Monday, March 29, 2010

Indian Time

Saturday I finally cracked out and went to a rodeo, my first since July of last summer. Traveled all the way to Standoff, Alberta. To put it in perspective, if it weren't for the ridge north of my house, I could probably see the lights of Standoff from here. 

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.

Next year....

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.


Julie Weathers said...

rofl Ummm, yes, Indian time is spot on. I'm sorry you missed your calf, but at least you now have your first miss of the season out of the way.

evision said...

Cynthia D'Alba said...

Indian Time explains SO MUCH. I have a "drop" of Indian blood (1/64 or 1/128 or something like that). Obviously the Indian Time gene is a dominate characteristic.

MitMoi said...

I think some of the best rodeos I've ever been to were up on the rim (Az). Indian time, fry-bread, and hell-of-a-good-cowboy group. What more could you ask for?

SAC said...

I grew up in a less clock-sensitive family myself. It has taken a lot of work for me to adjust to the more tightly-scheduled expectations of the "outside world"-- not that I'm really there yet, actually, but I'm better. And the lovely thing about starting out badly is that there's nowhere to go but up!

Bill Kirton said...

Once again you post a blog that's probably straightforward for you, a record of a familiar event. You can't have any idea of how exotic, romantic and exciting it seems to someone on this side of the Atlantic. You also make it real. Thanks.

SAC said...

Um, there should have been a space between the last two sentences of my comment. Nothing wrong with being late when everyone else is. I was talking more about the roping.

Also, even though I grew up mostly in the Intermountain West and my grandpa (so I hear) used to participate in rodeos, I completely agree with Bill Kirton. You make me want to wrangle up a third cousin-- maybe even a second would do-- and try to go to one, which I have never been interested in before.

Stan Grace said...

Gopher snagging with a short fishing rod and line even beats sisal and it opens the door for numerous observations about ones purpose or mental condition by those in attendance.

Kari Lynn Dell said...

MitMoi: They were serving fry bread hamburgers at the concession stand in Standoff. Didn't get around to trying one. :(

Stan: When my husband was a kid the purpose was the five cents a tail bounty paid by the county agency responsible for pest control.

Crystal Posey said...

One day Imma see you rope. Did I say that right? Rope? One day I'll watch you at a rodeo. Does that work? Maybe it's safer if I don't...