I really did intend when I reworked this site to start updating it regularly again and now I will. But right after it went up, Cowboy Campmeeting started at the ranch. It tired me more than I had expected. I helped wrap the steers last Friday night after the service in preparation for the ropings Saturday, worked both ropings Saturday and then we had the family rodeo on Sunday. I needed a little time to recover. It was all fun but three church services, two ropings and a family rodeo in 48 hours wears ya out (in addition to generating more than the usual laundry burden).
One of my favorite muses once said that the smell of sweating horses was like ambrosia to her. I thought of her a couple times last weekend. In fact, I took one particular picture with her in mind and the evil intent of making her jealous but it didn’t turn out. (The description on the picture will explain.)
The ropings were a huge success. They were both team ropings. The Saturday morning roping was a four steer average with a nice saddle for 1st in the average, in addition to the prize money. There were nearly 300 teams entered.
The Saturday night roping was a progressive and what we refer to as a “church roping.” It’s an annual tradition at Cowboy Campmeeting. It’s a money-added, open roping. The church put up $3000 this year. The entry “fee” is that the ropers have to attend the church service just prior to the roping. As Pastor Butch said to them at the start of the service, “There’s no catch and we aren’t trying to hide anything. It’s simple as this: I’ve got a God so good and a message so powerful that I’ll pay you to listen to what I have to say because I know that if you listen, you’ll want to know my God and He’ll change your life.” The pot is increased by the offering in that service. Pastor Butch said, “We’re not trying to get anything from ya. Every dollar in this offering goes into the pot for the roping and we’ll let you know at the end of the service how much it is.” This year it was a bit over $2100, so the roping had a $5000+ pot.
It works. Cowboys (and a few cowgirls) come from miles around and even other states for a shot at all that free money. Every year there are testimonies from some that are back because they had a life changing encounter with God in some prior year. The fun part is that the ropers think it’s too good to be true. Pastor said they were still coming up to him during the roping saying, “When’s the other shoe drop? There’s gotta be a catch.” I think there were over 200 teams in that one and it didn’t finish until almost midnight.
I spent the day (and a good part of the night) Saturday “behind” the arena, at various times running steers, working the gates and stripping ropes in the exit chute. I got the chance to wrestle a few steers by the horns and got kicked a few times while pulling heel ropes without a hook.
If you’ve never had church in a rodeo arena, you don’t know what you’re missin’. We had three great church services in the arena. Friday night was my pastor’s pastor, Happy Caldwell. Now there’s a preacher with country cred. He started his testimony with, “I was born again Feb 11, 1972 at 11:01 pm at the Grand Ole Opry in Nashville, Tennessee. I didn’t know I was goin’ to the Ryman Auditorium to get saved that night; I thought I’s goin’ to see Johnny Cash.” He went on to say that it was Hank Snow’s son Jimmy that prayed with him that night and led him to Jesus.
Saturday night was Pastor Butch. I always love to hear him preach, but he was really “on” that night, preaching the real gospel in a style all his own. Sunday morning was Jesse Duplantis. Seein’ Jesse is always… well… there ain’t nobody like Jesse.
Your (roughly) regular updates will now resume. Stay tuned.