The thing I like most about travel is seeing different ways that humans live. Humans, after all, are my species. I love to come across new communities that open my horizons, even if it’s only for a day.
So that is how I found myself at “The Biggest Little Rodeo in the West.” It takes place in Grover, Colorado every Father’s Day weekend, has been the town’s main attraction since the early 1920s. The population of Grover is 137 people.
This is a world filled with horse-back riding, cattle-tending cowboys and cowgirls. Some rodeos these days are professional events hosted in air-conditioned arenas with large prizes; other rodeos, like this one, are community celebrations in a big, flat field, involving generations of families.
I was with three of my favorite people: my partner, my 83 year old mother, and my sister. There we were in the bleachers in our city tennies and summer capris, surrounded by cowboy hats, cowboy boots, and belt-buckled jeans.
Just about the time the “bucking broncs” were being released out of the chutes, the vast and dark sky opened up, and the rain poured and poured. The rodeo was delayed when the lightning started, and it was time to get Mom back to the hotel.
That was one of those days when we had spent more time traveling to and from the event, than being at the actual event itself. But on the way “home” as the rain and hail pelted our rental car, we were exhilarated and happy, and recalled the event with relish.
Life on earth with over 7 billion other people makes for a complicated web of overlapping lifestyles and values. I don’t know any cowboys personally, and my father died many years ago, but I still give a nod to fathers and the Grover cowboys every Father’s Day. And even if you’re not a father, I bid you a Happy Father’s Day.
Photo credit: Athena Alexander
Dedicated to the memory of my mother, who enjoyed the rodeo most of all.