The rules of this game:
1. Hang on tight.
2. If it stinks, hold your breath and hang on tight.
3. Have fun and hang on tight.
4. Hang on tight, and when you can't, let go but get out the way.
Tonight Coop rubbed shoulders with National Western Stock Show Rodeo Champions and Queens. Seriously. As a contestant in the mutton bustin' competition his game plan was simple.
He checked in with the other contestants, even the grown up guys who wrestle steers, ride broncs, and get thrown from bulls. Then he shopped the John Deere tractors for a minute or two. After anxious prodding, he convinced his dad to take him back stage to wait for his event. And before we knew it he was clinging to a sheep who was skeedaddling it's way into the center of the arena.
I nearly tipped off the top of the stadium seats when they marched him out and handed him a trophy as tall as he is. And was even more amazed when the Rodeo Champions and Queens came out to lift them up and have all the crowd cheer for them. He was proud as punch when his kindergarten teacher showed up at his side to congratulate him. And honestly nothing surprised me more than the two cute young women who stopped him after the show and asked for his picture! If she'd had a Sharpie and he could write in cursive those girls would have asked for his autograph. I'm not kidding.
Now I acknowledge there are organizations who discourage mutton bustin' because it might not promote kindness to, or respect of, animals. And I also suppose there are others who will judge me for permitting my gorgeous little boy to compete in such a "dangerous" event. But I don't care. It was wildly entertaining and frankly I'm proud of my child for showing virtually no fear in the face of 8,000 screaming fans. I'm hoping it doesn't lead to a life of rough stock riding, but it was good 'ol fashioned fun nonetheless.
Thanks to everyone who helped us get ready for this event. From the grandparents who flew out to see him to the clothes and boots donations to the sponsorship of his entry and the late night notary -- it was a red letter day thanks to you. For the record: He was contestant no. 8 (pretty lucky, huh) and scored an 87 -- unofficially second place (facebook video). Not bad for a city kid.