This past weekend my small town celebrated its’ Pioneer Day with a parade, amusement rides, contests and a rodeo. And while we always go to the parade, and sometimes the amusement rides, we never go to the rodeo.
1. We’re always too tired.
2. We’re typically not up on events in the community, so we typically don’t hear about things until after they happen.
3. My boys are fearless and will try anything, including the most dangerous events.
For those of you who are not familiar with Mutton Bustin, it is a rodeo event where children of a certain weight limit compete to see who can ride on the bare back of a sheep for the longest period of time. Most children last only a few seconds before falling off.
Granted, Mutton Bustin isn’t exactly the most dangerous event at the rodeo, but in my mind, it is the precursor to the most dangerous event… bull riding. So you can understand my apprehension of their involvement at any level.
And while I try to discourage the rodeo altogether, there have been several occasions when various people in the community have encouraged our rowdy little braves to enter the Mutton Bustin competition.
The boys have always been eager to participate in the event, but for all of the reasons above, we simply never made it around to going. But this year, one of our boys was competent enough in reading to read all 500 signs posted around town advertising the rodeo.
Being that there was a threat of a few showers in the afternoon, we agreed to let them ride… thinking the rain might change their minds. And also, using reverse psychology combined with Murphy’s Law, we calculated that our arrival to the rodeo combined with the precise timing of the coming showers, the chances of actually receiving more than a trace of precipitation would be increased considerably. We certainly needed the rain.
We were definitely going.
There were a total of 16 Mutton Bustin competitors that night. Some willing, some not so willing. Mine were willing.
To my relief, the rides were short, sweet and harmless. None of the kids were seriously injured during the course of the event.
Thank goodness for the sheep fighters on duty to avert the sheep’s attention from the young riders.
Then the announcer relayed the forecast of a tornado warning coupled with heavy rain to hit within the next 15 minutes.
Knowing that our family would be proud to learn that their young kinfolk were champions at Mutton Bustin, we texted the news while we waited in the traffic line of frantic spectators trying to get out of the rodeo parking lot.
The responses varied.
“Congratulations! What’s Mutton Bustin?”
“Do you know we are under a tornado warning?”
“Ride a sheep to the nearest storm cellar!”
“Did you know there are rotations in the sky?”