This week has been another fun one. This is becoming a theme – happy days. There was more National Western, fun with Aussies, more National Western, oh and a little work thrown in for good measure. I’m trying a slightly different format this week, I’m aware I owe a ‘something new’ and I’m not yet desperate enough to count drinking with cowboys as something new – I have plans for tomorrow. Stay tuned 🙂
Monday evening I picked Hamish up from the airport. I now understand why I needed the Beast. His ski’s fitted perfectly from the back of the car to just sitting on the centre console. Much longer and they’d have been at my elbow. This could be a compelling reason for someone to get an SUV, but not really something that worries me so no go. The poor lad hadn’t organised anything for his three days in Denver so he didn’t manage to get on a shuttle to ski on Tuesday. His anxiety levels were quite high until he decided that Tuesday would be a stay in town day and he’d ski Wednesday and Thursday. Anxiety relieved.
Instead of skiing Tuesday, Hamish caught up with mates then he and I went to the PBR at National Western again. This one was an evening of bull riding only. They had 45 cowboys, four (if I recall correctly) of them from Australia. We sat up behind the chutes and were quite a bit higher than my last seat (same arena) but that was good because we saw more of the bulls over the railings and heads. They seem to rarely come out terribly far from the chute. There was one bull that had the rodeo entertainer (rodeo clown but not suited up, he’s commentary from the arena, you can see him in the videos wandering around wearing blue in the middle) wandering back towards the horses – it had a reputation of bucking the cowboy and heading straight to the horses, aiming for everything in sight. Its reputation was deserved and the horsemen had to rope him and cajole him out of there.
There was one guy, Mike Lee I believe, who did this huge victory lap of the arena after his (successful) ride. The announcers had a laugh as he’d started this victory lap thing not realizing that he’d be riding 15 times over a couple of days. Poor lad was going slower by the sound of it. There were about four Aussies in the line up – Hamish and I yelled loudly each time they came out – but they were really quite disappointing. I’d be surprised if they managed to ride eight seconds between them!
It was really amusing, the first time, to see how the announcers deal with the variable time it takes for the cowboys to get themselves ready. This one, Silvano Alvarez (sp?) had a huge wind up, but then gets to wait a bit…it was one of the shorter wait times. And this, I dunno who he was, but he got his 8 seconds done.
The only other event they showed was the finals of the team penning. This was teams of three. Many teams had a woman, one twelve year old girl even had two teams that had got through to this final stage, this was her second team, her first team got second place. Now these were impressive horses, they were much better than the ranch rodeo horses, all hyped and bouncy and there were only a couple that weren’t 100% switched on to the cattle and basically did all the work themselves. Pretty impressive to see them splitting three cows out of thirty and putting them in the pen in less than 30 seconds. I think the fastest we saw was 24 seconds. Seriously – TWENTY FOUR SECONDS! Ridiculously good, and maybe a shadow lucky as well. So I didn’t video the twenty four seconds, this was forty eight, seems slow but when you think about it super impressive still.
I headed back to National Western on Friday night to see the Gamblers Choice jumping. I admit I got a bit distracted…I managed to get there about 1830, an hour before the show, so I headed down to the bar. There were quite a few people who had been drinking all day – they were mesmerised by my accent and couldn’t wrap their heads around how I was there, in the bar, at the NWSS, in Denver, etc. Turns out most of them are farmers and few of them go further than a couple of states from their farms. Interesting stuff. These two lads, Dan (farmer) and Nate (truck driver), took great delight in showing me their condoms for their boots….which of course when others asked about them I had to say what they were because even simple words said with an Aussie accent are hilarious to drunk cowboys. Who would have thought it. These two and their wives each have four kids, and were without kids today. There was a surprising amount of drama from one of the wives given they had a childless day, something about one of the other blokes had said something that was not appreciated by the wife. I spent some time trying to calm her down and convince her that she didn’t need to ruin her night, she should forget it until she was sober – it helped a little thankfully. Women – drama – there’s a reason I love Engineering so much less drama.
I had a really interesting conversation with a lad called Joe. He did agricultural engineering and worked for a small engineering company for a while. He gave up a couple of years ago to follow the family business into the farming business, 1000 acres in Iowa. With three sisters, he has to keep the family farm going. I wasn’t sure whether to feel sorry for him because he was so interested in the engineering side of things I’ve done, or whether to feel happy for him that he enjoys his farming. I tried to work out whether it was farming for the love of it or out of obligation – he said he liked it with a tone of meh. NWSS is also his one holiday for the year. His family farm grown soy beans and wheat and has cattle, but they don’t ride, they use the ATVs for any sort of herding. They have a couple of horses that his mum rides for the fun of it only. He and Dan had an argument about whether Iowa was a pretty state, Dan is from South Dakota; they’re all so patriotic to their state / college. Its super different to home like that.
I did get to the show jumping, about half an hour late. I saw a couple of rounds and then they were done. The whole thing must have been only one hour long, surprising. The rounds I saw were not impressive so I hope the earlier rounds were more so. They had a big presentation ceremony for the top ten riders, surprising that they gave so many awards there were only 15 odd riders! This event was less impressive than I’d hoped it would be.
Car news: Don has done a wonderful job getting the financials reviewed by a chap called Scott. Turns out that Scott was the previous tenant of my apartment. Not simply a tenant at Bridgwater, but the guy who lived in my apartment before I rented it! Talk about coincidences.
I visited Don and Scott on Wednesday and they gave me the run down of how the loan and leases work. I’m in the process of comparing resale values and deciding precisely which car and how to buy it. The other thing that I must do is work on the insurance piece. That will be interesting in this world, seems bloody expensive.
Don also offered another trip to the rodeo. He’s got four tickets to Tuesday night and the fourth is up for grabs. He promised (repeatedly) that it isn’t a set up. His son is about my age I guess. Not a set up. I guess the Don I’m talking to is Don the Second, his son is Don the Third (another American-ism that may take me some time to adjust to, its just funny at the moment!). Don is quite interesting though, I learnt something new while waiting for Scott…Don is into drag racing. His dad was, he is, and his son is also. He has had some amazing cars in his time. So I’ll see how the week is looking by Monday and give Don a call and let him know if I think I can handle a ‘not a set up’ night at the rodeo.
Container news: This will become a regular segment now that I know what ship my stuff is on and have a website to track. Kym at Kent Relocation Services has done a great job keeping me informed (Cartus on the other hand – useless – I’m not sure why someone in the company thinks its a good idea to pay them). Kym tells me that my stuff is on the NYK Artemis which, according to vessel finder, made it safely from Singapore to Thailand on Friday, its highlighted in the red box thing, and of course Singapore is just south of there. Progress, albeit slow. Seems Saturday she set sail and is wandering at 16 knots around the coast of Thailand. The vessel schedule tells me that NYK Artemis has one more stop before arriving at Los Angeles on 4 February, Yantian in China on 20 January…Marine Traffic shows the route (ish). Oooh, such fun.
So, as I promised, more to come tomorrow – something new! 😀