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Sunday, April 10, 2016


It was, in fact, my first rodeo.  Since living in Austin, each year I have seen the signs for the annual event, and wondered what it would be like to attend, but have never had the opportunity. The only time that there was a remote possibility of changing my status, was several years ago, when Samantha's cousin Vicky, and her friends, came to stay, and Chara, my stepdaughter, had offered to be their guide for a couple of nights.  "What about the rodeo?" was said, but nothing was acted upon.

I had been 'on a roll' with my contest entries, and my telephone had been­­­ ringing constantly.  In my determination to win, I had failed to let know all those whom I had entered, that I had entered them into a contest to win tickets to the rodeo. Samantha and Dana were not aware that their names had been put forward. (I would add that in the past,, I have been told, 'put me in for that too', and have obliged. Having obliged when then have not asked, did not seem to be out of order!)  I had mentioned to Dana that it would be exciting to go to the rodeo, and he had simply said, "Why?"  All I did from this point forward was fail to add his name to any contests entered.  However, I filled out the form each and every time in both my name and my daughter's, thinking for some reason that she would want to take part in this great past time.  

On the first Monday of South by Southwest, just before we were about to leave and go downtown to take part in the festivities, my daughter handed me her phone, and said "Answer this".  It was a number she did not recognise, but had not wanted to ignore the call in case it was of importance.  Obeying her command, as I so often do, despite my promise of 'next time I will not!', a voice asked, "Samantha?"  I then asked, "Who is calling please?"  The caller presumed that this meant that I was indeed Samantha, and continued with the conversation, while I was attempting to stop them in their tracks.  " to see Gary Allan, tomorrow night, at the rodeo.  I will email but as it is for tomorrow night, you will have to get the tickets today or tomorrow.  Do you know where we are?"  At this stage, I thought it probably not a good idea to say that this was not Samantha, as the voice on the other end of the line sounded as if it were reading from a generated script, and would be sent like a spinning top across the table and on to the floor.  Instead, I thanked the person whom offered me the most coveted of all prizes, and told her that we would be there to collect the tickets.

"We are going to the rodeo tomorrow night to see Gary Allan" was greeted with such a lack of enthusiasm, it could have been thought that I had just announced that we would all have to work 24 hours a day for the next month!  Samantha, it would appear, was of the same mindset as Dana.  When I said that I had entered her name, so that we could win, she simply said, "Why?"  Jerry, our server whom is a County and Western fan, was very enthusiastic!  Feeling slightly dejected, I offered the tickets to Jerry, at which point, my daughter reminded me (albeit a little tongue in cheek) that she had won the tickets, and they were not mine to give away!

The tickets were collected that afternoon, and as we left the radio station, we checked to see the time the performance started and, perhaps more importantly, where the event was taking place! Fortunately, I had not entered us for an arena in the Dallas area, as I have mistakenly done in the past, but this was at the Expo Center in Austin, where Samantha had taken part in her 'colour runs'.  However, the tickets stated that the performance was for Monday night, not Tuesday, as we had been told, and for a group with which we were unfamiliar! (Not that I was completely au fait with Mr. Allan!)  Turning around and re-entering the foyer, I made our predicament clear to the lady behind the screen.  Much as I was wanting to go to the rodeo, there was no way that I could see myself having the energy to go that night.  The walk from our parking space to downtown, and standing in the baking sun for half an hour to procure a t-shirt for Edward, had zapped me of all vigor, and I was ready for bed rather than for a show of skill!  The receptionist was a little confused, but we had (or more to the point, with my permission, Samantha had) accessed my emails, on Samantha’s phone, to show the discrepancy, and after a little searching, the correct tickets were found.

The following day, I took my boots, and a change of clothes, to the office, so that I could leave at the end of the day, ready to go straight to the event.  After our return from the festivities downtown, Dana had suggested I leave early so that I could go home and relax a little before the big show.  I felt a little guilty considering that I had only technically been at work from morning until noon, and had accomplished little upon my return in the afternoon, but it had not been a particularly grueling day, and it was only half an hour short of official 'quitting time'!  I accepted the time graciously, and went home.  Considering the heat, and the long walk we had taken earlier, a shower was, indeed, the source needed for my revitalisation, and it re-vigourated my mind as well!  I had planned to wear my jeans and boots, but remembered that I had a shirt that would be perfect for the occasion.  Many years ago, I had purchased a white, button down, cotton shirt, with four patches sewn on to the front.  Two boots, and two hats, one of each placed on either side of the buttons, in alternate order.  I also found a suede belt, with tussles, that would put my appearance into the category of 'Western wear'.  Feeling rather pleased with this look, I waited for Samantha to emerge from wherever it was she had disappeared!  

Click for Options"Are you wearing that?" was followed by howling laughter.  When I asked what was wrong with my perfect attire, she held back the giggles and choked, "Nothing!"  Once again, I checked myself in the mirror and although I did look a little 'twee', I found nothing wrong with the outfit.  "Dana thinks you look great", she said as I turned around to ask if we were ready to leave.  I was not so shocked that she had sent a picture to my husband to show him that I was dressed and ready to go, but more at the speed at which she had managed to take the photo, add text, and sent it to him!  "And what did Sandra say?" I asked, sarcastically, expecting her to answer that she had only sent the picture to Dana, and had not passed it on to her neighbor, or any of her other friends.  Instead, she replied, "She thinks you look really good!"  Absolutely astounded at the speed at which she had managed to pass my appearance around, I stood in an attempt to look cross at her action, but was actually in awe of her accomplishment!  "I can't believe you sent that to Sandra", was my next comment, to which she replied, "Cori thinks you look adorable and hot!"  Apparently, my image had not been uploaded to social media, yet, but as her phone 'pinged' again, and Hannah gave her opinion, it was obvious that each of her friends were being given an individual showing of her mother's idea of what was being 'worn at the rodeo this year'!  

