My first Rodeo… Halfway, OR

Monday, September 3rd, 2007

You guessed it right, I had never been to a Rodeo or a Fair! What can I say… besides, as the expression goes, “this is my first Rodeo…”. I had given advance warning to some friends about my going and the feedback received was… truly of boredom and total non excitement! Well maybe I think different than most, maybe it is because this is little town “Halfway” (that is the name by the way…), maybe I see and feel what is under the mundane surface… I can honestly say what a great experience it has been, and still is as I am on my way to watch the parade and maybe one more rodeo this afternoon.

As much as I don’t look or dress like any around here, even though at this point some cowboy boots and hat would be very cool if I could only learn the “walk”, everyone has been just really nice… Sometimes one can be around a crowd of a different lifestyle, as this is more than a hobby, and feel a bit like an outsider or even get some glances as… “what are you doing here…”, none of that here! If I can sum up the experience with only a couple words, they would be “family” and “kids”.

My neighbors, yes… it got crowded here, the Coomers from Baker City, 5 children, I think one more already in College, all home schooled, taught me a lot and allowed me to feel the experience of these few days. All the kids have been showing livestock. From cows to sheep to lamb, some chickens, turkeys, you name it. Three days of showing! They are all groomed, animals and kids (!!!), and shown under strict rules. Mother and son above working on their lamb…

The first day is the animal for its stature, as I was explained… the meat quality and volume. The second day is the judging on how the kids are presenting the animals, sometimes pulling them from the neck for them to stand up straight, tapping their feet for them to stand nice and square… this is when the final ribbons are awarded. And… the third day, mixed with sadness and joy… they are shown one more time to be sold at auction.

But it is not just any auction. The prices are bumped up, a lamb can go for up to $8 a pound, you do the math for a 100lbs lamb. The pigs have gone for up to $4.50 a pound and the big cows up to $1.80 a pound. It is to help the kids, college fund, pocket money, the cost of raising them and advertisement for the buyers, generally local businesses.

Just one big family affair all over the place at all time! A “feel good” experience! This is not big city… this is life getting down to the basics, I did not see a single portable Nintendo game or teenagers on their cell phone, this is grooming, washing, drying… sometimes the adults helping… painting the hoofs!

Just one big family affair all over the place at all time! A “feel good” experience! This is not big city… this is life getting down to the basics, I did not see a single portable Nintendo game or teenagers on their cell phone, this is grooming, washing, drying… sometimes the adults helping… painting the hoofs!

From the “showing” arena to the “rodeo” arena! A few vendors… great ice cream, home made peach pies from, you remember, those organic peaches! Again, to help college tuition funds… how can you resist. There are no quads here, no bicycles… everyone rides a horse I think even before they can walk. Sometimes up to 4 kids on one, leisurely around the arena having a great time, they are the soul of the earth, the next generation for this area that supports so much a disappearing lifestyle.

Spirit has not been part of all this… we did take a ride yesterday again to the Oregon Trail Interpretive Center where an encampment was taking place… he is taking a break in this heat! Dogs are not allowed on the fairgrounds, too many horses, and so I have been walking back and forth at least twice a day!

It will be a busy afternoon, starting with the parade, followed by the “critters costume contest” (maybe I should show up with Spirit wearing his Doggles and a bandana over his head!) and finally one more rodeo with… mule races. It doesn’t really matter if this is anyone’s cup of tea or not… this is not even about the fair or rodeo for me, it is about witnessing the unity of families, the well behaved younger crowd and a lifestyle that goes back to the roots we had it seems… so long ago, replaced today by the electronic gizmos 24/7 in the palm of most hands.

Stand by… there will be more of this! Till then… you all be well.

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Ara Gureghian

853 Vanderbilt Beach Rd #245

Naples Fl 34108

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Ara & Spirit

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5 Responses to “My first Rodeo… Halfway, OR”

  1. Rachel Says:

    This sure brought back memories. We went to the Little Britches rodeo every year when I was a kid. My sister won a Welsh Pony one year in a contest. My parents were surprised and probably a little dismayed when we came home with it in the horse trailer that our neighbor owned. Such fun! Be well and stay safe, both you and Spirit.

  2. PJC Says:

    Good for you Ara! You are seeing, living, enjoying and appreciating the best of America! My close friends live in Joseph, OR which is just over the hill from your present location. Their valley is “picture perfect” and the hospitality in their parts is as common and real as you describe in your post today.

  3. Andy Newell Says:

    MMmmmm. Peach pie!

    Ara, you have found the soul of Western America. God Speed you on your travels!

    Andy

  4. Linda Says:

    Ara, knowing you had such a great time with “real” folk is a testiment to your character. For those that told you that you’d be bored have apparently lost touch with truly living large.

  5. Gail West Says:

    Ara, you photographs are just breathtaking whether they are of a mountain pass or a girl with a sheep. They are good because you really know how to “frame” a photo. In addition, they are so crisp. I can see every blade of grass or each pebble. What kind of camera and lens(es) do you use?

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