Thursday, January 26, 2017

The Square Peg - Time to Get My Cowboy On



The Square Peg - Time to Get My Cowboy On
© S. Bradley Stoner



Let’s rodeo San Antonio! Yep, it’s that time of year again. Time to get out the boots, polish the spurs, and dust off the hat. It’s only a week and a half away. Used to be all I had to do was walk out the door. I was already dressed for rodeo. I kind of had one on my place in the Bitterroot Valley of Montana every day. If not there, then on one of the ranches I worked on. So, boots, spurs, jeans, denim shirt, broad brimmed hat, and sheepskin vest were pretty much the wardrobe of the day... every day. Now, not so much.

There was a time when I swore you’d never catch me in a pair of shorts. Time and Texas heat made a liar out of me. Don’t you hate it when that happens? Oh, I still like my boots and jeans, but around the old homestead shorts and a t-shirt are just way more practical. Besides, I don’t have a back forty or any critters any more. I kind of miss them. My horses were not only my friends, they were transportation and working animals. I rode them hunting. I chased cows on them... even roped from them. To look at me today, you’d never believe that, but it’s true.

A couple of decades of riding a desk and airplane seats have ruined by girlish figure. And no matter how much I walk, how many sit-ups I do, or how many reps on my weight bench I struggle through, it just isn’t coming back. !@#$ it! If only I didn’t like to eat so much. I’m thinking I could benefit greatly from getting back to country living. I never had any trouble keeping weight off there. And, believe me when I tell you this, I ate a lot back then. Conservatively, about twice what I eat now. I just burned it all up. Either that or the tractors and other equipment bounced it off me. Either way... But I digress.

It’s been a couple of years since I went to the rodeo down here. The last time I went, we sat in the nose bleed section. Bulls don’t look nearly as intimidating from that range. I tried bull riding once when I was young. Just once. Those critters are a lot more intimidating up close and personal. The one I got on, gave me a baleful walleyed look as I cinched up the bull rope I’d borrowed from a friend. Well, maybe he wasn’t such a good friend. He was the one who urged me to, “Give it a shot.”

Three or four seconds after the gate opened, I wanted to shoot the bull... and my friend. That critter tossed me so far, so fast that you’d have thought I’d been launched at Kennedy Space Center. And, like they say, “It ain’t the fall that kills ya.” Nope, it’s that sawdust covered arena that feels like a boulder field when you land. I’m not sure what hurt worse, my ribs from the wrenching, my butt from the landing, or my pride as I ran from that snot blowing apparition that decided he wasn’t done with me. Oh and that clown that’s supposed to help riders by distracting those evil bovines? He was too busy laughing. I hate it when that happens.

So, I went back to riding saddle broncs at our local rodeo, which really wasn’t much of a challenge for me since I broke horses for a guy down the road. They didn’t all buck... I actually preferred that they didn’t, but others were twisters, faders, rank, or crow hoppers. After a few weeks of that, you pretty much had a feel for what the cayuse was going to do before he did it. I stayed in the saddle, but I never did make a lot of style points on my rodeo rides. Guess my spurring wasn’t flashy enough. Yeah, yeah, I know... I wandered off subject a little. Not much, though... this is rodeo stuff, isn’t it?

I think I’ll wait until the second week of rodeo to go. When we last went, we saw a concert after the rodeo events. It was Lynyrd Skynyrd... lots of old favorites sung. This year they have a lineup of a bunch of folks I’ve never heard of, but that’s not saying much. I really don’t keep up. But, among those luminaries there are a couple I’d like to see. John Fogerty and Willie Nelson. I keep missing Willie when I go to Lukenbach. And yeah, he and Waylon Jennings show up there from time to time.

Y’all have a nice weekend, now, y’hear?