A Summer of Adventure The Catch-up Tales
Monday, 25 August 2008 19:00

The great summer of '08 has been a season of road trips, feature events, sensational performances and non-stop adventure. The downside of the road holds the inability to share the stories...until now. I present to you, "The Catch-up Tales"...with supporting Videos and Pics.

June began with the "ORA Season Opener" in Lindsay, Ontario, Canada. What was looking to be an amazing weekend weatherwise, turned into a Monsoon, and it was pretty much a mud bowl to walk around. The shows were solid, there were some good runs and rides, though I placed 6th and 6th...I caught everything thrown my way. Lindsay was also the weekend of the Pic-Axe monster, which will hold many memories for the "Raw Crew".

Next came my Hometown Rodeo in Erin, which was amazing. After a few 14-hour-each-way trips to the Tar Heel State, it was a welcome addition to have the ability to walk to the grounds...if desired. One of the highlights was using the "friends, family and neighbours" intro, truly feeling like a hometown hero. All said and done, the sun shone both days, and I even got a piece of the Tiedown Roping, so, another Stellar Weekend.

From there, the travels took me to Raleigh, NC for a Freestyle Bullfight with the Ultimate Bull Fighter Tour, presented by Bar B Ruff Stock. This event was like no other, with 2 of the 10 bullfighters being "ambulanced out", one with a severe head laceration, and one simply described as "Bleeding from the groin area." The most odd thing about the Fighting Bulls was that they concentrated on anything that moved, ie., the Announcer pacing during the opening, the paramedics attending to a fallen bullfighter, and so on. In fact, as they released a half dozen out into the arena to show one of their buddies the way out of the arena, they acted like Velociraptors from "Jurassic Park", rumbling as one over the Barrel, smashing into the corners of the fence, etc. The crowd assembled got to witness an amazing show, and the support was resounding for more Freestyles in the Carolinas.

Home for a few, then back to the Carolinas for one of the longest running rodeos in the Tar Heel State, the Pilot, NC Lions Club Rodeo. The Show, headed by Ron Bullock has become a staple in the very small community of which he refers to as, "The Centre of the Universe...you can get to anywhere in the world from Pilot, NC". It was an enjoyable weekend just hearing old Rodeo Stories from someone who has spent their entire life loving and living the sport.

The next trip was a doozy, as I headed to the Lone Star State of Texas for the first time. Arriving early for the Military Warriors Support Fund Foundation Professional Bull Riding and Freestyle Bullfight, Dewayne "Soulman" Morris picked me up at the airport and became my tour guide. We visited a few western stores, and my first needed purchase was a Straw Hat...the felt hat wasn't going to cut it in the 98-degree weather. Soon we met up with some other out-of-towners, and the tour really took off, with a stop for some good Texan BBQ and some shopping/playing at a Hat Store.

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The next morning we went to a Bull Riding in front of the Alamo, and our big event was that night. It was a rock star show with such greats as 1996 PBR Finals Champion Ronnie Kitchens, 2x PBR World Finals Qualifier Willis Trosclair, in addition to some of the rankest bulls in the History of Earth...everything on probullstats, and PBR World Finals Experienced or Calibre, even some of the Bulls that made the first trip to Mexico with the PBR. It ended with a Freestyle Bullfight with some tops Bullfighters, Andy Burrelle, Ross Hill and a whole field of modern-day matadors.

Back home I flew, in time for a Rodeo on Manitoulin Island. It was a warm atmosphere, and I won a Team Roping and placed in the Tiedown. Stoked with that, we ventured home on the Ferry, with a few hours to kill, I bet my brother that he couldn't swim across the channel going from Lake Huron into a marina. The video tells that story....

 

 

The next weekend I announced Burford, ON, before going back to the US for an event with Double M Pro Rodeo, the Martins, former owners of All-American Rodeo. It was a reminiscent trip as they knew so many Canadians that have been contenders in the North East at their rodeos over the past 40+ years.

The drive from Albany, NY to Sudbury, ON was a doozy; I hauled right after the show, stopped at home, picked up the truck and trailer, drove to Sudbury, slept for 3 hours, did Slack, hung out to the Show, then planned on getting some needed shut-eye. The only issue is that Sudbury's host is Gaeten Boulanger, and I couldn't resist a Sudbury Saturday Night. That turned into me becoming Karaoke DJ and listening to the best rendition of La Bamba the World has ever seen, courtesy of Brandon Moore and Steve "Froster" Foster.

