Monday, July 17, 2006

Holstein Rodeo

With Toronto's steel and concrete radiating an unbearable heat all weekend, I rolled into Grey County to the A Bar K Ranch, at the headwaters of the Saugeen River, where the fifth annual Holstein Rodeo marked the mid-point of Ontario's Dodge Rodeo Tour. Few excursions surpass the excitement or ambiance of a small rodeo on a hot summer weekend. It was a spectacular day to be under a piercing blue sky in the green rolling hills around Mount Forest, with just enough breeze and homemade lemonade to keep the spectators from brawling for a spot under the maple trees. In the bleachers at a grassroots rodeo you're blanketed with churning dust in the barrel races, sprinkled with spittle off a twisting bull's snout, and lose your breath when a bronc collides with the fence, hanging his broken rider to swing helplessly on a steel gate. The winners' cheques were lean, but, for the awe and applause of the crowd, cowboys and cowgirls from both sides of the border roped, rode, and wrestled the A Bar K's stock with as much attitude and gumption as any you'd see in Houston or Fort Worth.

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