Wednesday, 18 May 2011

Mother's Day Round-Up Weekend

Hello Friends!

How have you been these past weeks? A great many things have occurred in the world since my last entry; some of much greater importance than others. There was the lovely, beautiful, and wonderfully elegant wedding of Prince William and Catherine Middleton. A few days after that, we heard the news that our Navy Seals had eliminated one of America's most wanted. And now, we have all the political talk heating up.

However, in our little town, the biggest event of the year took place Mother's Day weekend as it has for over one hundred years (albeit not always officially). This is, the Round-up weekend.

Round-up Weekend, is a two-day long event, that celebrates and pays homage to the tradition of driving the cattle into the mountain for the Summer so that they can graze on the clean mountain grass, drink from snow-water streams, and breathe in the cool mountain air of Summer. Before the event was taken over by the Sheriff's Posse, the cowboys and ranchers, would “round up” their herds of cattle, drive them literally down main-street, up the road, past the high-school, and into the hills. Hence, it became the heralding in of Summer for our little community.

Although the round-up is technically one weekend, there are many events that lead up it. There are the queen events; where the young women who are vying for the title of Round-up queen compete in such area's as; horsemanship, ticket sales, pageantry, and public speaking. There are barbeques and band reviews, luncheons, and dinner fundraisers, and of course the “treasure hunt.”

A treasure hunt? Really? Yes, and it is the big lead-up to the Mother's Day weekend events. To describe the event, it must first be explained that we are an old-west community, founded during the years leading up to, during, after the 1849 California Gold Rush. The treasure hunt begins with a staged shoot-out on main-street, about two weeks prior to the parade, with “Coyote Sam” and his gang against our Sheriff and his posse. The shoot-out can be done with water-guns, cap guns, or silly string as it was this year. And what happens, during this wacky gun fight when “Coyote Sam” comes to town? Our poor Sheriff, gets tied up, and then must incur further humiliation when he has to report the cancellation of Round-up weekend unless various deeds, documents, and items are recovered. But lo and behold, what's this? One of “Coyote Sam's” gang member's has changed his colors, and is mailing back clues as to the location of these very important deeds. Once a day, a clue is printed in the paper, and can be used to discover the hiding spot than “Sam” has used. As the Round-up weekend approaches, the clues become clearer, until finally a loyal citizen is able to locate and bring in the precious document/item, and save the weekend for everyone. Their reward is a check for a couple hundred dollars.

Now that the Round-up has thankfully been saved, the fun can begin.

Day One
-The Parade
Usually our little Round-up parade is the second largest parade in the state behind the Rose Parade. Chairs begin to line the street in anticipation the night before, and are not moved or stolen. Many people of our town have been in this parade their whole life, and I myself was in it through elementary and high school playing the flute in marching bands. (My elementary school marching band was over a hundred members, and my high school marching band had over three hundred.) Saturday morning around 8am, with main-street closed to vehicles, people begin to line the streets with their various cups of coffee and tea. The elementary school band kids have been dropped off, the horses are groomed and adorned, and friends are meeting to enjoy the day. At 10am, a hush comes over the crowd as the judges announce the opening of Round-up weekend. For a little over two hours, the crowd claps and cheers as; the queen with her court, school bands, old cars, little dancers, veterans, and beautiful horses parade up the street and salute the judges.

The Judges

Our Poor Sheriff, trying to save face.

Korean War Veterans (My Papa was in that war)

After the parade, the crowd disperses to either eat a quick meal at home with some iced tea, or to head off early to the rodeo grounds.

-The Rodeo
“It's the bronc's and the blood. The steers and the mud. And they call the thing Rodeo!”
The Rodeo-Garth Brooks

The Rodeo, which opens with the National Anthem, is the highlight of the year for our town and starts at 2:00pm. Not only is it an official rodeo that is on the circuit, but our friends and family also participate in the different events, that range from; bull riding, bronc busting, calf wrestling, and the oh-so adorable mutton busting (Young kids dressed up as adorable as can be, are put on a sheep, told to hold on, and then the sheep is let go. The one who stays on the longest, wins. Please allow me to say, that there are about twenty posse men surrounding the children to protect them.). Also, at the rodeo grounds, there are many different vendors, ranging from food to jewelry. Some of the vendors are raising money for local groups such as; 4-H and FFA.

After the rodeo, many of our local citizens attend the dance, to which I have never been and so cannot provide a description. However, it is not beyond me to suggest that the dancing and music will more than likely be limited to country. An all around favorite.

Day Two

I, personally have never attended the second day of Round-up, as I would much rather spend Mother's Day with my own Mother doing things that she enjoys more. It will suffice to say, that she is one who would much rather do something lovely and elegant than spend another day at dusty, rodeo grounds.

However, day two does include;
Wrangler Family Day
Mother's Day Breakfast
Cowboy Church at the fairgrounds
More Rodeo (Kiddie rodeo, and then the big boys)

Although it may not sound like a great deal of fun, please allow me to say that if you live here, know the people, and have grown up playing your own part in the weekend festivities, it does provide much enjoyment and festivities.

This year, just a few weeks after round-up weekend, we have had a series of storms. At my own home, we even had a few inches of snow in addition to the rain and wind.

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