Ranch Rodeo Survival Guide

Posted in: Featured, Rodeo

Jordan Valley Big Loop

With the summer ranch rodeo season in full swing, competitors all over the Great Basin and beyond are re-wrapping their saddle horns and using their favorite ropes just enough to get them a little fuzzy, then tucking them away for the big day in town. For the supportive families who want to go along and enjoy the rodeo but aren’t competing, preparing for a rodeo is a whole different scenario, however. Here are a few tips for surviving a summer of rodeo action from the grandstands.

1) Camping in the July heat on the sun-baked treeless desert with no running water in a tipi is about as much fun as it sounds, so if there is a motel room available within 20 miles, take it. The extra fuel expense is worth A/C and a hot shower.

2) Oftentimes in our small, rural rodeo towns, there isn’t a motel room available within 20 miles during the event, so make your reservation in late May at the latest.

3) Bring a wading pool “for the kids” and set it up near the arena with a good view of the action. Even if you don’t have any kids, the pool will attract someone’s kids, and then you will be obligated to wade in and supervise. Right? That’s my theory, anyway.

4) Set up your awning and camp chairs (if it’s that kind of arena setup) next to the DeLongs and Garijos. If you don’t have one of these two families in your area, look for a family that has a water mister strung around their awning. That is basically the definition of “awesome” in my book of ranch rodeo spectating tips.

My favorite way to enjoy a ranch rodeo is horseback next to the guy on the right, but sitting in a camp chair with my feet in a wading pool drinking an Arnold Palmer is a close second.

Ranch rodeo

5) Bring a flat or two of water purchased from the grocery store. I know the concession stand has to make money, but charging $2 for a 20-ounce bottle of water is criminal. Repeatedly paying the $2 all weekend is just plain foolish.

6) Bring plenty of Gatorade and fruit snacks to share with all the kids. You have a wading pool and are next door to a water mister, remember?

7) Remember to attend the calcutta and buy or at least bid on your spouse’s team. If you’re a seasoned ranch wife, you’re probably like, “Duh,” but I’m a newbie at sitting in the stands with small children who look like my husband, so I have to remind myself to show up and show support in all the different aspects of ranch rodeo competition.

8) Realize that your husband will forget to eat and cowboys don’t drink water anyway, so drag his butt to a restaurant/concession stand/cafe/wherever people eat at that rodeo, and buy the man a meal. Trust me, he’ll eat it if it’s siting right in front of him.

9) Wear shorts or a sundress (and plenty of SPF 50, of course). If you’re not in the rodeo and aren’t required to follow the arena dress code, there’s no sense in suffering in the full cowboy costume in the heat of summer.

10) Be sure and say hi to all your friends that you rarely get to see, and invite some new people over to your evening barbeque. Ranch rodeos are the main social activity out here in the American West; you gotta socialize and have fun!

Rodeo fans

Bonus tip: If you know how to strum it, bring a guitar. If you don’t know how to strum one, please don’t. Thank you.

Posted in: Featured, Rodeo


About Jolyn Young

Jolyn Young lives near Fallon, NV with her cowboy husband and 3 small kids. For more, visit www.jolynyoung.com....

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