Sunday, January 15, 2006

"Cowgirl Up!"

Pattie in Pearl Snaps

My readers have been served up this old photo for a couple of years now, but the Cowtown Fat Stockshow always calls for another posting. The year was about 1959, and as you can see, I am not wearing cowboy boots. They hurt my feet and I refused to wear 'em. Have a couple of pair now, but back then I can remember pitching a hissy fit about the way they looked and felt - stiff, unwieldy and plain ugly to me. White patent leather maryjanes were the ticket.

Kman and I just got back from our yearly trip to the stockshow this evening. The exhibits pretty much stay the same, but the ticket prices have skyrocketed: $6 to park and $8 just to get in the gates. Rodeo tickets are $25 for the cheap seats.

We stopped for a bit to watch an auctioneer go through his musical scales while trying to get the best bid on a mama longhorn and her calf - $2700 for the pair. I love hearing an auctioneer with his effortless rolling of words, but I have never had the nerve to actually participate in a live auction. Looks like you could get stuck paying far more than you intended; by the time I might find enough gumption to stick my hand up, the auctioneer would have added at least a thousand more dollars to the bid. Those guys are certainly silver-tongued.

People watching is no small part of the stockshow experience. Best laugh of the night - a little cityslicker cowboy about three years old obviously a little tired of waiting on the parents who were engaged in long conversation with friends, wrangled his own snack from a nearby wheelbarrow full of cow feed. He was munching away on some of it when finally Mom looked down with more than a little dismay. The old rancher who was feeding his stock just laughed and said, "Ma'am it's mostly corn and oats, just make him grow good."

The youngsters that groom and care for their animals all year long can win a lot of money for the effort. Many college degrees have been paid for by Elsie or Vindicator, but it's tough to watch the young faces when they have to finally give up their much-loved animal. I don't think I could do it. I have great admiration for these kids and wished I could have given such an opportunity to my own brood of chicks. Alas, the only ranch we ever owned was in a salad dressing bottle.

Kman said after tonight and we win the lotto, I can go back and give that auctioneer a run for his cattle...I might even wear my boots.