I never thought that I’ll experience cultural shock in the states after 2 year of living here, but Wyoming made impossible happen.
I’ve got there around 7 after a long day of riding. I started in Pine Ridge reservation, went through the Black hills and then all the way to Sheridan almost without stops. When I’ve got to Sheridan two people with big smiles welcomed me, Denny and Megan, my hosts from Couchsurfing. From the beginning I was amazed by hospitality – Megan offered me a beer and said that the dinner will be ready soon and meanwhile Denny opened his garage for my use, by coincidence he is also in love with motorcycles and one of his bikes also KLR650. I needed to change my chain and didn’t want to spend a $100 for a simple procedure that I can do by myself if I have right tools and advice of an experienced guy, both things Denny gladly provided. So after some time spent fighting with some nuts and covering ourselves in grease (you know, fun bike stuff) we were done and ready for the dinner and I have to say it was delicious (I wasn’t just hungry after a long day).
In addition to the great ending of the day we went to the local brewery after the dinner to try some beers and I understood that I’m not going to leave in the morning, because apparently my timing was perfect and I got to the town for rodeo weekend. I still didn’t know what does it mean but I was convinced to stay.
The next day started early because Megan was super excited for the first day of rodeo and it was contagious, we filled with excitement as well. Denny just moved here from Colorado so for both of us it was the first rodeo. They were very organized and build an entire schedule for us, that started of course from big breakfast burrito in downtown (for $3!).
After the breakfast we found a good spot to watch the bed race and the parade afterwards. On the way we met a few people who seem stuck in the past.
When the parade started I expected to see the regular American parade with every corporation trying to use it as a way to promote themselves and some lame floats, and I saw some of those but I definitely didn’t expect to see so many horses participate in the parade. It seemed like everything in this town about horses, even various beauty queens that of course called “Miss Rodeo” were in the saddle.
Another thing that I didn’t understand is the connection between clowns and cowboys, but the entire parade somehow combined both and it seemed pretty natural.
And there where a few floats that I just didn’t understand what is that about.
After the parade we went to 3 different places to listen to live music and prepare to rodeo itself, that means drink a lot. The music variety was from cheesy country music to awesome experimental bluegrass.
Finally the time of the rodeo came and I saw how from riding horses and chasing bulls aka being cowboys they could develop so many competitions that I don’t even remember all the names but I was very impressed by skills of their horse riding, bull catching, lasso using and the ability of staying in the saddle when a huge bull trying to throw you away.
After that we went to the “Street dance”, that basically was a big party on the streets of downtown with many stands of live music, food booths and various competitions. One of them especially surprised me – the guy needed to hold a quarter with his butt and go through the obstacle course before he could drop it in a glass, simply ridiculous.
So overall it wasn’t much different from regular American festival that I used to see, but the same time it was VERY different – seeing all the guys wearing cowboy hats and girls wearing summer dresses and cowboy boots, every couple dancing (and it doesn’t mean “grinding” but what called swing dance, a local style), the parade mostly from horses and old cars, listening to different music and seeing a completely new type of sport, sometimes felt like being in the same country but in alternative universe.
It was hard to believe that it actually happens every year and that’s how people live here in Wyoming, and it looks like they having a lot of fun without caring too much about different stereotypes peopl