graysong's Death Wish Continues...
Something is seriously wrong with me.
Maybe it's a midlife crisis; I can't be sure. I just know that lately I've been getting involved in things I probably have no business doing. This time around it was Rodeo.
I was intiallly 'roped in' by my friend Crystal, although I can't hold her too responsible. I had already been toying with participating. I needed only the gentlest nudge to dive in.
And dive in I did. I signed up for three events: steer decorating, wild drag race, and—godhelpme—chute dogging. The first two events are team events—at there would be someone close at hand to help out. Chute dogging was another story though. There it would be just me and the steer—mano á moo-o, as it were—as I attempted to drag the damn, smelly thing ten feet and then flip it on it's back.
On the day of the Rodeo the arena is a total mud pit. It has rained for the previous three days. I tromp back through the muck into the chutes to await my turn. The time comes for me to take my place in the chute. Keep in mind, the closest I've ever been to a steer is the meat counter at Jewel. I climb into the chute and promptly learn my first lesson. My steer goes apeshit, butting and horning me. I half climb/am half pulled from the chute. The chute manager gently chides me, 'Don't get in in front of the steer. Get in beside it.' Yes, ma'am! Another steer is brought out for me. (It turns out that the steer I had initially wasn't supposed to be used—it was mean.) I lower myself down properly and 'get friendly' with my steer. I tuck the left horn under my left arm and grip the bottom of the jaw with my left hand. I grip the right horn with my right hand and prepare to try and guide it out past the 10 foot line. I give the signal that I am ready. The chute opens...
...my steer bolts. I lose my footing immediately and am dragged on my ass through the mud. I manage to right myself a couple of times but can never quite get into position to make the dog attempt. After 50 seconds the steer manages to break free. I'm a gawdawful muddy mess. I try again the next day with similar results.
All in all it was quite an experience. I did win a little bit of money back in the wild drag race. The points I got there were enough to propel me to a second place rookie cowboy finish, which put a little more money in my pocket. I got some amazing bruises. More importantly, I had a blast. I'm looking forward to Phoenix in January. And next time, I'm gonna get that damn steer!