I went to a real live rodeo! Shame on me for never going to an Aussie one, but this was great fun. Thoroughly enjoyed the whole afternoon, even though I was involved in more prayers and anthems yesterday than I have been since I left MacRob in year nine. Other stuff happened, but really, the highlight was the rodeo. (Click the blue links to videos, they’re youtube and mostly less than 1 minute. Enjoy!)
This week of work was a week of alternating busy and quiet. Mark was in San Antonio for the start of the week so he was super low maintenance and I got the couple of things done super easily. Then he returned and realised all these things needed to be done (I’m not yet able to read his mind) and it got nice and busy. Hmmmm, work highlights? None really. Just work and politics and work and stuff.
My interesting stuff really happened all this weekend. Saturday was a big day! First to Friday night. We were finishing up with a risk assessment and Mark asked me over for tea and to meet their babysitter (child minder?) Stephanie. Keila believes we’ll get on really well – and we may. By the time I got there she was finishing up for the night and I didn’t have much of a chat. But I’m sure we’ll catch up again some time. I stuck around and had a spot of gluten free lasagna with the family then Keila, Mark and I had a chat. For hours. Was a good evening.
Saturday I got up and headed to Subaru where I met Don. Don is quite positively awesome if he can be as helpful as he promises! He’s the ex-general manager of one of the other Subaru dealerships, he retired five years ago but then recently sold his ranch and has come out of retirement to work at the dealership a few days a week. So we had a brief chat about what I’m looking for (colors, style, heated seats, automatic, etc). Turns out that auto and heated seats are good for resale value. Silly people wanting all the ease and luxury. So I settled on the most likely option being the Subaru Impreza Premium (extra $3k and you get the heated seats, auto, and fancy wheels). We headed out for a drive. He drove out of the lot, pointed at a lot of the features then pulled up in a car park and we swapped over. I was complimented on my driving style – Don has apparently been flipped in a car on a test drive. Snow plus speed plus a ditch equals a roll. He’d have some great stories to tell I’m certain!
When we were wandering around and chatting he asked about the Dublin jacket I had on. I told him its a clothing brand, usually riding gear. He then asked if I rode and if I’d ride while here. Hell yes! Well, if I can find someone with a horse who will let me 🙂 Turns out he’s got a few names that I could try and if / when I come back in he’ll have had a chat with them and will give me some details. Score! One of the ladies he knows gets ponies from the Indian reservations and trains them up for selling. If I could go and ride with her horses a time or two a week that would be awesome!!!
Don also told me all about this bar that I had to go to while at the National Western Stock Show. Its under the freeway, through the stock yards, a red brick building. Looks dodgy but is where all the people working there have a beer. I found it….pretty cool place. I had a roast beef sandwich, which was a piece of bread, roast beef, gravy, and some mash, all served with a plastic spoon and fork (because the boss didn’t get forks in this week apparently), and a beer of course! There were indeed a number of cowboys in there, sitting and watching the football while waiting for their time to move.
Then I had a wander around the outdoor stock yards. Decent set up, looks quite the old. The fencing is predominantly old timber sleepers and the ground is either packed earth (frozen) or concrete tiles about 1′ square. Most of the ranchers had a whole set up with a wash and drying and clipping the cattle. These things are super pampered! I only hope that it was warmed water. Must have been, but I didn’t check to confirm. It was hard work for both the cattle and the people if some of the photos are to be believed.
The first building I headed in to was the event center. There I found the shooting competitions going on. There were five white balloons and five red, you had to ride up shooting the white ones, change guns while turning the barrel then gallop down the line and get all the red balloons. When I walked in it was the kids comp, they were all around 12! Both boys and girls, but 12! And some of them were amazing at it! The horses didn’t flinch a muscle. I stuck around a little while and saw the age go up to the open mens competition. Some were awesome, others less so – good mix of abilities.
Then I found the people.
I headed over to the trade center where I found all the people were hanging out. Its a big three level building. On the bottom must be the premium ranchers, indoor pens with the same sort of washing, drying, clipping set ups. Middle level was a massive hall with all the trade stuff – boots, clothes, trailers, art, tack, (pig) BBQ’s, spas, crushes and fencing, paintings, leather works, tacky toys, massage chairs, the whole gamut. I paused at a group of people holding birds – they were a preservation not-for-profit. I got a t-shirt from them. There was one lady holding a bald eagle. Wonderful creature but the most fascinating thing for me was how she was talking to it and it seemed to be listening and be really calmed by her presence and her voice. On the top level they had a carousel with real ponies, an art show, and other small kids sorts of things. Out one end of the building was the auction arena, unfortunately not in use when I went by, but big and impressive none-the-less.
I headed outside and found the stick rodeo. The kids were just finishing up and handing back their horses, but that would have been funny. All the kids doing rodeo stuff on their stick horses. Leaving that and some bloke offered to find a horse for me to ride in the stick rodeo, the conversation degenerated into me being from some place immensely further south than Texas and requiring swimming. Odd but amusing. I think the blokes family was slightly embarrassed by him – I just laughed.
