Monday, August 24, 2009


Since I am using my networking skills to help raise funds to bring back the rodeo to Palm Springs after 22 years, six of us were invited to see the inner workings of this nine-year old rodeo.

The day began with putting on an appropriate cowgirl-like outfit. Had the jeans and a top that would work, bought western looking earrings, and borrowed the hat and belt. I have a new appreciation for people who have to wear a belt every day…..not use to wide belts. The loops on my jeans barely accommodated the belt embellished with a great gold rhinestone buckle. Shoes, well we won’t get into that….my boots have not arrived.

Picked up my colleague and we made the two-hour drive to the rodeo grounds that was set in a valley, on a ranch, surrounded by magnificent mountains. We parked the car and the learning began.

First, we met with a woman in charge of all the vendors. Then we spent about an hour with the man who was “in charge” of the event. He let us in on unknown details and shared with us what they had tried in the past that hadn’t worked and why certain things work well.

The big white tent placed along the side the arena was filled with tables covered with white tablecloths and flower arrangements. Think of the feeling of going to a dinner theatre…only in this case, the rodeo takes place in front of you while you eat dinner. This area is reserved for the sponsors who dined on western barbecue complete with freshly grilled steaks.

We watched the stadium bleachers fill to capacity with folks who had bought general admission tickets. At both ends of the arena were the chutes where the real action always began.

At the appointed time, the announcer got our attention. About 30 people walked out with a 40 by 40 foot American flag and unfurled it before our eyes. We sang our national anthem under the brilliant blue sky and sunshine. Once that ended, three service members from the area were asked to come to the center of the arena…the crowd broke into an amazing applause.

While the service members were standing there, the champion cowboys were called to the arena and each one of them shook the service members’ hands. At the chute area, in front of us, the Rodeo manager, Cotton Rosser (83 yrs old) waited on his horse to shake every cowboy’s hand as he came back to the chute gate.

Then the action began. I have a feeling before long the names of the cowboys will start becoming very familiar to me as we develop our own rodeo Palm Springs that will be held March 12, 13, and 14, 2010.

When I arrived “home” that night, I thought about the day. I had been privileged to see and learn how a rodeo is put together. I saw the look of expectation on the cowboy’s face and watched as some of them limp from an injury they had received at a previous rodeo on the circuit. The filled to capacity stadium and dining tent help me understand the thirst to take ourselves out of our daily life routine.

My reasons for getting involved with this project was, in large part, the feeling that I could help people remember history and help others experience the western way of life that helped form this entire Coachella Valley. I look forward to this Palm Springs Wild West Fest & Frank Bogert Memorial Rodeo with great anticipation.


Do not go anywhere without a something to write on – your many brilliants ideas will be quickly forgotten if you do not write yourself a note.

No comments:

Post a Comment