"Yahoo," my father said as I departed."Yeehaw, Dad. It's Yee. Haw."
I was off to my first rodeo!
For her birthday, my cousin Virginia wanted to go to the rodeo - it was in town for one night. As anyone who knows me is aware, I never pass up a chance to see cowboys, or horses being ridden by cowboys, or jeans being worn by cowboys. So, I put on my walkin' boots:
And I was not disappointed by the quality of cowboy on hand.
Exhibit A: Cowboy, front-view
Exhibit B: Cowboy, rear-view
Save a horse, y'all. Save a horse.*
Rodeos aren't all man-candy and manure, though. They have to balance the fine ass with some jack ass. Enter, the rodeo clown.
He's searching for his dignity. (SPOILER ALERT: He doesn't find it.)
The rodeo clown kicked off the show with a bang, and by bang I mean a hearty dose of sexual harassment. He asked the crowd for a female volunteer, and every blond UT sorority girl in attendance stood up. He picked the one with the shortest "dress" and proceeded to carry her on his shoulders into the ring. Setting her down, he made a klassy Tiger Woods joke. BANG!
Then he chose a second volunteer from the crowd, a doughy, graying, 40-yr.-old named Steve. The clown did not carry Steve in on his shoulders.
Mr. R. Clown then announced that he was treating the crowd to an episode of American Idol. However, he had clearly mixed his reality show metaphors, as what we witnessed was an episode of So You Think You Can Dance.
Before she even told us her name, we knew the perky blond was called Britney. And we knew her dance would climax with a mock-bull-riding move. And so when Britney bent over and stuck her butt out to the crowd in Thompson-Boling Arena and slapped her ass real hard, we knew that there were some things in life you can count on.
It seemed as though good ol' Steve had been outgunned. But Steve had an ace up his sleeve. He knew the only thing that trumped sorority girl sex show was clumsily earnest Irish jig. Even with an obviously-biased interference by the Esteemed R. C., Steve won the hearts of the country-fried crowd.
Well played, Steve.
The competition element of the rodeo was less exciting than you may think. As it turns out, staying on a bucking bull for 8 seconds really is hard work, but the show is therefore over as soon as it begins. The more theatric part of the rodeo is rating the many variations on chaps. Cowboy with iridescent sparkling fringe won it for me. (Sorry no picture.) The night wound down with the arrival of the emergency medical team. I'm not sure if every rodeo culminates with a man being drop-kicked in the face by a two ton bull, but it definitely reminded me that this is one of the few sporting events you can attend where there is a better-than-average chance of watching a human being die. Luckily, right as I was feeling like a sleazy, blood-thirsty ancient Roman, the man got up and limped off the ring with the help of the paramedic. So ended my latest cultural excursion in Knoxvegas.
(photos courtesy of Virginia Shoemaker)
*Save a horse. Ride a cowboy.