I mentioned in a previous post that I stayed downtown in an old brothel. We were in a private apartment that overlooked block 3 of the downtown festivities. As you would expect, it was great to be able to walk around, check out the music, avoid gorging on street food and carts, and return to the apartment to rest where it was nice and cool.
In so doing I ran across this guy. His name is Marty Davis and he was my favorite performer by far. His sets, of which I watched as many as I could, consisted of the old cowboy/western classics. My favorites were his covers of old Eddy Arnold and Marty Robbins tunes….Marty (Davis) had a pretty solid twang, and his yodeling was exceptional. Enjoyed it immensely, but sometimes I felt like the only one.
A consummate professional, Marty did his best to interact with those who were interested, and played each set with as much enthusiasm as the first. No surprise there, either- he was a member of the 50’s group “the Diamonds” who sold over 20 million records of “Little Darlin'”.
The last big event I’ll note is the longest non-motorized parade in North America (although after a quick Google search, it looks like many rodeo-associated parades lay claim to a similar title). Saturday morning the roads around downtown leading to the rodeo grounds are roped off for the procession, and horsepower is the main theme. It is a celebration of the west, so of course hundreds and hundreds of horses are in the area for the week. I’d hate to be the poor folks (i.e., don’t band members get it bad enough already?) who were on foot, though, because they end up trudging through quite the smelly trail.
A flag for each year of the rodeo- 103.
These oxen held up the parade for a good half hour or longer. They just stopped moving. Didn’t look like there was much the handlers could do, either. Although, in trying, I saw a few close calls with those huge horns swinging around. And it reminds me again, of the animal’s place in this whole extravaganza.
In one aspect, things look rough at times, as the photo in the last post showed the calf being carted away, and the other photos where you can see flank straps swinging off the animals (it’s what helps make bulls and broncos buck). On the other hand, it’s pretty cool to see people fully interacting, and depending on, their relationship with an animal, as the barrel races so clearly demonstrate.
I tend to believe most people are doing their best to minimize discomfort for the animals they work with. If you’re a real rancher, I’d assume you’d treat them right as a matter of self-sufficiency, though I imagine the Roundup attracts its fair share of weekend wranglers. Ultimately, my faith in culture and community outweighs my concern for the mistreatment of the animals, but still believe they’re inextricably intertwined.
It was interesting to wake up Sunday morning to empty streets (and parking lots) and most signs of the previous five days gone. Really was a good time and I’m glad I got the opportunity to enjoy it in such a convenient and accommodating way. Much thanks again to Nick for hooking it up!