After 2 months at the ranch, 24 hours 7 days a week I was looking forward an adventure out of the ranch. It gets very intense here, you never stop thinking about your goals, your work and that investment can be overwhelming. As much as I am determined to become a guide I needed some time on my own. While I was working with Annina as an ESL teacher, we went through a lot of cowboys stories like Lucky Luke or original stories happening in Canada. We both got hooked on this as we knew cowboys only as movie hero. We decided to go and see it for ourselves “for real”. We chose to go to a rodeo as it is very traditional, nationally and the easiest way to see cowboys unless you go to a cattle farm. A rodeo is now a show which can be a problem if you want a real experience, but it is a show because whatever they do, it is a demonstration of the everyday work in a cattle ranch. After fixing our car, planning our trip very carefully as there was a lot of driving involved, we finally got to Williams Lake rodeo on the 1st of July.
Amazingly it was also the 150th birthday of Canada! We had a blast, watching the different categories of activities : the most famous is the bull riding, as it is the most difficult one. The goal is to stay on for 8 seconds, with the right position, and a jury gives points, just like horse bucking. We also experienced wild horse racing, barrel racing (for women only), roping and ranch work with cattle. I was amazed by the teamwork involved between the horse and the rider, they are sync.
Also we enjoyed being surrounded by Canadians, it’s not only a saying, Canadians are very friendly and helpful. We met many of them on our trip, always smiling and interested in our stories, surprised to see that rodeos don’t exist in France and Switzerland. We probably got a true insight of the event also because Carl came with us, and hosted us the night before. He is our 87 carpenter and maintenance guy at the ranch and lives in Williams Lake. Going to his place was an experience by itself as he has heaps of books, pictures and old stories to tell.
I would go to a rodeo again, I was afraid to see some animal behaviours I wouldn’t like but it is the opposite. Those horses are loved, looked after and these people care for them. They are worth a lot of money and horses do the show, the cowboy has very little to do in the end, if the horse doesn’t buck there is nothing he can do. A part of me wish that I had been raised among horses, in an environment where the culture is strongly represented. But at the same time my travels give me the opportunity to create my own culture, and rodeos are definitely part of it.
– Celina, France