Friday, July 13, 2012

colorado rodeo magic

*the majority of this post was typed last week, while still in colorado.

the best thing about being in wolf creek is how relaxed the people are.

for example...

at the rock the rio grande could walk $25...and do whatever it is you want to do.  the girls could do the muttin' bustin'; the boys could compete in the open calf riding; i could barrel race (given that i had a horse); and UK could compete in the novice bull riding competition. can only imagine my excitement at this prospect.

because we had a few people interested in competing...we had to arrive at the rodeo venue at 3:30 to get signed in.

at this point...i didn't think there was a prayer of me getting on a horse.  however...the girls were set to ride the sheep, and colt had decided to try his hand at calf riding.

UK was on the fence about entering the bull riding competition...due to a herniated disk in his neck from a fight injury.

after signing the kids in...i ran into holly.  she is the owner of the trail ride company out of wolf creek ranch, which is where the cabin is. this point...she is used to taking us on trail rides and knows us by name.  she was there to watch her step daughter, heidi, compete in the barrels.  one thing lead to another...and i had the honor of getting on paint (the barrel horse that heidi raced) and warming him up in the rodeo arena with the rest of the competitors.  this is a moment that i will remember for the rest of my life.

with the mountains in the background, a gathering crowd in the stands, and an energy that only rodeo cowboys, cowgirls and their animals can exude...paint and i made our way from the trailer to the arena gate.  once we hit that arena dirt...paint took over.  after all...he had been there plenty of times and i had been there none.  he knew just what he was supposed to do and fought for me to turn over control to him.  all i had to do was relax...and trust him to do his job.  he took off with grace...and a speed that made my heart flutter and one hand instinctively leave the reigns in order to hold on to the saddle horn.

i've never gone as fast as paint was willing to take me.

and he left me wanting more.

i would have never been able to race him that night.  paint knew that he was in control of me.  he knew that he could take me wherever he wanted to...(the sad truth of a beginner barrel racer.)

i may or may not ever get to run a barrel horse during the beginning of an actual rodeo again, but i will never forget that the first time i did...i was on paint, with the rocky mountains as my back drop, in a rodeo where my children got to actually compete.  and you'll never believe what happened next...

remember when i said that the girls were muttin' bustin' and colt was calf riding?

well...the girls rode first...and let's face it.  i'm not sure you can call what they did "riding."  annslee was technically too young to do it.  but the "laid back" people that i was referring to before, let her on one anyway and just held on to her and pulled her off the sheep before it started really running.  well...once aiden saw that as an option...she opted for their help, as well.  the difference?  flicka was down-right ticked that the cowboy took her off the sheep before she got to really ride.  and furthermore...she did not appreciate the rodeo clowns trying to get her to dance in the middle of the arena when she was supposed to be winning a sheep riding competition.  she gave them a dirty look and stomped off in a huff...causing the crowd to erupt in laughter and "aaawwwwwws" and applause. 

and aiden?  she was fine with their help.

this is one of my most favorite pictures of me and my girls that i have, to date.

it is so natural.  and so me.

next, they called out for all of the kids that were 7 and under for the sheep scramble.  try explaining that to a 2 year old.

"those cowboys are gonna let a sheep out of that gate over there.  and you are supposed to chase it and pull a ribbon off it's tail.  and yes...all those other kids are going to be chasing it too.  and you have no real chance of catching it.  it's just for fun."  (i did leave that whole "you have no real chance of catching it" part out.)

aiden hung with it.  flicka decided right away that this was a waste of her time and that she'd rather be ON the sheep than chasing it.  i can't really blame her. was colt's turn.

i don't think i have ever been more proud of this kid.  he had never done anything like this...and  he knew he was competing against boys that had.  it was totally and completely out of his realm of comfort-ability.

he had to let go of control....something that neither of us are especially good at.

he is cautious... and he doesn't put himself in situations where he could possibly fail.  especially in front of other people.

but...he made the decision to do it.

and he never faltered or looked back.

calf riding is one step before steer/bull riding.  it is essentially the same drill.  the cowboys lowered him onto his calf and helped him hook his hand in the rope.  i was looking down at him from above the pin and was telling him obvious things like,

"hold on tight!!"

"don't let go!!"

"lean forward!!"

and the cowboys told him to look down at the back of the calf's neck and to stay focused on it.


the announcer announced that we had a cowboy all the way from houston, texas and for everyone to put their hands together for


 and he did everything right.

and he won the whole thing.

i just love how the little cowboy was hanging over the fence...watching colt's ride.

then...colt competed in the calf scramble.  which is the same thing that the girls did...but with a calf.

i think we smiled and laughed all the way back to the stands.  we had been a part of a real-life rodeo.  and it was a ride we would never forget.

we were met by chase...

...saying, "way to go!!!  and mom!!  guess who is here???  marissa!!!  my friend from school!!!"

i thought he was kidding.

what would a friend from school be doing in south fork, colorado?  at the town rodeo, no less?

but sure enough........

she was.

and one rainbow over the colorado rockies later...

2 things were proven to me...down deep in my soul:

1.  God desires to make us smile down here on earth...orchestrating and weaving dreams and passions together and bringing them to life in a way that can only be summed up as


and 2.  chase clarkson can find a friend anywhere.

colt won the very first rodeo award for our little family.

here's to hoping that the magic will continue...

and that there will be more to come.

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