A Rodeo? Yes, a Rodeo.

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!

Photo Credit

The Unlit Province

That should be Manitoba’s new slogan. Forget “Friendly Manitoba”, it’s all about “The Unlit Province”. Upon arriving to Brandon, I have continuously noticed how dark it is around the city come evening time. The street lights come on, but they aren’t particularly great, and they aren’t everywhere. It’s rare to see a street with street lights the whole way down, on both sides. Whenever I’m driving at night, I’m constantly squinting (and no, my eyes don’t need to be checked!) and I’m watching out for anything that could creep up on me. I don’t want to hit anything! Honestly, driving around Brandon at night is like driving in the boonies.

Another issue is the lack of highway lighting. For example, when I was coming home from Thanksgiving from Boissevain, 40 minutes south of Brandon, I couldn’t believe that the number 10 highway wasn’t lit. At all. Not a street light to be found. It was pitch black. For a high way that has a decent amount of traffic, I was confused as to why they haven’t invested in some street lights. I was totally paranoid that I was going to hit something…and guess what? I almost did! A coyote was right on the shoulder of the road when I drove by it, only seeing it right as I drove by – because it was so dark!

So Manitoba, I have a bone to pick with you. Why don’t you light up your streets and highways better? Bring the province into the light!

The Prairie’s “Wish Book”?

As I checked my mail this evening, I scoured through the box and saw bank bill, hydro bill, Ontario jury duty crap…and a catalogue. I was intrigued by this. It’s a Cabela’s catalogue for the Winter/Holiday season, and it claims to be the “World’s Foremost Outfitters”. As I started going through this catalogue, I soon realized it wasn’t all happy-go-lucky CHRISTMAS TIME, YAY! It was, hunting, hunting, kill, kill, winter wear, hunting, hunting, kill.

In the first few pages, you come across CUTE STUFFED ANIMAL HEADS that are mounted to a wall post, as in to give children a hope of one day hunting their own animals and mounting them on their wall. I gasped with my jaw wide open. These are STUFFED ANIMALS, PEOPLE. Stuffed animals! You can’t leave the real ones alone, why can’t you leave the the fake cuddly ones alone? Oh, and then there is also the rugs. The stuffed animal rugs. Like, you know, a fake bear rug. A fake moose rug. My jaw, still opened.

Everything is camo in this catalogue. Everything. Even the pj’s. And after the winter wear section (the only redeeming thing about this catalogue), it’s all guns, rifles, ammo, hunting bows, other hunting gear and mounting kits.

THIS is where I have moved. Yes, to a place that is obsessed with hunting animals for fun. Hooray! Yippee! I love my life…(note the sarcasm). This may be the one thing I refuse to embrace while living here. And I know people here don’t get it, but I don’t get what’s so great about hunting…ah well, the differences will always exist.

A New Pace

I’m used to the hustle and bustle of southern Ontario. Getting places very fast on the 400 series highways…making it to Toronto, Burlington or Oakville in record time. Here, things are a little different. People drive slow. Going 50 in a 70. Going 40 in a 50. Or, they actually go the speed limit, which I’m still not quite used to. They take time doing things. People just aren’t in a rush to get things done.

I’ve had an averse reaction to this initially. I still like the rush, but there is simply no rush here. However, I’ve been thinking, is this new, slower pace the end of the world? Maybe it’ll be nice. Maybe people are slower paced here because they just enjoy and appreciate time a little more than those in Ontario do. Maybe they just enjoy life a little more. Less stress. Less anger. More life. More love.

So, I have chosen to embrace the slow-paced life. I will at least try. Driving a little slower shouldn’t kill me, and taking a more laid-back approach to life may improve my quality of life. Who knows? All I know is that it’s happening, and I’m learning to embrace this new life slowly, but surely.

The Lay of the Land

Colours and Brands

Ever since I decided I was moving to Manitoba, I have been obsessed with farming machinery and learning about it. I haven’t done so well so far…but I think I kind of know and understand combine’s (for Ontarioans: pronounced calm-bine, emphasize the calm – like, without any L sound).

So anyway, this post is not about combine’s, but I’m just letting you know all know about my extensive farming knowledge which is why I brought them up. This post is actually about general farming machinery and how you can tell the brands apart. Thank you, Sara for giving me this very helpful lesson!

Alright, first, you must know that there are “the big three“. These brands are John Deere, Case IH, and New Holland. You got that? Good. Now, we go into colour definition.

John Deere is obvious. It’s green. And the most expensive out of the three brands…apparently they may (or may not be) the best brand you can buy. However, John Deere is obviously totally snobby and all like “WE ARE THE BEST”.

Next, we have Case IH. They are all red. Case obviously wants you paying attention to them, which is why they chose red. They want to stand out and say, “Hey, we’re totally awesome and rockin'”, but at the same time, make sure they aren’t as snobby as John Deere, which they do well.

Finally, we have New Holland. How appropriate for me. New Holland decided that it wanted to be different, and well, since it’s New Holland, it’s obviously more tolerant to all colours of the rainbow than the other brands. This is why their combine’s are yellow and yet, their tractors are blue! How exciting! Their message is “We’re different, and we love everybody.”

How could I ever choose which brand to use if I were a farmer? Such a tough decision…however, I think I would go with Case IH (I know, shocker!), just because the red feels right. I will remember this in the future if I ever decide to become a farmer.