One of the most recognized rodeos in the nation is the Pikes Peak or Bust Rodeo in Colorado Springs, CO.  This year, we decided to visit.  What fun!  I am a bigtime rodeo fan, and we haven’t been able to attend a rodeo in several years.  We had a blast!

First in line was the Mutton Bustin’, aka kids trying to ride a sheep. As if that wasn’t entertaining enough, JR decided he wanted to volunteer. 

Getting the safety gear on.

And he’s off!

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-5o_8tVYsls

He was so proud of himself.  Unfortunately, the older kids rode a bit longer than he did, so he didn’t get to qualify for the actual rodeo round.  Therefore, he and M have decided to practice on the sheep back at the farm when we next visit.  Guess I have to figure out a chute system—and a time when Grandma isn’t around to witness her sheep being treated like livestock instead of wooly pets! 

This rodeo had an educational section on the grounds, so we took advantage of it.  Following up on our tour of the gold mine the other day, the kids got to try their luck at panning for gold.  JR did quite well, but M just couldn’t stay dry.  Everytime she swirled that plate, water would rush off it and straight down her shirt!

We recently had a discussion about Native American Indians and how they used tipi tents.  JR was having a difficult time picturing how these little structures worked, so it was perfect timing that there was one on display at the rodeo! The kids got to walk around the inside, feel it, and see how it worked as a house.

After the tipi, we headed over to watch the rodeo get started.  The kids loved the clowns and the chuck-wagon races, with their favorite part being when the wheels on one of the chuckwagons fell off mid-race.  I’m not sure if that was staged or not, but it was quite humorous!

It is difficult to see in the photo, but if you look closely in the stands on the opposite side of the arena, you will notice all the people in the center 3 sections are dressed the same.  As it turned out, this particular rodeo “matinee” was dedicated to the military.  As a result, the U.S. Air Force Academy held a “mandatory fun” day for the in-coming basic cadets–roughly 1250 in number.  These are the cadets who just arrived at the academy, are going through basic training, and will soon enter the academy fall semester as freshman.  We just happened to be some of the only folks in civilian dress sitting in that section on our side of the arena.  We were surrounded by cadets, and the kids thought it was great!  It was also one of the first chances the cadets had had some free time to eat what they wanted, unrationed and unsupervised.  It was so funny watching them totally PIG OUT!  Interestingly, the majority of men spent the rodeo hours inhaling any kind of meat they could get their hands on, while the majority of women ate as many sweets as possible.  Must be a hormonal issue!  There was also the occasional smart cadet who took the opportunity to grab a few hours sleep.  I don’t know how they do that sitting straight up, but I guess if you are tired enough, you can do it. 

The half-time show included something I have never before seen…a wild-cow milking contest.  Because it was military-appreciation, all the contestants were active duty military.  They assigned 3-4 people per cow, and the wild cow was wearing only a halter and lead.  The goal was to use team work to wrestle the cow into a position where 2-3 team members could hold/control the cow while the remaining team member milked her into a bottle.  He only had to get one squirt, but it was much more difficult than it sounds with a wild cow!   And funny to boot to watch it all take place!

Finally, no rodeo is complete without a display of John Deere tractors!  (This is just for Grandma)!

We had a great time, and look forward to lots more rodeos in the future!

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