Rodeo Daze – Riding With The Pro
Pork strings and sprouts were part of my daily routine. Rodeo clowns were constant companions and mutton busting became one of my favorite things to do. For a year I spent days, nights and weekends on the PRCA trail with the best ropers and riders from all over.
Originating in Pecos, Texas, years ago, the rodeo has become synonymous with America’s Wild West heritage, and its reputation is well-earned. The competition involves unpaid athletes who need those dollars to keep ‘going’ on the road.”
As a national spokesperson for the Adolph Coors Company, I lived on the road and attended one event a week. Peter Coors signed my check and his new passion was rodeo, so I sat down. For forty-six weeks in a row, I rode a horse in professional rodeos all over the country, from Albany, New York, to Poway, California.
Twelve cases of beer, Coors of course, were delivered to my hotel room each day to give away for “good will”. The host hotels often booked me into their best rooms and renamed them the Bridle Suite. I gave press interviews from my salon many times.
One day we were lined up at a rodeo in Rock Springs, Wyoming to ride a “round of 8.” Either Clay or Jake leaned over and said, “Lane’s down in Cheyenne.” By the time we finished the opening routine, Lane was dead.
Lane Frost was a friend of mine at the rodeo. His last interview was with me in Santa Maria, California, and I’ve seen clips of that interview on the news over and over and over. Then they made the movie “8 Seconds” and tried to do justice to his life.
The film does not address how deep the friendship between Lane and Tuf Hedeman is. I was with Tuff at the next rodeo in Fort Madison, Iowa, and he showed up ready to ride and do the stunt. Tuff and I were auctioned off for charity. We both had to dance with someone who had bid for us. “How are you even here?” I asked him.
One month out of the year I did an alcohol awareness walk. The aim was to balance the promotion of beer with a fair warning of its danger. No press was booked and I was sent to Indian reservations – mostly in New Mexico and Arizona. One visit to the Navajo reservation in Window Rock, Arizona, was enough to understand the full impact of the negative side of alcohol use among the Indians.
So Native American lives were wiped out by ethanol alcohol because of their inherent trait of never consuming “fire water” before white people brought it from Europe. We brought the powerful drinks with us when we came to develop and settle in the territories that would later become the fifty states. Evidence of alcohol impairment is evident and widespread when one visits the reserves.
At a time when family events are rare, the rodeo still appeals to all ages. There are two types of competitors – riders and riders – and it’s exciting to see horse and rider competing as one in the arena. I will never forget the year I spent “passing the road” with all those proud horsemen and my brief exposure to the damage ethanol beverages were doing to our Native American population.
For now, SherryD
Former Miss Coors Rodeo
#Rodeo #Daze #Riding #Pro