*****NEW THING No.2*****
Then I headed over to the Coliseum. I guess it would almost deserve its name, though of course it is nowhere near as impressive as the real one. Here the excitement began with introducing the teams and fireworks. Then they got into the bareback broncos. That’s fun. I’ve watched it before on TV but the TV always cuts away before you work out how the guys get off the horses and how the heck they catch up to the horses and get the ropes off them and out the door. Then there was roping (or something like that) – catch the steer and throw it to the ground as fast as possible. Some carriage teams then ventured out and did some laps. One of them had the boss of American Furniture Warehouse riding on top and the other had a couple of the local Councillors riding in the back. There were many speeches of thanks to people and then we got into the barrel racing.
Barrel racing looks like great fun when the horses are as well trained as that! A couple knocked over barrels, but otherwise class acts. The fastest was about 15 seconds I think. Not sure if that is awesome, but it looked like great fun – it got me wanting to get into barrel racing!
Then the kids had a go. They got the mutton bustin’ and there were a few 12 year old kids who had small ponies that didn’t buck, but ran the length of the arena (or more). We had another intermission with six people doing acrobatics on the horses, they’re impressive as always. The horses got another round, this time saddled broncos. I liked the horses best, they came further out of the chute and of course got up higher etc.
Then the crown favorite – the bull riding. That was of course great fun! Unfortunately none of the bulls got as far as hitting the rodeo clown in the barrel, that would have been fun. But they bucked and spun and one went back into the chute and the poor bloke jumped off onto the wall instead of being splattered against it. Turns out this was a preliminary round for Colorado vs the World. This was the Colorado teams competing to represent Colorado in the evening session against the world. I guess the rodeo earlier in the day would have been the qualifying rounds for ‘the World’. Not sure what constitutes the World, but I suspect not so many Aussies. The top four people in each event went through to the evening session. The whole show was about an hour and a half, and by then my head was hurting with all the noise, so I headed back towards the car. I realized that there was one more event I’d wanted to see – the Ranch Rodeo, an invitational.
Ranch Rodeo had eight teams of four guys from their respective ranches. The intent was that they demonstrate the real life things that these cowboys do day to day in their working lives apparently. I only got about half way through it before hunger, tired, and cold set in. But the first two events were fun. The first was some sort of splitting – about twenty yearlings with numbers around their necks. When the team got to the line in the arena they were given a number and had to grab that cow and the next three in a row and get them across the line (and keep them there) in order. For example they got to the line and ‘six’ was called so they had to cut number six out, get him across the line, then seven, eight, and nine. In order, no letting the mob over the line, no letting the split ones back, etc. A couple of the horses were super switched on!
The second event was a branding one. The same line with a gate set up (about two gate widths). Get to the line, a number is called and they have to cut that yearling out, get him through the gate, rope him neck and back legs and lay him out. Adjust the ropes so neck is on front legs and back legs are both roped, then one of the four can run over to the bucket, grab the paint brand, and stamp him. It looked like some of the guys hadn’t run much ever, and I assume they chose the best runners to do the branding! Funny times. The ranch rodeo wasn’t quite such a spectacular show type thing, but it was fun and impressive. A $50k winning from the night had a few good horses and guys out there.
I then hiked back to the car and headed home. There were an awful lot of cars there, but even in the busy areas it didn’t seem like there were enough people for all the cars. Maybe its got something to do with the cars being so damned big! They had a shuttle bus…well, tractor 🙂
On the way home, debating what to have for dinner, and I recalled there is a Greek place around the corner from my place. Greek to Me. It was pretty quiet in there when I walked in so I had a chat with the owners, Dimitry and Dino. Lovely gentlemen, dirty as hell, but lovely. They of course want me back whenever I can, apparently for my smile, I suspect more for the banter. Anyways I asked what they recommended and it was lamb chops. Great meal, cooked to perfection, enough greens. Best meal I’ve had in Denver me thinks. It was just grilled lamb chops really, but they were good and I was hungry. The only shame was that the Baklava was still in the oven, so I didn’t get to try what Dino pitched as the best Baklava in the world. Next time. When I left I was the last one in the restaurant so the boys came out and had a smoke. I of course told them that its a bad idea to smoke, terrible habit. Their response – what do you do after sex? Fair point that. Cheeky sods.
Today has been a less than relaxing day, all the chores. I got up and did washing, tidied up the place, did groceries, went to work for a couple of hours, did the cooking for the week, and that is about it.
There was one interesting work thing: I’ve been trying to fill gaps in my pursuits spreadsheet and therefore researching a not-insignificant list of projects. This one caught my eye, Elko Dam in BC. Have a look at this thing when in flood from mid 2013 – that’s madness! And these old photos from when it was constructed in the 1920’s, absolutely love it.