St. Paul Rodeo. St. Paul, OR
What better way to celebrate our nation’s birthday than a few miles from where Oregon was voted into America? As I shared in my last post, it was at a spot right in Champoeg Park in 1843 that settlers voted 52 -50 to come under the provisional government of the United States. Just a few miles down the road from that historic spot you’ll find the little western town of St. Paul, Oregon.
For the last 81 years St. Paul has turned out a family friendly PBR and PRCA rodeo over the 4th of July weekend. For many this is an annual tradition. For me, it had been about 15 years since I’d last attended. A number of the people I went with this year on July 2nd had never been to a rodeo, so to see it with someone seeing rodeo for the first time was an experience. I think they enjoyed themselves…at this thing they call rodeo.
Afterwards the group was comparing their favorite parts of the rodeo. Despite thinking long and hard, I am not sure which part of rodeo is my favorite.
I really enjoy watching team roping. While one rider ropes the head, the other ropes the heels of the steer – that takes skill and teamwork.
Then again, I really enjoy barrel racing. It takes guts to ride your horse at top speed and whip around those barrels. Ride, ride, ride!
The clown hits my list though too. He’s got to provide entertainment for the crowds, while also providing some distractive presence between the cowboys and the animals.
The DJ impressed me at this rodeo. My friend Anna and I agreed it would be fun to job-shadow a rodeo DJ. Though having a play-list and knowing generally what to play when, with the clown, the announcer, the mood of the crowds…etc. he could be called to play just about anything and the music needs to fit the moment.
The often forgotten and unnoticed pick-up men in blue hit my list as well. Man, when they do their job right, it is impressive to watch. When they do it well, you hardly notice unless you’re paying attention. They come alongside the bucking animals, pull the bucking strap off and rescue the rider. They’re the ones that actually put roping skills to work at a rodeo. Sure, there are the roping competitions, but those pick-up men better have some mad roping skills to catch stray animals. In a funny sort of way, they exemplify the cowboy at the rodeo more so than the competitors, who might not even be real working cowboys. They’re doing the actual job and not just competing.
It’s boots and chaps
It’s cowboy hats
It’s spurs and latigo
It’s the ropes and the reins
And the joy and the pain
And they call the thing rodeo