• Tag Archives Stock Show
  • Jumping Horses

    Winter                            First Moon of the New Year

    Sometimes you do something for one reason and have an unexpected outcome.  Tonight was like that for me.

    The Great Western Stock Show, Colorado’s winter State Fair-like celebration of things Western, has become my time to visit with the grandkids.  I take the kids to a couple of shows, walk through the exhibition hall with them and get down into the stock barns, too.

    This afternoon at 5 we boarded a shuttle here at the Best Western, making it out to the show around 5:15.  Gabe had his picture taken on a Clydesdale.  3 year old Gabe and this giant horse made quite the shot.  Very big horse, very small Gabe.

    After a dinner of polish, briskets and chicken nuggets we wandered the merchandise and exhibition halls, seeing John Deere implements, cattle chutes, Western clothing, candy, baby chicks, several cages filled with chickens, a bee exhibit (I chatted with some Colorado bee keepers) and bought Ruth a lavender cowgirl hat.

    Before going to the main event, we wandered through the horse barns, stopping to communicate with a few.  On the wall opposite the last of the horse stalls were some larger stalls.  In two of them  were Texas Longhorn cattle.  One came out of the stall while we watched, he had to angle his head to maneuver those huge horns through a three foot + opening.

    Then we went to the event center for the Grand Prix, a $40,000 steeple chase, which pitted 27 horses and several riders against an 80 second clock and a series of jumps designed by the top steeple chase course designer in the US.

    I’d never seen horse jumping live.  It amazed me.  These huge animals and their relatively small riders approached jumps of various heights, widths and construction.  One had water and another had a brick wall, both difficult for horses to cross.

    The horse would gather itself in stride, then leap, stretching out those four legs, legs meant to have contact with the earth and follow their momentum across the obstacles.  This is an act of courage, skill, athleticism and beauty.  On the part of both rider and horse.

    I would do this again.   Never occurred to me I might like it.



  • The Triangle Hotel

    Winter                        First Moon of the New Year

    Worked this morning on the novel.  Finally finished editing all the stuff I’d written before and got back to actual writing.  A bit of stop and go, flushing out the pipes, reorienting the fiction side of my brain, but a page or two got put into bytes before lunch time.

    Kate was over at Jon and Jen’s helping Ruthie clean her room.  Lunch at the Renaissance Hotel, a ziggurat inside with open balconies narrowing as they get toward the top.  Plants dangle from a few planters, the paint is an egg shell gold.

    Gabe and Ruth refer to the Renaissance as the triangle hotel, a landmark visible when returning from Ruth’s gymnastic practice.

    In the gift shop you can buy Stetsons, belt buckles, items carved from deer antlers and many accessories decorated with large flared crosses, studded with rhinestones.  This is Great Western Stock Show memorabilia and disappears when the horse and cattle trailers pull out headed for Wyoming, Montana or Texas.

  • The Hereford Queen

    Winter                                                               Full Moon of The Cold Month   0 degrees

    Here’s a picture I took with my cell phone at the Great Western Stock Show.  That’s the Hereford Queen in white, all white.    Hereford Queen

    Confusing.  Yesterday I had cold symptoms that I had to knock back for Kate’s party.  Thank you Dayquil.  Today most of the symptoms are gone except that nagging, worn out feeling, the sort you get when your body has other things to do than help you be alert.

    Today marks the end of Kate’s second full work week of retirement, one in Colorado and one in Minnesota.  We’re still sinking back into it, realizing the nuances.  Probably won’t be clear for a year or two.  We need a full garden and holiseason cycle, too.

    This has been a cold winter already and it will get yet colder tonight, though not as cold as last night.  A fire, a book, supper, TV and bed.  That’ll put this cold back in the bottle.

    This was a busy week with the Target tour on Monday, the Woolly Meeting at Scott’s in the evening of the same day, getting ready for the Legcom and holding the meeting, then the last minute prepping for Kate’s party, the Expressionist tour yesterday morning, then the party in the evening.  That’s a lot for this guy in terms of outside obligations.  Next week looks a bit more subdued, though Monday looks like a lot going on, again.  This means I can get back in the Latin groove, push myself toward finishing Vanished.  It’s a keeper and I’ve a good bit of it done already.

