Wednesday, July 27, 2011

California Rodeo Salinas!

Finally got settled back in the Lone Star State after an absolutely exhilarating trip to the largest rodeo in California. It was so exciting to see some of my absolute best friends from my rodeo queen days, and see what rodeo is about on the west coast. Salinas puts on quite the show!!!

Ashley Hoffmann (Miss Rodeo California '09), Jenna Johnson Henry (Miss Rodeo Minnesota '09), Maegan Riddley (Miss Rodeo America '09) and myself were in the parade with Roger Haley, owner of Haley ranch in Ventura, California. We rode in a beautiful restored stage coach, pulled by two incredible mules, Patty and Pearl. The entire parade was pulled on horseback. Our outfits consisted of stunning 1920's retro western tops with matching tall shaft boots, courtesy of the Cowgirl Historical Foundation. We won 1st place in the parade!

Later that day, we actually got entered in the hide race on the Saturday afternoon performance of the rodeo! The hide race is a 3 person team, one being horse back dallied to a cowhide rug, and the other two teammates at the other end of the track. The horse and rider will then run to the end of the track, one person will jump on the hide and get drug back to the other side, then the horse and rider will return to the second person and repeat. The fastest time wins. The two fastest times from all the performances return to the finals on Sunday! Ashley and I made the fastest time of the week and qualified!!

That Saturday after the rodeo, we hosted a BBQ at Ashley's house, and invited about 80 people, mixed of rodeo contestants, past rodeo queens, Stanford graduates, professional tennis players, and potential Olympic swimmers. What a blend, right? Needless to say, we all were able to share stories about our lifestyles and hobbies. It was interesting to learn about training for the Olympics as well as being able to share what Rodeo has done in our lives as well as answer questions that were somewhat misunderstood about the sport.

On Sunday, Ashley and I competed with our awesome hide race puller, Billy Armaderes in the finals. We pulled off a win and I am proud to bring the buckle back to Texas!!!

Also going on in Salinas, was one of the largest and fastest motorcycle races at the segway. I have never seen so many motorcycles! On the plane ride home, I had the privilege of sitting next to one of the spectators, who was actually a racer here in Texas. As we shared our stories and pictures of our weekend adventures, he said to me "I have to ask, I just can't quite understand, isn't that calf roping pretty cruel?" perfect for this project! I explained to him the toughness of a calf's skin in comparison to humans, and how the calves were only tied for 6 seconds, and that there were many rules regarding excessive dragging etc.

I was able to get some great interviews with the girls reflecting on their years as rodeo queens and they were able to answer my questions with ease and grace. I can't thank everyone enough for making my Salinas "Ro-Day-Oh" California trip a great one!!!

Salinas or Bust!