Thursday, July 21, 2016

Jackson Rodeo

After a super fun time shopping in beautiful Jackson Hole, Wyoming, we headed back to our comfy cabin for some amazing french toast with huckleberry syrup.  After dinner it was off to the rodeo!

In Jackson Hole they have the most amazing rodeo ever.  Every Thursday, Friday and Saturday night at 8:00 pm you are treated to the heart of the West and Rodeo at its best!  There will be times when Pro Rodeo Riders are in attendance and have a chance to show their stuff.  What gets to me every time is the determination of the men and women who risk their lives on the back of thousands of pounds of animal, get bucked off time after time, and yet they still manage to climb back on top of these animals.  That takes extreme courage to do this.  I am amazed every time!!

Because we went to the Rodeo on July 4th, we were treated to an extra special flag ceremony.  The Rodeo Royality came riding out on their horses flying the American Flag to the tune of "God Bless the USA".  There wasn't a dry eye in the entire arena.  The grace, confidence and pride with which those girls rode with those flags was awe inspiring to say the least.  It made me super proud to be an American and to be living where I live in this day and age.  It also helped to remind everyone in attendance why we have the freedoms that we have.
Click here to see video

Then it was on to see the Bull Riding, Bareback Riding, Steer Roping, Barrel Racing and Mutton Busting!  

Image result for rodeo picturesBull Riding and Bareback Riding are the same sport with different animals.  One includes a Bull that can be ornerier than Satan himself and the other includes a Horse with a disposition not much nicer than Satan's son.  The goal is to hang on for dear life to a rope that is tied around a thousand pound animal while it is furiously bucking and trying to remove the cinch that is tied on its flank.  (You would buck too if you had a cinch tightened to your flank!)  The goal of the cowboy, or girl, is to hang on for 8 seconds.  Let me tell you, it is the longest 8 seconds of that person's life!  No matter how long they stay on the animal, they have to dismount the same way - they have to get bucked off.  What is so amazing is every time they get bucked off, they may or may not get hurt, but even if they DO get hurt, they climb back on that feisty animal and give it another go.
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It makes you kinda wonder about what type of person you are.  Do you jump back up on the back of life's situations even though they may buck you off?  or do you just throw the towel in cuz life is just too hard?  If you are the one to throw the towel in, you better find yourself a cowboy, or girl, and become friends, cuz they will tell you to "Cowboy Up, and move on.  Get back in that saddle and hold on for dear life!"

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Steer Roping is a team sport where you have one person who ropes the horns of the steer and the other person ropes the two hind legs of the steer.  It seems simple, but it is super difficult!  It is sort of like trying to corral a toddler at a park - you tell them it is time to go home and they run like the wind and feel like they have been greased in butter when you get close enough to catch them.  

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Barrel Racing is where a cowboy girl (yes, this is the proper term for a cowgirl) runs her horse at neck breaking speeds around three barrels to see who can get the fastest time.  While racing around the barrels she, or the horse, cannot touch any part of the barrel.  In this sport, the cowboy girl starts as young as age 6.  It was pretty amazing to watch the itty bitty girls ride their first rodeo.  There was even a woman about my age (advanced in years but young at heart) who did a great job!

Image result for rodeo picturesYou may be scratching your head about the Mutton Busting.  This is "bull riding" for the little tikes who want an early start into the rodeo world.  They get their "cowboy gear" on and strap themselves to the back of a sheep.  The sheep doesn't want to be ridden and starts to jump and run.  That little cowboy needs to hold on for dear life and make the best of the ride.

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No matter which part of the rodeo these amazing athletes participate in, they are very courageous!  Let's not forget the brave Rodeo Wranglers (aka - rodeo clowns).  They are the people who keep the cowboys safe after being thrown from the animals by distracting said animals and directing them back to the stock shoots.  These men are down-right crazy at times by teasing the animals.  (It makes me wish I had a Rodeo Wrangler at my home when things get crazy around here with the kids.)

We had an incredible time cheering for the cowboys and girls in their respective areas.  I had to close my eyes at times and ask "is he OK?" but things were just as fun as I remembered they were 100 years ago!  I can't wait to go back!  I have included a short video of some of the rides that happened that night.  Hope you enjoy it as much as we did.  It will even give you just a bit of insight into how to "Cowboy Up" when life throws you from its back!  I hope you can be the one to climb back on and say "I'm ready to ride....again!"
Click here to view a glimpse of the Jackson Hole Rodeo

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