Wednesday, July 28, 2010

Butt Flars

I've been sitting on this one for awhile. It's not that I don't like horses, or rodeos, or people that ride horses and participate in rodeos. I just don't like STUPID. A recent visit to the Snake River Stampede, which I completely enjoyed, reminded me of this passage. I suppose it's time to share.
I am not unfamiliar to horsemanship. My father led pack trains through Glacier National Park. My sister is a horsewoman from her earliest years. I’ve ridden a horse bareback -- in shorts! I’ve ridden with only a halter – on the horse, of course. No bridle. I’ve saddled horses. I can put a bridle on a horse. I had a horse step on my foot once. I know what a flank is, as well as, a cinch. Hey, I even cried because none of the neighborhood kids would be horses in our make believe parade so that I could be the street cleaner! One of my best friends had horses and we used to ride together – I on my own horse. I know the difference between a mule and a horse, even the difference between a pinto pony and a buckskin. There is a difference between trotting and galloping, and I’ve done both on a horse. But I never heard tell of Butt Flars!

Until recently. We recently attended the Grand Marshall activities for a small town rodeo. The festivities included a banquet and a parade through the small (2000 strong) town. A banquet facilitated a portion of the Rodeo Queen contest. That is where the fun began.

Miss Outgoing Rodeo Queen emceed the evening. Throughout the event she inserted personal vignettes of her year of royal reign. She was an attractive young thing with a distinct country drawl. I believe she worked hard to cultivate the drawl! Maybe that is why the volunteer responsible for typing the program had trouble with “Marshall.” It was consistently, however phonetically, misspelled – Marshel.

It is important to understand that though a dairy farmer from birth, my husband never considered himself a cowboy. Cowboys ride horses and wear tight jeans with boots. Kevin prefers jeans he can breathe in and sneakers. He has, however, been known to ride and even own a horse in his day. It was with great concentration that the two of us listened to Miss Outgoing Rodeo Queen’s narrative. We followed when she told of the time her Daddy “Caught the clutch on far,” imagining the roadside as it burst into flames from contact with the burning clutch. We felt her pain when she recalled the time her horse trailer had a flat and the truck “ran over the spare tar.” I haven’t yet figured out how that tire got in front of the truck. When she handed her Small Town Rodeo Queen counterparts a single long stemmed rose and said “I’d like to thenk ‘er,” we felt her unique gratitude, all six times.

Personally, I struggled a bit when it was time to play “Stump the Queen” with the reigning cowgirls and current candidates. If they couldn’t answer correctly, the questioner would win a prize! I received a “don’t you dare” look from my husband. I had to sit on my hands, for I wanted so badly to raise my arm and ask, “How do you spell Marshall?”

The highlight of the evening, for me at least, was when Miss Outgoing Rodeo Queen told about leaving her “Lahm grain butt flars on Grandpa’s grave.”

Huh? I didn’t know what she was talking about, nor did my husband. I could tell this by the look on his face.

“What are butt flars?” He whispered.

I shrugged. Neither of us had a clue. We had seen the large flower arrangements displayed on the rodeo queen’s table as we arrived at the much celebrated “Grand Marshell and Rodeo Queen Banquet.” They were there along with her scrapbook photos and colorful sashes and blankets (Otherwise known as serapes. I learned this through much research on the part of myself and my horsewoman sister.)

“Does she mean butt flowers? Is that what those big bouquets behind the saddle are called? Butt Flowers?”

Kevin tried to shush me. My mirth had been building since the mention of the clutch far.

“Lahm grain? Does she mean lime green?”

“People are listening,” he warned through clenched teeth.

It took a heroic attempt, but I subdued my hysteria to a manageable level – until we left! When I was certain we were safely inside our farming pickup (this would be a pickup used in the production of produce rather than the hauling of rodeo queen paraphernalia) I let loose. Giggles erupted. Then I guffawed!

“Lahm grain butt flars! Are you kidding me! I have to call Judy!”

“Hey, what are those flowers on the back of rodeo queen horses called?” Judy and I love to exchange loaded questions.

