Wednesday, July 4, 2012

Rodeo Score: Bulls 11 - Cowboys 2

St. Paul - July 3, 2012.  It was a beautiful evening in the Willamette Valley, a place known for its farms or wineries.  We noticed how more and more land owners are growing nursery crops while driving to St. Paul.  To set the mood, we found Garth Brooks on the iPhone, and we made it to town just in time to avoid Allyson jumping out of the fast-moving car because of the bad music.  We looked forward to our first Rodeo of the summer - first Rodeo of the century, for us.

St. Paul is a good rodeo, with big enough money to draw some of the best cowboys.  In fact, the number one bull rider in the world was there.  He was one of only two cowboys to make it the required 8 seconds on the bull.  It's all or nothing for bull riding.  The unfortunate guy who busted his body for 7.72 seconds earned no points for his bruises.  The other event we caught was roping and tying up the calves.  Under 10 seconds was the best time we saw.  All in all, we sat in the historic grandstand about 1 1/2 hours for about  2 minutes of timed rodeo activity, some jocular and informative info from the announcers, plus pretty, sunset clouds behind a big flag of the U.S.A.

A comment on those bulls. Like AKC dogs, they have papers documenting their inbred lineage of nastiness.  But you don't need documents; just look at the nearly 1 ton of beef with 3 tons of attitude.  The poor cowboys who get flipped off lie a fly on my arm don't have any more chance than the poor little calves who get manhandled.  I think only two of the cute little four-legged innocents avoided the humiliation of being tackled, wrestled and tied up.

We retired early, like many others, to the Tack Room bar under the historic stands, which served up a historic White Zinfandel to poor Allyson.  It seemed like a scene that had not changed in about 40 years: a few cool-looking young guys and some upstanding-looking older men with cowboy hats to match their stations in life.  I had no hat, a goatee and urban-looking eyeglasses.  Clearly, I was an outsider, despite my cowboy boots that no one could see because the place was too packed.

Under a full-moon sky on the way home, I thought, "I'll bet no one would have left the stands for the Tack Room if they's switched up the animals tonight.  How 'bout they have the cowboys try to wrestle the big nasty bulls?"  "Quit picking on the little, innocent critters and see how manly you feel."

The new name for the event could be "St. Paul Rodeo and Paramedic Olympics."

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