After a bit of a break, back to our story…

Posted: August 2, 2005 in Uncategorized

Driving up to the Rockies from the west coast, you get sort of prepped for the jagged backbone of the continental divide by all kinds of geological formations. However, on the east side, the Rockies just appear in the middle of gradually rolling plains like an overturned truck across a freeway. Venturing out onto the plains away from the alpine crags and forests has the feeling of setting sail on a tan-colored ocean, leaving the jagged coast behind you. Driving through Greeley, this sudden and plainly artificial break in the horizon is like coming up on an overdeveloped island. The Greeley Stampede, a yearly event that celebrates heartland values the way the Country Fair in Veneta celebrates denial, brings in the surrounding farmers like commercial fisherman to port. Mind you, this is no foreign sight back home, but in this case, I feel like I’ve drifted into an episode of King of the Hill, and I’m expecting someone to start waxing poetic about propane and propane accessories. However, the first order of business when we walked in the gates Saturday night was to purchase cowboy hats, so we’re not so much blending as getting into the spirit of things.

The next few days are a mixture of visiting with family and winding down from driving. Sunday is breakfast with family, shopping and the new Batman movie with my dad, and finally the night’s entertainment at the Stampede, the demolition derby. A part of me has always wanted to see one of these, and really, watching some 18 cars in a small dirt arena smash the living bejezus out of each other is oddly satisfying. Because honestly, everyone has those moments of temptation while diligently driving down the street to just plow into the side of the man obliviously talking on his cell phone, and in that arena, car number 34 just took sweet vengance on the Mercedes that cut you off.

After another hike up into Rocky Mountain National Park with my dad and my aunt Dayna on Monday, the next round at the Stampede is the rodeo. During highschool, I spent some time in the saddle, so a professional rodeo is both a new experience and a form of nostalgia for me. We have arena-side seats, which not only give a great view of the action, but also give a more personal view of the people working the rodeo. Riders, handlers, rodeo clowns… These guys put in hard days, and you can see it in their faces and just the way they stand. For Greeley, this is a yearly event. For these guys, this is just one more day of getting thrown in the dirt for a living. At the end of the night, I reach out to shake hands with a passing rodeo clown who nearly got a colon exam from a bull that wasn’t quite done for the night, compliment him on a job well done, and he passes me his cheesy Napa auto parts sunglasses.

I’m going to keep my hat and those sunglasses for a long time.

  1. muffster says:

    not only do you make me laugh you afford me the opertunity to examin life and my place in it. that was wonderful. thank you.

  2. Anonymous says:

    not only do you make me laugh you afford me the opertunity to examin life and my place in it. that was wonderful. thank you.

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