Thursday, April 24, 2008

Mutton What?

Franch Tales are back! We still don't have the internet but I remembered that we have a trusty jump drive, so I am here at the 'rents posting a few random things.

Back in Colorado, and anywhere there is an active rodeo contingency, there exists a sport called Mutton Busting, or more appropriately pronounced mutton bustin’. This is a sport used to introduce young buckaroos to the fine art of holding on to a flailing animal. The problem with teaching ‘em young is that it one essential rodeo ingredient is not permitted in the toddler set: alcohol. It seems to me that alcohol equals bravery, or at least the illusion of it. Why else would you strap your sorry butt to the back of a ginormous bull and cinch up it’s man parts to make him angry right before someone lets him out of the chute? Obviously, liquor is involved. It does make for some fun entertainment, though. Anyway, back to mutton bustin’. This involves strapping helmets on kids as young as two years old and sticking them on the back of a sheep. They let the sheep out into the arena and see how long the kid can hold on. It is obvious, even at that tender young age, who are boys and who are girls. Why? Because the boys try and make a big show out of it. They throw one arm back and try to sit up, like they see their daddies doing. They fall off real quick. The girls, more interested in hanging on, just bury their hands in the sheep’s wool and hold on for dear life. Girls rule in mutton bustin’, at least from what I’ve seen. One little girl in my Sunday school class at Loma won. She even got a buckle for it. (Yes, city folk, they give out belt buckles instead of trophies) I asked her what the secret was. She told me you just hold on with your hands, dig your feet into their haunches and hold on for dear life. Sounds logical to me, as logical as it is to strap a two year old on a sheep anyway. Seriously, at least wait until they’re three. The funny part about mutton bustin’, beside the obvious hilarity of watching kids trying to hang on to wayward sheep, is the names of the sheep. They try to make it just like a real rodeo competition, but with kid-friendly names like Bubblegum and Snowball. The thing is, the announcer really doesn’t give a flying flip which sheep is Bubblegum and which is Snowball. I am pretty sure they just have a list of 20 names that they just keep recycling over and over again. ‘Ladies and gentlemen, here we have a little buckaroo named Wyatt riding Snowball. Snowball comes from a long line of rodeo sheep, has a fierce record and can really buck. Can Wyatt hold on?’ Interestingly enough, while I didn’t know that Mutton Bustin’ was an actual sport until later, I have participated in it a time or two as a child. One incident involved riding sheep willy-nilly around my friend’s place while our parents talked the evening away. It ended with my friend’s dad having to superglue a tear in the sheep’s ear. Somehow or other, when the sheep was trying to shake one of us leaches off his back, he tore his ear on some barbed wire. It wasn’t really bad, but now I know that superglue can fix just about anything!

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