Our friend Barbara figured that, since we are in Arizona, she should see cowboys everywhere. Since Duane and I had a short eye doctor appointment in Wickenburg today, we urged Gene and Barbara to ride along and look around a ‘'”real” western town to try to spot some. While we were in the dr’s office, Gene and Barbara walked around the old downtown area, ogling the talking statues and poking around some of the western-themed stores. When we reunited, they told us of their adventure over lunch. Alas, they had seen no cowboys. So that they wouldn’t be disappointed, we drove to the Downtown Arena, where, to their delight, we found real cowboys! There was a team roping going on.
The Ohio folks were up close and personal with horses as we walked among them in the parking lot on our way to the arena.
We found a good spot by the fence and settled in for some action.
To team rope, the cattle are loaded one at a time into the chute—that blue cage on the left. On either side of the chute are areas where the header and heeler wait. When the steer is released from the chute and starts the timer, the header chases it, followed by the heeler. The cowboys on either side are hazers, who keep the steer running in a straight line down the arena.
If everything goes right, the header throws his loop and settles it around the steer’s horns, pulls it tight, and wraps the loose end around the saddle horn. Then he turns the steer across the arena.
At that point the heeler throws his loop and wraps it around the steer’s hind feet. The timer stops when the steer is caught. The shortest time wins. There are several eliminations before the final winner is declared.
Can you guess what are those black things sticking down from the sign?
On the other side of the fence is the runback chute. After each “run”, the cattle are collected in a pen at the end of the arena. When the pen is full, the cattle are run back to the holding pen at the head of the arena, then loaded one by one into the roping chute.
To revive ourselves after our exciting afternoon we enjoyed some home made ice cream at Chaparral. They make their own hand dipped ice cream and serve three meals a day, too. Yum!
No fun and games this evening, but more fun with friends tomorrow.
Louise and Duane
P.S. Yesterday, I didn’t mean to imply that Saddle Mountain RV Park stank and was full of flies. Whatever odor comes from the chicken farm (which is across the street, but about two miles away) is mild and intermittent (depends on wind direction), and, to me, smells like wet chicken feathers. Some people might think that that is unacceptable, but most don’t obsess about it. To me six flies in my house is “a lot”. On warm days they are unavoidable and will get inside whenever the door is open, but they too are only mildly annoying. For us, the combination of the two (flies and smell) are not enough to keep us from thoroughly enjoying our visit here in this very nice park.