  • West Colfax and the Wild West

    Winter                                       Waxing Moon of the Cold Month

    Gabe and Ruth asked for us to come over tonight.  We did.  We went with Jon and Jen and Ruth and Gabe to an art teacher’s art show.  It was in the ‘hood, just off west Colfax, the Latino part of that very long street, not too far from Montview, where Jon met Jen and where he still teaches.

    Jon had a cell phone photograph in the show, one taken at table setting level during a Halloween wedding.  The composition was clever and the cell phone grain gave the photograph a painterly feel.  It was easily the best piece in the show, though I should say the competition was not strong save for a couple of potters and a cartoonist.

    Along the way we passed a dulceria where they sell pinatas.  It had pinatas hung from the ceiling and lots of brightly colored party favors.  Snow White and Cinderella, in large cardboard movie style images, graced the front of the store.  Down a bit further was a dress maker, dark on this Friday night with big girl dresses for Quinceañera. Ruth wanted Kate to make her a strapless one, but in the truth telling way she has, Kate said, “Not until you get boobies.  You couldn’t hold the dress up.”  “Well,” Ruth went on, “Maybe it could have sleeves.”

    After the opening, Kate and I took off on our own to give the family a chance to decompress from a full week of grandparents.  Tomorrow I’ll see Ruth at her gymnastics, then around 2 pm we’ll board the shuttle for National Grand Western Stock Show.  This will be my second time and I look forward to it.

    It’s an event similar to the state fair, but limited only to farm and ranch related vendors and activities.  Rodeos, judging of champion bulls, pigs, sheep, the Wild West Show we’ll see tomorrow at 4 and barrel races make up the bulk of the events outside of the ranch related wheeling and dealing.

    A lot of that goes on in hotel restaurants and bars far from the Stock show grounds.  Men in cowboy hats, blue jeans and vests gather around shots of Jack Daniels and beer chasers, talk cattle and land.  It all gives January Denver a distinctly Western tone.

    It also helps me define myself as a Midwesterner.  We’re agricultural, yes, but we’re row crops and feedlots, 4-H and county fairs, small acreages and farmers.  The West has ranches and cattle herds, oil and open land, brands and rodeos.  Yes, you could point to many similarities, but the differences are what strike me, making me realize I know very little about the West, in our past or in our present.

  • Trappin’

    Winter                   Waxing Cold Moon

    Got to the stock show at about 7:30 am today.  I was early enough that there was no one checking passes or tickets, exhibitioners had not yet come and there was only one place serving food.  And it hadn’t opened for business.

    Reminded me of the trips I used to take to the Indiana State Fair with my mom.  We went by Greyhound Bus because Mom never learned to drive.  That’s strange, isn’t it?  Just resurfaced as I wrote this.  Because of the Greyhound schedule we would get to the State Fair before the crowds.  Clean up crews would still be sweeping up from the night before and stock exhibitors would be getting their animals ready.  It’s a good memory and one I was happy to revisit.

    While I admired a badger pelt, the man who trapped it came out and we got to talking.  He explained a host of unintended consequences from such things as eliminating the spring bear hunt and limiting trappers in what they can do.

    Colorado’s Dept. of  Wildlife now kills as nuisance bears the same number as bear hunting did.  When the bears were hunted, the populations stayed steady, but with no hunting pressure and the growth of outlying development, bear numbers have skyrocketed. According to this guy, who seemed very balanced. The result is bears forced to forage in urban areas or suburbs because the wild territories have dominant adult animals in them.

    In addition, this guy, a trapper who lives in Summit County, where Breckenridge is, said when he began trapping there were few to no raccoons in the whole county because winter was cold and long, eliminating food sources for enough of the year that it was not good habitat for them. Summit raccoons are now abundant, “You should see a mid-winter Breck raccoon, lotsa fur and fat.”

    He makes his living trapping nuisance animals, mostly wild animals living high off pet food, garbage dumps and even purposeful feeding.  Animals that, again according  to him, could still be managed by trapping as it was practiced.

    I watched Simmental Cattle judging and a junior showmanship event for hogs.  As the place began to fill up, I packed up my purchases, boarded the bus and came back here for a nap.

