This past weekend we were at another Sparta Rodeo. The oldest three and I went on Friday, to try and help out any way we could. I am not a rodeo person per se, I didn’t grow up with rodeo events or horses. The most experience I had with horses was a good friend of mine in high school having a couple horses that we could go ride wherever we wanted. It was my first taste of riding without having my horses nose in the butt of the horse in front of me in line, and it was a lot of fun. But I didn’t grow up in the country “culture” of rodeos, and FFA, and 4H. I am learning, but it isn’t something I am extremely accustomed to being around. That being said, it is just a fun, and relaxed atmosphere. Rodeo people are nice, they let your kids ride their horse, or golf cart, or four wheeler. They share their food and drink. They teach you how to throw a lasso so you can rope a bull. In short, they are good people.
Friday night was the speed show. It was fun watching people of all ages compete in the events. The contestants ranged in age from about 5 to 60 and while they all wanted to win the buckle, which is the prize for first place, they were all rooting for each other to do their best. Some young girls all really wanted to win, but when the day was done, they genuinely congratulated their friend for beating them on that day. It was nice to see.
I think my favorite event was the rescue race. It consists of a two people on a team. One team member stands on a barrel at the end of the arena. The other team member has to race down to them as fast as they can, get them on the back of their horse, and race back out of the arena. It was quite fun to watch the different ways people tried to jump onto the horse.
On Saturday late morning there was an event called Cowboy Poker. Everyone gets together for a ride from the camp grounds to downtown Sparta. They visit seven stations around the town obtaining a playing card at each station. Out of their seven cards they make their best 5 card poker hand, and the winner takes home the pot. A good time was had by all.
Saturday and Sunday evenings were the main events, the actual rodeo. People chose their spots on the hill surrounding the arena and cheered for their cowboy, or bull, and laughed at the rodeo clown’s antics. My middle kids’ favorite event is the boot scramble. They have the kids come into the arena and take off their shoes. The clown and pickup men then scramble their shoes at the other end of the arena and the first person to get their shoes on and give the clown five wins an ice cream.
Any time we are away from our home parish for a weekend we enjoy visiting different parishes. Cathedrals are always a draw if we are near one, and this weekend we happened to be. The Cathedral of St. James in Grand Rapids is a beautiful church. The Mass time that happened to fit our timing also happened to be a Spanish Mass. It gave me a chance to brush up on my Spanish comprehension skills. I have to say I probably understood about half of the homily, which isn’t bad considering I haven’t spoken the language on a regular basis in at least ten years. I was very proud of our kids, despite not understanding the language, they behaved well, and HB1 even understood some of the homily himself.
I was happy to be able to make it this year, last year I was sick so the family went without me. I enjoy helping out where I can, visiting with people who I haven’t seen since the last rodeo, and relaxing around the camp fire looking at stars.
I hope to be able to get a video together on the rodeo soon, so look for that on the YouTube channel.