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Finding the Familiar in Yellowstone Country

August 11th, 2014 by Park County Travel Council | Be the first to comment!

Like most people, I have two sides of my personality and like to keep them balanced.

I love spontaneity and wandering into new towns and places and stores. Cody, Wyoming is always full of new faces and license plates from all of the states and provinces. When I hear a foreign accent my first thought is to wonder where those people are from. If I can figure out a way to strike up a conversation I love learning what brought them here for a Wyoming vacation.

What I’ve found through the years, however, is that after meeting new people, visiting new places and enjoying new experiences, I start to feel out of balance. When I lived in the big city, my “cool” friend Brian told me why I was feeling blue one day.

“You’re ‘jonesing’ for that small town where you know every other person in the grocery store and all the words to the songs of your beloved cowboy music,” he said.

And he was right. Every now and then I simply needed a trip to Cody to get myself balanced.

Even though I moved back, it still happens. Thanks to Brian’s observation I have figured out the cure to dealing with too many new people, places and experiences.

Sometimes I seek out my favorite hiking trail or trout stream, but often I go to the Cody Nite Rodeo.

Barrel racing, one of the few rodeo events for girls, is fast paced and fun to watch.

Barrel racing, one of the few rodeo events for girls, is fast paced and fun to watch.

When I was young I participated in barrel racing. The first time I was so nervous that I almost headed to the wrong side of the arena to make my loop around the barrel. Fortunately, my horse went in the right direction and after just a few strides we were back in sync.

It seems like the older girls always won this event, and we novices had to bide our time until we grew and became competitive.

The object is to run a clover leaf pattern around 3 barrels as quickly as possible.

The object is to run a clover leaf pattern around 3 barrels as quickly as possible.

I relate most to the rodeo’s barrel racing, but I love the familiarity of knowing which events are coming up in which order. As the tie-down roping is happening, I feel myself preparing for the barrel racing. In my mind I am calming my horse and my own nerves and getting in position to start the timer and take the correct angles. I’m encouraging my horse to go faster until it is time to slow at the last moment for that turn.

Before I know it, my favorite event is over, and the bull riders are getting in the chutes. This is the premier event for most rodeo fans, and it also puts most of us on the edge of our seats. Bulls are incredibly powerful, and the smartest ones are pretty crafty at changing directions and setting up the riders. I believe staying on a bull for eight seconds is one of the most difficult things a human can attempt.

Bull riding is the last event at the Cody Nite Rodeo, and the most thrilling!

Bull riding is the last event at the Cody Nite Rodeo, and the most thrilling!

After a night at the rodeo I like to walk back through town past the buildings I know so well. I still look at license plates to see what states are represented and guess where people are from, but I am content continuing home.

I will meet someone new tomorrow.

Until next week, I am lovin’ life – and finding my barrel racing balance – in Cody, Wyo.

 


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