Before she lived in the land of snow and bears, Captain Deb lived in Wyoming. She had a house, a new career in the military, and two friends who thought, “Hey! Wyoming! In August! Let’s go!”
For the record, those two friends would be Everyone Needs A Julie. And me.
So for a few days many years ago, ENAJ and I hopped a plane to Denver, picked up our Tacoma pick-me-up-truck (oh yes we went there) at the rental shop, and drove an hour and a half north to Cheyenne.
While we were visiting Captain Deb in Wyoming, it just so happened to be Frontier Days, which, if you don’t know, is the world’s largest outdoor rodeo. Okay, so it didn’t just happen to be Frontier Days, we totally planned it that way. Sosumi. Either way, we trekked over to the…stadium? What do you call a place where rodeos are held? Ring? Fairgrounds? I can’t remember, but either way, we got our tickets and settled into seats, horses and cowboys everywhichway you looked, it seemed.
Have you ever watched bull riding? It was new to me. I’d always wondered how they got the bulls to buck like they do. Captain Deb said simply, “Their balls are in a vice.”
“Huh,” I said. “Yeah, that would be uncomfortable, I’d think.”
Captain Deb just nodded.
By far the highlight of the rodeo was the wild horse race. Teams of cowboys would try and saddle an unbroken horse, and then one of the cowboys would hop on said horse and coax it to run around the horse track once. Whoever crossed the finish line first wins the pot.
Sounds pretty simple, right?
Except have you ever tried to saddle an unbroken horse? And then ride it? I can’t say that I have, personally, but from watching these teams of cowboys, it’s not something I’m going to be putting on my Life List anytime soon. I suspect that some of those men will not be having children in the near future. Or breathing easily on a regular basis.
The horses, to say the least, hate this. You can just tell that they’re so freaking annoyed at someone trying to saddle them, not to mention then ride them, that they buck and skit all the way around the track. And those are just the horses that make it all the way around the track. A good quarter of them will just come to a dead stop and refuse to move, no matter how much prodding there is from the cowboy. And some of them buck so hard that they throw the cowboy off completely, and then gleefully trot across the finish line solo.
And in the case of the one-time leader of this wild horse race, as we watched the cowboy bucking along with the horse, the horse then stopped within feet of the finish line, turned around, and started running and bucking back the way he’d come from.
The crowd went wild.
Good things happen when you travel.