Wednesday, April 04, 2018

walking rodeo drive

The Cottons enjoy a good rodeo.

After all, Darrel and I spent our summers in anticipation of the rodeos at the Coos and Clackamas County rodeos -- with the attendant horse, bull, and calf events. Rodeos are part of our nurture, if not nature.

Last year, Darrel, Christy, and I attended the annual San Patricio rodeo (my hat is in the ring). It had all of the elements of a Mexican rodeo.

Lots of loud music. Pretty girls on magnificent horses. More loud music. A wandering bull. More loud music. Another bull. Even more loud music. And a bit of music comedy. Followed by lots more loud music.

Christy saw a poster yesterday announcing a rodeo in Jaluco, a neighboring community, scheduled at 6 PM. Around 5, she asked if I would like to join her and Darrel at the bull ring. I did.

As we were gathering up our go-to-rodeo gear, Omar intervened in our Gringo ways. Even though the poster announced a start time of 6, he told us absolutely nothing would happen until at least 8:30 -- or later.

But, Christy and Darrel were ready to roll. So, we headed to Jaluco for dinner at one of our favorite eating spots. Chicken mole and huevos rancheros. If you are curious.

We thought we had killed enough time, and 
entered the bull ring at 7, a full hour after the announced start time. This is what we saw.

Nothing. The crew had only begun setting up for the evening. It reminded me of the time I was invited to an 8 PM dinner party in Mexico City. When I arrived at the appointed time, the hostess answered the door in her dressing gown and curlers. She told me to come back "on time" in an hour or two.

Don't get me wrong. It is not that nothing was happening. About 8, we were treated to tsunamis of recorded music -- all at a level that was two steps past distortion.

By 9, the bull ring was about 15% full. At 9:20, the music switched from recorded to live -- with a bass line so strong it could have been used as reverse CPR.

At 10:10, the first bull was released. With exactly three bucks, it froze in place. Leaving the rider, who was, prior to this ride, in first place, looking as if he was posing for a Reform War statue.

The music continued. The clock kept ticking. At 11, there was no sign of the next bull rider. We decided it was time to head home.

But we were the sole holders of that opinion. We had trouble getting out of the bull ring because there was a line, stretching around the block, trying to get in. Moms. Dads. Children. All set on having a good time. And they probably did.

As did we. It would be easy to say the rodeo was not what we expected. After all, I told you at the start "the Cottons enjoy a good rodeo." We already knew that the rodeos of our childhood were not what we were going to see last night.

Mexico was one of the places where rodeo began. After all, Mexico formed the basis of the cowboy culture. (That is John Wayne growling in the background. But it is true.) Whether Mexican rodeos are more authentic than others, I will leave it to experts to fight out.

But to call what we experienced "not a rodeo," would be a category mistake. It is just a different type of rodeo. And we will undoubtedly attend another when my family arrives for their next stay.

After all, how often do we get an opportunity to see art interpreted in a new way?

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