Rodeo Week is upon us and like most other Sheridan-area residents, I can’t wait for the fun to begin.
After arriving in Sheridan in 2008, just two weeks before the biggest event in town, I had no idea what I had gotten myself into.
Sure, I’d see rodeo on TV, briefly as I flipped through to another channel. The excitement of the sport is hard to capture through a small screen.
When my editor asked me to cover one of the nights of rodeo, I had to do some research on terminology associated with the events. After all, I did not want to sound like a complete moron.
I learned more about Sheridan, Wyo., in those few hours covering the Sheridan-Wyo-Rodeo than I did the rest of my time here.
• Never wear flip flops to a fairgrounds arena after severe thunderstorms roll through the area. Footwear of this kind is only acceptable if you plan to stay primarily in the grandstands. Interviewing cowboys while covered up to the knees in splashed mud does not make for a good first impression.
• Don’t be surprised when every cowboy you talk to, no matter how rough and dirty they talk to their fellow rodeo contestants, call you “ma’am” every chance they get.
• When somebody tells you that Indian Relay Races are exciting and dangerous. Believe them. Then, don’t get to close to the arena fences while the horses are being exchanged. You’re likely to get kicked or have mud flung at you. (There is that darn mud again.)
The rest of the week also taught me some lessons.
• Finding a good spot to watch the parade is not an option, it is a necessity. Set up your chair as early as possible, or make friends with a downtown business owner.
• Butt darts is a real game. It is not just something Wyoming people tell out-of-towners to get a laugh.
• Some people who participate in the boot kick-off, bed races and Sneakers and Spurs run get very serious about the competition.
This year, for what I understand is the first time ever, The Sheridan Press will have a float in the Sheridan-Wyo-Rodeo parade.
Keep an eye out for us, let us know what you think of our efforts. We’re new to the whole deal — dressing up as cowboys and Indians, decorating a trailer, etc. — but we’ll have candy, so watch out.
Kristen Czaban is the managing editor of The Sheridan Press.