Mutton Bustin’

I was in Texas for June and we all know that Texas is made of 3 things: boots, hats and rodeos (sorry, Texas, but stereotyping is easier than real research). Yeehaw! Cowboy boots were too expensive but I got me a fine hat and wore it with pride to a small rodeo near San Antonio. I even received a couple of compliments on the hat, and doubtless there were scores of other admirers who were just too shy to say it out loud.

The Tejas Rodeo was such a fun affair. It was a combination of many small events: bull riding, team roping, synchronised horse riding, barrel racing (unfortunately, that’s riding around barrels not rolling inside them), calf scramble, and my personal favourite, mutton bustin’. Mutton bustin’ is where kids under-10 get dropped onto the backs of sheep and have to hold on as long possible, similar to the bull riders that they hope to be some day. The little, woolly critters don’t buck and kick like a bull but they bolt across the field like a fiery fox. The kids hold on for dear life until they eventually slide off one side or the other. They’re scored by time, just like bull riders, so the kids really feel like pros.

The actual bull riding was breathtaking. I was amazed at how well some of the young men held on, despite the brute strength of the twisting, turning beast beneath them. Bull riding is the main event that we associate with rodeos, but it was fascinating to see all the various events that comprise a typical rodeo. Each event represents a real skill that old school cowboys needed to employ to drive cattle, so it was only natural that the original cowboys got competitive and tried to see who was better at those skills – sort of like the Greek Olympics but with bigger hats.

Outside of the auditorium was a little cowboy town with a dance hall, food joints and a mechanical bull. Naturally, the food available was all centered around smoked, barbecued meat, served on long benches outside where fans blew a constant mist onto people to keep them cool. The exciting drink that I found was called a coronarita – frozen margarita with a small corona bottle resting upside-down in it so that it slowly tricked out into the margarita. The mechanical bull was controlled by a cunning gringo with a joystick who found pleasure in slinging kids around until they flew off. I wanted his job; it looked way more fun than Duck Hunt.

You know you’re in Texas when…
– Everything is so big that even the “cup” of soup comes in a bowl.

Spotted in Texas…
– A pickup with spikey hub caps at least 10 cm long, like the chariot in Ben Hur –

One Response to “Mutton Bustin’”
  1. kfullwood says:

    Loving the blogs and looking forward to seeing you in the hat.

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