"Language, as well as the faculty of speech, was the immediate gift of God." ~ Noah Webster

Sunday, January 6, 2013

Cowboy Connection

Rodeo Clown
Last night, we attended the PBR Classic which came to our area for the weekend. For those that don’t know, PBR stands for Professional Bull Riding and I have to say, this event - and really any rodeo event - tops my list of favorites in spectator sports.

In regards to sports, there isn’t anything I love more than to see one pursue his craft, strive to be better and compete with the best. Team work is an important part of most sports and is usually also part of the draw for me. Though bull riding doesn’t generally require teams, support and respect for the other athletes definitely isn’t lacking in this long-time rodeo event. 

Bull Fighters
Needless to say, I love the cowboys that pour their hearts into what they do. I like to watch the anticipation and sometimes nervous looks on their faces as they are in the shoot getting ready for the nod. I also love the cowboy and his horse at the sideline waiting to rope an ornery bull that may not want to go where he is supposed to go.

Of course I love the rodeo clown, who is usually the best of athletes albeit hidden behind his funny costume and make-up. And without a doubt I love the bravery and dedication of the bull fighters as they protect every single cowboy in his hopeful 8 second ride.

I also appreciate the announcer as he informs us of all that the competition entails. The job required of this man is essential to the mood of the event. I love his dedication in continually offering support to every rider and encouraging the audience to express their appreciation throughout the entire competition. Last night, as is usual, there was no failure on the part of our announcer to acknowledge the type of individual that makes up the rodeo crowd. I liked that; I agree and I absolutely love it all. It's like connecting to days of old; to days gone by.

8 Second Ride

As I watched, I was once again thankful for an audience that was polite, respectful and attentive…even more than attentive – simply down right enthusiastic. All though I will have to say, I’ve heard many announcers say there is no crowd like the one at Kootenai County; after last night in Washington (though it was a great crowd) I now believe those announcers. ;-) But the truth of the matter: it’s hard to not be amongst an energized crowd at any rodeo event!

It isn’t simply the excitement of the sport that I am drawn. It’s also the full-of-life atmosphere; the tradition and heritage; and the down-home type of people; all of which make me want to be there.

And even more than all of that, it is an absolute fact that I have never been to a rodeo event that didn’t begin the competition with a Godly prayer, and the National Anthem. Of what other event that one might attend, can that be said? Other than a specific Christian event, I know none. For me, and it may sound silly, the beginning ceremony is one of the highlights of anything rodeo. It’s a display of our roots; it’s standing for our heritage. It is an acknowledgment of the need for God in our lives.

So it was last night, as they dimmed the lights and spotlighted the cowboys that were to ride that evening, each removed their hats, bowed their heads humbly in prayer and some (more than half) knelt as the announcer prayed. In the way of example to young enthusiasts of this sport and any sport, I have to say Tim Tebow’s got nothing on these cowboys. ;-) It was very moving. And as they stood in respect of our National Anthem, I knew once again I was glad to be here as a spectator of a sport that still recognizes the American way and our Christian foundation.

Cowboy Connection
After the competition was over, we decided to stop for pie and coffee. Because it had snowed while we were inside, we thought it best to head directly back to Kootenai County and get our pie closer to home. We stopped at the local Denny’s to enjoy our treat and to talk a little about the competition. I had noticed a couple of men about my age in the booth next to ours. One could see they were really enjoying themselves as they ate.

As I watched them, I had thought to myself, those guys are my generation….though now graying, they still have their long hair from their youth; Levi’s and work boots, and big smiles on their faces. Natives, I thought to myself. (Yeah, I find myself trying to discern that from time to time – merely desiring an old connection.) I noticed one look up, turning his head our direction when he heard us mention the cowboys as they prayed. As we enjoyed our pie and conversation, the two men got up to leave. One of them bent over and picked up a sleeping toddler, probably about 2 or 3 years old, that I hadn’t seen prior.

“Awww, so sweet,” I softly said. “He looks like he has the right idea”. I said to the man who was probably his grandpa.

He returned my comment with a big, warm smile. “We were just at the rodeo,” he told me. “I guess he wore himself out, there.”

I laughed and told him we had just been there, too. “Did he love it?” I asked.

The connection was sweet. All ages, all types, warm, happy hearts…an American dream…a cowboy connection.

Yeah, he loved it…how could one not?

1 comment: