Where do I start? First, I suppose I should apologize for being so delinquent in posting. But not much out of the ordinary has happened til recently. With summer approaching (read: pool is open), though, I suspect I’ll have more to write about. Last weekend I went on a road trip with My Cowboy (MC), Golden Child (GC), First Lady (FL) and my daughter. Still trying to decide on a nickname for her. As much as I’d like to call her Baby Girl (BG), after this weekend, I’m thinking Unimpressed and Diva (maybe UD) is better suited. But I’ll get to that.
So Friday evening was pretty quiet. Well for me anyway. I’d dropped my dog off at the vet for boarding, and was feeling quite lonely there at the real ranch. Let me explain…Rehab Ranch is located in the DFW area. There are always various assorted bullriders staying there at any given moment. The *real* working ranch is located about 40 minutes from Waco. After I got off work Friday, I headed over to the ranch to wait for everyone to get there. First Lady arrived first (naturally). Poor thing drove in a horrid rainstorm and was drenched. Even worse, she had to listen to me talk her ear off because I was trying to keep my mind off my dog (1st time I’ve ever been separated from her) so I was horribly chatty. But she was as gracious as a real First Lady, so she let me rattle on while we waited. Our cowboys, MC and GC were in Paris (TX) at a bullriding. The original plan was to leave and head south as soon as they got in from the bullriding. Yeah right. They got in at 2:30 a.m. And after they got in, exhausted & sweaty & gross, they had to go out and find a calf. A cow had gotten separated from her baby during the bad storm and was bawling like crazy. So these 2 tired cowboys grabbed flashlights, got in the mule and took off searching. They eventually got the baby back to its mama and crashed around 3-3;30 a.m. I couldn’t go back to sleep so I read my library book (yes, I’m a nerd.). After a few hours sleep, we all got up and were on the road by 7 a.m. We were headed to Orchard, TX for an Exclusive Genetics shindig. GC spoke to potential buyers about a deal EG had come up with….they had 3 bulls from Carillo Cartel and people had the opportunity to buy an interest in the bulls. The bulls will be sent to RP ranch and GC will raise them. We didn’t get to stay very long because we had to head to Uvalde and the weather was bad. Junior Ranger(JR) was sending us updates on the roads. JR and NV and a yet un-nicknamed new Rehab Rancher were sitting in traffic waiting for water to recede so they could get to the bullriding. After driving forever in the rain and after mentally contemplating whether we needed an ark or not, the weather finally subsided! Yay! We stopped in some town long enough for me to say “screw the diet” and get a Dairy Queen ice cream cone and to switch drivers. FL is the best backup driver ever, by the way. This is the sign we saw as we drove through Hondo:
God Bless Texas!! Once I saw that sign, I knew we were in the homestretch and almost there. We finally rolled into Uvalde and got to check into the hotel and spend a whole 15 minutes relaxing until we had to head to the arena.
We pulled up in back of the arena and parked where the riders and stock contractors all park. We had to sit around for a few minutes because GC only got one companion pass for the evening. I’m not much for waiting around doing nothing, but in this case it was ok. We got to see other riders as they pulled in and got to chat with them. MC and GC got to talk to JW about the BIG BET (w/Bushwacker) coming up. A lot of teasing and ribbing was going on with that… Anyway, 50 came up and gave all of us girls big hugs. I love it when the guys are nice to my daughter (the Unimpressed Diva, UD). She’s deaf, but that doesn’t stop any of these guys from trying to communicate with UD. I couldn’t help but grin and think to myself how many girls/women would LOVE to have 50 give them a big hug and how my daughter was completely unimpressed. ha! 50 and a couple other riders had made the trip alone, so we ended up with their companion passes and walked around to the front to enter after saying goodbye and good luck to the guys.
The arena was “fully covered” as JR described and pretty nice. But it was H-O-T. Ugghh. Oh well, such is the life… We got our seats and then one of the riders’ better half (BH) showed up with their son (love that kid!) and we all got ready to watch some bullriding. The event was good….except that GC had a piece o’ crap bull and didn’t even have a shot at riding it. He bucked off but other Rehab Ranchers represented well. After the event, the organizers of the event fed us all barbeque sandwiches—soooo yummy! Then we headed back to the hotel. Now I know some people think that bullriders always go out and party afterwards, and they all have individual rooms at the hotel. This may be the case to some extent at the Big Time, but at this touring pro’s….yeah, not so much. They cram as many people into a room as possible. And after everyone drove through hell and high water (quite literally) to get there, NO ONE wanted to go out. lol I think we were all in bed and unconscious before 11 Saturday night. I know our crew was!
Sunday before the bullriding
On Sunday, MC, UD and I had breakfast fairly early. UD tried to go swimming for awhile, but it started raining. Again. <sigh> So UD and I commandeered the remote control from MC (a great feat, I assure you) and we watched ghost story shows on cable (it’s a weird bonding thing that my daughter and I do). MC took a nap. We eventually had to check out of the hotel but had several hours to kill. Being in Uvalde MC said “well, we really *should* eat Mexican food while we’re here…this close to the border.” So once again I blow my diet and say to heck with it! Our waittress at the restaurant knew very little English–always a good sign! The food was pretty darn tasty. Afterwards, MC decided to take us on a drive to see some the infamous “Hill Country.” Oh my!!! Sooooo pretty!!!
We drove for about 40 minutes and then stopped and got out at the Rio Frio. It is a very aptly named river. It was freezing cold! I waded out to my knees and drug UD in with me. She did not appreciate my enthusiasm for the river. <ughh, teenagers!>
So we continued onward. I asked MC if we could stop somewhere so I could use the restroom but he conveniently didn’t hear me. After making a few more unladylike remarks (“I gotta peeeeee. NOW!), he stops. I had made the mistake of saying I wouldn’t mind doing the hop-a-squat thing I had to go so bad. Sooooooo…..here’s where he stops:
Stunning view!!! Absolutely breathtaking. But ladies, do we see anyplace for me to do my business? Nope, not there. So I looked across the road:
Very pretty….but nary a bush in sight for me find any privacy behind. <sigh>
So we get back on the road. The drive was so gorgeous. Well, what I could see of it….my eyes were tearing up terribly because I needed to go so bad. After MC passed 2 towns and several stores, he finally stoped in the middle of nowhere to go into this shop that sells summer sausage and jerky. I sprang out of the truck and almost hurtled a store employee to get to the bathroom. After I finished up, I explored the shop a little. It was a neat place, and the staff was awesome. They gave us generous samples of this sausage stuff that was just delicious. As we checked out, I spied a baggie with “fire”-crackers in it. I looked at the cashier and said “Oh my! Are those firecrackers?” He said “yes ma’am.” I quickly snatched a bag up, saying “trust me, we HAVE to have some.” MC looked at me like I was slightly crazy but bought them for me anyway. (He’s good like that.) So after getting on the road, he was like “what’s the big deal?” I just handed him one and let his taste buds do the rest. (I’ll post the recipe at the end of this blog. Trust me, you’ll love these.)
We then meandered along the back roads listening to classic country music, chatting about random favorite memories and enjoying the scenery. It was my idea of a perfect afternoon! We eventually got back to the arena and then waited for FL and BH. FL already had our companion passes for the night (cuz she’s awesome like that) so we went in and braced ourselves for the heat and round 2 of bullriding.
I am not sure why round 2 seemed so much longer than round 1, but I swear it lasted 37 hours. JR and the announcer both did awesome jobs filling in the gaps and keeping things going. If it wasn’t for JR’s musical selections, I may have fallen asleep at some parts. Not during the riding, of course. There was just a lot of dead time between sections. Here is UD portraying how she felt about the heat and sitting there in it:
She was NOT IMPRESSED. At this point, she wanted air conditioning and to go home. And this was taken BEFORE the event. Poor kid! Oh well, she toughed it out like the trooper she is and we settled down to watch the event.
