Normally, we plan to arrive at a rodeo a minimum of an hour before it starts, so we have plenty of time to pay our entry fees, check the schedule of events, the stock draw, saddle and warm up the horses. At most rodeos, over half the contestants will already be riding around the arena by the time we pull in.
Due to a delay in receiving my horse health papers that necessitated my husband making a run to town on Saturday morning to intercept the vet at the post office, we were running a bit behind. I wasn't particularly concerned. First of all, I knew the breakaway roping was the fifth event. Second, these smaller winter rodeos tend to be pretty laid back. Third, this particular rodeo was sanctioned by the Indian Rodeo Cowboys Association, meaning you had to be of tribal descent to participate. Anyone who's ever spent any time around a reservation is more than familiar with the concept of Indian Time. For those of you who aren't, here's how it works.
Scheduled start time - Twelve Noon
11:20 am - We arrive in Standoff. As usual, we miss the turn to the arena, drive up over the hill and do a U-turn in the hospital driveway. When we pull into the parking lot at the rodeo, only three other rigs have arrived ahead of us. Ember, of course, has gone out of her way to look her stunning best, accenting her wardrobe with a nice roll in the manure before we left home.
11:40 am - We wander inside and find the secretary just setting up to start taking entry fees.
11:58 am - The rodeo announcer begins doing sound checks.
12:25 pm - The stock contractor dumps a few bucking horses into the arena to show them how to find the exit gate. It appears most of the team ropers--the first event of the day--have now arrived.
12:32 pm - Having a Pepsi out in the pickup while my husband attempts to snag a gopher. He expresses his dissatisfaction with modern plastic twine, offering up the opinion that old-fashioned sisal made a much better snare.
12:41 pm - One of the team roping steers lopes past our trailer, with a barrel racer in hot pursuit.
12:48 pm - Someone fires up the tractor and begins to work the arena.
1:13 pm - The rodeo announcer declares it's about time to get started. But first, he offers up a prayer, entirely in the Blood language, which he and many of the other tribal members speak fluently.
1:15 pm - It's Rodeo Time!
Waiting their turn.
The view from where I sit.
You'll notice I haven't mentioned anything about how the roping went. Suffice to say it isn't because I don't want to brag.