Vegas Baby, National Rodeo Finals

Yep. I am in Vegas. I always think of that bald actor who played Kojak on TV doing those commercials for Vegas. Or maybe Elvis in his Viva Las Vegas or better yet Jello Biafra doing Elvis.
I am at the National Rodeo Finals. My dad wanted me to see him in action with all his old rodeo buddies. They were the outlaws of their day. In the thirties and forties cowboys were the thing. Serials at the movies showed singing cowboys like Gene Autry out there riding the range doling out justice and the American way to the bad guys, big burly dudes with lots of five o’clock shadows and black hats. Fake cowboy towns sprang up all over the east coast especially in the Catskills and Adirondack mountains of New York. The Rodeo Cowboy Association was created and Rodeos became more than just a local get together in western towns for real cowboys to show off their skills roping calves, wrestling steers, riding broncs and bulls, trick riding and all the various cowboy related activities. This became a business. Not a big one, but it was a living and many a young poor boy tried his luck paying a few bucks for an entry fee to get a chance at winning the first prize at the RCA sponsored event.
People came from the big cities wanting a taste of the danger and exotic life of adventure that they saw on the screen in real life. People like my dad and mom provided a show my dad riding bulls and bareback broncs, my mom doing trick riding. Back in those early days of the rodeo it was more of a lifestyle and alternative culture. It was a way to make a living and pass the time without having to settle down to a square job in the city. It was a rough and tumble life of riding, getting bucked off, kicked in the teeth, busting your head open and generally getting beat up to entertain the city folks and to win the prize that might get you enough money to buy yourself some land and a few cows to start your own ranch. That was often the dream. But for most it was unachievable, unless you already came from a ranching family and had an inheritance to fall back upon. For the majority of these rodeo cowboys it was a life lived out of jalopies, shared hotel rooms, one night stands with the local girls, late night parties and then the afternoon or evening rodeo and then a long drive shared with your buddies to the next rodeo down the line.
The members of the association would travel to where the prize money was best or to the nearest rodeo they had money for. Often as not they would be broke and the guy who won at the last rodeo would spot entry fees, gas money, drinks and whatever for the guys who had lost. It was a life of camaraderie, hard drinking, lots of wild sex and the occasional fight with the offended lover of the local gal who decided to give it a whirl with the cowboys passing through town. It was a safe way to get a little adventure for some of these small town girls who had reputations to protect back in those so called more prudish times but from the stories these old cowboys tell, people were just as wild and fun loving then as we ever were in our most decadent rock n’ roll days.
This morning at a historical society breakfast someone who collected photos of the rodeos was showing pictures of the Madison Square Garden Rodeos in NYC from the 1950’s. These were group shots of guys with names like “Punky” and “Good Times” people known for partying and fighting. In the photos half the guys looked like they had just come from an all night party with their eyes a little bleary but with their big Tom Mix ten gallon hats and scarves and bright silk or plaid shirts with the pearl snap buttons, the big brass belt buckles announcing the events they had won at different rodeos and those finely tooled leather belts, lizard skin shit kicker boots and the Levis, Wrangler or Lee Rider jeans that were de rigueur. These were guys who lived life on the edge, many having grown up in poverty durring the depression following the only path they knew to achieve their version of the American dream.
Most of them ended up taking square jobs in factories, or working as ranch hands or like my grandfather as a rodeo clown when they were too old to show. Bull riding and bronc riding are the most demanding physical sport along with professional football and professional boxing. You get many jolts to the head and concussions are a way of life. By the time most guys reach forty they are too old. Some areas like calf roping you can do longer but that is a more financially demanding sport, you have to have a good roping horse and if you are a team roper you need a partner with a horse. Same with steer wrestling you need to have a horse and you have to be a pretty big guy to be able to wrestle a full grown steer to the ground.
Some people think the rodeo is inhumane to animals. They feel that the cows and horses are mistreated. But you have to consider what the life would be for most of these animals otherwise. Cows go to feed lots to be slaughtered. Bulls get castrated and slaughtered. Wild horses go to dog food factories and glue factories to be slaughtered. The Rodeo provides a relatively humane and easy life for these animals that otherwise would be going to become food for someone. They are only rode for a few minutes at a time, they get well fed and on the off season they are out to pasture where they graze.
It could be argued that they should be left to nature, but in nature most cattle would not survive. They have been bred for so long to have a relationship with humans that most domestic cattle would survive about as well as your pet poodle. Not to say that there are not wild cattle in parts of Africa, but for the most part cows and horses, like cats and dogs have long become acculturated to life with humans.
Now the Rodeo is more of a business than it was in the days of my father. The prizes are bigger the training is more scientific and like all sports it has become something of an industrial process rather than an activity that humans undertook to celebrate their lives. Rodeo such as the Buffalo Bill Cody Wild West Show began as a commercial take off on the taming of the western frontier of North America. The same thing could have happened on the Australian frontier and to a lesser degree it has and in the South African, South American and Steppe culture of the nomads of central Asia. The western frontier of the United States was the one first commercialized and romanticised, partly through the efforts to promote immigration to the country from Europe by business interests and partly because of the development of commercial advertising in 19th century capitalism as pioneered by adventurous marketers like P.T. Barnum.
Cody seeing the success of Barnum and the beginnings of traveling circuses and the traveling minstrel shows along with big tent christian revivals was able to come up with a unique variant by staging recreations of famous battles in the west such as the battle of the Little Big Horn where Custer met his match and was defeated by Sitting Bull. This was a popular show that made its way to the great nations of Europe in the 19th century.
What emerged in the 20th century with the traveling rodeo was a combination of Cody’s show and the competitions of a traditional sporting event forming a hybrid that over the years has become more of a competitive sport and less of a show. What I remember most of all from my own early childhood traveling around from rodeo to rodeo with my mother was the bright lights, the crowds, the costumes and pageantry with its rodeo parades, quick draw contests for kids and then the main events. This was like the traveling circuses, before TV took over and people stopped going to that sort of event as often for a nights entertainment.
We stayed at the hotel and watched the events on the big screen TVs of the Orleans Casino where we were staying instead of taking the shuttle bus to the actual rodeo. My dad preferred the comfort of the constant noise of the Casino with its cavernous dark environment, restaurants, bars and easy access to the room. At least we get to see the action live.
But no free WiFi here. It is pay to play. $12.95 a day. It has a pretty fast connection. Even the Starbucks charges for what should be free WiFi in Vegas. Its pay to play all the way here.
The joke going around is “Where are you from? Bluer, Texas. Where is that? About 800 miles due north of Dallas.”
I am not sure why it is funny but when it is told in that dry Texas cowboy draw by some old weather beaten cowboy with his ten gallon hat on, it is funny. That is the word from Vegas.

