‘r’ is for Rylie… my most favorite child. Ever.
‘r’ is for Ropes Courses… my major and income since college. It’s quite a different world out there now, what with every corner putt-putt having an ‘adventure course zip line time of your life’ offer. That’s not what I do. I mean, I do fun and all… but it’s a bit more structured. And, helpful. And, funny. Somewhere out there, Rebecca (an ‘R’ worthy of her own post) has a hard-copy photo of me doing my job. That photo, taken with me unaware, speaks volumes of how I work when I’m on the course. I’m comfortable and in control. There are few areas in my life where I can say that… um, almost none, in fact. But ropes and ropes groups are my kind of thing.
‘r’ is for rodeo… Spanish for ’round up.’ There are few things I like better in life than going to the local county fair. Our Kent County Fair has an award winning outdoor rodeo on the last night that we try never to miss. Rodeos officially started in 1888 in Prescott, Arizona… but the grass-roots history goes back much further. Ranching is hard work, and the cowboys/girls need a little release. So, like anyone in their respective field, they turned their work into a competition. “I bet I can get that calf safely on the ground before you can.” “I bet I can ride that wild horse longer than you can.” “I bet I can herd that lost steer back into the pen faster than you can.” And on and on.
I’ve been going to rodeos ever since I can remember. Being an adolescent in Texas pretty much guarantees you a seat in the arena every February and July, and I can remember spending high school Saturdays out at Johnny Boren’s ranch watching my friends-who-were-boys learn to ride bulls. It’s just how it was. But, there’s something more to it all… something I think that appeals to all people- country or not. It’s the heart behind it. The kids who ride for the first time… in their beat up boots and shiny new hats, carrying the American flag. In the anthem that most people cry through because there are always soldiers down front, and it is a patriotic crowd. In the cowboys, who paid their entry fee and hope to make enough just to ride on to the next town. In the clowns… trained professionals who protect every rider from a wayward bull and give us laughs in between. It’s the fact that people will sit on rickety stands in Lowell on a Saturday night and cheer on a hometown hero who’s famous for just one night. And it’s my child, who is transfixed by the fringe and the horses and the lights.
It’s just a down-home, simple good time. I’m up for it anytime.