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Jun 7, 2016

I had always heard about cowboys before I came to the U.S, but I had never met any. I suppose I had seen many in typical Western films, so I had some idea of what they looked like. I wasn't sure, however, that the style of cowboys I had seen still existed. I thought that perhaps in our modern day, there would be less need for them, or perhaps there was a more modernized version of a cowboy. Well, since I have lived in Wenatchee, I have met plenty of real cowboys and cowgirls. One of my husband's cousins is a rancher who owns many cows, is himself a cowboy, and employs quite a few cowboys as well. There are also cowgirls who live on farms and who help to take care of the cattle. Now, there is some debate(1) about 'real' cowboys. Some people dress like cowboys and listen to country music, but certainly are not the real thing. A cowboy or girl is a person who rides a horse and takes care of cattle. Simple. And, in case you didn't know, the first cowboys were Mexicans who worked with the cows and horses that the Spaniards brought to the Americas. 

A few weeks ago, I went to a rodeo which is a show of cowboy skills, tricks, and even bull riding. I certainly didn't want to miss the bull riding. It is essentially a crazy sport. Each time you ride a bull, even if you are experienced and strong, you run the risk of getting terribly injured. The bull rider has the support of other men in the ring(2) who, if need be, will distract the bull and lead it away from the bull rider when he falls onto the ground. We all gasped and said, "Oh, my gosh!" when the bull charged out of the cage, bucking and kicking, with the man on top. Each man fell off, of course, with the winner being the one who had stayed on the longest. What a show it was! There were also cowgirls who raced each other, and even children who rode on running sheep! The cowboys and cowgirls are professionals who earn money by traveling the country and doing what they do(3). The rodeo was a real eye-opener for me, an interesting look inside this very Western culture.

1. 'There is some debate' is a phrase that adds some sophistication when added to your conversation.

a. There is some debate over the use of natural or artificial sugars.

b. There is an on-going debate over global warming: is it a real phenomena, or is it scientifically inaccurate?

2. 'The ring' is used in many contexts to describe the area where an activity takes place, particularly a circus, a boxing arena, and a general event location where there are performances such as a rodeo.

a. The boxer punched his opponent so hard, that he fell out of the ring!

b. The elephants formed a pyramid in the ring and then the clowns stood on top of them.

3. '...doing what they do.' This repetition of the verb 'to do' is used when the context has already been explained or is understood.

a. I do what I do because I love to teach and communicate.

b. The presidential candidates spend most of the year giving speeches and traveling. They do what they do/ they are doing what they do because they want to win.