Sunday, July 19, 2009

Dairy Day 2009

It all starts happening on Friday evening. Months of preparations result in the roughstock showing up at the rodeo grounds, ready to put on a great display of bucking at Saturday's rodeo.

Volunteers arrive to prepare the rodeo grounds, ensuring that the arena has a soft enough footing (but not too muddy). The food and beverage stands are stocked with the necessary provisions, the public announcement system is installed, sponsorship signs are taken out of a dusty storage room in the old Brockway railway depot and hung on the bucking chutes, and the kids enjoy the freedom of playing in an arena filled with dirt.
We get a lot of people at the rodeo from both near and far. But it is the residents of Brockway who are by and large the most excited about a day off of work. Danish Cowboy was greeted with "Happy Dairy Day!" when he called an excited neighbor on Saturday morning. It's like Christmas in July around here. The cars and horse trailers cross over the mighty Redwater and line up on the hill for a hot afternoon of socializing and cheering. (I, however, lined myself up directly on the sofa at home until about 4:00 that afternoon. Kids are the BEST excuses for avoiding hot, dusty rodeos. Besides, the fun REALLY begins after the rodeo.)
Wandering around near the bucking chutes, I am struck every time by the fact that sometimes this is Marlboro country and the cowboys appear in large numbers. But beware: there are cowboys at these rodeos, and there are preppy type people at these rodeos and often you will see the preppy type who thinks he is a cowboy. Need I go further? No matter what walk of life you live in, you KNOW this person. There are cowboys observing their competition,
cowboys warming up their horses,
and cowboys who are doing something, only I don't know what. Sometimes, sometimes, you just see the cowboy. Know what I mean?
And lest you get discouraged, there are also plenty of cowgirls at this rodeo. Modern cowgirls, on cell phones,
and cool cowgirls who aren't afraid to play with the boys AND wear hot pink. Thank you, women's rights people. There's no reason a chick shouldn't be allowed to swing a rope. I hope her and her partner kicked ass in the team roping, but do you really think I paid attention?
And of course there are the beautiful (and expensive) horses of many colors. Roans and buckskins, Paints, chestnuts and palominos. And no, please don't ask me if my horse was here. He wasn't. Read here to understand why.
The crowd tends to gather around the beverage stand and grows progressively larger as the day grows progressively hotter. "Why", do you ask? Ummm, probably because there is beer there.
Since I had my butt firmly planted on the sofa until 4:00, I was only able to get pictures of team roping. I am really sorry. But this is the true essence of the rodeo. I have lived here since 2002 and I can' t honestly say that I actually remember any of the events of a rodeo because there is just too much going on and too many people to see.
But team roping is rather eventful. A steer is released from the chute, and two horses take off after him. The header ropes the head, and the heeler ropes the heels of the back legs. When the animal is pretty much suspended in mid-air, time is called. Fastest time wins. Sounds simple, eh? You try twirling a rope. And then try getting it on something standing still. And then try riding a horse going at full tilt, zigging and zagging with a steer and then successfully roping it.
It's a long day for everyone.
But an extremely joyous one all at the same time. We see friends that we only visit with once a year and the kids get to experience a rich, albeit dirty, cultural event that in some respects is not much different from what it was 100 years ago.
And one of the best parts is that we can give the kids a fairly good rein on freedom, because around here, there's always someone that will watch out for you and your kids, and give them some love when they're feeling a little worried about the big crowd.
But when the big truck leaves, the crowd pretty much clears out of the rodeo grounds and moves to downtown Brockway for a dance and supper. The Brockway rodeo grounds are again desolate for another year, but the memories will stay alive for us all through that time.
Our little family of four made it to the Brockway hall for supper and a dance. We stayed out until nearly 10:00 visiting with friends and dancing the night away. Danish Cowboy and I rarely dance together anymore. Probably because we rarely go to dances, but most likely because we have two little people that enjoy a little two-step of their own. And so we twirled around the hall to the sound of live music: waltzes, polkas, and jitterbugs. We were dizzy with excitement and seeing the smiles on our kids' faces. And you know what it was like? Robert Redford gave the true essence of a country barn dance in The Horse Whisperer. The cowboys who always seem to have just the right spring in their step, the socializing, the kids twirling and two-stepping on their own. Go see the movie. Get a taste of what it feels like. And come to Brockway next year for our 100 year celebration.

1 comment:

  1. Oh, I so appreciate the pictures of the rodeo -- and of your preciously beautiful, sun-kissed children -- but you are breaking my heart that there are no pictures of the dance. I am seriously falling in love with Brockway -- get the Sears and Roebuck guest room ready. ;)