The trailer’s unhooked and parked at the edge of the field in the trees. Horses have been unloaded, brushed down and are tied where they can relax until they're needed. The truck, backed up to the arena fence and tale-gate dropped. Ready to become front row seating for the early morning slack and afternoon performance.
People visiting, mingling with friends and family. Going about preparations for events they’re entered in. Little ones are excited to be part of the mutton busting and calf riding.
Next up the generation ladder, kids wait their turn to ride steers and team rope with a sibling, parents and good friends.
Teenagers and adults alike warm up horses for calf roping, steer wrestling and barrel racing.
The younger generations hone their skills swinging ropes at bales of hay. Tying calves manufactured out of half an old tire, with legs made of four sticks cut to the appropriate length. Watchful mentors giving advise and praise over the efforts being made.
The announcer has done his sound check. The rodeo clown is finishing his face paint and running through his scheduled antics in his mind.
Stock contractor trucks had pulled in the day before to unload the rough stock. Local ranchers supplying calves and steers have long since been and gone in the early morning hours. All the animals safely penned in corrals behind the arena.
The performance starts with a grand entry. Introducing community leaders and organizers that have worked hard in preparation of this day. Recognition will be given to the oldest and youngest entrants, local celebrities such as a student who has won a scholarship, rodeo royalty from another town, the timers, the judges and pick up men.
For those who came, performed their best, and maybe, just maybe, were lucky enough to take home a little bit of the prize money, the luck of the draw was on their side.
At the end of the day when the trucks and trailers pull out of the rodeo grounds, heading home, there was a comfortable feeling of belonging.
This was rodeo forty odd years ago.
Author, Photographer, Lover of Life