This weekend my friend since birth (her official title) was in town visiting from Rhode Island. My boss knew she would be here and highly recommended we go see the Belton Rodeo. He even gave me free tickets to the show to further encourage our attendance. I ran it by my friend, who said ABSOLUTELY! We figured there is nothing more “Texas” than the rodeo and we would have a great time laughing about how funny everyone is in their cowboy hats and wrangler jeans.
It was not funny…not even a little.
To start, the MC got on the loud speaker and spent a good 15-20 minutes talking about the greatness of God and how we all should love and adore Jesus. I grew up in a Catholic family, went to church almost every Sunday as a child and went to Catholic school my whole life; even I was so unbelievably uncomfortable. I felt like I was at one of those big conventions where the guy “saves” everyone and claims to cure their cancer by channeling God through his hands. There was a video involved and children and a lot of “In God We Still Trust” being yelled. The woman sitting in front of us was practically crying.
The attempt to convert everyone ended with a long, awkward prayer and THEN they finally played the National Anthem. I guess God comes before Country here in Texas.
I thought that awkwardness would be the worst of it, but then came the animal cruelty and child abuse. I knew I wasn’t going to like the treatment of the animals, but I thought “Hey, I can sit through a show at Sea World knowing all the terribleness of whales and dolphins in captivity, so I can sit through this.” The rodeo makes Sea World look like paradise for animals. Dolphins should be like “At least I just have to flip around and find certain shapes under water. No overweight man is trying to throw me to the ground and tie my fins together.” It is awful to see and made me want to run down to the pen, open the gate, and set them all free.
Then you have the people that ride the horses. That part wasn’t as bad because the horses mostly kick the people’s asses. A little bit a vengeance for the animals I think. THEN they had the kids start riding. Granted they use smaller horses, but still it’s tiny little kids thrown onto bucking horses and told to hold on. Kids were getting thrown all over the place and nearly trampled by the horses. Parents and families cheered with delight as their kid was catapulted off a horse and was still able to get back up and salute the crowd. The MC tried to make it all seem okay by saying “Now folks, this is no different than putting your kids in football leagues and letting them get hit by the defense.” Ummm no sir, it is not the same. A 10 year old kid getting hit by another 10 year old kid in a football game is violent and potentially bad, yes, but certainly not the same as a 10 year old kid getting stepped on by a 1,000 lb horse. Plus, rules are constantly changing in football now to better protect the athlete. I don’t think there are any major research centers and doctors out there studying the effects of being thrown and trampled by a horse/bull in the rodeo like there are for head injuries in football now.
After about an hour they paused and had a dance off between two audience members. I figured it was best to leave on that high note and not stay for the rest of the show.
Too bad we left so soon…I could have gotten $1 off the price of admission for the Gun Show that was scheduled to start after the rodeo….I’m not kidding. If you asked me to name the one thing worse than the rodeo, it would be the rodeo followed by a gun show. Okay, maybe I’d say Hitler and genocide, but you get my point.
In summary- if you even remotely like animals and children and don’t want to have religion shoved down your throat- don’t EVER go to a rodeo…EVER.