Wednesday, May 22, 2013

Sounds of Rodeo

Sounds of Rodeo.......Standing behind the chutes amid the hustle and bustle of a rodeo production.

It got me thinking about all the Sounds of Rodeo and how they mean something completely different to everyone.  How your mind is fine tuned to catch on to the littlest sound in the middle of the rodeo symphony! 

The silence that falls over a rodeo arena as a prayer is given.  The sound of a crowd rising in unison as Old Glory enters.  The National Anthem proudly recited from every rodeo fans lips.  A bronc in chute number 3, as if on cue, kicks the chute just as the crowd sings..."the bombs bursting on air".  The excitement that builds as the last words are belted out...." O'er the land of the free and the home of the brave!"  Even the horses know that it will soon be time to rodeo!  The explosion from the crowd as the American flag leads them out of the arena.  The crack of the first latch!!!  The crowd a hustle and bustle with talk, chatter, and cheering.

Bronc riders behind the chutes visiting about their draw.  "What's ol' number 900 take for a rein?"  "How's the trail been treating you?"  "Can you hook this back cinch for me please?"  Just another day at the office for them.
Announcer excitedly introducing the next roper into the area.  Lists of accomplishments, hope and dreams are being cast out across the loud speaker.

The sound of slide gates being pulled, broncs sorted two at a time and marching into their chute.  Right and Left orders are given from the back pens.  Opening and closing slide gates.  Neck ropes floating overhead ever so eloquently by masters of the trade.  The snap of flanks getting latched down.

Listening as the calf ropers names roll by, and the end of the section approaches.  "Three to go boys, pull'em down" can be heard from the chute boss.  Latigos tighten.  Reins are measured.

Flankman moves down the line watching as his stock performs. Silently motioning the pickup man's orders. 

Making final flank adjustments. Cowboy snugs the back cinch.
 Taking a seat in his buggy. The nod of the head.  The kick of the latch unleashing an explosion of horse flesh.  The zing of spur rowels!  The crack of strong powerful back feet kicking out the lights!
 You can almost hear the pop as the bronc takes the cowboys chin!  THUD and gasp from the crowd as the cowboy's body is pounded into the ground!  The thundering of hooves as the pickup men rush in.

The bang of metal and horse hoof in the midst of the excitement catches my attention.  The bronc in chute number 4 is fighting in the chute.  Heading towards him I am going through a check list in my mind.  Is he tied in?  Is the flank still on?  Back cinch slid back?  Just a young lil' bay colt that was getting used to coming to town and playing the game.  He will be hear the crack of the latch and be able to show his stuff soon! 

Back in the arena, a victorious bronc show boats his way around the arena before hunting down the outgate.

 You can hear the swing of the outgate and slide of the stripping chute being closed.  All the organized choas works together in perfect harmony of  thundering hooves and horse flesh! Stripped of the cowboys saddle.  The slide gate opens, light hoofs hit the ground as he makes his way back to his pen.

All the while the show goes on, another bronc is bucked.  Slide gates roll fresh horses in.  Soon they shuffle of judges papers will fade as they make their way down to the timed event end again.  The sound of horses anxiously waiting for the cratch of the calf chute and the pop of the barrier string.

So many Sounds of Rodeo to take in ....and I love them all.  Take a second and listen next time and tell me what you hear ....

Thank You so much for traveling the Gypsy Trail with me. 
Here are some other posts you might enjoy:
Happy Trails, Mindy

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Tuesday, May 14, 2013


LOVE EVERY MINUTE!  Not a truer statement has ever been made.

Up before 6 am would be the start of the best weekend ever!
The sunrise was beautiful  in Dillon that morning.  As we headed over the hill to the Big Hole, every blade of grass was greener, the mountains were bluer, the snow was whiter. 

It was one of those mornings that you knew had been prepared especailly for you.

Gathering horses was amazing!  Dan had a nice lil' horse for me to ride and help gather with. As we jogged out to the far corner of the field, I got to visit with Dan and learn a little more about him.  Gathering horses went flawlessly!  (It's kinda one of my favorite things in the world anyway and today was no different, except the flawlessly part ;)  

When the horses hit the top end of field,  right before we would head out the gate, they had to come around a pond.  Big strong beautiful broncs, strung out and filing one by one along the edge of a jack fence and the water line.  You could see there glistening reflection dancing on the water as they trailed by. 

