Recently, I went to my first rodeo. Obviously, the rodeo was held at the Atlantic City Boardwalk, because when you think of casinos and New Jersey, you of course also think of livestock and bareback bronco riding.
Rodeos are amazing! You get to watch grown men compete against each other in an obsolete way of life, doing things cowboys did centuries ago. It would be like watching women compete in butter churning. Or racing to put on corsets.
For example, there is actually an event called ”calf-roping,” in which a cowboy rides a horse and throws a lasso around a running baby cow. Talk about multitasking! I cannot do justice to how insane this looks to someone who grew up in Los Angeles. (In case this sounds cruel, I want you to know that the calf got up and walked away when the event was over. I’m not saying this is the best deal ever for the calf, but it could be worse.)
There was even a sketch comedy act with a horse. I have respect for that. It is hard enough to get your timing right with a person (hi Kinga, my LA sketch comedy partner!), let alone with an equine creature. Sidenote: am I the last person to know that you can train horses to lie on their backs during an interpretive dance?
Another fun surprise: cowboys really do have cowboy names. Here is a short list of the competitors: Ty, Tyler, Chad, and Cody.
Also, there is a man whose job is to wear giant Wranglers and distract the animals when riders fall/jump off.
He is the Rodeo Clown.
The rodeo ends with “God Bless Y’all For Coming,” which I thought was sweet and surprising. I don’t hear that often in public. Like, I’ve never been told that at a Broadway show. But I am guessing that is a very normal thing to say in other parts of the country, and it only made the event feel more authentic Americana.
God Bless Y’All.