Rodeo takes over Brandt Centre

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This isn’t even about hockey

What the Puck?
Autumn McDowell

Sports Editor

Whoever said Christmas is the best time of the year obviously hasn’t been to the Rodeo.

By far, more fans than a Pats game has ever seen gathered at the Brandt Centre from Nov. 20-24. But, they weren’t there to watch the Blue and White skate to another victory, not with the Rodeo in town.

With no news to report on the hockey front, I thought, ‘why not tell about the thrills and spills that took place during Agribition week?’

The Brandt Centre smelled worse than usual last week. The notorious stench of hockey gear had been replaced with the unforgettable smell of horse manure, which hit you like a ton of bricks as soon as you walked into the building, confirming that you were in the right place.

After you got used to the God-awful smell, if you suddenly realized you didn’t remember to wear your cowboy boots, hat, plaid shirt, and chaps – preferably assless – you instantly felt out of place.

Upon scurrying to your seat to avoid any more awkward, out-of-place stares from every western fan that lives within eight hours of Regina, the real action began.

As the bucking broncos came dashing out of the gates, appearing as if they were attempting to paralyze every rider, fans in attendance were suddenly questioning what they just paid $20 to come see.

After being traumatized by the broncos, the crowd received a pleasant surprise when small children came out in pairs to try and capture and then ride a donkey. Those little jackasses were easily the best part of the rodeo, and the donkeys weren’t half bad either.

After the donkeys, it was finally time for the reason that everyone came to the rodeo: watching little kids hold onto sheep for their dear lives. What? Did you think I meant bull riding?

Once parents were able to put their small children through sheer terror simply for their own amusement, the bulls entered the rink. On a side note, it truly amazes me how they transform the Brandt Centre from a rink to a stable and back so quickly.

Watching bull riding on TV is much different than watching it in real life. On TV, you don’t get to feel the panic for the bull riders as this 3,000-pound beast with horns attempts to trample them. You may get to see their head get smashed in from various angles on TV, but rarely do they show the riders after, receiving medical attention because their leg surely just got crushed to pieces.

At the risk of sounding like a pansy, although I did love the rodeo experience, I found it quite mean how they treat the contestants. Not the riders, I could care less about them, but those animals. 

First of all, I don’t know if it’s entirely necessary for the women to whip the horses as hard as they possibly can over and over during the barrel races. It’s not your horses fault that they have to carry your fat ass around all day.

Also, when the kids were attempting to ride the sheep, there was one sheep that was clearly hurt; holding its leg all gimpy and no one would help it.

At one point during the steer wrestling, my mom was quite confident that one of the steer had “turned mental” after it couldn’t seem to get back on its feet.

With all of that said, I would definitely attend a rodeo again. Just like watching a hockey game, the adrenaline you feel when you see people risking your own lives for your own entertainment is truly wonderful.

Photo courtesy stylephotographykelowna.blogspot.ca

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