Well folks, the underdogs were victorious AGAIN!
Our boy was really excited to compete in the roping, ranch, and speed events at the fair. After enduring the stuffy horse show wearing a scarf tie on the previous Saturday, he was ready to let loose and have some fun doing the things he loves.
It paid off BIG time for him.
You're looking at this year's first place winner of the ranch competition, and the Reserve Grand Champion of the roping and ranch events.
He won his very first buckle, and this is only the second time he's competed in these events.
I was the obnoxious super-fan whooping and hollerin' from the grand stands.
"That a BABY!"
"That's my BOY!"
He had an entire series of challenges to complete in under 5 minutes for the ranch events.
He started off by roping his calf on the very first loop.
Next, he had to ride over to a railroad tie and drag it with a rope dallied to the horse from one cone to another.
Then he had to cross a bridge, cross some logs, back up in an L shape without stepping out of the logs, trot to a cone, lope a figure 8 with flying lead changes, come to a sliding stop, back the horse several steps, and then head over to the corral pen.
Once there, he had to open the gate, cut out two steers and push them out of the pen, (all while riding his horse). Last, he had to exit the gate and the time stopped when he latched it closed atop his horse.
There were tons of kids competing against him, but very few that completed the challenge in the time allowed. Even fewer roped their calf on the first loop, and fewer still could work the gate on horseback.
I held my breath in the stands as our son completed each task nearly flawlessly. When he closed the gate with time to spare, I knew he would be in one of the top placings, and we were tickled when he won the buckle.
The biggest surprise came later that evening with the speed events. At our fair, both boys and girls do all of the events in order to accumulate points for the all-around. The speed events are tough because most of the kids that compete are also in Jr. Rodeo, or high school rodeo, and travel the state every weekend to compete on fast horses. We only do these things at the fair, and so the kids haven't really mastered any sort of technique.
Our poor girls had to run barrels on old Jake and he just doesn't have the speed, anymore. But they looked precious out there!
It's funny because the same horse that led our son to glory, also brought him the agony of defeat in pole bending when he refused to enter the arena gate. That stubborn horse just wouldn't go in, and unlike a rodeo, there are lots of rules about how the horse enters the arena at the fair. They can't come in alongside another horse, and can't be led in by an adult. There's a white chalk line that the kids have to be standing in alone just outside the gate before their name is called, and Cade gets all worked up when he knows he's doing speed events. We couldn't even back him into the arena. My son was wrongly told he could walk Cade in the gate and then get on him, but was promptly disqualified when he did.
Ah well. Live and learn.
For the final event, he decided to not chance a disqualification, and elected to ride Old Jake for the goat tying.
When we got back to the camper that night, our son fell asleep grinning from ear to ear with his new buckle on the pillow beside him.
He wore his buckle for the rest of the week at the fair, and I think he walked just a little bit taller. :)
One thing's for certain, 12 year old girls really dig 12 year old boys with shiny new buckles. HA!
More county fair results to come,