Big city girl meets country
Don't expect PC in a small town rodeo & other lessons from Matagorda
Dressed in cowboy boots, a straw hat, plaid pearl-snap shirt and jeans — I looked the part but felt completely out of place at the Matagorda County Fair Livestock Show and Rodeo.
At first everything seemed normal — a ferris wheel, swing carousel, carnival games, livestock — everything a fair and rodeo should be. Compared to the Houston Livestock Show & Rodeo, it was of course smaller with fewer rides, only about 20 cows, three pigs and a single goat — but I expected as much.
While Bay City — the Matagorda rodeo's base — is only about 80 miles from downtown Houston, a lot changes in those clicks of the car odometer.
Matagorda's entire county has a population of less than 40,000. You're definitely not on Kirby anymore.
Which can be good for your wallet. I am happy to say I could buy a meal for $5. The Houston rodeo is out to get every penny in your pocket, but in Matagorda, church groups provide healthy competition for the vendors..
Finally, the rodeo began. My friends and I found our place on the bleachers and I realized what a fabulous view I was going to have. I watch the screens at the Houston rodeo but here, everything was going to be lifesize (versus ant-size).
It was around this time that my friends leaned over and laughingly told me I ought to take notes of the commentators' remarks. I didn't understand at first. Then they told me, "Last year he said, 'We welcome all religions here — Methodist, Presbyterian, Baptist ... and even Catholic.' "
I was shocked. I knew I was in small town Texas, but I confess I didn't fully understand the culture that came with it.
Bucking broncs & Obama's health plan
The lights turned low signaling the start of the rodeo. I was excited. The announcer opened the evening with a prayer which surprised me, but I had no problem with it. Then out came "whether you worship in a temple, a synagogue or a church we are privileged to live in a country where we can pray to the one true God."
I wasn't sure what he meant by that, but then he ended with, "In Jesus' name." Once again, I was shocked. I haven't heard someone at a public event end a prayer with Jesus' name, I think ever. This would never happen in Houston.
The show quickly started and there were more events than the Houston rodeo. It was a good three hours of bucking and goring and while the cowboys were not on par with the ones at the Houston rodeo, they still provided a great show.
Another key element in the show was the rodeo clown. Heading in, I had no idea a rodeo clown would do more than make faces and taunt/distract bulls, but at this rodeo he was a key outlet to the political feelings of the commentator and the crowd.
Of course, Obama's medical plan was a hot ticket. It began with asking the crowd if they'd like to see half of Congress on the bulls. The master of ceremonies then tried to dance around it by saying he didn't actually specify which half. If there were any question left in any of our minds, it was quickly cleared up as the clown stepped in crap and compared it to Obama's medical plan.
Obama was also compared to a stretched-out bra — as both are losing support.
I honestly didn't expect comments like that at a public event, but then I've never lived in a small town. I completely expect it with Bill O'Reilly, Glenn Beck, Jon Stewart (the other way) or a comedian, but not in a public event.
The comments continued and the subject of women came up. A lady in the front row had her heels up and the clown remarked that it looked like she had a remote in her hand and was ready to watch TV. He then continued, "But I know you don't have a remote 'cause you're a woman."
I know it was suppose to be funny, but I wasn't laughing
It hit a little too close to home and reminded me of so many negative experiences with people who subscribe to this philosophy. They may comment jokingly, but on closer inspection I've found it's not all humorous.
There were other comments speckled throughout the evening (A man dressed like an "Indian" for instance. Is it that hard to say Native Americans?) But there were also some genuinely funny moments. The clown tried dancing like Michael Jackson and the kids in the mutton bustin' were fabulous. It wasn't a completely bad show, but by the end, I felt like I was under a spotlight — and I dressed the part!
I rode home with a Korean friend of mine and in a very white arena, it was uncomfortable for her as well. Another friend of mine jokingly said he was "looking for a lynching posse." It wasn't that bad, and there were other races and nationalities in the town — just not in the arena.
As far as next year goes, I imagine I'll return. I just have a better idea of what to expect and PC is not it.