Okay Mr. Connelly, I read your post from yesterday about the "25 Random Facts About the Houston Livestock Show & Rodeo." So I consider myself tagged, and will now do my 25 Random Facts About the Rodeo, derived from the way too many years I worked that damn thing as part of the in-house video crews.
1. If I'm ever in any kind of fight - bar, gun, knife, cat, dog - I ask only for the aid of a rodeo clown. Rodeo clowns are the toughest, baddest bastards I've ever met. Not even a 'roided up linebacker is tougher than a rodeo clown.
2. By the way, rodeo clowns are among the nicest people you'll ever meet.
3. My first couple of years on the job, I was the cable-puller for the hand-held cameras. This meant following a camera guy across the floor of the Astrodome, making sure that the cable never got tangled or was in a place where someone could trip over it. As such, I learned one valuable lesson: if it looks like horse crap, it is horse crap.
4. I also learned a cow is a cow is a cow, unless it has horns. Then you run like hell.
5. I was also on PETA watch. That meant looking for hippie-types who might jump onto the floor and try to disrupt the rodeo. Unfortunately, they needed a drunk volunteer watch, because those idiots caused more problems than PETA.
6. If an animal was to charge the camera guy, I was to save the camera because those damn cameras were expensive whereas camera guys were cheap.
7. You think the concert sounds bad in your seats? Try the floor of the Dome. I've been on the floor of canyons with fewer echoes.
8. The real cowboys, those who ride the bulls and broncos, are among the toughest bastards I've ever met. But they're not as tough as the rodeo clowns.
9. That said, I've got a confession to make: sometimes, during the bull riding, I rooted for the bulls.
10. And I've got to agree with PETA about calf roping. That's not sport. That's brutality.
11. One year, George H.W. Bush was sent to the wrong seats. The rodeo tried to blame the Secret Service. I've had some dealings with the Secret Service, and they don't make mistakes like that.
12. Do you want to know the worst smell in the world? The floor of the arena on the last day of the rodeo. It takes weeks to wash that smell out of your clothes.
13. I was on the floor of the Astrodome on that Sunday afternoon when Selena made her first appearance. That was the most electric rodeo concert appearance I saw during my tenure.
14. Here's a dirty little secret. Sometimes, when they tell you a vet is working on an injured animal, they're lying because he's been taken out of sight and killed.
15. There's nothing funnier than a politician trying to act like a cowboy.
16. Okay, trying to watch news anchors act like cowboys might be a little bit funnier.
17. It is possible to get tired of barbeque.
18. The only thing more dangerous than a rampaging bull? A drunk volunteer behind the wheel of a golf cart.
19. The rodeo was always full of unpaid interns from Texas A&M. Not Rice. Not TSU. Not the University of Houston. A&M. And they were put up in hotels. Maybe a few more actual scholarships could have been funded if they used students who actually lived and went to school in Houston.
20. I didn't need Gitmo to convince me that torture was used in the United States. Try spending two weeks listening to nothing but Garth Brooks. That's torture.
21. For my last several years, I worked the day shift. I spent the time programming the video monitors throughout the arenas. We had music videos for each artist performing at the rodeo, and we were supposed to play these videos during the day. I played as much rock and rap and Tejano as I could get away with. I think that helped the sanity of the animals.
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22. But if there were no country music concerts, the rodeo wouldn't exist, because virtually nobody goes for the rodeo.
23. The best event at the rodeo: the calf scramble.
24. The worst event at the rodeo: everything else.
25. I'm a native Texan, and nothing pisses me off more than all of you Yankees who think we dress up in boots, jeans, and cowboys hats 24/7/365. This means that nothing pisses me off more than this damn rodeo which seemingly exists for no other purpose than to perpetuate this damn stereotype.