July 12, 2007

Bustin' Mutton

I've been missing for nearly two weeks! When the weather starts to warm up, I hit the highway and don't stop until September. This last trip was a doozey-12 hours south to Arkansas for a family reunion. The family is pretty big, so planning begins about a year in advance. About six months ago, my aunt sent me the schedule of events. The good natured person that I am, I felt like we should take part in everything that is going on...including the rodeo. Specifically an event in the rodeo titled "Mutton Bustin." If you happen to be my sister, or anyone else who doesn't know what a mutton is, the translation is "Sheep Riding." Though that doesn't sound nearly as fun, or as safe?

When the time came for me to buy tickets for various events, I signed my three kids up for "Mutton Bustin." We looked online at pictures from previous years, and I explained to my children that they would ride on a sheep. The poor city kids got excited at this thought--they probably haven't ever actually seen a real-life sheep. So, amidst visions of lazily riding Mary's little lamb, my children wholeheartedly agreed that they most definately wanted to bust mutton.

The night of the rodeo arrives, all three kids have been looking forward to it for weeks. They have donned jeans, cowboy shirts, hats, and boots. They are an exceptionally cute group of cowpokes. Unfortunately their cuteness is a dead give away to the fiesty sheep that these kids have no experience riding anything. Well, except bikes and sometimes scooters, both a far cry from wild farm beasts. The event begins and the 20-something kids strap on bike helmets (safety first here at the rodeo) and wait anxiously for their turn to ride the bucking sheep. When it's our turn Everett goes first, the announcer makes a big deal of the three kids coming all the way to Arkansas, the anticipation builds. Everett is put onto the sheep, grabs hold of the rope and the chute opens. Mere seconds later Everett's flying off the sheep, hanging his head and coming back towards me.

Eli sees the wild animal assigned to him being put in the chute and he is absolutely terrified. I kindly urge coerce him to climb on, because he will be so disappointed if he doesn't ride the sheep. He climbs aboard, still whimpering and his chute opens. He manages to stay on for a while, almost making it to the herd (is that a group of sheep? a mob? a pack? ack, I don't know!!) of sheep, while riding sideways. Then he faceplants. Literally.

Meanwhile, Ella beings to panic and she's wailing, no way she's getting on the sheep. I know this, I can't convince her (I know the boundaries of my sweet talking skills). But I think, maybe if she saw that Eli is okay and he had fun she'd agree. He returns and his first words to Ella are, "Don't do it!" He doesn't have to worry, because she won't. Surprisingly, in the end, she's convinced (by a nearby cowboy) and gets on the sheep. When the chute opens, she THROWS herself to the ground in an attempt to end the horror of mutton bustin'. So there you have it, the three city slickers gave it a good try, but didn't end up winning the six foot trophy from Tyson Chicken (incidentally a 4 year old named Lil' Bill wearing chaps and body armor holding onto the sheep with only one hand won first place).

After all of that, all three kids forget their terror and say they would like to come back next year to the rodeo and try again. I'll probably let them, as long as Children's Services doesn't shut down the Mutton Bustin' championship before then. What mother in her right mind signs a waiver allowing her children to "be strapped to farm animals and call it entertainment?"

1 comment:

Carpenters said...

I laughed so hard that I started crying, especially at the last sentence. *still laughing* I can't wait to hear how next year goes.