Saturday, 16 August 2008

Ralston Rodeo

Yesterday was the Ralston Rodeo. As you will be aware from my last post, I was one of three women who made up the first all female entry for the Gentleman's Calf Roping event.

Earlier this week "The Prairie Lasses" had a training session from a couple of local ranchers who run the rodeo. We didn't get our hands on a live calf, but we had a dummy made from part of an old tyre and some piping and we used that to walk through the different moves, work out what each of us needed to do and practice the special calf roping knot (see photo on the right!)

So yesterday was our big day. The whole rodeo circus rolled into town and transformed the arena on the edge of the village. (see left) Calf Roping was one of the last events and as everything was running late, it was nearly 5pm before we got to have our moment in the ring!

My team mates Claire & Caz who had been roped into the event by me (no pun intended) were getting progressively more nervous throughout the day. There were two groups of 4 doing calf roping. We were in the first group and although each team had their go one at a time, we were all in the arena together awaiting our turn.

We were third to go and when the first two calves were let out of the traps into the arena Claire & Caz both started squealing and dragging me back towards the fence!

When our turn came, the adrenalin was pumping and my team mates were extremely nervous. The calf was let out and all hell broke loose!

Everyone forgot what they were supposed to do, Caz lost her nerve and I got kicked in the arm - BUT - we did manage to get the not-insubstantial beast on the ground and I had a good go at tying the knot. However the whole thing (which was 3 or 4 minutes at most) was so utterly physically draining that I had no strength left to bring the calves legs together for the knot, so in the end we had to admit defeat!

See the photo of us in action on the right. Caz & I wore dungarees from the local charity shop and Claire dressed as a cow "to confuse the calf". I am very proud of our efforts and the crowd absolutely loved us, so at least we entertained!

The whole thing was filmed, so I will post a link to that later in the week. In the meantime, see more photos of the day here

It's been a busy weekend all in all. On Friday, I celebrated my birthday and we went to see Cirque Du Soleil in Calgary. (see left) We spent five hours on the road just to have a night out, but it was good fun!

Jim celebrates his birthday on Monday too and we've got a canine house guest for the week, Jim's bosses dog is staying with us before flying on to a new posting in Germany - so no sign of things quietening down any time soon!

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