(It really was a morning specially prepared for perfection.  There was a car coming on the highway that we had to cross to get to the corrals.  Guardian Angels were with us because the car passed and the horses blew out the gate thundered across the road with in seconds. 
Another way I knew it was a really great morning, my horse crow hopped a little as we jumped a ditch coming around the edge of the pond...& I didn't fall off!!!  He stopped as soon as I pulled his head up.  He was a very nice horse.  It was just amazing because I am such a sissy usually & would let the tiniest bobble wreck my day.  So grateful to have a horse and be able to gather!)


Sorting and loading would be no different.  It was a slice of perfection!  Jess was on the truck and I was sorting broncs to send to the truck.  They split off prefectly, two at a time and marched to the semi, ready to rodeo!  (My Dad has lectured me my whole life about being handy how to get things down right.  Most the time, I am anything but that.  This morning, it went flawlessly!  It was  such a great morning that as soon as I got service I had to call my Dad and tell him all about it!)

The drive to Missoula was just long enough that you could soak in all the beauty and blessings of the morning.  It was one of those drives where you thought WHAT IF and THEN.  Like...What if, everything works out perfectly!    A morning filled with so many blessings that when a car passed by, you would say a lil' pray for them to have a wonderful day too.

Murphy was a hero again for the 2nd year in a row.  She arrived at the rodeo grounds with saddle horses to run stock through on.  Shuffling broncs around the arena aboard a great saddle horse is a one of life's simple pleasure.  (Considering last year, we were a foot for a portion of the morning...a fine saddle horse was appreciated even more) 


All this and we had barely cracked noon time. I could take a week just marveling in the greatness of these few days spent in Montana. Don't get me wrong, the weekend had its hiccups.  Smoking brakes, a missed horse sort here and there but the good far out weighed the bad.
" I Can Feel A Good One Coming On!"

I started to ponder "Why was this weekend any different than any other on the rodeo trail???"  It probably wasn't really.  The biggest factors, were being surrounded by AMAZING People and having taking the time to appreciate the good that was happening around you. 

 "Iron sharpeneth iron; so a man sharpeneth the countenance of his friend." ~ Proverbs 27:17

Surrounded by Iron!  THANK YOU to Fred, Lynn, and Jess for the opportunity to come rodeo.  Thankful for the chance to rodeo and learn.  A special Thank You to Jess for being so patient and such a great teacher. 
Thank You to our pickup men,  Andy and Quentin.  Great at their jobs and always jumping in to be a team player and get things done. Working with great friends makes everything more fun.
One of the best things about these two awesome pickup men is there beautiful better halves.  Tracey is such an amazing Mom!  Her and Andy are one of those couples that are such an inspiration and makes you believe in real life fairytales.  Ashley is so amazing that when she is gone, it takes 5 people to attempt to fell her shoes, just with the help that she gives.  We missed you Ashley! 

Thank You to Red Eye Rodeo for bringing a nice set of horses and a sweet lil' set of bulls.  Great to work with all weekend.  Always a pleasure to work with new rodeo people.  Thank You to Kale and Corey!

Thank You to Big Sky Region friends!  It was so great to see Olie and her Western team.  No matter how long it's been since you were in Dillon, Olie welcomes you in her arms like it was yesterday.  So grateful for always being a part of that Western Family.  Thank You to Wally, Dale, Becky, Cherian, Doug, and Kortney!  So great to see the ol' crew.

THANK YOU to Kory Mytty and Missoula's rodeo team for the oppurtunity to come put a rodeo on with you.  Thank You to all the volunteers that worked countless hours to make sure the rodeo ran smoothly.  Thank You to Luci for being awesome and letting me borrow a belt.    Thank You to the althletes in the Big Sky Region.  Always fun to see the cream of the crop! Thank You to everyone who brought back a flank, opened a slide gate, and was a team player. 

My cup runneth over!  THANK YOU to everyone who made this rodeo weekend amazing! 
See you down the rodeo trail.