Saturday, August 3, 2013

Rodeo Road

Following the last May Rodeo, after watching her classmates finish 1st and 2nd in the Mutton Busting, Dylan came home and announced that she wanted to be a professional sheep rider.  I chalked up her swagger to the cotton candy lunch she'd had, but when I checked in with her a few days later, she was still up for the challenge.  This is the girl who'd been overly confident a few years before about her ability to ride a sheep -- until I sat her on a sheep's back, then she flew out of the chute faster than helicopters leaving Hanoi.  She spent the next two years telling everyone she didn't want to ride a sheep, she only wanted to ride a bus.  Needless to say, her newfound enthusiasm for rough-stock events was surprising.

Wrangler butts
In lieu of going out and finding an actual sheep on which to practice, we utilized what we had.  So, Mutton Busting practice consisted of balancing on wheellines as I rolled them.  We did this twice, then Dylan went to Tennessee.  In my mind, she spent her two weeks away working on her core-strength and agility, like Rocky Balboa training in Russia.  In reality, she ate cheese biscuits and played with her cousins.

To be honest, I'm not a fan of Mutton Busting.  I've stood in too many chutes and have been handed sobbing toddlers, as their parents told me to, "Just stick him on, he'll be fine."  These kids, they suck at riding sheep.  One, because they are so spent from fear that when the gate opens, they immediately let go, and two, they're so upset that their parents are morons, that they suffer an existential  crisis and ponder the meaning of Mutton Busting, then let go and get trampled by sharp sheep hooves.  I even have a little pep-talk I give them: "It's a little bit scary, and a lot of fun, but you don't have to ride if you don't want to."  Granted, it's no TED talk, but it seems to work most of the time.

Dylan needed no coaxing, no pep-talk.  She rolled into the arena in her glittery pink cowgirl hat, her new rodeo shirt, and her pink boots.  The hot tip from a former champion was to ride backwards, so she did.  My hot tip for her was to hang on tight, so she didn't.  Even with Grady cheering her on, and trying to climb on the sheep's back with her, her ride only lasted a couple of seconds.  The highlight was her summersault of a dismount.  She hit the dirt, popped up with arena muck all over her face and new shirt, collected her silver dollar, and said, "I want to do that again," and then, "How about that snowcone now."


The rest of the rodeo was really just a junk-food free for all.  Both kids gorged on snowcones until their faces and shirts looked like they'd spent the afternoon tie-dying at a Phish concert.  Grady got into someone's Doritos, so we stood on diaper watch until we learned that the "new" Doritos are gluten-free.  Crisis averted.

You know what they say, "It ain't over until the wild cow gets milked," so, as the rodeo wrapped up with the Wild Cow Milking, Dylan grabbed her pink hat, and Grady clung to a disintegrating paper snowcone cup as Regina and I herded them toward the truck.  There we were, back on the rodeo-road, making a living busting muttons.

1 comment:

paul said...

Correct me if I am wrong, but doesn't riding a sheep backwards mean that your face is placed precariously close to the animals anus? You'd be crazy to want to ride that thing for too long! Go Dylan!