Published: Thursday, April 11, 2013 at 04:06 PM.

The 24th annual Old Spanish Trail Rodeo is coming Friday and Saturday at the Barnhill Arena on Highway 4 in Baker. Gates open at 5:30 p.m. nightly; action gets underway at 7:30 p.m.

As much as I love covering high school sports, there's something equally special about covering the rodeo. I like to say that the rodeo is the most traditional of non-traditional athletic events that I cover.

I've always been drawn to rodeos, whether on television or in person. Like most little boys, I dreamed of riding my horse across the open plain as I helped drive a herd to market. The rodeo takes fans back to the days when the nation was still young and reaching for America’s unlimited potential.

What boy hasn't wanted to get on a bucking bronco and break the horse, or jump off a horse to wrestle a steer to the ground?

Being a cowboy is right up there with operating chainsaws and sledgehammers on the list of things that represent the power of being a man.

The rodeo was born from many events that were a part of a cowboy’s everyday life. In another time and place, the winning cowboys would be like an NBA player winning the Slam Dunk Contest or a Major League Baseball player winning the Home Run Derby.  

If you think it's tough for an NFL linebacker to bring down a running back, imagine trying to do the same thing while getting off a horse running full speed and trying to tackle a running back that had horns coming out his helmet.

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