For those that know me, you wouldn’t think that I’d be the first one to be eager to attend a rodeo. I mean, me? A hippie, animal loving, vegetarian, “city” girl? Yeah…not exactly a rodeo type. And even when my friend asked me, I was like, well, I don’t know how I ethically feel about this (as I’ve heard tons about rodeo abuse and whatnot), but I want to hang out and catch up with you, so I’ll go! And in my mind, I was thinking, hey, I’m a girl living in “rural” Manitoba, so I may as well get this over with and say that I’ve at least been to a rodeo! Plus, it was free.
So first up, the bronco riding. I wasn’t entirely bothered by this and I was asking my friend (who is a super duper horse person – along with the fact that her husband used to be a bull rider) how in the world the horses got so annoyed that they were going crazy in the arena. She explained that it’s all about the flank strap. As Wikipedia tells me it is “4 inches wide” and it “fastens behind the widest part of the abdomen”. I guess that would be annoying, wouldn’t it? Truth be told, during the whole bronco riding set I was focussed more on the calves at the other end of the arena. I think I literally texted my friend (who was on the other side of the arena) saying “I want to free them all”. Yes, that’s me.
So then came the steer wrestling. For friends who have no clue what this is, it’s when a cowboy is on a horse, jumps off the horse and catches the steer and wrestles it to the ground. This irked me out a little. I was continuously reminded about how flexible these creatures are, but every time I saw a cowboy wring a neck, I shuddered. Every time a steer got away, I clapped and cheered and my friend laughed at me, calling me such a “city girl”. And for the record, my friend thinks that it’s a little ridiculous to jump off a perfectly good horse and go to wrestle a steer. I agree with her. See below.
Roping the calves came next. Again, I clapped and cheered every time they’d get away. But boy oh boy, I was honestly amazed at the roping skills some of those cowboys had…wowza. So fast. SO FAST. They got those calves on the ground and bam, it was done.
Then the highlight event – bull riding! These people are crazy. They are. Literally. Why would you ride a bull? It doesn’t make sense. And these bulls…oh boy, did they ever look mad. And who can blame them? I’m going to be honest, I was incredibly impressed with any cowboy that was able to stay on until the time was up. Most of them got bucked off, and then those ridiculously insane rodeo clown types got the attention of the bull. That’s another crazy occupation!
All in all…it was an interesting time to say the least. But for me, it felt good to be a part of the Western culture a little more, even with my “city girl”/animal lover side coming out. Families are so dedicated to this sport, and do they ever start them young! Some of those junior bull riders were 10 years old! Just amazing. I’m really quite glad I didn’t pass up this event, because I always feel like I’m sucked into another world that I don’t know so much about when I go to these type of things. Cowboy boots and hats, some country accents, country music and a real love and passion for horses especially. It’s nice to explore different worlds sometimes, eh?
Here’s a little video of the bronco riding for your viewing pleasure!