“Courage is being scared to death, but saddling up anyway.” ~John Wayne
Courage doesn’t mean a person has no fear. It means that in spite of your fear, you are able to move forward and do what must be done. In the case of a rodeo clown, or bullfighter as they prefer to be called, his job is mostly fun and games but there comes a time when he takes a deep breath, swallows hard, and moves forward to put himself between a nasty, mean bull and the rider he deliberately threw off his back. His job is to make sure that the cowboy is able to exit the arena safe and sound and that takes courage.
It takes a little bit of courage, or sometimes even a lot, for each of the rodeo participants to do take part in a dangerous sport which could end their career in 8 second or less. If it were easy, wouldn’t we all be riding a bucking horse?!? Which is exactly is why you will see me in the stands rather than the shoots, sharing in the triumphs, disappointments, and tragedies of the cowboys and cowgirls at the 96th annual Collegiate Peaks Stampede Rodeo in Buena Vista on June 10-11, 2017.
This year marks the 96th consecutive year for Buena Vista’s rodeo. It began as a celebration in the fall after the lettuce harvest was over. The townspeople got together to have riding and roping contests and to celebrate their good fortune. They were “BuenaKist”!
If you don’t have boots and a cowboy hat, tennis shoes and a ball cap are acceptable attire for a rodeo. See ‘ya all there!
The year was 1949 in Leadville, Colorado. Two rapscallion friends, Tom Schroeder and Mugs Ossman, conspired to create a new and unusual racing event, which was to take place during their winter Crystal Carnival. One suggestion was to up the ante by combining the pedestrian sport of skiing with a galloping horse. They met at the Ossman ranch for a trial run in knee deep snow, and Ski Joring in Leadville was born (Leadville breaks it up into two words, not one).
What is Ski Joring? It is a competition where a horse and rider pull a skier at a fast pace through a course that has gates, jumps, and rings. The skier is timed through the course where penalties are assessed by missing gates or jumps and by missing or dropping any of the rings (2 seconds per ring). Teams are made up by a random draw before the start of the race, competing for a cash prize. Ski Joring in Leadville is always the first full weekend in March.
It’s unclear where skijoring originated, however, it is believed that it began as a means of winter travel. It has evolved into a competitive sport and was even a demonstration sport in the 1928 Winter Olympics in St. Moritz, Switzerland. Skijoring today can be found in a couple of small mountain towns, after all they can’t practice this in Texas! It is a melding of two cultures, the redneck cowboy and the outdoor, high altitude athlete.
Leadville begins their 2 day prep by gathering fresh snow by the dump truck load. One hundred and twenty to be exact! They create a track right down Harrison Ave, or Highway 24 on the map, which is the length of 2 1/2 football fields. The course consists of a couple of jumps and the capture of 6 hanging rings with a jousting stick. It might sound easy, but the skier is being pulled 35-40 mph behind a 1000 pound horse and a lot can go wrong in the 16-18 second run.
Why would a skier and/or cowboy do this? Because it is an adrenaline junkies sport, of course!
LEADVILLE SKI JORING 2017
Change is inevitable. We know it. We often don’t like it. You can’t always stop it. Buena Vista has been going through major changes ever since I moved here 16 years ago. Before the name Buena Vista was decided upon for this little mountain town, it had a couple of different names. I know of two, Mahonville and Cottonwood. I’m sure the buzz created by choosing a new name caused great anxiety for the locals, especially the Mahons.
If you are Spanish speaking, or even have minimal knowledge of Spanish, you will most assuredly cringe at the correct pronunciation of the name. You would, however, be mis-pronouncing it if you use proper Spanish.
Alsina Dearheimer, a local, whose first language was German, who did not speak Spanish, chose the name Buena Vista. The emphasis is on the “u”. It took me a few years to embrace the correct pronunciation. You can always tell the locals from the tourists…you can also tell when a local is firmly entrenched in this community as they embrace and love the correct pronunciation.
I had the opportunity to be interviewed by John Duesler, Jr., of Emerging Sports TV regarding life in Buena Vista, or BV as the locals call it, last summer. John was hired on behalf of CBS sports to provide an endorsing promo of our little town. I had the honor of taking him and his cameraman by horseback (with a pack horse, of course) to the bluff overlooking BV. My voice is the first one heard on promo: Built by a force of nature. That pretty much sums it all up….literally and figuratively!
Come visit us some time!
I’m not done yet posting about Christmas Opening in Buena Vista, Colorado, USA….it’s just that special! We are fortunate enough to have not one but 2 parades go through town on this day (the first Saturday of December each year). I have heard several locals pose the question “why two parades?” Well, there is a very good explanation. The first, The Equine Parade, delivers Santa in town for all the young boys and girls. He invites all the local children to bring their wish list and sit on his lap. Photos are usually included too. Once he has visited with all the little children, The Parade of Lights ferries him to the Community Tree where he lights the tree before moving on to the next town awaiting his presence.
Tradition, folklore, and chocolate…..that is what Christmas Opening in Buena Vista, Colorado is all about. You can expect to consume some yummy chocolate on the first Saturday of December. Every. year. You can also plan on Santa arriving in town by wagon in the equine parade. No matter the weather during the day, you can expect the Parade of Lights to be a chilly but entertaining affair. This is a small town, home town event, that even tends to draws folks from the front range because this is what memories are made of. The local businesses depend on this day to end the year successfully and the locals depend on this event to create memories with their children, family and friends. You can always expect to see Santa and probably a little bit (or lot) of chocolate, but no promises beyond that. You’ll have to just come visit and see (again, the first Saturday of December) what we have planned. This is the Spirit of Christmas and we love and believe in Buena Vista…..
Loving on Santa Claus
Santa arrives in Buena Vista by wagon….of course!
Parade of Lights Delivered Santa to Light the Community Tree
Santa Brought a Wagon Full of Little Elves When He Arrived in Town
The big city doesn’t have anything on small town living! For years, I thought that living in the city was where the action was, but I guess it depends on what kind of action you are looking for. With only 2300 residents in town limits, Buena Vista would certainly be classified as “small town”, however, there are all kinds of activities to spice it up a little. For instance, yesterday, which was Halloween, Main Street was closed to vehicle traffic in order to allow the elementary kids to strut down the street in their Halloween finery. You won’t see that in the big city!
Each child in costume had a book or wrote a story which was relevant to their costume, which they carried with them during the parade.
This bumble bee was separated from her swarm and took off on her own.
3rd Grade Teacher, Steve, embraced the whole day as a mathematical scientist with an Incredible Hulk Twist! I was just green with envy!
Right down the middle of the street they strolled!
After the parade, it was back to school for a Halloween party before walking up and down the downtown sidewalks trick-or-treating. Paige made sure to stop at Pinon Real Estate Group – BV to accept their offerings.
Hugging the big white Yeti!
There was even a cute little unicorn in town for the day!
As you can see, the city can’t compare to living in a small town. There are so many unique benefits to being a part of a small community: Shorter commutes (you can be anywhere in town within 5 minutes); Smaller churches which create more intimacy with your church community; Slower pace of life which leads to a higher quality of life; Low crime rate; Know your neighbor; More community support; Traditional values; Exercise outside of a gym (although we do have gyms too). Boy, after reviewing all of this, I wonder why anyone would want to live anywhere else?