Once again, the Rehab Ranchers represented. Unfortunately GC bucked off again. He seemed very frustrated. Which normally I would not think is a good thing. However, given his bet to ride Bushwacker, I think his frustration may be a good thing–he can take all that out on B-wack next weekend. Anyway, the bullriding was good…and then it was over. We all hung around for a bit afterwards chatting with different guys. MC broke out the summer sausage and everyone munched away. I had saved the last 3 firecrackers for FL and she chose not to share more than a bite with GC. hahaha Once again, JW, GC and MC gathered to discuss the Big Bet.
I think they were discussing how JW was going to pay out – in 100s, 20s or nickels (as JW teasingly threatened on twitter later).
The guys finally quit chatting (they’re worse than a buncha junior high girls) and we got back on the road for the 5 hour drive home, leaving around 8ish. MC was listening to a classic country station that was doing a tribute for Memorial Day. The station was playing patriotic songs from the 50s forward. MC was entertaining us with stories of receiving his own draft notice and going through basic. We stopped once again at a different Dairy Queen. And yes, I once again said screw the diet and got a blizzard after eating my food. It was so delicious! We got back on the road, and MC continued to tell us stories about the songs that came on the radio. The highlight of the drive home happened when Kate Smith’s “God Bless America” came on the radio. MC made a point to tell us that they always used to say “it must be over…the fat lady’s singing” when he would hear this song as a young man <sigh>. The highlight, though, happened as MC started singing in an overly dramatic falsetto. GC joined in. Then FL and I joined in just for the heck of it. So there we all are….singing at the top of our lungs in terrible falsetto. And then my *deaf* daughter shakes her head and starts messing with her ears like something is bothering her. While our falsetto voices were not high frequency enough to crack glass, we were apparently high frequency enough to traumatize my deaf child. lol!! Poor UD!!! (Guess you probably had to be there to appreciate the moment.)
We eventually made it back after having to stop before Waco and let FL drive. I couldn’t keep my eyes open…neither could MC apparently, so the switch was made. FL got us home safely and I think we all fell asleep before our heads hit the pillow!!! It was about 2-2:30ish.
Road-tripping was fun, but sheesh, we were worn out! We did NOTHING the next day. The life of a bullrider on the road going from touring pro to touring pro is sooooo not glamorous. So if any of ya’ll were thinking that is was, think again. It was an absolute whirlwind! It was fun, but furiously quick. I have a whole new respect for these guys. Maybe it’s easier on them because they’re younger, but I’m telling ya’ll, this sort of travel every weekend will make a person bone-weary. MC, GC and FL are off at a PRCA rodeo this weekend where GC is hauling bulls, not riding. I sat this one out. I’m still recovering from last weekend!!! Hopefully I’ll write more now that summer is starting and, in theory, I have more time. We’ll see! Until then, make you some “fire”-crackers!
“Fire”-crackers – I made a whole batch of these on Monday. Mine were even better than those we bought.
Saltines (I used 3 sleeves) – can be regular, whole wheat, reduced fat….whatever, they all taste good w/this recipe
1 to 1 1/2 cup oil (I used just 1 cup of olive oil since we’re trying to be a little healthier)
1 packet ranch dressing mix
1 tsp each: garlic powder, onion powder
1/2 tsp: black pepper
3 tbsp crushed red pepper (I used a little more cuz I like it hot!)
Grab either a large ziploc bag OR in a big plastic container with a good lid (I used a the plastic container I normally put my banana pudding in because we were out of ziploc bags). Pour the oil in and then all the seasonings. If you’re using a ziploc, shake it up well. If you’re using a plastic container, mix it up with a fork/spoon/whatever. Next, load it up with crackers. If using the bag, shake away. If using a plastic container, flip it up and down and side to side. Either way, make sure all the crackers are coated well. In theory, shake it up every 15 minutes and serve after an hour.
In reality, I barely got them all coated before MC and I were munching on them. I served them with slices of sharp cheddar and the leftover summer sausage. It was so unbelievably good. And easy. And we like easy at Rehab Ranch! Enjoy!!!