Thursday, June 16, 2011

Always a Valley Girl: Rodeos and Cowgirl Tough

My friends and colleagues are tromping around Central America and Europe while I'm stuck in Provo attempting to be productive. Not exactly thrilling. But I'm finding things here and there to keep my summer interesting and going to the rodeo is one of them.

Now I'm no cowgirl, but if you're a Valley girl in Utah, you go to a rodeo. And I'm not making this rule up. At the rodeo last night, I was not only there with two other Valley girls, but we recognized another girl from the good ol' SLV sitting behind us. That being said, my reason for choosing Pleasant Grove's Strawberry Days rodeo had more to do with my stomach than my heritage: cups of strawberries and cream. Heather and I got there early to save seats and to enjoy the strawberries and cream so no one would know just how many cups we had.

Still, I enjoyed more than the food. Heather and I have been friends since we were nine years-old so there was plenty of reminiscing about our childhood in the valley and commenting on other rodeos we've seen or participated in. For those who aren't familiar with rodeos, there's the funny/cruel tradition of sticking money to a calf and having kids chase it. Heather and I both have done it, but it was, of course, much more difficult when we were kids. For example, there were two or three calves when we did it so kids were running helter-skelter. At this rodeo, the poor calf was stuck in a corner while kids swarmed it.

There's also mutton busting; it's another event for kids where they see how long they can stay on a sheep.  I've never done it myself, but Heather had.  Before they started she predicted that a girl would win because they know how to hold on and sure enough she was right. The top two mutton busters were girls. It made us wonder if women could ride bulls too. We'd never seen it, but we figured that with a lower center of gravity, women might even have the advantage over men. I'm not sure if that's true, but there are female bull riders. These girls have to be tough and I can't help but admire that. Male or female, bull and bronco riders amaze me. They get jerked around and if something goes wrong, the consequences come fast and painfully, if not lethally. I'm trying to be braver this summer, but I see them and realize I've got a long way to go before I'm that brave. 

Slightly less dangerous (only slightly) but seriously entertaining is wild-cow milking. A team of three has to catch and milk a cow. It was hilarious to watch, until this mean cow decided this hefty man was in its way and flat out bowled him over. I didn't get a picture of that, but I did manage to capture the more humorous attempts at cow milking.

And just for fun, pictures of horses because even if it's cliche, they really are beautiful animals.

Even if I don't agree with all the views of a country lifestyle (get me started on country music and you'll find out why, but that's a discussion for another post), I do admire how tough a cowboy or cowgirl has to be. If I've really carried anything over from being raised in the valley I hope it's the resiliency I see in rodeos--of not being afraid to fall because you can always get up and dust yourself off.

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