In 1973, I watched Secretariat win the Triple Crown, I was two and a half, and "Secretariat" became my favorite word. I've tried to continue the tradition and get Dylan excited about the Derby, but her short attention span can't last through the three hours of pre-race hype. Hell, my short attention span can't last that long. But, I did get her to watch Mind That Bird's 50:1 upset win last year and I bribed her to sit down, finally, as the horses entered the gate this year. Calvin Borel is our new hero -- although I'm worried that she'll yell, "Ride the rail, Borel" to any adult male who is under 5'3''.
The other tradition is the May Rodeo. It's the first local rodeo of the year and I grew up riding in its parade and getting bucked off by its calves. For months, Dylan has been telling us that she was going to ride a sheep. The thought seems harmless enough, riding a big fuzzy sheep is like sitting of a soft cloud. But I know the scary truth; I've been helping parents pry their children's fingers from the top rail of the chutes and putting them on the backs of pissed off lambs for the past ten years. Mutton Bustin' is like being a passenger on the back of a runaway dirt bike. Sooner, and not later, the kids fall off, face first, in the arena dirt. There are always tears, often blood, and not much reward except the Queen gives you a silver dollar, which, to little kids, might as well be a shiny stone.
The rest of the day was spent watching the show. I skipped out on my normal rodeo duties and enjoyed the rodeo from the back of a flat-bed. Dylan spent the day eating. When I asked about her favorite part of the rodeo, she said, "The dip."
Grady got passed around until he hit nap time, then, like a good cowboy, fell asleep on the front seat of the truck. Dylan wasn't too far behind. The dirt, snowcones, and excitement wore us all out, but I think Dylan's officially hooked on rodeos and now she can't wait until the last Saturday in July so she can Mutton Bust again, if only for a few seconds.