“Courage is being scared to death – and saddling up anyway.”  John Wayne.

As part of my Allen County Fair extravaganza I attended my very first rodeo.  Luckily, there are cowboys in the South and rodeos too.  But my family are not horse or cow people; therefore, I never really thought about going to the rodeo.  It surprises me that I come to the Midwest to see one, but here I am.  Oh, well, as I have said before, life is strange.

The International Professional Rodeo was in town at the fair grounds.  The rodeo was complete with cowboys, cowgirls, clowns, a small-person entertainer that called himself “Pork Chop” (I am not making this up), a professional rodeo announcer (apparently this is a full time vocation), and all the required animals.

This cowboy is a champion bronc rider. He was also styling in some black and red leather chaps and matching vest. Super fancy.

I had a great time at the rodeo, it was super entertaining.  The crowd was fun and very diverse.  Lots of families with children, including the competitors.  The rodeo kids were fun to watch.  It must be great fun to grow up around the rodeo.  There were a handful of little boys in cowboy hats and boots running around in the staging area and climbing the rails.  What great stories they will have when they grow up.  It reminds me of a dear friend of mine from law school who is a cowboy (huge belt buckles and all) and used to tell stories about being a kid and having his mom decree “no roping in the house” rather than “no running” or “no basketball in the house” like my friends and me.  He also got into trouble as a kid for “roping his sister off of the back of a truck”. The dangers of a cowboy brother, I suppose.  The cowboy/rodeo culture is certainly one of a kind, very romantic I think, very fun, and pretty in its own way.

Here are some cowboys hard at work and a little cowboy watching.

I have to say that I was disappointed by the lack of female participants and by the fact that the whole thing does seem a bit cruel to the animals.  My favorite event of the three I watched (bronc riding (bare back and saddle), calf roping and steer wrestling), was the bronc riding because it seems to be less dangerous for the animal.  Also, the cowboy is taking on the danger willingly, so it seems fair.  But I only know enough to be dangerous . . . and I’d rather stay that way on this one.


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