It’s been a tradition in my hometown since 1918, decades before I was ever born. Every year, during the second weekend in June, it happens; the town stops to celebrate and enjoy the annual rodeo.
That’s right, the Annual Livermore Rodeo, known as the “world’s fastest rodeo” and the Livermore Rodeo Parade have always been the important symbols for those of us who grew up here, that school was out and summer was officially here! As a kid I remember going to see the rodeo, but as a teen and young adult the excitement of it kind of wore out. Until this year, I hadn’t gone to the rodeo in I don’t know how many years.
It’s not that I didn’t enjoy the events, or that I didn’t hang out with bull riders from time to time in high school (yes, my high school had a bull riding team) but I was just always busy doing something else on that first weekend of summer break.
But this year, with my kids taking a new interest in our small town’s long and glorious history, I found myself drawn to the roots of home and decided that my kids should see bull riding with their own two eyes instead of just watching it on TV.
So, Saturday morning we got up and headed downtown to watch the rodeo parade come through. In the afternoon we headed to the rodeo grounds to see the main event. I had a sneaking suspicion my kids would love it, but had no idea just how much!
My daughter watched in awe as the women barrel racers came barreling out of the gates and tore through arena. When the bull riders came out of the gate my son’s eyes grew huge as he tried to watch the bull riders and the timer at the same time, waiting to see if they made 8 seconds.
We stomped our feet and hooted and hollered, we ate ice cream and watched the cowboys and cowgirls ride.
It’s hard not to be swept up in it; people in our town have been doing this for 93 years. Before my grandmother was even born. Some families in our town have been here for that long, and are still here year after year in the stands.
As I watched my kids during the Rodeo, and listened to them rave about it afterwards it reminded me of just how lucky we are to live in a small town that has so much to offer.
In our town, it’s not abnormal for kids to grow up to be real cowboys and cowgirls and live and work the same ranches they grew up on. Not anymore than it’s abnormal for kids to grow up and graduate from the best colleges in the world, just to come back to work with the greatest minds in science, technology and engineering at the Lawrence Livermore Lab.
It’s a unique and different town we live in, and we love it for all it’s worth. What about you? What makes your town unique?