  • Today: Miss Rodeo Utah

    Wmter               Waxing Cold Moon

    Though I chose the Cold Moon name for this full moon, Colorado isn’t.  Cold that is.  Here in the Mile High City the temperature yesterday was 58. Confusing to this northern boy who had on too much clothing.

    At Smashburger yesterday, I sat waiting on my hot dog.  Smashburger is a new franchise, at least to me.  They fry their burgers.  Which seems like gilding the lily, so I went for the hot dog.  They fried the bun.  Anyhow, while waiting I got that on vacation feeling, an unfamiliar place in unfamiliar weather. It was a surprise because I consider these family visits just that, not vacation.

    Jon thinks the Vikes are gonna get clobbered.  I can see why he thinks that, but I prefer to see the  8-0 at home record and the last six quarters of their play.  The Saints picked up where they were just before they lost three in a row.  I don’t see why we can’t.

    My second breakfast here at the Marriot.  Seems hotels have gone the way of the airline industry.  No more free breakfast. Now it’s buffet with a price tag.  Still, I’m a captive audience since I want to come back up to the room and write.  This morning I dined near Miss Rodeo Utah.  A blond-haired beauty with teal colored cowboy boots and real tight jeans.  And, you guessed it, a big belt buckle.

  • A Day at the Stock Show

    Winter                     New Moon (Cold Moon)

    One day at the stock show under my belt.  Jon and Jen, Ruth and Gabe and I boarded a shuttle at the Doubletree Hotel.  The first guy I talked to was from Detroit Lakes.  He used to bring cattle down here, but stopped in 2004.

    At the stock show we went into a building filled with all manner of farm and ranch implements, metal implements to hold cattle and harrows.  There were also the usual beer halls and Cattlemen’s Grill.  There were, too, rope makers, Colorado Rice Inc., a place that crafted brands, a man who blocked and reshaped cowboy hats while you waited.

    It was like Minnesota’s State Fair in some respects though the number of cowboy hats, boots and large belt buckles per square inch greatly exceed the Great Minnesota Get Together.  I’d like to know where this big belt buckle thing got started.  It requires a lot of room right around the stomach area.  This leads to displays of prize bellies in both men and women.

    We went to a junior showmanship event for young lamb handlers.  While we were there watching, Ruth said, “Granpop, I like coming to the stock show.”

    At the pony ride, Ruth, who told me she was too shy to ride them last year, let Luis put her up on a Shetland pony and proceeded to ride with her hand on the pommel, beaming and waving at Jen and Jon while I walked beside her, as she asked me to do.  She was no longer too shy.

    Tomorrow night all of us go again. This time to the rodeo.  The next day Ruth and I go by ourselves to see the  Super Dogs.

    I’d forgotten how many BTU’s little bodies put out.  Ruth wanted me to carry her.  A lot.  I like it, but she’s no longer small and the stock show buildings were hot.  The combination made me hot.

    The Vikes and Cowboys tomorrow. New Orleans beat the Cardinals so if we win, we have to go the SuperDome.  Nobody said it would be easy.

  • The Horse

    Winter                   New Moon (cold M00n)

    At breakfast this morning I sat two tables away from Miss Rodeo Wisconsin.  I know this because she had a big sash on that said so.  She looked like a wholesome gal and a good choice.

    I’m not at the Doubletree.  Instead, I learned my reservation was for the Courtyard Marriot.  I did this back in August of aught 9 so the details had become fuzzy.  Oh, well.  I gotta get on the road more.

    The love of small children is a gift freely given, honoring this gift may be the prime directive of adulthood.  Ruthie, after an initial hesitance, was glad Granpop had come.  She spent a good bit of time running, then jumping on me, sometimes asking me to close my eyes.  Then she jumped as a surprise.

    She also showed a me a move she learned at dance class.  This consists of a left hand on hip, the right raised in the air and loping around the house like that.  When asked what it was called, she said, “Horse.”

    It’s always fun to catch up on grandkids and their parents.

    Gabe has a few words now, one of which sounds a lot like granpop.  or, maybe, blastoff.  or, maybe bad dog.  something like that.

    The stone porch Jon and Jen created looks spiffy, too.  I hadn’t seen it.

    Stock show later today.