What do you think of when you think of what was once the wild west? What became of the land that a little over a hundred years ago was a lawless territory full of cowboys packing heat, roping cattle, and stirring up trouble? Have their descendants left that life to heir ancestors? For the most part, yes; we aren’t just a territory anymore and times have changed but we haven’t completely lost touch with our gun slinging ancestors.
Today my hometown is still full of cowboys embracing the lifestyle to the full extent of the law (although everywhere has it’s modern outlaws and we’re no exception). Where I live cowboys still roam in full gear (hats, boot, etc.), there are four feed stores within a twenty minute drive from residential areas, cattle wrangling is basically a sport and almost everyone who can afford to has a horse. Basically we’re deeply rooted in the country, this stands true for most of our county, even in the cities you see the history of our land shining through into modern times.
There’s no time of the year where this southwestern country spirit is celebrated more than this weekend. Why? Because for the next four days…. drum roll please…. rodeo is here. In most places rodeo might seem like a little thing that comes once a year and lasts a day or so, is acknowledged by the few interested in it and then not made a big deal of. That’s not exactly what happens here.
As crazy as it may sound, rodeo is a holiday where I live. We ignore President’s Day completely and jump into the four day extravaganza that is rodeo. It’s such a big deal in fact that it warrants giving students a holiday from school and either shutting down businesses or having fewer employees come in.
Not only does the town basically shut down for rodeo anything else planned that long weekend has to be scheduled around rodeo, and I do mean ANYTHING. A few years back a childhood friend of mine died and was scheduled to be buried on rodeo Thursday. Well his funeral had to be scheduled around what was going on with the rodeo, the only road to the cemetery was blocked off, and the funeral was slightly delayed as the path had to be cleared.
I know every town has their own crazy traditions that give it character, for my hometown its rodeo. Personally I can’t stand rodeo (just call me Miss Scrooge) but I wanted to share our craziness about the event, or “holiday” really, with everyone. I’m curious to know what traditions or events that other towns go all out for. My town ignores Presidents Day completely and shuts down for rodeo, which I have to admit is kind of fitting when you look at our regional history, what do they do where you’re from?