Tuesday, July 22, 2008

The Stampede Part 2: Mutton Bustin'

I've had a few days to muse on the spectacle that was Mutton Bustin'. I'm of two minds:

1. What are these people thinking?
Who in their right mind puts their 5-year-old on the back of a 150-pound sheep, and then lets a crazed rodeo clown give 'em a whack and a shove out into the arena for the enjoyment of the cheering fans? Sheep can reach speeds of 50 mph and more! What are we applauding here, people, that the kid stayed on until he was traveling underneath the sheep, or that when he finally tumbled off the beast he didn't snap his little neck?

2. I Could've Done That.
Despite the frightening element of this tradition, I do remember witnessing this mutton busting ritual as a wee girl (Wallowa? Chief Joseph Days? Somewhere...) and wondering, "Hmm. I wonder why I wasn't entered in this competition. I'm quite sure I could stay on longer than these doofuses."

Very few of the wheelchair-bound actually cite "mutton busting" as their downfall. Then there's the old adage, "Sheep that don't kill us make us stronger." Eh. I'm sure I'll be back again next year, 45 minutes before the official opener, waiting for the lining up of the petrified 5-year-olds, watching for that look on their faces: "Uhhh...excuse me? I'm doing what now?"


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