Tags:

2 Responses to “Vegas Baby, National Rodeo Finals”

  1. Williams Messenger Says:

    Hello, I like your site! I will be back again.

  2. admin Says:

    Glad you liked it.

Leave a Reply


  • famvir
  • hardi sprayer booms
  • moen danika 82833
  • death defying hoodoo gurus wiki
  • meds peds
  • astelin
  • i'm bringing the party to you gif tumblr
  • bontril
  • argo 6x6 top speed
  • superdrive macbook pro not working
  • epipen
  • wow privat pvp server instant 80 deutsch
  • macrobid
  • new screamo heavy metal bands
  • carbohydrate deficient transferrin normal range
  • hyzaar
  • kennedy group home kinston
  • important facts elizabeth van lew
  • haak austin video
  • d100 wifi router manual
  • why can you only take prevacid for 14 days
  • oreck sweeper parts
  • cod world war nocd
  • freecycle baltimore yahoo group
  • timolol
  • famciclovir
  • antivert
  • sure romance online apotheke
  • medroxyprogesterone
  • sony dsc-t99 charger
  • lamotrigine
  • tadalis
  • coller .001
  • poornam boorelu moong dal
  • rosuvastatin
  • tiffen dfx mac free
  • paddock publications inc company
  • azathioprine
  • happy wanderer vine lilac care
  • can i take ambien and benadryl
  • suncoast rv koa campground in lake park ga
  • educomp smart class
  • direccion comision estatal de derechos humanos xalapa
  • jokiel grzegorz marcin
  • lorna wikipedia singer
  • paranoid black sabbath video
  • slowdown football 2010
  • polycell mould killer
  • dail dinwiddie wikipedia
  • vial crimper tool
  • plaque stability atherosclerosis
  • you've attempted to upload a document but the feature
  • completion contract method tax
  • code of chivalry of european knights
  • leave the pieces lyrics youtube
  • minion mod yogbox
  • cabinet belletoile maisons-alfort
  • yoga pier malibu kiis fm
  • oracea
  • kaczmarek electric mtb
  • nebivolol
  • system abend 80a
  • prodigy omen song download
  • skin care products chemo patients
  • aldactone
  • anatomy ribs male female
  • nokia 5800 software download for pc
  • amlodipine effects
  • luana rodriguez suarez
  • what kind of choke for 00 buckshot
  • mapa aeropuerto cancun zona hotelera
  • castelli italiani famosi
  • b-cell chronic lymphocytic lymphoma
  • ntsb safety recalls
  • blunauta roma villa paganini
  • sarge's heroes n64 rom
  • mertz 9716
  • uroxatral
  • coverall buildings
  • animales sin hogar foro
  • pages blanches canada sherbrooke
  • damn regret lyrics meaning
  • disable hotkeys autohotkey
  • incisional biopsy vs excisional biopsy
  • used auto parts rockford il
  • provincia di enna
  • momo wang violin
  • escentric molecule perfume
  • ponder gondho
  • cheatham palermo & garrett
  • paroxetine hcl oral suspension
  • lorelei hammond ukiah ca
  • acadian lines antigonish
  • diablo iii characters wiki
  • amoxil
  • gnomish army knife mop
  • max prilosec dose
  • homogeneous vs differentiated oligopoly
  • husqvarna sewing embroidery designs
  • 2000 diesel pajero for sale
  • neoral
  • air canada aircraft a319 seating
  • route demonstration saturday 26th march
  • celadon pokemon fire red
  • sony dsc-s40 white screen
  • 10 worst serial killers usa
  • bahama momma drink recipes
  • evernote plugin safari lion
  • paroxetine qt prolongation
  • dhc-6-300 wiki
  • universidades particulares ciudad xalapa
  • best buy honeywell air purifier
  • knotted plow line
  • dragonball z tenchi budokai 3
  • libreria arquitectura santiago chile
  • .avi codec for kmplayer download
  • when do babies lose their gag reflex
  • posturepedic foam mattress reviews
  • 2-56 countersink
  • darmowe gry dla dzieci dora poznaje swiat
  • shift-jis art generator
  • antabuse
  • crofton skating rinks maryland
  • st anthony padua cyo basketball
  • ssbb subspace emissary 100 walkthrough
  • fcr breakpoints diablo 2 sorc
  • movies does amanda bynes play
  • ingmar relling siesta
  • abacavir
  • que es hydroxyzine pam
  • what is this thing in the jewish doorway
  • generic paxil price
  • tribble testing rewards
  • flora llanos orientales venezuela
  • birte quitt xing