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Saturday, July 01, 2006

Ride ‘em Cowboy

So the last post was about a jazz concert by an Englishman. This time it’s something more local - the Rodeo de Santa Fe. Since Marci’s architectural education took place at a university with a big ag school component, and I lived 18 months in Kansas, it shouldn’t really have take so long for her to take me to the rodeo. But I guess we were a bit busy this time last year.

The rodeo sits in its own grounds out on what used to be the edge of town, but it’s now been overtaken by low brown sprawl. But once you’re sitting in the old-fashioned grandstand with some lemonade (with real lemons in it) and a quesadilla, you forget you’re in the 21st century.

There are more boots being worn by the audience than I’ve ever seen before - kids are wearing wranglers, stetsons, boots and spurs; and so are the dads. There’s a sub-group of aging hippie audience members (this is Santa Fe, after all), and a weird Footballers’ Wives meets All Creatures Great and Small thing going on in one of the boxes. Scantily clad young girls with Jackie O shades are in danger of getting a mouthful of dirt during the team roping event - who knows how they came to be here.

The pageantry was great - an arena full of horses being nonchalantly ridden one-handed is always worth seeing - and the Rodeo Queen did her cool gallop and salute thing, but what I’d forgotten about all this was that it’s a professional sporting event.

The guys trying to ride broncos or bring down the calf in four seconds flat are competing against each other for money, and the chance to go to bigger events in the rodeo world. This might be minor league stuff, but there’s a (hard) living to be made if you’ve got the talent and bravery to do it.

We’d just watched Brokeback Mountain, which put a slightly different spin on things, and you could just see Jack Twist scraping by at rodeos like this. But that aside, it gave me an insight into a different slice of Santa Fe life, away from the galleries and spiritualism and over-educated blow-ins like myself. The sponsors were a Dodge truck dealership, a ranchwear manufacturer, and a propane company - all things you need if you’re living out on a ranch, but not things that get a lot of attention in town.

Posted by David in • LifeSanta Fe and New Mexico
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