The Sunday after the County Fair is always a time for recuperation. Usually for most of the county, either because they're young and have been partying with old friends all week, or because they're involved in the proceedings, or because they have children in 4-H and have had a full week of animal shows, presentations, competitions, and activities.
This week has been busy, both because of fair and because of problems with one heifer that had a calf too big for her.
But that didn't stop me from making both rodeos, and reminding myself why I love this place, in spite of the things I complain about.
A fairgrounds full of people, activities for the kids, booths, vendors, and animals, everyone smiling and waving at each other. Children running wild, covered in mud and grass stains, scrapes and scratches, parents not worrying for a moment about their kids being out of their sight because they ARE in sight of the rest of the county.
Lines of people at the food vendors buying BBQ or burgers or funnel cakes as the KPRCA rodeo is beginning, and when the grand entry is announced, all turn towards the arena, although they can't see it past the grandstands, and put their hats over their hearts until the American Flag exits. Everyone, down to the punk-ish dressing kids who are rebelling against their country roots with their personal style, standing respectfully through the National Anthem.
Brave children climbing onto the backs of wooly sheep for the mutton busting competition, taking their tumbles only to jump up and run back to their nearby parents, begging to do it again.
A full crowd cheering on a hometown boy during the roping or one of the rough stock events, even when he doesn't quite make his loop or his eight seconds. Only cheering louder when he waves to his family in the stands.
That same crowd holding their breath when a bronc falls in the mud, and the cowboy stays down, and roaring when he stands up in the midst of the EMT's to make his exit on his own two feet, waving to the grandstands.
Working cowboys doing what they do best at the Ranch Rodeo, showing off the skill of their team and their horses in a friendly competition with teams from all over the state.
Men who tip their hat to ladies as they pass and children in western shirts and boots who say please and thank you, sir and ma'am, because that's what we do.
A street lined shoulder to shoulder with spectators for the parade, class reunion floats and fire trucks and ambulances, the Moon Man's flame-painted pickup and pop-up DJ trailer continuing the tradition and playing old time rock and roll, although the Moon Man himself died this spring.
And the most numerous part of the parade, the horses. Leading the way a covered wagon pulled by matched dark bay drafts, metal bound wheels clattering on the paved street, and the shotgun rider proudly displaying an heirloom Winchester .30-30. Following them, riders on all colors of horse, with every age of rider from the blonde pigtailed five year old girl sitting tall in her saddle to the iron haired grandfather.
Everyone smiles, everyone waves, and everyone has a good time during Fair. So when's yours?