All throughout the Saturday Perf I announced in English and French. Everytime I nailed some Francais, I would have fun with the spectators close to me, and ask, "C'est Bon? Where's my star?". The next day, one of the Big Sisters girls came up to me with a Gold Star for the Saturday perf, and a blank page for Sunday's. The deal was that every time I spoke Solid French, or promoted the Big Brothers-Big Sisters 50-50 draw, I would get a star. She even appointed a delegate while she was away to post stars in her absence. This was one of the highlights of my season by far!

After the Sunday perf, I commenced the trip back, and couldn't make it...I pulled over at what I thought was a rest area, and woke up at 1pm in the afternoon in the parking lot of a museum in Port Severn....ooops!

The next trip was to New Hampshire where the weather was the worst. At the last minute they moved the rodeo from outdoors into an Ox Pulling Arena...the skinniest set-up in the History of the Sport, which made for some interesting Team Roping (Turn and Fizzle)...but amazing Tiedown Roping.

Back to Canada for Ridgetown...two big nights at the Queen's Tavern, or Hotel, or something. Still in good spirits on Sunday Morning, I was called from Breakfast to assist in the Bucking Chutes, which was a little out of the paradox. As I sauntered up, I found the reason why I was beckoned...to do some Steer Rigging Riding. I attempted...and the Pictures tell the story. I refused to take a bind, figuring that I wouldn't live down a hang-up, and when I fell in front of the steer, that was the last thing I was thinking of as it looked like it was going to donkey-stomp me!

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The next trip was to Lebanon, PA for the big fair, which was well attended, and showed a few less entries, which allowed the show to end just short of 4 hours. Last year it went almost 5, so, it was a welcomed change.

The next weekend was Leamington, ON. There were scheduling conflicts with the Clown, so, I carried the entire shows, which was very easy with the high-end calibre of contestants we had...contenders in the top-15 in the IPRA World Standings in every event! And, as customary over the past 7 years, we celebrated another successful rodeo by eating Chicken until the wee hours of Holiday Monday.

The following weekend was a travelling marathon as I went to NY on Thursday, PA on Friday and OH on Sunday. It was a great trip as two of the three shows featured Timmy Johnson as Rodeo Clown, and we played tourist for most of the weekend. On the way back, however, I had major issues. I pulled over at a Rest Stop in NY to send some e-mails on my Laptop and grab a bite to eat. When I wrapped up and ventured outside, the CAR WAS GONE! I panicked. 2 of my computers, video and photo cameras, and PASSPORT...GONE!!! Car...GONE!!! I called 9-11, and they passed me through to the State Police. The officer on the line said, "Sir, calm down, please. Go inside."

I complied. He then said, "I want you to go to the other side of the Restaurant."

I argued. "Sir! I distinctly know where I parked the car. It was on this side of the Restaurant. I recognize the Popcorn Stand, Sunglass Hut, Sunoco. I'm sure this is where the car was. Hurry, quick! We can catch them!"

He insisted. "Sir, please walk to the other side of the Restaurant and call us back in 10 minutes."

Angrily, I hung up the phone and stormed across the bridge....through the Restaurant....to another bridge.....and on the other side....there was the car.

I called the police back. "ummm....yeah. I'm an airhead...."

He laughed. They get 6 calls a weekend from people there. Atleast I am in a small minority as opposed to being alone.

The great summer of '08 has been a season of road trips, feature events, sensational performances and non-stop adventure. The downside of the road holds the inability to share the stories...until now. I present to you, "The Catch-up Tales"...with supporting Videos and Pics.

A week later were the Caledonia Stampede Days. Showing Ontario that Caledonia was truly "open for business", the entire town embraced the Rodeo and had themed parties, contests, and festivities for about 5 days straight, culminating into the big Rodeo....which was sensational.

The following weekend was the big OHSRA Opener in Hillsburgh, ON, which went by splendidly quick, and allowed for a quiet Sunday.

And that's how we got to today...with a few more trips to go in the Summer Season....wait until happens next!!!