“I don’t know. Why?”

“Well …” I recalled my banquet experience.

“No self-respecting horse would be caught dead wearing flowers or glitter on its butt!” This statement came from the lips of a true horsewoman. “I know a rodeo gal. I’ll ask her and get back to you.”

I waited.

“Sash? My friend said she thinks it is sash.”

“I think that is the fancy blanket beneath the flowers,” I replied. “You know, with the Miss Small Town Rodeo stuff embroidered on it?”

I looked on the internet. I found nothing but hairdo advice and waving instructions. Oh, and a little something about cross dressers. Eew!

Judy called back. “Butt Blossoms?” We were on a roll from there.

“Backside Bouquets?” “Butt Blooms?” “Rump Roses?” “Parade Posies?” “Butt Buds?”

I searched further. It turns out it isn’t sash, nor is the proper term Butt Flars. It is Parade Flower Pack. Of course, Parade Flower Pack is quite a mouthful. It stands to reason those pretty young gals with their bright colored shirts and perfect hairdos would opt for Butt Flars!

Monday, July 19, 2010

Look Who's Whining Now

I'm the one that taught this kid to ski when he was whining that he just preferred to kneeboard - he didn't want to learn to ski. Now, he's the first one in the water every time. We started that practice when he was little, because he was the baby. It helped to minimize the whining!

Now - he just likes to show off. Wonder where he got that? Last week he graduated to his dad's ski. Look out! There's no living with him now!

I have never been able to get that low to the water. Fear? Maybe. Not tough enough? Maybe. Too old? Maybe. Guess I'll just have to play the "Grandma" card. Or, there is always the "I brought you into this world" card. Whatever. He's been a great student. Taught him everything I know!

Saturday, July 3, 2010

Warning Signs?

We embarked on a long awaited bike ride through the country. We estimated the route to be about 20 miles - a nice Saturday morning ride. The route had been planned for weeks. The weather was nice. Nothing would keep us from our goal, not even the Fourth of July flag raising ceremony others were attending. This was our chance!

"Detour Ahead" only means detour if you don't live in the area, are afraid of gravel, or believe road construction truely means men will be working, right? It was a Saturday. There would be no workers, after all, this is a government job. Gravel is a fact of life in a farming community. If you don't believe it, just take a look at my windshield. Bikes can weave their way through any construction barricade. Right?

We turned left.

Someone must be reinforcing a bridge up ahead. It's Saturday. We'll just pedal across.

We would definitely need to weave through some barricades. We might even need to carry the bikes if the terrain was too rough, but it shouldn't be very far ...

Hmm. A barricade ... and a truck.

Yet another warning sign. "You have exactly 500 feet to turn back!" We had already come seven miles, surely we wouldn't have to turn back now!

The bridge must be beyond that truck. Time to get off the bikes and walk around the big truck blocking the bridge.

More construction equipment. It's called a track hoe. It's often used for clearing debris from irrigation canals in early Spring. Why would it be needed to reinforce a bridge?

What bridge!

If we just carry the bikes along the cement retaining wall, lift them over the rail and onto the metal beam, walk them across the beam, lift them down onto the cement retaining wall on the other side of the canal ....
Then maybe we could finish our long awaited twenty mile (22.9 to be exact) bike ride. And so we did!

(Note to self: In the future carry a camera on all adventures. This photo would have been oh so much more exciting with him in his bike shorts, helmet, and gloves actually lifting the bike!)
Is there a moral to this story? You pick.
"Ignoring warning signs and promptings is foolish and will only lead to trouble."
"Don't let anything discourage or detour you from your goal."
"Always be prepared, ie. carry a camera!"

"When someone says 'I think it is 20 miles,' expect it to be longer and know that there will be obstacles to overcome."

Thursday, July 1, 2010


A sign on the drive up window at my bank reads:

Non-customers must come inside.
Use rock or bar.

I thought about taking a photo, but I was afraid I would be mistaken for a non-customer trying to enter the bank with my camera instead of using a rock or bar as instructed.