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Tuesday, June 14, 2011

Tie your interest to a worthwhile event: The Rodeo

Tie your interest to a worthwhile event: The Rodeo

If you get to the center of the makeshift village that emerged at the Bannock County Fairgrounds, you will be a target.
    This village is made of pick-ups and travel trailers, and those setting up this temporary camp are all boots and cowboy hats.
    Check it out. See if you can get from the middle of all those trailers back to the road without having a rope circle one of your extremities.
    Yes, it’s rodeo time once again in Pocatello as the top high school cowboys and cowgirls in the state are vying for a berth in the National High School Finals Rodeo in Gillette, Wyo., on July 17-23.
    In case you’ve never attended one of these events, one of the first things you notice is the abundance of rope. I’m talking everywhere.
    It was like that on Monday, hours before the first performance of the Idaho High School Rodeo Finals kicked off what should be another exciting week.
    Anything, and I mean anything, becomes fantasy livestock. Practice ... practice ... practice.
    On Monday afternoon, one 8-year-old was trying to ride his bike around, zooming past an array of cowpeople (have you ever wondered why they aren’t called horseboys?), aged from high school to toddlers. It seemed everyone was swinging a rope.
    The cyclist paid the price for not swinging his own rope, as every 50 feet he was dodging nylon. I looked up to notice that one of the cowpokes didn’t have much of a grip as the cyclist sped away, a lasso around his neck and the rope trailing behind on the ground.
    In other parts of the campground, the ropers were aiming at little wooden horses, being moved around on rails or wheels. Mirrors on the sides of vehicles. Check. Trailer hitch. Check. My right arm. Check.
    If I could find a way to separate some of you from the couch and get you out to the Bannock County Fairgrounds this week, I would. Somebody hand me a rope.
    We moan all the time about kids not having a solid work ethic, that they only want to play video games, that they have everything given to them. You have the opportunity through Saturday morning’s finals to see that we might just be wrong.
    In speaking with Preston’s Claira Hollingsworth, last year’s state Queen and an entrant in several categories this year, on Saturday, we talked about the training that goes into rodeo events.
    She noted that one of the things she loves about rodeo is that the competitors really spend most of the time coaching themselves.
    Sure, they get lots of advice from those in the know, but the bottom line is that if you don’t show up for practice, nobody is going to say a word. It’s up to you, and only you. We will give a tip of our cowboy hat here to team ropers, who do have to rely on one another.
    But like the Blake Shelton song says, “Who Are You When I’m Not Looking?” In this case, we can say “Who are you when no one is looking?”
    It’s take extraordinary patience, passion and desire to toil in obscurity to perhaps become a National High School Finals participant.
    They say baseball hitters have a hard time coping because the best only have a success rate of one third. Consider how many times a cowboy throws that rope before he starts hitting the target a third of the time.
    All those off-line tosses in the village, prepare not just aim ... but integrity.
    I asked District 4 Girls All Around champ Kimberlyn Fehringer which event she likes the most. Considering that she was fifth in the nation in cow cutting last year, and a state champ in team roping, I thought she would say one of those two events.
    But she noted that she really likes breakaway roping, especially after winning a national title in seventh grade.
    So has it just been bad luck since then that has kept her from repeating such a lofty standing? “No,” she said. “Just little oopses.”
    One thing you learn from throwing that rope is that things don’t always go your way, no matter how hard to work. You simply make no excuses, pull the rope back and try again.
    If that suits your fancy like a big belt buckle, then by all means make this event a small part of your schedule this week. Performances start at 9 a.m. and 7 p.m. today through Friday. The finals will be held Saturday morning at 9:15 p.m.
    It’s an event that helps to make your community a special place. Why not be part of it?

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