Tuesday, June 9, 2009

You can take the girl out of the country...

...but you can't take the country out of the girl.

I had the amazing honor of singing the National Anthem at the 2009 Santa Maria Elks Rodeo this past Saturday. And I tell you what, I'm not sure there is a better place to sing that song. Cowboys with dust on their faces, mud on their boots, their hats over their hearts and a tear in their eyes.

The work is hard. The language is at times rough. The hugs are huge. The camaraderie is thick. And the faith is real.

What an experience to stand in that arena, all eyes on our flag, and pay tribute to the country that gives us our freedom, to the God who gave us our country.

After singing, I stepped back behind the rails and was literally as close as this picture shows to the chutes as the Broncs came out. Incredible!

I joined my family in the stands. The kids were captivated by the energy of it all. And a pink cowgirl hat just made it that much better.

We loved Saturday so much that the kids begged to go back on Sunday. How could we resist? The Elks Rodeo admits active duty military for free (which is MUCH appreciated), so off we went. On Saturday, our friend Brad took us back to be a part of a bar-b-que for the volunteers. And on Sunday not only did we get to go again, but he took us over to where we could all watch the rodeo from the rails.

Yes, we were THIS close. Us. The broncs. The bulls. It was AWESOME!!!

One of Brit's favorite parts was when the trick riders did their stuff. She's ready to sign up right now! The girls come from Riata Ranch here in California, and did some incredible stunts.

Right there from the fence we watched the hulking beasts best their riders time and again. We witnessed the victory claimed by few as they wrestled and white knuckled it for 8 seconds. We saw the adorable little cowboys and girls cling to the necks of frenzied sheep during the Mutton Busting. We watched a bloodied cowboy be helped with his exit. We shouted and cheered for the cowgirls as they raced around the barrels to the finish line. And the one who may have enjoyed it the most was the one with the biggest smile on his face:

Thanks so much to Brad (holding our little friend Caden) for getting us behind the scenes and into the action! What an incredible memory we made this past weekend.
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Brown-Eyed Girl said...

Angela!! What an incredible experience!!

Willie said...

Bummer! If I had known it was free for active duty we might have gone. I thought about it, but that's as far as it got. Glad you all had fun.


The Adventure said...

That's amazing Angela! If you guys enjoyed that so much you will absolutely need to check out Cheyenne Frontier Days up in Wyoming...it is AWESOME!!