Monday, September 14, 2009

Oh, you mean this isn't the famous street in Hollywood?

We go to the fair!

Some people don't like the fair, but I love it. All the crazies come out for it, are you kidding me? I wouldn't miss it for the world. Also, fried food.

"I think I need an enormous corn dog," the DNB says as we walk towards the large coliseum building where the high school rodeo is being held.

"It hasn't even been an hour since we last ate," I point out.

"Right, but I'm not uncomfortably full yet," he replies.

We take our seats and eagerly await the start of the rodeo. I've never been to one, but I watch TV, so I know it will involve tight Levis and lassos.

"WE'LL GET STARTED IN JUST ONE MORE SONG, FOLKS!" the Announcer shouts in an impossibly thick southern accent.

Since we're about as far north as you can get and still have running water, the accent totally throws me. Maybe all rodeo people have southern accents. You know, you wouldn't understand: it's a rodeo thing.

The anthem of rural America, "Cotton-Eyed Joe," ends, and the opening ceremony begins! The rodeo contestants are announced, and as they take their places around the arena, the Announcer introduces us to the reigning champion. She rides in on a horse, her blue sequined shirt shining under the lights. She carries an American flag. As she gallops in a circle, the Announcer speaks of freedom.

"The greatest part about being an American is freedom. Freedom of religion." He pauses dramatically. "That means that no matter what religion you are, you have the freedom to believe in the Lord Jesus Christ as your Savior."

The DNB and I glance at each other.

"Would you pray with me," the Announcer continues. I am so thoroughly confused. He prays for a long time. He thanks God for the gift of life and for the rodeo and for a lot of other things that seem unrelated to bucking broncos. He ends by inviting those who don't know the Lord Jesus Christ as their personal Savior to accept Him into their hearts.

And then he invites us to sing the National Anthem. God and country.

The formalities completed, the rodeo begins in earnest as a group of 7th graders line up to ride the bulls. They hang on for dear life until, one by one, they're bucked off and land heavily on the dirt.

"Is this really safe for kids to be doing?" I hiss at the DNB. "I mean, it's one thing to watch a professional bull rider getting gored, but these are just little guys."

"Oh I'm sure not that many of them get gored," he replies happily. He's really enjoying this.

Maybe this is why they start with prayer.

The Announcer, lacking the genteel nature of a true southerner, has no trouble lambasting the riders. "We haven't shown the talent," he drawls. "But we've got it!" Somehow, he's managing to be worse with kids than I am.

A boy gets thrown into the wall and grabs the railing, hanging on like a smashed bug. "Third best in the world!" the Announcer shouts. "He'll do better next time...."

While the calves are brought in for the roping portion of the evening, the Announcer plays "Jessie's Girl." "I'd like to remind you folks," he hollers over the music, "that tonight's rodeo champions will win a silver belt buckle!"

They're getting gored for a BELT BUCKLE? They're all ALREADY WEARING one.

The DNB isn't listening because he's distraught that there is no Rodeo Clown.

"But every rodeo needs a clown..." he notes sadly. Then he waves dismissively. "Let's just go."

Outside, we can still hear the Announcer. "Maybe our next rider will be the one to put up a good score...."

No comments: