We attended the rodeo at the fair last evening. That was an experience we won't forget for a while. Besides the usual bronc and bull riding, and barrel racing they had games for the kids.

Sheep riding was for kids age 6 and under. Yep, you heard that right. Strap a helmet onto your preschooler and throw them at the mercy of an animal. The idea is to stay on it's back for 8 seconds. Mind you, it's been raining all week and after excavating bucket loads of mud off the fairway there was only about 6" of thick muck remaining. You've got these kids laying on the back of the sheep, gripping it's wool for all their worth, hoping that it doesn't run too fast or make too sharp a turn. The lucky ones had the animal that trotted out of the gate and stood in confusion in the mud. The unlucky ones had the sheep that ran for all they were worth trying to rid themselves of this burden on their back. They were awarded points for staying on the full 8 seconds as well as coming off with grace. The muddier they got the more points they accumulated. Some poor kids were barely recognizeable coming off the track. But the winner came away with $20 and was grinning from ear to ear, showing a white flash of teeth in an otherwise muddy mess.

The stick horse races were broken into age groups. The smaller group was to run up to the rodeo clown, kick him in the shins and run back to the starting line, giving that clown a high-five. Kids are learning good manners as well as gaining exercise. What more could one want? I feared there may be some well-bred little girls who would hesitate to kick someone, but sadly I was proven wrong. This was a much less messy competition, except for the poor chap who's horse tripped in the mud and sent him sprawling. The older kids were to run around the clown, who was strategically placed at the far end of a small lake. These kids were out for the money and had no scruples. Several were elbowed out of position and went swimming. But that $20 was worth it. When you're 12, it's an awful lot of money. Gosh, you could buy 10 bags of cotton candy!!

The last competition was to retrieve the Duck Tape off the one sheep in the herd wearing it. Imagine the poor sheep standing there in the mud wondering why on earth they're being eyeballed by an entire grandstand of onlookers, when out of nowhere comes a wild bunch of adolescents screaming and waving their arms. Kids were diving headlong, sliding in the mud face first. The winner was a friend of ours. He looks for ways to get muddy, so he's had a lot of experience. Last year at the fair we saw him actually rolling in a mud puddle. On purpose. Boys.

And that concluded another rodeo at the fair. If there's no rain, next year's won't be nearly as fun. But the parents may be a little happier, and maybe kids won't have to be strapped onto the roof for the ride home.

No comments: