My First and Last Rodeo

I've been living in Texas for almost a full year now, and I didn't attend my first rodeo until this past Thursday. The Killeen Rodeo was offering free admission and a free dinner to all military and their dependents for a Military Appreciation Night. Free food? Count me in!

Dinner consisted of BBQ sausages, beans, potato salad, and white bread. I always buy that whole wheat nonsense at the grocery store so I savor white bread when I can get it. 

My friends and I then made our way towards the seating area. As some of the girls browsed a booth selling cowboy hats, I stood next to my eight-month pregnant friend while she spoke to another woman about her pregnancy. I was rubbing my stomach to soothe some awful cramps and the woman asked, "Are you just starting off on your pregnancy?" And then I cursed myself for eating that third slice of white bread. 

The 1st CAV Horse Detachment did a demonstration that involved a lot of balloons, sabers, watermelons, and loud noises. But all I could think about was their dog mascot, Sergeant Buddy. He is always at the front of the wagon, barking away happily. I'm determined to get a picture with him one day.

I have seen video clips of rodeos before and it all seemed so exciting. My idol Pioneer Woman has written about rodeos numerous times, too. But being there and seeing it is an entirely different thing. Right away, I thought about what they must do in order to get these horses to buck like that.

They place an uncomfortable flank strap on the midsection of the horse to make it kick violently. As soon as the cowboy is off the horse, they remove the strap and the horse is able to move comfortably again. I felt terrible for these animals and I began to cheer for them. Being a silly little California girl, I probably could have gotten my ass kicked by a bunch of Texans who grew up around rodeos.

The event that bothered me even more was the roping of the calves. While it is fairly amazing that someone can throw a lasso with such precision and timing, how can you not cringe when you see an animal being tied up like that? The video below was not even the worst of it. One calf actually began crying as it struggled to pull itself up.

I was honestly beginning to choke up a little during this segment of the rodeo. You can hear me cheering on the little thing when the cowboy missed his target. Again, someone really should have warned me to keep my mouth shut. Although I understand that rodeos are a large part of the culture around here, I still don't see how rodeos are not considered animal cruelty. In my opinion, I don't see it any different than dog fights or chicken fights. It's sick entertainment.

Even so, I enjoyed my time with my friends. I see this group of wonderful ladies at least once a week. They are my battle buddies and they have made time fly around here.

I'm glad I went to the rodeo so that I could experience it, but I will not go back and support it again by paying  admission. I am also glad that I eat less meat now, even if it is unintentional due to laziness. I can't say that I will go vegetarian because I do enjoy burgers and steak every now and then. Have I mentioned before just how much I love In N Out and Rudy's BBQ?

Also, I Googled "rodeo animal cruelty" and the first link that came up was Say No to Rodeo, which just happened to have a video of evidence of animal cruelty at the Killeen Rodeo. I couldn't even finish watching the entire thing because it was so depressing.