Summertime in the Southwest is rodeo time. We’ve got 4-H rodeos, high school and junior rodeos, amateur punkin’ rollin’s and, of course, the professional productions.
In the old days we had many amateur rodeos — the kind where you can pay your entry fee and get your number half an hour before the event. Usually, the events included horse races. We had relays, pony express, and even some matched races. The race track circled the arena. There were no starting gates, of course, so the horseback “starter” rode inside the arena alongside us and shot a pistol into the air when were semi-lined up. The finish line was in front of the grandstand, so everyone could easily see who won.
At those rodeos the action starts in early morning, everything stops at noon for “dinner on the ground,” and then it all takes off again for the rest of the day.