Skip to main content

Dispatches From A Rodeo


1.

On a lark, the wife and I went to the J Bar W Ranch for a rodeo. Saturday, July 20th, 2013. The ranch is about twenty minutes northeast from our apartment in Frederick, MD.

2.

The spectacle fascinated me. It was completely engrossing. At times I felt guilty about how entertaining I found the whole thing. Whenever a rider mounted a bull, there was always a chance they might die trying to ride the thing, however slight. The spectre of death haunted this family-friendly event. They didn’t sell booze. The announcer didn’t curse. There were children everywhere, clapping and cheering. Late in the evening, a bull fell over, crushing a cowboy under its weight. He lay in the dirt, completely unconscious. The other cowboys jumped in to help. On the benches behind us were two kids who couldn’t have been older than seven. They were laughing and pointing at the gruesome scene. Where were their parents?

3.

There are two fundamentally opposing elements here - the bulls are tamed, but only enough that the audience can revel in the wildness. They buck the riders off and then run around the arena until they’re either roped in or chased out. We love to see them get angry, crazy, mad and dangerous. But we’re also glad that they’re penned in. We sit on bleachers and drink our sodas and eat our cheeseburgers, happy that there’s violence, but also glad that it’s contained.

4.

Those fucking cheeseburgers! My wife and I were farting all night.

5.

Someone had gone out into the field the ranch was using as a parking lot and flyered the cars with KKK recruitment material. The announcer made sure to denounce whoever was responsible. “There’s too much of this stuff going around,” he said. It wasn’t the most diverse event I’ve ever been to, but there was an African American cowboy and at least two Latinos. Besides, the whole bullriding thing came to the U.S. from Mexico. But then, racists aren’t usually bright about things like history, anyway.

6.

It’s hilarious watching an angry bull chasing after a guy on a four-wheeler. Doesn’t the beast understand it’s supposed to be the other way around?

Comments

Popular posts from this blog

Salvation, USA: A Not-Thrilling Thriller

Written by Bernie Van De Yacht and directed by Yacht and Brett Donowho, Salvation, USA is a thriller, sort of. It reminded me a lot of a Lifetime movie with a little sex and swearing. Until the finale, which gets all sorts of batshit violent and bloody. Ah, but advertising, eh? If you watch this movie after having seen the poster, you’ll end up wondering when the hell you’re going to see some violence, as violence is most clearly implied by the thing. And if you haven’t seen the poster, you’ll watch Salvation, USA and suddenly get weirded out when a pretty basic drama gets really freakin’ bloody by the end.

The movie concerns Vinnie (Ryan Donowho), a guy who seems passionate about fixing old stoves, restoring them to their former pristine states. But it’s all a ruse. Fixing the stoves is his launchpad for a long con. Donowho is a very charming actor, and so it’s not hard for the audience to be pretty damn hypnotized by his performance. We want to believe there’s good inside the guy. …

G Rated Horror: The Legend of Boggy Creek

The Legend of Boggy Creek was written by Earl E. Smith, but the whole thing represents the vision of director Charles B. Pierce. The story was pieced together from the tales of local residents from Fouke, Arkansas, some of whom appeared in Boggy Creek as themselves. The so-called Fouke Monster, basically a sasquatch, was a folk legend that residents claimed was real. Reports began to surface in newspaper articles around Arkansas in the early 70’s and they seized Smith’s imagination. He knew he had found the subject of his first feature film.

Pierce is an interesting character. A self-motivated guy with a ton of ambition, he worked as a weatherman and a children’s show host named Mayor Chuckles before starting his own advertising firm. He made commercials for all sorts of companies throughout Arkansas. The owner of a trucking company client loaned Pierce $100,000 to get started on shooting Boggy Creek. The film was an almost instant success in cheap movie theaters and drive-ins and it…

Holy Terror: Terribly Mundane

Holy Terror, a horror flick released on digital platforms like Amazon Video this month, proves that it’s pretty damn hard to write and direct an original exorcism movie. Not only is this film’s story muddled, but every idea is recycled from another, better movie.
The first two minutes or so are actually quite interesting. Cool visuals, with everything a pea-green or vibrant black color. A priest named Jacob (Scott Butler), a nun (Kristine DeBell), and another priest are performing an exorcism on some poor young girl when it goes wrong and she croaks. Jacob is so flustered by the experience that he questions his faith and leaves the church. Cool story, but it’s time to forget about Jacob for about thirty minutes while we get to know a not-at-all pleasant couple, Molly (Kelly Lynn Reiter) and Tom (Jesse Hlubik), who’ve just lost their kid partially because of Molly’s neglect. Weird stuff is going on at their house and, who knows, maybe their dead kid is coming back in the form of a ghost…