of the points (up to 50) are determined by the animal, the other half (also up to 50, ain’t math GREAT!?!) are awarded to the cowboy. Touching themselves or the animal with their free hand disqualifies the cowboy.
Timed events (Steer Wrestling, Team Roping, Tie Down Roping, Barrel Racing) are, well, timed events. Fastest time wins. Penalties are given in seconds for infractions, adding to final time.
Probably my favorite event. The horses are smaller, and appear to be bucking harder than the other "rough stock". The cowboys in this event look like they are being BEAT HALF TO DEATH.
The horses seem to be having fun.
This may be my favorite event. The skill of the cowboys, and the technique that they demonstrate in the spurring to the rhythm of the animals bucking is just amazing to watch.
These horses also seem to be having fun trying to unload the fools.
Quite possibly my favorite event. Huge cowboys leaping off of horses traveling at 30 miles per hour onto the ground and grabbing the head of a 600 pound steer running at 30 miles per hour, dragging it to a stop, and twisting it over onto its back. Sheer genius.
The horses are having a good time, the steers, maybe not so much. They're pretty annoyed.
This has got to be my favorite event to watch, because it isn't possible. One cowboy ropes the head of a calf (Okay, I can see how you can do that), but the other cowboy ropes both hind legs, and then they stretch the little booger out. How in the heck can you throw a rope around both hind legs of a 4 legged critter running away from you full speed while you are sitting on a running horse. Just can't be done.
Horses having fun, calves... well, mostly just kinda surprised.
Tie Down Roping:
I may like this event the best because of the sheer number of things that MUST go right to get a good score.
From horseback, you rope a calf, tie the roped off calf to your saddle, as you jump off your horse, your horse backs up just enough to keep the calf from running off. Then you run over, throw the calf down, and tie together its legs in the least amount of time possible.
Bovine bondage at its best. The horses usually know and enjoy their job. Calves are again, surprised.
I find I root for the animals more than the cowboys in most events, so this one is my favorite. Smallest cowboys, largest rough stock. Remember those little cattle in the other events? I think the bulls are just getting even. They try to buck the cowboys off of their backs, and then turn to kill them.
Bulls are DEFINITELY having a good time. The surviving cowboys seem happy, too. (Maybe just glad to be alive...)
Applause to the rodeo clowns, they really save lives in this event.
Okay, this is ABSOLUTELY my favorite. Pretty girls and fast horses. What's not to like?
Not much of a race though. The horses ALWAYS win. The barrels hardly ever even MOVE.