I was at a Stampede last night. No, not the Calgary Stampede, but at the High Country Stampede Rodeo at Fraser, Colorado, a small town high in the Rocky Mountains. There was bull riding and cow roping and bareback bronco riding and barrel racing and mutton busting and calf scrambling. Yea, mutton busting and calf scrambling, but we’ll get to those latter.
The Saturday night, Fraser, Colorado Rodeo is a truly local, small town rodeo. It is fantastic. The participants are not famous rodeo stars from around the continent, but folks from local ranches. They’re not rodeo pros, they’re ranchers, men and women who ride horses for a living and play at the rodeo on weekends. I loved it because to me it was real. It was real in the sense that it was real life, regular folks entering competitions and having fun. There were teens and moms and dads all out there putting on a great show for everyone and having a lot of fun. Big, rodeos like the Calgary Stampede are great, but they are different from a local rodeo. I loved this rodeo because it was just ordinary ranchers having fun and competing with one another. The rodeo was well done, professionally done, but not by a bunch of high paid professionals.
Mutton busting? Kids between three and six years old riding a sheep, just like the adults who ride bulls. Except the kids wrapped their arms around the sheep’s neck and held on for dear life. Yes, don’t worry, they wore a helmet! Calf Scrambling? All the six to twelve year olds in the audience, city slickers and ranch kids, let loose to chase 4 calves which each had a ribbon tied to their tail. What a site, what a messy, gooey bunch of kids as they ran, fell and tumbled through the dirt and ???? trying to grab a ribbon. This was a family rodeo, pure fun, pure joy to watch. Families out together having a good time. It made me realize again how precious our families are and how we need to spend time together and have fun together.