We took the kids to the Enterprise Rodeo last night, a 3-night, old school, amateur rodeo held in the tiny farm town of Enterprise, Utah [pop. 1,200 or 1,700 or so]. It was packed, and awesome, and it's completely turned me off of professional rodeo for good.
They didn't have mutton bustin', but they did have bullriding. At least they tried to. While PBR is like mainlining adrenalin, amateur bullriding is the most boring event of the evening. There was only one successful ride out of maybe 15 attempts last night; the most interesting thing was the bulls chasing the horses afterward, or the one bull who full-on sat down and refused to be dragged out of the arena.
More interesting were the tons of kids/junior events, and we only realized halfway through that when the kids from all the families around us in the bleachers wandered off, it was just as likely to be to compete as to get a snack.
K2 also did her first chicken chasing, where they line up all the kids under 6 in the center of the arena, then let loose a couple dozen chickens. And the kids chase'em down and catch them. It was as hilarious as you could imagine, right down to the disappointment on our city kid's face when some 4-yo farmer snagged the chicken right in front of her. He let her pet it, though, which was nice.
Not that the rodeo didn't have its issues. There are pretty solid gender gaps, as you could imagine. Which, whatever, I guess, it's not like the English riding world is a gender stereotype-free paradise. It's just interesting to see. After the all-girl color guard did their elaborately choreographed flag procession, accompanied by someone's homemade patriotic country music mixtape, the rodeo royalty was introduced. The rodeo equivalent of the beauty pageant wave, elbow-elbow-wrist-wrist, is to come galloping into and around the arena at full speed, leaning into your horse, with your right arm extended in a stiff wave/salute, your blonde hair flying behind you.
Which isn't the point. The point is names. Here are the top names of junior contestants in the Enterprise Rodeo, in no particular order:
* Rodeo Royalty