July 29, 2014

When In Rome. . .

When in Cowboyland, do as the Cowboys do.

I took my troop to their first rodeo.  I smiled as I debated whether to describe to them what happens at a rodeo, or watch their expressions as they unexpectedly watch a horse bucking crazy and thrashing a man around as he clings like a rag doll on its back with one hand.  I wondered if they would be horrified if I didn't warn them that a cute little cow will run out of the shoot as a cowboy pounces off of his horse and throws it down on the ground as fast as he can by grabbing his horns and twisting its legs out from under it by the neck.

Ahh, the excitement of a rodeo.  Sounds gruesomely PG-13 doesn't it?  Did I warn them? A little.  They just needed to watch first and when their eyes got wide enough I would step in and explain.

No trauma here -- they loved every bit of it!  That is, except for Bridger.  I knew it was going to be trouble when the announcer started off by having everyone pound their feet on the metal bleachers.  We nearly had to leave before we even made it to our seats.  

I thought I would document the "phases" of Bridger's first rodeo:

First we start out with him watching the horses while wearing the noise cancelling headphones to endure the sounds of the crowds and loud announcer.  Then we move onto headphones connected to his ipad - which is a sensory calming device for Bridger and gets him through hard situations.

Then visually experiences become to much so he wants his "cocoon" to shut out the outside world, while he still plays his ipad with the noise cancelling headphones so I cover him with a towel that I come prepared with from home.

Then he is near the all-out mega meltdown and I am trying to buy as much time as I can for the others before we have to abort mission.  So I pull out the wallet and buy the glowing sparkle sword thingy from the vendor walking around the arena.

The sword, in this case, bought me an extra 15 minutes before we had to leave.  We made it an hour and fifteen minutes total - leaving only 45 minutes early.  That's over half of the rodeo that we got to stay for -- nearly a record for us!

There is a lot to learn at a rodeo - beyond the skills and scores.  I learned that I am missing a critical element in my life.  I need a Pick Up Man.  You see, a cowboy is thrown and ricocheted violently back and forth from the bucking horse as his hand is tied to the saddle. When his 8 second ride time is over, a man on horseback will come galloping next to his wild horse as he unties his hand and clutches the waist of the rescuing cowboy who pulls him off of his wild horse to safety.  That rescuer is called a Pick Up Man.  I need me one of those.

I am on a wild ride and getting bucked and bounced pretty hard some days.  My hand is tied.  I need a Pick Up Man to get me off this crazy horse.  My 8 seconds are up.

It was a nice thought to chew on as I watched the rodeo.  Reality is, I am on this wild ride for a lifetime.  I'd better hang on tight. .  . and maybe treat myself to a cute pair of boots while I am at it.