Wednesday, January 16, 2013

Premature Rodeo - Just Like Premature Christmas Decorations

All this weekend, Diva's favorite country station has been running commercials announcing that come Monday morning, January 7, the station will become "Rodeo radio!!!" in preparation for the 2013 Houston Livestock Show and Rodeo. (I'm writing this on the 6th--yes, really. Ten days early. The Other Eight are shocked, as they should be.)

And I'm like - seriously? The Rodeo opens on February 25. I mean, between now and then there are all kinds of events--dances, barbecues, auctions--that individual county rodeo committees will be doing in the run-up to the Big Show. The huge barbecue cookoff that serves as the official, public opening of the HLSR is February 21-23. That's more than a month away and they're promo'ing the hell out of it on TV and radio. I'm not ready for this! I haven't even taken down the outside lights or the Christmas tree. It's only Epiphany Sunday, for Heaven's sake!

(Every year, when Hub starts grousing that it's time to take down the lights, I briefly consider going Full Redneck Woman and leaving the damn things up all year long. But I can't. I just can't.)

And now I have to prepare for Rodeo. Which means Go Texan day at Diva's school soon, which means a new pair of cowboy boots because I'm sure she's outgrown hers. A new, cowboy-style shirt for her. She wants a new hat this year, too. (My child has a large noggin.)

She had a big head at 3, and it hasn't gotten any smaller since
I already have lovely cowboy boots, and I don't wear real cowboy hats. (I wear the faux-cowboy straw hats, with beads and feathers and stuff). The country wear stores here in Houston sell gorgeous, and very expensive, rodeo outfits for women. Lots of glitz, glitter, studding, leather, painted denim. Haven't bought anything in ages and I won't, until I get this weight off. I am SO not ready to fit into my rodeo jeans. But I do have a month to work on it.

My first date with Hub was at the rodeo; his grandmother (who rarely leaves her house, and I don't think has ever gone to the Rodeo in the 60+ years she's lived in Houston) gave him two tickets to the George Strait show. It's very cheap to get into the livestock show, but tickets to the actual rodeo, which includes a concert, are more expensive and some acts sell out. George ALWAYS sells out.  

They were pretty good seats (this was in the Astrodome, which was still open in  1997.) Hub didn't want to see the livestock, so we just got there in time to eat, have some drinks, then get seated for the rodeo itself, which I love.

I like to watch the calf scramble: A bunch of young kids stand on the perimeter of a square in the dirt. In the square are a bunch of calves. There are more youngster than calves. Every youngster has a rope. The calves are released, and the kids chase them down and try to tie them up. Once a kid gets a calf roped up, s/he has to get it back into the marked dirt square---and the calves don't wanna go. But when it's all over, each kid who managed to rope a calf gets to take it home and raise it. A free calf is a really big deal for a kid who wants to raise livestock. They raise the cow for a year, then bring it back to the next rodeo for auction.

I also enjoy bronc riding and cattle roping. Barrel racing, which is a ladies-only affair, kind of bores me.

So that night, George put on a great show. The place was fully packed, and a group of young women on our row, some seats down, kept screaming at the top of their lungs in full fan frenzy. (I've never found George hot, but lots of women do.) Hub started imitating the girls. Every time they'd shriek, he'd shriek. I thought it was hilarious. They couldn't hear him over their own voices, so they weren't offended.

After the rodeo Hub insisted we go to the carnival.

This is the actual HLSR carnival. It never changes.
I guess everyone grows up with their own rodeo traditions. My dad worked all his life for companies that made and sold feed for livestock.  He had customers out in little towns all around south and east Texas. He had lots of pictures of kids who'd won prizes for their cows, or pigs, or rabbits, and had bought their feed from Daddy. When I was a little girl, Daddy usually had a booth at the livestock show with brochures and samples of his products. We always got free rodeo/concert tickets. The first concert I ever saw was at the Rodeo - The Osmond Brothers, early 70s. It was AWESOME.

Anyway, my parents never wanted to do the carnival, so that date with Hub was the first time I'd ever been through it. It's just a carnival. We rode the Ferris Wheel - which I really don't like, because I don't do heights, but I wouldn't say anything since it was our first date and I didn't want to look chicken - and it was raining a little, and he kissed me at the top. Quite a good time.

Back when I was single, I always made it to the barbecue cookoff. Saturday night is prime man-meeting time. All the radio stations and other companies have big tents with lots of beer and food, and music and dancing, and people just walk around for hours looking at other people. Lots of pretend cowboys are there. (As Holly Hunter's character in Saving Grace said said of rodeo cowboys, "Whoo hoo! Loose men in tight jeans!")

We've taken Diva and the Monsters to the carnival, and they love the rodeo itself.  The Monsters' mom--my sister--has always been an enthusiastic rodeo girl, with the boots and the jeans and the hat. Skinny Bitch looks great in ropers.

My sister's the brunette at the front. Not in ropers here but still, you can tell she looks good. This is at the rodeo, year unknown.
So now I have to do the Annual Post-Christmas, Pre-Rodeo Diet.

Cowboy up!


PG Forte said...

You have rodeo jeans? The things I learn on this blog! Do they differ from non-rodeo jeans in some way, or am I being obtuse?

I had cowboy boots once (year unknown, circa Urban Cowboy) and an awesome hat (much more recently) both long gone. Ah, moving: the decimator of my wardrobe.

Sydney Somers said...

I was gonna ask the same question LOL Sadly, I've never had cowboy boots, or a hat for that matter, but that adorable pic of Diva makes me think I was missing out growing up. :)

Kelly Jamieson said...

Rodeo! My parents took us to the Manitoba Stampeded a few times when we were kids. We all bought cowboy hats (my dad's was bright red!) rode the rides, watched the bucking broncos. But I was always a little uncomfortable and worried about the animals...once a horse fell during a barrel race and I was afraid they were going to have to come shoot it because it couldn't get up. I was crying my eyes out.