Rodeo Time: A Celebration of the Senses

 

The Stock Show, see, is that place where good folk from near and far and maybe next door or from way down yonder on that country dirt road all come together.

TEN-GALLON HAT OR GIMME CAP, STARCHED JEANS OR DENIMS WITH HOLES IN THE KNEES, FOR THE TIME OF YOUR LIFE JUST SLIP ON OUT TO COWTOWN’S STOCK SHOW

“Hey, yippie-yi-yo-ki-yay!”

Fort Worth, just now.

San Antonio a little later.

Then, Houston.

Then . . .

That’s when country folk come into the city.

And city folk play country.

A time when it is OK to be all hat and no cattle.

Just come on down.

And it is fashionable to wear jeans that are bought for high dollar with the rips and the tears and the holes and the faded look manufactured right into them.

Or, wear jeans that have rips and tears and holes and the faded look that were earned the old fashioned way – in the sweaty cattle branding pens on the ranch, laboring dawn to dusk in the dirt on the farm.

A time when it is OK to not know the difference between Hereford cattle and that place in the Texas Panhandle known as Hereford.

Or, for that matter, Hereford, England.

The Stock Show, see, is that place – big city or wide place in the road – where good folk from near and far and maybe next door or from way down yonder on that country dirt road come together for a little while just to enjoy, have a good time.

Live.

Rub elbows.

Appreciate each other.

Just one big ol’:

H-o-w-d-eee!

Roger Summers

Sorta be one big, happy, gregarious family.

Spend time with old friends.

Spend time making new friends.

Creating memories.

Calling up memories from Stock Shows of another time.

Like the time little Carrie showed the grand champion and it sold for enough money to put her through college. And then it happened again and again to others who came to show at the Stock Show.

And the time little Jimbo showed the prize rabbit and it wasn’t so much the comparatively smaller amount of prize money he got as it was the valuable bundle of life lessons he earned and learned while raising and caring for Mr. Gray, The Rabbit.

Lessons such as commitment, responsibility. The care and feeding of – and, yes, appreciation for — all creatures big and small on God’s green earth.

Lessons that stick with you.

Nudge you into a finer place.

Doing your best.

Keep you there.

The Stock Show is, at once, community.

Conviviality.

Celebration.

People gathering place. People of means. People of little means. People in between.

It is Saturday on the town square.

Uplifting hours at the animal fare.

And the animal fair.

A place where cares ‘n’ woes, concerns, worries, frets, stresses, and such are blessedly thrown aside, if only for a little while.

But maybe for long enough to help carry you through the rest of the year.

Even life.

Just put on your ten-gallon hat – or your five-gallon hat or your 20-gallon hat or your gimme cap or toboggan or tie a scarf atop your head or go hatless for all anybody cares — and show up.

Just get there.

Show up with your at-the-ready Stock Show, big-as-all-of-Texas smile.

Ready for a good, relaxing, invigorating time.

The Stock Show is a place where folks can get a glimpse of life as it once was.

Or thought it was.

The good ol’ days, as some at the Stock Show remark now and then.

And still can be, for those who know how to go about it.

And are willing to work at it.

And many do. And are.

Being older than dirt and having gone to more than a few Stock Shows – some of them back when they were called Fat Stock Shows, the Fat word being later dropped as the world grew more health conscious — I have a few such memories.

Maybe a horse trailer load of ‘em.

One such:

A cousin and I – wanting to save a coin or two in bus fare, decided to hitchhike our way to the Stock Show and having just been tipped on a way to sneak into the Stock Show – got a ride with the driver of a soft drink delivery truck.

Lucky us. He was delivering to the Stock Show. He drove us through the Stock Show gates. No entry charge. We decided to help him load the soft drinks onto the delivery dolly. Lady Luck stayed with us: The soft drinks were to be delivered into the coliseum where the rodeo took place. Naturally, we agreed to help. Once the soft drinks were in place inside the rodeo venue, we loitered around inside until time for the rodeo.

Our first rodeo.

With free entry.

So we got into the Stock Show and the rodeo for free, then later went through all of the animal barns and spent time on the carnival rides.

But, remember that hot tip we had on slipping into the Stock Show?

Well, we didn’t want to waste good, solid, hush-hush, hot-tip information about slipping into the Stock Show just because we had gotten into both the Stock Show and rodeo for free via the soft drink truck driver.

We looked and looked until we tracked down that place at the bottom of the fence where it had been bent upward a foot or so and where enough dirt had been scooped out below the fence to let those who knew about the sneak-in place to sneak in.

And then we did what any kid surely would do in that situation.

We slipped out.

Please click HERE to find Heart Songs from a Washboard Road, a collection of Roger Summers short stories.

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