July 3, 2012


Well, we survived another Fourth of July celebration! Family, rodeos, and fireworks. Cowboys and cowgirls coming, going and burning that diesel fuel. You often hear the Fourth referred to as the “cowboy’s Christmas,” and it can be, or it can be an expensive 10 days.
I suppose they are getting older, but our steer wrestlers slowed down a little this year, too. They only went to Dickinson, Belle Fourche, Mandan, Killdeer, Red Lodge, Cody, Mobridge, Faulkton, and Fort Pierre, I think.
Shirley and I had to baby-sit, that was all right! It gave Shirley a little break from the hay field, but I’ll tell you what, as soon as that dew on the grass is dry this morning, she had better be looking over her shoulder at the hay-cutting machine.
It seems like we have celebrated a lot of Fourths from a rodeo arena. Last night, I took our granddaughter up on a hill in the hay field to watch the fireworks over the Dickinson rodeo arena. I wanted to sit on the hood but Gracy informed me her dad did not like people sitting on their hood. We sat on blankets, for about 10 seconds, then a jillion mosquitoes decided to watch the fireworks from the same spot.
It reminded me of a Fourth long ago in Mandan. We had produced the big Mandan Rodeo Days celebration and it was a great one! Thousands of people, great rodeo and awesome fireworks! I suppose Carmen, our daughter, was about three or four and I had a red heeler dog named Tyke. Now, Tyke liked rodeos and he could handle those bucking bulls. Carmen liked rodeos and parades. We were country folks, so neither one had seen many fireworks, just a little once in awhile when I came home late from a poker or pinochle game, which by the way, was not as often as Shirley remembers it to be.
Thousands of people showed up for the fireworks, and you couldn’t have left if you had wanted to. When those big old cannons started spouting their fireworks, both Tyke and Carmen started whining and crying. They spent the next hour huddled together in the pickup with the windows up, holding onto each other and knowing the world was ending.
Another great Fourth was about 30 years ago at the Killdeer Rodeo arena, that was one of the best. People crowded in on that side hill to watch several thousands of dollars worth of fireworks. The fire department was on hand and the Lions Club was in charge. The first shell went straight up in the air, then straight down. Right into the stockpile of fireworks that was supposed to last two hours! It didn’t!
She was blasting and banging. The arena was lit up in a kaleidoscope of colors. Rockets were shooting every direction. People were running for their lives. Some were covering their kids and others were trying to protect their beer. It was awesome!
In a few seconds it was over. The Fourth had been celebrated the cowboy way. Kids looked at their mothers and asked if it was over already, and it was.
Oh, there was disappointment, but I’m willing to make a little wager. I’ll bet there isn’t a person that was at the “big blast,” that has forgotten that display!