This has by far been the busiest semester of our lives. What with soccer practice and games, Ruthie's piano lessons, Kerri's student teaching, Sarah's Song and Drama club at school and her new jump rope club, we have been a little busy running from activity to activity.
This weekend we decided to take a break. Get away from the house and make a fun family date out of our Friday night.
It is amazing how having a fun event to look forward to can bring you through a long week. Or even a short week that seems unusually long as the case may be. The kids were all brimming with anticipation as the weekend drew near. This was the first rodeo for both Kerri and the kids. Growing up, my next door neighbor was Mr. Silva, and his back yard was an arena where they held rodeos on Saturdays in the summer, that and a few times in Wyoming in the summer of '92 allow me to honestly say that this "was not my first rodeo". But then, the rodeo never does seem to get old. The only thing missing was a can of Shasta Cola, the smell of hamburgers grilling at the concession stand and an old wooden fence to sit on and watch the rodeo. Those and the aromatic smell of "processed alfalfa", are my recollections of the rodeo as a child.
After work we had a quick bite at Chili's, and then the five of us loaded up and headed out to the Eddy County Sheriff's Posse Colosseum to see the PRCA rodeo. From the opening ceremonies to the trick riders and even the calf roping and steer tying, the evening was a ball. Ruthie did not like how roughly they treated the "baby bulls" as she called then, when they roped and flipped them, and Kerri was not really impressed with the bull riding.
But I think that had more to do with the intelligence of any man who would willingly straddle an angry 2,000 pound animal with points growing out of it's head. Unlike going to see that latest blockbuster at the local movie theater, the evening was filled with pleasant banter about riders and horses, calves and bulls and how they score such and such for an event. We came away a closer family with more in common than we would have after two hours of staring at a screen.
The evening was not without disappointments however, and the mean guy at the pony rides told me I was too big to ride. Phooey! But he let the girls pick their favorite pony and ride for a good long time, (maybe I could Photoshop™ myself riding one.) During the rodeo, Ruthie even got to run in the "calf scramble". The calf scramble is an event where 50-100 kids under age eight line up in the arena and chase four or five very frightened calves. The calves have ribbons tied to their tails and the kids who catch the ribbon get free pony rides and other sundry prizes. Ruthie did not win, but I don't think that mattered much to her. Her face was still glowing on Sunday as she recalled the event in a letter to her Grandma. I have posted a few videos and pictures below, Ruthie is usually in the center of the screen wearing a purple shirt and blue jeans.
The highlight of the evening came during the bareback bronc riding. The second horse left the gate bucking like all get out and headed straight towards Nathan's seat. The looks on the kids faces was hilarious as the rider and horse steamed straight for our box. The girls zipped their chairs to the back of the rails while Nathan's eye's grew to the size of saucers. At the last minute, the horse turned and threw the rider, who grazed the railing in front of our booth. Unfortunately I didn't get that on film, but a few of the other events are linked below, including an unlucky rodeo clown who lost a race with a bull.
I know that our family is no different than any other who might happen across this page (a little better looking perhaps), but the moral of this story is that families need to remember to take time out of our day to slow down. To enjoy a meal together, to laugh at the rodeo clowns jokes, to stop and smell the manure. Remember that it won't be too long before the kids will ride off into the horizon and we will long to be back in these busy days.