The Great Basin cowboy population descended upon McDermitt for July 4th, largely because most of us couldn’t afford fuel to drive to anyplace with a shade tree. The rest of us went because we knew it’d be fun.
Immediately upon arrival, Kyla painted her toenails and I fixed my makeup. We felt very ranchy. Next, we slathered sunblock on every area of exposed skin, plus some that weren’t. You can never be too careful.
After the horse and muley jackpot roping on Saturday, ice chests came out and shade awnings lined the arena for two days of rodeo excitement. Jim Young made a good bronc ride, but unfortunately it was during the branding contest. No official score was given, and he declined the reride option.
After the rodeo, everyone gathered at the Say When. Where else can a person buy 6 mixed drinks for $18.75? Or order a beer, hand the bartender a $10 bill and receive 2 fives, 2 ones and a quarter in change? Bars that pay customers to drink are rare. Actually, they’re probably bankrupt.
The band was good, and free. Myles looked at my dress and said, “This is a ranch rodeo, not a formal event.” But it’s so fun to twirl!
After twirling around the street dance until…who knows when, we all took naps and headed back to the rodeo grounds on the morning of July the 4th. By then, partying didn’t feel like a celebration of a national holiday; it felt like punishment. But, we powered through to watch the ZX team win the rodeo, then loaded up the trailers.
It takes 4 1/2 hours to get to McDermitt and 3 days to get home. My traveling partners decided to relive their Squaw Valley days and take the longcut to Elko, through Tuscarora. What follows is a sample conversation.
Driver (me): Hey, guys, was that the Midas turnoff back there?
Kids in the backseat (Rolly, Jim and Ryan): Oh, no – it’s up here a ways, just keep going.
A few miles later…
Kids in the backseat: Man, I don’t remember this power line being here. And this turnout wasn’t here before! I haven’t been out this way in forever!
Someone: I think we missed the turn.
The driver (me) pulled over, just as the tackroom door flew opena nd Jim’s saddle fell out. We repacked and made it to the resevoir, where we watered the horses and Jake did his impression of a bareback bronco rider. His mistake was letting the horse out of the pond and onto dry ground.
We eventually made it home, and I consider my trip a success because of two things. #1: I had an actual, two-person, dialogue-style conversation with Jake Brennan (the one who works for Rolly, not the one who works for Matt Mori). #2: We didn’t get thrown in San Quentin. Can’t beat that with a stick.