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.
I won't even go into what kind of person gets on the back of a 2,000-plus pound bull and tries to hang on for eight seconds. Yes, it is going to hurt, but cowboys shake off their injuries and head to the next rodeo.
A cowboy’s toughness and his work ethic are parts of our American culture. Cowboys showed us there is a difference between being injured and being hurt, and that we can work or play through the hurt and even some of the injuries that come our way in life.
I believe more than ever now is a time when we need to embrace the virtues of God, country and hard work that the cowboy way represents.
Yes, something about a rodeo touches the heart of us. It’s the heart of America — and I can't wait for Friday night.
Randy Dickson is the Crestview News Bulletin’s sports editor. Email him at firstname.lastname@example.org, tweet him @BigRandle, or call 682-6524.