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At the Rodeo…

A strong sense of self is an essential preparation for the many obstacles our children will face in their lifetimes. It sparks the development of strong leadership skills and the ability to make a positive impact in other’s lives. I want more than anything for my children to feel abundantly loved and confident so that when they encounter others, the overflow of their hearts can pour out the goodness within.
So what does a strong sense of self have to do with a county fair? Plenty.
~ It’s not in the blue ribbon that the goodness is gained, but in the path to achieving that goal in which character is discovered. ~
Various blue ribbons dangle from colorful pushpins upon the corkboards in my son’s bedroom. It’s not that he receives first-place prizes for every entry he submits. No, those ribbons are the triumph of many works and some took a whole lot of red and yellow to achieve. It took hard work, discipline and a bit of disappointment along the way to collect that proud stack of blue ribbons…and one, large “judges choice” award, decorated in pale, iridescent rainbows of color!
This will be the first year my daughter can participate in the Open Class Competition (arts, crafts and culinary contests) at the Douglas County Fair. She has stared longingly for some time now at her big brother’s ribbons, so this is a very big deal in our house.
The best thing about this form of praise is that *not* everyone can win. Skills are developed and important life lessons are learned along the way. Courage, discipline, competitiveness, pride, humility, judgment, honor, grace, fear, joy, achievement, failure, triumph, defeat, perseverance…lessons life will offer in it’s own competitive nature – lessons best prepared for in advance.
True competition ~ in the world of rodeo, it doesn’t include arts, crafts or any kind of baking (but I’d like to see those bull riders try!). The guts and glory of this show are found in the arena…but being that we live in #SuburbiaDougCounty, we aren’t able to saddle up and join in…or so I thought.
We began our fair and rodeo season at Beaver Creek’s two-hour Thursday night show targeted toward families. In the short time we were there, we accomplished teepee tent face painting, a calf scramble, western style dining, snow cones, cotton candy, spectated a bit – and introduced our little girl to her newest fascination…mutton bustin’!
Yes, our darling four-year-old daughter was eager to ride – not just a sheep – but preferably a steer. Lucky for us, the rodeo has strict guidelines and little ones are limited to polite woolly animals, ha.
Going into this, I had a clue as to how difficult mutton bustin’ can be – I gave it a try as a young girl. The difference between Noelle and myself is that my one, *very brief* go at it was plenty for me!
Noelle had found her newest challenge – to win that trophy!
Imagine weighing approximately 35lbs, hopping on the back of a respectfully large, round animal corralled inside a chute – no saddle or harness – and then having the gate thrown open to let the sheep burst out into the open arena. Oh, and it had rained that day, so these little lambs were WET, ewe!
Most lil riders last just long enough for a quick photo…I snapped a shot of her pink little boots hanging mid-air as she made a quick landing into the soggy dirt. The sheep were very kind and careful to step over the kids, but don’t think that little fact makes this sport any less daring.
It seemed to me that the trauma of it all, followed by tears, meant that we could check this one off her bucket list.
I was wrong.
Random mentions of sheep in the car, deep thoughts on possible strategies and dreams of winning that trophy…#MissionMuttonBustin’.
So, hold those blue ribbons for baking, this little girl is going for the gold! Yes, we’ll still paint some pictures and decorate cakes, but don’t think you won’t find a little pigtailed blondie atop one of those fleecy lambs.
 Try to hang that on a cork board!
You’ll find us at the Douglas County Fair, August 4th – 7th ~ chasing that dream they call rodeo.

photo credit: mlmbusiness

Author: Jaime

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  1. Little Noelle is so brave. Even though that sheep isn’t very big I am sure it looks big to her. 🙂 Very sweet.

  2. Noelle, Wow what a ride,going to take after your Grandpa Mark.Love to see that.Let us know when the next ride is Grandma Joan

  3. Well, Gram, I’m just hoping this is going to get it all out of her system now! She’s awfully cute to become a bull rider, ha!

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