Tuesday, September 20, 2005

Buffalo Gals, Won't You Come Out Tonight?

One of the jobs of a parent is to allow children to explore
a variety of interests in a venue that allows them to enjoy
the experience in as safe a manner as possible.

So, once one of the little Janes discovered the Outdoor Living
Network (I think that’s it anyway) and bull riding in particular,
we began to look for ways to investigate it a little further.
For some reason watching grown men being stomped by huge animals
is appealing to my suburban offspring. Mr. Jane asked around
and heard about Cowtown. Before we could make definite plans
to visit, I noticed an ad for the Liberty Pro Rodeo, being
sponsored by the LuLu Shriners, last weekend. On Sunday
afternoon we packed up the family, only got lost once, and found
our way to Plymouth Meeting.

I’ve never been to a rodeo before and found it an interesting
cultural experience. The rodeo riders spend all those hours
practicing and their formal performance lasts from a few seconds to
maybe a minute or two. Most participated in only one event. There
were six events with a “speciality act” in between. A rope
and knife act (British, oddly enough) appeared twice. He was
possibly the skinniest man I have ever seen in my life and his
sardonic humor made a nice foil to the overly enthusiastic
announcer. The main rodeo clown had a dummy with a Saddam Hussein
head on it that he desperately tried to get the bulls to stomp or
charge but with no success. He eventually just threw the dummy on
a bull’s horns. I could have done without the mother-in-law and
fat / ugly girlfriend jokes. The announcer didn’t have a lot of
room to talk, given the amount of overhang on his saddle. Souvenirs
for sale included cap pistols, cowboy hats, dream catchers, and the
like. The one item I saw that peaked my interest was the selection
of “Git-R-Done” hats. (I consider myself a Git-R-Done gal.)

What I noted about this event that I don’t usually see at events I attend was the very patriotic theme. It opened with the national anthem. Flags were a frequent presence. It was definitely a pro-American, but not pro-Bush atmosphere. There were several mentions of the troops overseas but not the administration that sent them. Several times the announcer recalled the Shriners connection, “cowboys ride so kids can walk.” It was upbeat but not quite too “rah rah.” Leftist gatherings don’t have these patriotic draperies quite as often. I don’t recall hearing the national anthem or the pledge when I heard Howard Dean speak. Maybe we need to get the red, white and blue bunting out more often.

Note: This entry posted twice so I deleted the duplicate.

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