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Riding Rough Stock

Rhen practicing for mutton busting

Tiarnan, winning her over with a hug

 

Riding Rough Stock

The rough stock waits in the chute.
Riders tug, straighten their chaps,
screw down their hats, squint and gauge
the critters they aim to ride.

“Now, folks” chants the announcer,
“The third go-round, Mutton Busting.
The riders are six and under,
weighing less that fifty pounds.”

 

Tears flow as a young rider
hugs tight to his father’s leg,
snuffles into the dusty denim.
“Cowboy up!” A brave nod.

A brother and sister–busters both–
adjust the numbers pinned to
their shirts, tug at the safety vests,
exchange cowboy hats for helmets.

This is serious business.
The rider drops onto the back
of the ewe with the wary look.
This isn’t her first rodeo.

Some grab the bucking strap
snugged behind her front legs—
a handhold on the shorn sheep.
Some wrap their arms around her neck.

“Let me tell you about this critter,”
Blares from speakers overhead,
“She’s known as Baaaaad Bessie—
and she’s never been ridden!”

The rider swallows, and nods,
and the chute gate flies open!
The ewe bolts like lightening
spies the white line dusted in the dirt,

And jumps! The youngster tilts
and turns, seeking mom, or dad,
and grips harder on every wooly bit.
The ground looks hard.

Then boom, the dirt rises up,
grit fills teeth, nose and eyes,
suddenly flooded with tears.
The crowd cheers, and claps.

Angelic, the Rodeo Queen appears,
smelling sweet—with hugs and smiles,
and a salute to bravery,
with a dollar bill, a shiny ribbon.

The mutton buster remembers
how the bronc riders do it,
brushes off the dirt and the tears,
and waves to the crowd.

 

 
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Posted by on June 16, 2018 in Animals, Family, Folks, Poetry, Sheep

 

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Little Snake River Fun Day, with rain!

Siobhan and Chief round the barrel

Siobhan and Chief round the barrel

Each year, the Little Snake River Lions Club sponsors, with volunteer help, the annual rodeo and Fun Day.  Fun Day features an amateur rodeo and lots of family events like ribbon roping, junior bull riding and mutton busting.  A high point is the pig and chicken catching by community members of various age groups, from under 2 to adult women (hey guys, are you cowards?!)

This year, an added feature was rain–the first in many weeks.  Nobody cared that they were muddy as they chased barrels and pigs.  All were really happy to see the moisture.

Kylie and Matt Feldman, ready to ride

Kylie and Matt Feldman, ready to ride

Matt and Kylie heading for the barrel race

Matt and Kylie heading for the barrel race

McCoy in the barrel race, with a little help from his Mom

McCoy in the barrel race, with a little help from his Mom

McCoy doffs his hat to the crowd

McCoy doffs his hat to the crowd

Seamus mutton busting

Seamus mutton busting in rain

Tiarnan, Meghan ready to chase chickens

Tiarnan, Meghan ready to chase chickens

Rodriguez guys, of El Rio Restaurant fame, serving burgers

Rodriguez guys, of El Rio Restaurant fame, serving burgers

Eamon and McCoy's pig

Eamon and McCoy’s pig

Sage, pig and Eamon

Sage, pig and Eamon

McCoy on fence

McCoy on fence

Tiarnan and McCoy with snowcones

Tiarnan and McCoy with snowcones

Trouble on the fence:  Maeve and the kindergarten girls

Trouble on the fence: Maeve and the kindergarten girls

Megan and Meghan following an unsuccessful pig chase

Megan and Meghan following an unsuccessful pig chase

 
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Posted by on July 12, 2013 in Animals, Events, Family, Folks, Sheep

 

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Day of Fun at the Little Snake River Rodeo

Day of Fun at the Little Snake River Rodeo

Each year, the Lions Club sponsors the Little Snake River rodeo at the Russell Community Park, near Dixon.  The kids’ events, including mutton busting, chicken chasing and pig catching are a highlight in our family. It is also the source of our pork, since we feed out the pigs that the grandkids and their cousins catch, and enjoy the locally grown meat in the winter months. We give the chickens to the neighbor, since our Border collies mistake them for lunch.

pig catchers line up

Meghan and Tiarnan–all the under 2’s “caught” a pig

Megan, McCoy and his pig

Maeve, ready to run

Seamus thinks about strategy

Siobhan surveys the pigs

Matthew chases a pig

A girl and her chicken

Two hats

 

 
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Posted by on July 21, 2012 in Animals, Events, Family, Folks

 

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