Rodeo Season has Officially Arrived!
Wednesday, 09 April 2008 15:05

Winter was long. With a miniscule amount of Rodeos in the North-East, I've filled my time with random events: monster trucks, ice motosports, etc., and have been awaiting the official big start of my Announcing Season.

It started with a 15 hour road trip to the Tar Heel State of North Carolina. Quite the haul, but filled with adventure as per usual.

I've heard numerous stories about West Virginia, and as I shared my "knowledge" crossing the State Line, I seemed to been lead astray by the look of the nice properties and quantity of high-end automobiles. We later realized that as there is minimal snow, there would be minimal rust from Road Salt. There were lovely wild flowers everywhere. And then...we stumbled across what would lead to the perceptions...

Inline at a food stop in the Mountain State, I heard what I thought was a horse heaving. Spinning on a dime and expecting to see some sort of a Wild Beast, I got her in my sights...the Buffalo Gal. No, not the kind of Lady that they sing about in Westerns; she was a lady the size of a Buffalo, coughing from the bottom of her Torso, with the flem flying through her Esophogus, and echo-ing in her Gullet. Had we not have been awaiting our order, we would have bailed. You would think that would be it for the pretty miss, but nay, there's more. She turns and yells to her son, "Y'all -um- want-um chock-ho-lat, or vain-eye-la?". He couldn't understand her becho, so, Daddy turns and yells across the restaurant, "yeeeahhumm seeeeummmm chock-eeee-hum or hammm-eee-lllaammm". The young lad came up, and spent another minute in thought; though we're not sure whether he was deciding on his preferred ice cream flavour or trying to decipher what his parents had so eloquently asked of him. They selected Chocolate on his behalf.

When our order was ready, we had it switched "to go" and ate outside on the trunk.

The journey ended by 2:30am, when we finally settled into the hotel in Lumberton, NC.

Breakfast opened our eyes to the true Southern Hospitality. At the Waffle House, every time I took a sip of coffee the waitress would come by to ask, "more coffee for 'ya?" We were welcomed by almost everyone in the Restaurant, and got a lesson on Robeson County. Great morning!

We ventured out to the Bull Riding grounds Friday afternoon. The Event was produced by Diamond H World Class Rodeo Productions, a truly family affair. The first person we met was Miss Katherine, the Matriarch of the Family and the Company. She oversees the Rodeo company, but spends most of her time managing the Tractor-Trailer Merchandise Trailer. Most tack stores would fit inside of their "Streets of Loredo Western Store" mobile unit, and I helped hang T-shirts while I got an overview of the way they run their shows and events, along with the history of the Company.

From there we met the rest of the crew, including Production Manager Darryl Watson. Every single person either welcomed us or thanked us for coming. As we approached show time, Bobbi mentioned how amazingly organized everything was, and it truly was a turn-key operation that was one of the most stress-free environments to be a part of.

The Clown was introduced to me as "The Prince of Dirt" JoJo Bradley. He was excited to get into his first performance, but we could tell that he was a little nervous. During mic-check I was a lil' aggressive on the one-liners, which may have sent him a little more into the freaky zone, so, I spent some time with him before the show. We went over his acts and a few of his jokes. I shared my experiences from my first performances as a rodeo clown with him, and I think I made up for mic-check fever.

The Show was on a fairgrounds with 2 other events. A Pow-Wow, a Carnival and an Xtreme Bull Riding. It was confusing for people pulling in, as each event was exclusive of the other, and our crowd wasn't what it could have been the first night, but, for their size, they were very responsive.

We capped the night off with a trip to Hardee's.

My Saturday morning started with a jolt as I scalded my surprise sunburn on my scalp. The high-80 degree weather in the Sunshine and the lack of a hat all the previous afternoon had done numbers on me. So, by the time we made it to the grounds, we decided to simmer in the shade to avoid the sun, and to enjoy the lazy-hazy afternoon. Colby Yates was blasting, stories of the night before were being shared, and then I almost fell out of my chair. This one Rider, whom was painting a story of womanizing ways, had his cell phone ring, and he said, "Got a Bite" .... Hahahhahahaha. Even as I write this out I'm giggling.

Show number two had stronger numbers in the seats, and they were even more responsive. JoJo the Clown was strong, and it appeared to be his 20th performance as opposed to his second.

Following the show we said our goodbyes, all with handshakes and hugs, and expressed our excitement for when we'd see each other again in a few weeks.

The weekend wasn't just filled with new acquaintances, though.

A long-time friend from Canada "Face-booked" me when they saw that I was venturing to North Carolina, as she too was in the State this past weekend. Her man and her watched the show, and we went to Cracker Barrel to catch up on old times.

The journey home proved to be more exciting that the trip there.

We left at 8:30a, and stopped an hour later at J-R's, a massive discount warehouse. It was there that I found my new travelling partner, "Timmy", a large puppet.



The next few hours were filled by Bobbi getting "Timmy" to get truck drivers to honk, followed by "Timmy" and I putting on shows to motorists stuck in traffic. Ummmm-yeah. Imagine cussing the driver in front of you, only to turn to your right to see a puppet waving and shaking his head at you. Even the most irate threw "thumbs ups" our way.

Two "driver errors" and four "navigational errors" later, we found ourselves practically on the front lawn of the White House. We treated ourselves to a complimentary tour of Washington, DC. The Monument, The Pentagon, The Congress Building or Supreme Court (can't remember, I was looking for D Street...) and more. Every time we would get a route plotted on the GPS, we'd find a street closed for a Bike Race or something. Oh, and Washington, DC is not on the way from Lumberton, NC to Erin, On, if you weren't sure.

Fortunately though, it does take us by another "Timmy"-friend of mine, Timmy Johnson, so, we planned a lunch, and introduced the two Timmy's to each other.

It was a great way to officially start my season, and now I'm all fired up for another year of travels and adventures!