Every year hundreds of cowboys and cowgirls (over 600 this year) descend upon Tucson to show us what they got. With them comes thousands of fans from all over the country to cheer them on. The Tucson Rodeo is such a big deal here that the last Thursday and Friday in February is officially Rodeo Break and all school districts in Tucson shut down. In fact, last year at a school district meeting wherein we were discussing whether to lengthen the school year one woman suggested that we give up Rodeo Break. You could have heard a pin drop. It was like those movie scenes where the record scratches to a halt. People couldn't believe she just suggested that the beloved and sacred Rodeo Break be sacrificed. When I first started teaching in Phoenix (which doesn't recognize the Rodeo as an official holiday) I was shocked we didn't get Rodeo Break off. All my life, growing up in Tucson, I just assumed everyone got the Rodeo off. My co-workers found the concept of Rodeo Break to be hilarious and got years of mileage out of that one.
Anyway, I hadn't been since I was a kid so we thought we'd take the kids today for Opening Day (it runs all week). We had such an amazing and fantastic time. The kids loved seeing all the animals and competitions. Their favorite event was the steer wrestling. Our oldest daughter, the ultimate lover of animals, was very concerned about the well-being of the animals. She would stand up and shout, "Get the bull, cowboy, but please don't hurt him!" Our son declared it the best day ever and said he wants to be a rodeo cowboy when he grows up. Even our youngest, who is generally a holy terror everywhere we go, was mesmerized by the animals and was in her element being free to roam the rodeo grounds unrestrained. The people there are amazing. Friendly, welcoming, just really down to earth. There truly is not a more family friendly event anywhere.
Here are the kids right before we headed to the Rodeo grounds.Our eldest daughter and myself, cowgirled-up.
Our youngest. I love this picture for a couple of reasons. First, the vest she is wearing is a vest my great-grandmother made for me when I was my daughter's age. It was part of an outfit. She would be thrilled to know that her great-great granddaughter wore this today. Secondly, when I was a kid my grandparents used to take me to see the cows that were down the road from their house. I would always go ask to see the "moo cows" and there are pictures of me around this age and a bit older standing at the fence like this or in my grandfather's arms looking at the cows. Watching my daughter today reminded me of this.
Our kids are hard-core. They left the Rodeo all tatted up.