Great Plains Rodeo 2003: Day 1

Behind the arena, a horse takes pause from lunch to ponder the fella with the camera.

The first day of the rodeo began with usual ceremony. Grand Entry has groups from area rodeo chapters prance around the arena with flags a wavin’ and shirts neatly tucked. There’s singing of the National Anthem and O Canada, which is really a ploy to let us know what lurks under those Stetsons and Baileys. A riderless horse is guided around during a prayer for cowboys lost.

Then it’s on to the events. I got to catch up with folks and enjoyed myself. I tend to spend more time than I probably should in the vendor area, but I knew the DJ and a t-shirt seller. Mark Weigle also performed to a sadly empty audience. He sang that Bears song and kept pointing my way during the chorus and I got all red faced. I really don’t consider myself a bear from the outside, but if you’re one of three people there, and the only one with a beard, I can understand the mistake.

Dinner at McDonalds had our small party drooling, and the conversation was light and fun. A great bumpersticker idea surfaced, but it has legs, so I won’t blow it.

That night, it seemed that it was the goal of many to get me good n drunk (of course, I just liked to think that – my yoga teacher does say, "It’s all about me"). Regardless, there was success with more bourbons and sevens than I can count (they were watered down methinks, or I have one helluva stamina).

I remained upright though, and managed not to fall into the pool. I met a great feller from Kansas City, handsome dark features, wonderful graying beard, a photographer. He likes ’em "beefy" but I’d still like to find out more about him and his work.

Lessee, what else? Well, as I start to get drunk, I get huggier. I was staying at a remote hotel that night, so when a friend from Hot Springs was leaving, I opted to take the ride back and leave my car there. It was a great first day.

I drank as much water as I could, watching some nonsense on HBO and drifted to sleep.