back from the Sunshine State
Sunday, 17 June 2007 19:00

A lil' suntan, and a lil' wore out, I returned from Florida.

It was a sweet trip, and definitely a memorable and rewarding experience.

Upon landing, I found out that the Dodge Charger I was expecting was not available. In lieu of it, they gave me a Cadillac DTS. Phat and Fly, I cruised in my Chris Ledoux Cowboy Cadillac. I re-adjusted the eq for some solid bass, lowered the seat to the floor, and matt'd it every time I touched the gas...

The venue for the Rodeo Finals was pretty pristine... the Jacksonville Equestrian Center. It has like a 150' x 300' arena floor, and is designed just for horse related events. The cooling system were massive fans, ironically called, "Big Ass Fans"... that did a good job for the crowd, but the timing/announcing compound was about 15 degrees warmer...

My arch-nemesis quickly presented itself... a massive echo and sound delay. Patched into the house sound, it was almost an entire second between my voice saying "Hi", and it going to the speakers, and back to me... 120' away... it made announcing challenging. I would slow down to enunciate and accentuate something, and subconsciously wait to hear if it came out right, and then... stutter. Continue on a few words, get flustered due to the stutter... then, stutter again. I overcame this by using an earplug the second performance... once I got used to focusing on my voice in my head, I hammered on... stutter free, even... haha.

The last performance ended sensationally. As there were only timed events, the show-stopper was Pole Bending. As the event played itself out over the rounds, the top 3 contestants were 4 points apart going in, and the gap spread to 6 going into the last round...and one of the 3 knocked a pole for a penalty. 2nd last to run was the new season leader who had jumped from third to first. She took the lead of the go and the aggregate. The last one to run had to "get 'er done."

Production wise, it was timed perfect. I had time to deliver the set-up to the "T".

"It comes... down... to... this" ..." Win the finals, win the year." And she beat the time she needed to do by about ΒΌ of a second to win the go as well.

As expected, I learned a lot of proper pronunciations of Southern Towns... Kissimmee... is actually Kuh-sea-me and so on.

But the payoff at the end was the clincher... tons of congrats and a few referrals... nyce!

From the top of the Association down to the contestants, everyone made me feel extremely welcome, and I truly experienced Southern Hospitality!

Prior to my flight home, I went for one more cruise... down to the ocean. Unfortunately, I didn't really plan for this, though. So, I ventured to the beach in shorts and cowboy boots. Into the Atlantic I went... and the waves were enormous. I was giggling as I swam... so much that I choked in some salt water. Tapping on the excursion after almost being swept away in the rip tide, I walked out of the ocean, and was 4 feet from the shore as this kid beside me started screaming and WHAM, a wave took me out at the shins...good times.

The flights home were as eventful as the flights down. Flight #1's pilot was having a bad day... decided that a slow decent wasn't going to suffice, and dropped the nose without warning... and the plane sped waaaay up. The seatbelt light came on, then the no-smoking sign started flashing. The seat in front of mine's light started flickering... I thought we were going down... but, after this Top Gun move, the pilot came on and said that we were going to be early... I was like, "are we? Do you really think so?" Early for the ultimate last ride maybe... Flight #2 was on a jet... uneventful, other than my gratis Spanish lesson for 2.5 hours between Atlanta and Buffalo.

Well, home to rest then off on the road again. I wonder what kind of an adventure I'm going to go on next?!