Sunday, August 24, 2008

more fair stuff... livestock

Well, I went back to the fair today--- I couldn't help it. I just find it so fun & interesting to watch people, who spend their lives working with livestock, show off the animals they are so proud of.

In the morning was the draft horse show... these beauties are huge Belgians, and some of these girls showing them were about the size of one of their legs.
The judges base their decisions on the physical soundness of the animal, as well as the way the person handles the animal.
There was a costume show for the 4Hers, I especially enjoyed the calf dressed up as a tractor.
And I went to a rodeo for the first time! "Championship Bull Riding"... I had only seen it on television in hick bars before. But now I got to be up close with the real thing. The bulls are quite beautiful, and peacefully chew their cud while waiting for their time in the ring.
I staked out a spot right behind the where the cowboys waited their turn to ride.
I got to watch the whole process where they climb in the pen, situate themselves on the back of the bull, someone else pulls a rope around the back of the bull, ties it in a special knot, then the gate opens & the bull immediately starts wildly kicking around, trying to get that rope off it's private parts & throw the cowboy off.

It's a seriously dangerous sport, and I got to witness some backstage stuff. Like this 17-yr-old rider who I think got his leg stepped on, cringing in pain on the ground behind the ring. At the same time, another cowboy knelt down, took his hat off, and prayed. What a crazy thing to do, get on the back of a 2000 pound animal that's annoyed.
But it was pretty exciting, I won't lie. When they pull that gate open, and everyone's looking at this wild heaving beast.
It felt a little like the old-fashioned gladiator days... with pits of lions & bears tearing people apart.
After 3-10 seconds the rider usually falls off, slides off, or is thrown off. The crowd gasps when he's on the ground and the bull continues to buck, landing heavy hooves close by. The "rodeo clown" comes out to help, and a guy on horseback with a whip & lasso comes to the rescue to shoo the bull back into the pen. As soon as the rider picks himself up, he quickly runs from the bull, sometimes climbing the fence to get out of the way. I felt like I was in the colusseum or something, on these metal bleacher seats, standing-room only. Ah, the fair.

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