My Thanksgiving vacation included a plethora of thrills at the high-octane amusement park. Thankfully, the Stockyards Rodeo in Forth Worth, Texas, allowed us an opportunity to watch some scary stunts instead of performing them ourselves. Of course, Chris’s dad didn’t waste time telling me that any amateur could enter the rodeo for $100. Despite the possible winnings, I took a hard pass in order to keep my bones intact.
The rodeo comprises a handful of events, each entertaining in its own right. It opens with one round of of bull riding. When this began, I learned that they make the bulls angry by tying a rope around the animal’s genitals, which is tightened just before the gate opens. The contestant who stays on the bull longest wins. Most riders stay on for just a few seconds while some manage to hold on for 10-15. Either way, when the participant is inevitably launched off the bull’s back, two rodeo clowns get the creature’s attention and usher it back into the stables. Typically, the rope that ignites the bulls wrath comes loose when the cowboy is ejected. Occasionally, though, it doesn’t and the bull remains quite salty until the clowns can remove it and lead the animal out of the arena.
The second event, tie down roping, required the contestant to lasso a calf from a horse, dismount, and tie three of the calf’s legs. Again, the fastest cowboy wins. This event was particularly impressive; the skill required to lasso the tiny calves proved absolutely remarkable.
Ladies’ barrel racing was up next, where the women rode around barrels in a set pattern as fast as possible. Knocking a barrel over resulted in a penalty.
Team roping rounded out the professional events. It was similar to breakaway roping, but two riders each must lasso the calf: one ties the front legs, the other ties the back legs. None of the teams we saw were successful in this event, but one came close:
The mutton run gathered the most laughs of the evening. Kids in a certain age group were invited into the stadium and a lamb was released with a ribbon on it. The first child to remove the ribbon won. There are few things funnier than a huge crowd of kids chasing a single lamb around a large arena. Enjoy:
Our night at the rodeo ended with the guy in front of us standing up and announcing to his friends in a high-pitched southern accent that he was “over this…are y’all over this? I’m over this.” and leaving. We waited out the final bull rider and headed out to ride some more stationary animals.
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