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Column: Thankful for the rodeo

November 23, 2016 GMT

It’s a season of thanks and I’ve got too many to write down. Here’s a smattering of thank you’s.

I’m thankful for sno-cones resembling blue raspberry-soaked mountains at Omak. Every time I’m at the Omak Stampede, the temperature hovers around 300 degrees. A sno-cone and a liter of water keep me and the girls going.

I’m thankful for Justin McKee’s prayer before each Ellensburg Rodeo performance. It appropriately rolls right into our National Anthem, such a great way to start a traditional way of life.

I’m thankful for the parking lot at the Sisters Rodeo. That place is huge. I would guess that every fan in the stands is parked in the lot rather than scrambling to find a place in some front yard or side street. The parking lot isn’t the best thing about the rodeo — don’t worry about that, the rodeo is top notch — but it is spacious, complete with multiple huge Stars and Stripes and the sign, “The Biggest Little Show in the World” at the entrance

I’m thankful for the rowdies in Caldwell. Shoot, I’m thankful for that entire crowd at Caldwell. Those fans are dialed into Randy Corley and Hadley Barrett at the mic. Such a rambunctious fan base that loves those night rodeos.

I’m thankful for the Grand Entry of the NFR, where every cowboy and cowgirl enters with their state, provincial or national flag.

I’m thankful for the conversation I got to have with Charlotte Beard at the Toppenish Rodeo a long time ago. She told me about names of horses and traveling, but mostly about her family. Time makes it difficult to recall specifics, but I remember leaving that rodeo with more smiles about Charlotte than the rodeo and I was just fine with that.

I’m thankful for the interviews with Bobby Mote in 2001. I was in my second year of rodeo coverage still trying to figure it all out. Someone snapped a picture of me under the chutes with Bobby as he answered my questions. I don’t remember what we specifically discussed, but that picture reminds me how I walked away from those conversations with a relief that I was starting to get all of this.

I’m thankful for the quiet moment Adelyn and I got to have after slack at the St. Paul Rodeo in 2015. There we were sitting in the shade of the iconic, tree-lined, circular arena, just talking about things that are important to an 8-year-old.

I’m thankful for the moments Delaney and I had at the 2015 Puyallup Rodeo, where she hung out behind the chutes with Tyson Durfey, Taylor Jacob, JJ Harrison and the Minor brothers. You bet I got her a media pass and you bet she helped me with interviews … and maybe a selfie or two.

I’m thankful for that girl back in summer 2000 who decided to follow me to our first Ellensburg Rodeo. We fell in love pretty quickly and she and I routinely reminisce about our first of many Ellensburg Rodeos since. Thanks B.

Jon Guddat covers rodeo — from the kids to the kids at heart — with a weekly rodeo column in the Daily Record. Contact Jon with story ideas at jonguddat@yahoo.com.