In swaywiththis

Here for a Buckin’ Good Time 

I have officially leveled up in life — because now, when the opportunity arises, I get to say, “this ain’t my first rodeo.” Let me tell you about my first.

I had no idea what to expect from the rodeo I was roped into attending on a Wednesday evening. But a chance to wear some cowgirl boots? Count me in. 

We hit the wagon trail to Davis Rodeo Ranch in Archdale, North Carolina, about an hour away. What else is in Archdale, you ask? Well, they have a city manager named Zeb, which is a cowboy name if I’ve ever heard one. They also have a place called Spooky Woods, which was voted No. 1. Scream Park in America by HauntWorld Magazine. The rodeo probably isn’t part of the haunt, but maybe they share clowns.  

Anywho, the second I stepped out of the car I was hit with the smells of pure adrenaline, excitement and cow patties. It was an interesting mix. I found a seat on the bleachers and looked around at the rest of the audience. Straw cowboy hats seemed to be the move — they were on every head as far as the eye could see. I was hatless, but determined to yee my biggest haw when the time came. 

The first event was breakaway rope racing, where a cowboy or cowgirl has to lasso a calf while riding a horse. There were a lot of timing rules involved and each “act” was less than 30 seconds. Impressive considering I can barely tie a knot, let alone figure out a lasso. Next was typical barrel racing, when a horse and rider go as fast as they can around three points without tipping the barrels. There was even a version for ponies and riders under 7.

In fact, there were a ton of kids’ activities throughout the night. My favorite was sheep riding? I don’t know if there’s an official name but picture a small child holding onto a sheep for dear life and clinging to it until it falls off or someone catches the sheep.  There were cowboys and cowgirls of all ages both in the rodeo and spectating. Heck, we did the YMCA in the stands. It was a family event, after all. 

The announcer was who really set the mood. He had one of those soothing southern accents that your best friend’s Paw Paw had growing up. No time was wasted between events, keeping the momentum at a galloping pace. 

Among the dust and the, well, musk, I ended up walking away with a pickle. That’s not a euphemism. There was a concession stand void of alcohol but full of sodas, hot dogs and literal whole pickles. A non-branded luke-cold pickle in a plastic bag. Weird? Yes. $2 well spent? Also yes.

I enjoyed my snack during the best and last event of the night: Bull Riding. I have to say, watching that in person vs. on a screen is a totally different experience. I held my breath with each rider — one wrong move and they would really be bucked. Some were thrown off instantly and some made it several seconds. My back hurt just from watching and it made me wonder if bull riders have a chiropractor on speed dial. 

The Rodeo lasted until about 10 p.m., which on a weeknight for this cowgirl is when the cows come home. Now that I know the lay of the land, I’ll definitely be roping some friends into going to another rodeo. 

The next Boot Barn Wild West Wednesday is Sep. 20 at 7:30 p.m.  Admission was just $10 but the whole place is cash only so bring a wad.

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