2014-10-29 / Editorial


Don Lively

I’m a ro-de-o de-o de-o de cowboy. Bordering on the insane.

Well, not me.

Jerry Jeff Walker.

He sang those words decades ago but I doubt he ever actually rode bull nor bronc.

It makes a great song though and after attending dozens of rodeos all over America I’d say that ol’ Scamp Walker nailed it with those lyrics.

After all, who in their right mind would strap themselves to the back of a bellowing, snot-slinging, two ton mass of muscle-bound, horn headed rage?

Who would willingly straddle a wild horse whose only job is to buck and twist and rear and bite and kick and do whatever it takes to get you off his back before eight seconds passes.

Or who would throw himself off his own horse, that might actually like him, onto the back of a hard running steer that most certainly doesn’t like him and that outweighs said fellow by double or more, with the intention of wrestling said steer into semi submission.

Who indeed.


Bordering on the insane.

When I left Out West a few years ago to move back to the Blessed South I knew that I was leaving behind the land where a horse and cow culture like no other ever known on Earth was born and still exists today. The west is still western and rodeo, horse shows and stock exhibitions abound.

I’ve been fortunate to have seen the Fort Worth Stock Show And Rodeo, The National Western Stock Show And Rodeo and the Daddy Of ‘Em All, Cheyenne Frontier Days. And in addition to those iconic spectacles I’ve been to many smaller rodeos all over the Rocky Mountain region.

I thought when I moved away that the sounds and the smells and the sights ofAmerica’s oldest competitive sport would be mostly things of my past. As far as I knew there hadn’t been a real rodeo around these parts since I was a kid.

Well, now there is.

Right here in our own little neck of the woods.

The Saddle Creek Rodeo.

Thank you Brother Leroy and Sally Pearl.

I spent a fine Saturday night recently watching our own local version with cowboys and cowgirls as good as any you’ll see elsewhere.

The bulls were rambunctious and primed, the horses were high spirited and ready to buck, the clowns, also known as bullfighters, were funny and the riders were serious minded competitors who were there to earn real points toward the finals in Oklahoma City.

This was the real deal not some jackpot rodeo with worn out old bulls and hayburner horses ready to be converted to Purina.

The event drew riders from all over the country and from as far away as Canada. There were folks from Oregon and England and all over creation who came to watch the action. People who know that rodeo is a bit different from other sports.

In rodeo there’s not a lot of showboating, dancing, prancing or otherwise calling attention to yourself after a good performance.

You try to do a rodeo version of a touchdown celebration once you’ve dismounted from that very unhappy and unpleasant Brahma after your eight second ride and that same bull just might trample you into the turf just to show you who the folks really paid for a ticket to come watch.

Rodeo doesn’t attract prima donnas.

The date and location of the very first rodeo has been in dispute since somebody first asked, “ When and where was the first rodeo? “ My personal opinion is that it happened in Deer Trail, Colorado on the 4th of July, 1869. The closest other option is in Pecos, Texas a year or two later.

But what’s not in dispute is that rodeo has been around as a competitive sport since before Major League Baseball, the NFL and the NBA.

And it’s still going strong.

I’m glad.

And if the crowds out at Saddle Creek were any indication rodeo is just as popular as it ever was. There were people in the crowd from newborns up to couples in their eighties. I saw farmers and bankers and nuclear power workers and car sales people and even a few civil servants. All there to have a good time and watch a good show.

And a good show it was.

It’ll be back too.

I got that straight from the horse’s mouth.

Well, actually from Leroy’s.

I’m already looking forward to it.

Rodeo is Americana at its very best.

Rawhide tough men against bigger and tougher beasts.


Bordering on the insane.

Don Lively is a freelance writer and author of Howlin’ At The Dixie Moon. He lives in Shell Bluff, Georgia. Email Don at Livelycolo@aol.com and visit his website, www.DonLively.com.

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