WHAT? You’ll have to type your comments LOUDER? I can’t HEAR you! I spent the night at the street dance: my ears are ringing, my voice is scratchy, and I’m not hungover.
This is rodeo weekend in Grand River, just up the Seven Mile Road from Two Mile Ranch. In this part of the Midwest, small town rodeo is big time business. The Leon Rodeo, held in the county seat each July is a URA, MSRA and IRCA triple sanctioned and award-winning rodeo. The Grand River rodeo draws 1000 – 2000 people each year, not bad for a town with a population of a little over 200 people.
Even though I don’t live in town, I do my part to help out when I can. I get to the chili suppers, I shop local when I can, and talk with neighbors. My friends Eli and Caroline sell their baskets and qilts on Saturdays in town, and I often stop to share stories or catch up on their week. Eli and Caroline will be butchering my chickens later this fall.
But back to my hearing — or lack of it today. A few weeks ago, Bob stopped his truck at Two Mile. He told me of the concert and street dance the last night of the rodeo. He asked if I would be part of the security detail that night. You know, the guys at the door who stamp your hand, to let you in and out, and stand in front of the stage in lime green or neon yellow t-shirts. I figured when else in my life would I get the chance to tackle a screaming, little-white-tank-top adorned young woman, and peel her away from a tight jeaned, guitar playing country musician in front of a few thousand cowboys?
The concert was headlined by Jason Brown, a rising country recording artist and someone I had the opportunity to work with briefly during my work on “Behind the Microphone” – a documentary project on country music.
The show was a benefit for the town of Grand River, and an opportunity for a TV crew to create a pilot episode they hope to sell to a network about saving small towns and specifically “Savin’ This Bar, One Beer at a Time” the title of a new song performed by Brown.
Truth is, it was a beautiful night, an energetic and polite crowd, and a beautiful way to spend a Saturday night at the end of a summer. It’s been cool, we’ve had some rain, the temp’s last night were in the bottom half of the 50′s. The dew was so intense, that by midnight, the sound board was wet enough to stop working, prompting some creative work-arounds on stage by the tech crew and the band.
I spent most of it at the stage gate, stamping hands, and reminding under -age teens (who were leaving to do what ever under-age teens who can’t legally drink do at a street dance) that they could only go in and out three times. No young girls rushed onto the stage for their “eight second ride” on a country star, and with the cool temps, all the little white tank tops were covered by 3 layers of fleece.
Under the cloudless night, the stars blazed and by the time I got home, I managed to take off my boots, have a drink of water, and fall asleep. This cowboy’s eight second rides aren’t quite what they used to be.