Click for OptionsWe arrived at the Expo Center, parked, as far towards the exit as we could, and walked towards the entrance stands.  Once our tickets had been authenticated, we made our way towards the fairground booths and other side shows that were surrounding the 'big tent'.  I agreed to 'spin the wheel' in return for my email address, so that I could be sent some details on the latest truck available on the market, and walked away  with a very nice pair of 'roping gloves'.  We decided that we did not need to ride on any of the fairground options, and went into the arena that was to house the main event!  Samantha handed the attendant her ticket, and I handed mine to a lady next to him.  "I love that top, ma'am.  It's so pretty!"  I thanked her, politely, and then thanked her again, with so much enthusiasm, she was taken aback.  "My daughter thought it was a little bit over the top!" I said, absolutely delighted that someone associated with the rodeo thought I looked the part!  "Oh no!  You look adorable.  It is perfect".  Beaming, and announcing that I had scored two ‘adorables’, I went to join my giggling offspring, and we walked around the booths inside the tent, sampling cake and other delicacies on offer, before finding our seats.  They were quite high up, but in the center so that we had a great view of the sandy oval that was, we presumed, to be the pitch upon where the games were to take place.  

The 'rodeo', as explained by the spokesperson, dressed in far greater embellishment than me, was not only for entertainment, but was an example of what genuine cowboys do as part of their herding jobs.  Animals, despite some thoughts to the contrary, are not harmed in any way, and are very well taken care of.  Bull riding, of course, is more dangerous to the rider than the bull, and the skills that we were going to see were part of everyday life in certain areas.  (Bull riding excluded, I believe.) The lights were then dimmed and the show began, with riders attempting to stay on the bare backs of wild stallions. (Perhaps they were mares, but then being a woman, I think if I were a mare, I would refuse to move out of the stall, just to show who really was the boss!) We watched with the crowd, held and caught our breath many times, before deciding that it was time to take part in the other rodeo experience, to wit, eating a whole turkey leg, and funnel cake!  

Click for OptionsI have never seen a six stone (eighty four pound) turkey, but the leg from which our dinner came must have been from one as big, as a crane would have been more in order to carry it back to my seat, than the plate upon which it was served!  The funnel cake was not at heavy, but just as enormous, and we carried the feast back to our seat in order to enjoy the whole experience! Much as I enjoyed the meat entree, I do not think it is something of which I will partake in the near future. Samantha and I shared the limb and when we had eaten all we could, there was still enough left to feed a small family!  I had eaten to the point of 'never again' and Samantha had eaten to the point of, 'I need to leave room for funnel cake'.  Deep fried batter, covered in sugar, is not for the fainthearted!  I felt my torso become more limber with each mouthful, as the oil that had been saturated into the dessert, swam around my body and lubricated each and every joint!

The remainder of the rodeo show was excellent.  Each cowboy was rated on his skill level, and given points to take them into the next round, or determine whether they were to continue at all.  The winner of one event had been competing for over forty years, which meant his age was technically, but proved not actually, against him.  We clapped, hollered although did not whistle (as I am unable) at all the events, and sat patiently as the whole show, animals, riders and of course the 'rodeo clown' paraded in front of the crowd.

Click for OptionsMy curiosity as to how they were going to erect a stage upon the sandy, uneven ground, was not long lived.  From a side entrance, two tractors appeared, each hauling part of a platform, with drums, sound boxes, and all sorts of equipment upon them. As they made their way to the centre of the arena, they maneuvered into a position where the two parts became one, and the stage was set! Genius!  Once this part was completed, the band members, minus the star, were brought out on the back of trucks, and jumped from the tailgate on to the platform, to start their sound check, and get into position for the 'big man on campus'.  The announcer’s voice was heard before the roar of an exhaust, and in drove Gary Allan in a fabulous new truck, that deposited him and then drove to the end of the ring, presumably waiting for his departure.  

The first song to be played was one I recognised.  Although I could not tell the name, nor sing the tune without prompting, the dulcet tones of this particular track had come over the radio waves and into the car!  I was very excited.  There was not going to be a 'meet and greet' afterwards, but I was not concerned.  I was watching a concert at the rodeo, having enjoyed a giant turkey leg, funnel cake and a whole show to boot; the pun being intentional, as my boots had finally been to a venue where they would actually belong!  

We stayed for several songs, but decided to leave before the end, as the crowd was very large.  Despite being at the exit, when the departure is of many, the routes to the exits are sometimes diverted, and it takes as long to leave as did the show to perform!  

Our trip back to my house was not very long.  Dana and the dog were out walking, and Frank was happy to jump straight into the car after I jumped out.  I told Dana of my experience, and was very animated.  I told him that the ticket attendant had thought my shirt most appropriate, as had many of Samantha's friends! He was more amused than I had been at her broadcast!  

Finally, I was in a position to state, categorically, whenever something comes around that I have previously experienced, that this is 'Not my first rodeo'!  When people ask, "What do you like about Austin?" I am always truthful when I reply, "There is always something to do, and always something new, at least for me!"

Humdrum life is on the menu for next week, although there is always anticipation that something might happen, I am looking forward to a bit of 'humdrum'.  Perhaps, to be more accurate, I should say, 'I have nothing planned'.  However, I can always find something to put into ............... another story!

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