The best stories are always unprintable, but here’s one slightly censored version of last weekend’s Winnemucca Ranch Hand Rodeo.
I drove over on Saturday morning with Tilly and her boyfriend Jason. Tilly was in the rodeo, so we left Elko at 5:15 AM in the morning. It seems Rule #1 of Winnemucca is “All road trips must begin before 5:30 AM.” Whether people drove from neighboring states, the Owyhee Reservation or ten miles south of the fairgrounds, everybody left in the dark. It was good conditioning for a weekend of sleep deprivation.
First stop for everyone seemed to be the Maverik gas station, where rodeo attendees bought diesel, coffee, and potato chips. Once at the fairgrounds, the contestants loped their horses around and we spectators sipped bloody marys with plenty of pickled vegetables and ate chili fries.
First point of interest: the horses from the rez. I gotta say, I like those long, tall, rangy-lookin’ horses! Such an improvement from riding Texas cutters, where you can actually help your horse travel by setting your feet on and pushing off the taller rocks.
Horseflesh aside, I didn’t thoroughly enjoy the trade show. Looking at all the hand-engraved silver, tooled saddles, Millie Hunt-Porter books, and jewlery with no spending money was kind of masochistic. I took two-year-old Maggie walking around with me, and she would stop, point, and let out a loud gasp of delight every time she saw a dog or another child her size. Good reminder that the best things in life still are free.
After the rodeo and during the horse sale, I made a great discovery. If you buy coffee at the concession stand and carry it to the bar, they will pour a shot of kahlua in it for a small fee. Yahtzee! Hot toddies saved my cold-blooded self Saturday night.
After the horse sale, we migrated to Winners Casino. The Jeff Palmer Band did justice to some rockin’ dance tunes, somebody drank the bar out of Jack, and we got free popcorn. Most unique line from a guy I’ve heard so far: “It’s 2:13. Wanna go sleep in a bathtub?” I think that was his way of saying “It’s getting late and I’m really drunk. Can I crash in your room?”
By the time I called it a night (or early morning, whatever), I had two outside horses to ride this summer, a queasy stomach from breathing several decades’ worth of secondhand smoke plus the freshly produced stuff, and a lap dance. Success all around!
The theme for Sunday’s rodeo was “My eyes are a shade of red no eye drops can whiten. I’m really craving French fries, but the thought of food makes me ill. I barely have the strength to crack a beer and sit on my horse/sit in the stands. At least it’s Sunday and we can go back to work and catch a break tomorrow.”
I met a staff writer from the Nevada Rancher, got another story assignment, and met a neat braider/cowboy to add to my collection of People to Pester for Stories For My Cowboy Book. Add a little work-related activity to a road trip and call the whole weekend a business expense. I love being self-unemployed.
Like I said, the best stories aren’t printable. As such, I highly recommend going to Winnemucca next March to acquire some unedited stories of your own. If you’re there, look me up. I’ll be the girl drinking cofee (wink wink) and laughing way too loudly.