We have a summer tradition in my family that goes back many years. When mid-August rolls around, we head toward Sedalia, Mo for a day of fun at the Missouri State Fair. The morning is spent browsing through the livestock buildings, the afternoon eating our way through the food stands, and the evening spinning, shaking, and splashing away on the midway rides.
Here's the only photo I got of us this time, and it's clearly at the end of the day--the long, sweltering, exhausting but wonderful day.
If you aren't aware, mid-August in mid-Missouri is hot, not to mention humid, and this year was no different. Let me just say right here that I don't always look my best after walking around in 90 degree heat for 10 hours straight. But you don't either, so let's call us equal and move on.
And finally the Ferris Wheel. After which the heat started to go to our heads (I'm sure standing in line on a sizzling metal platform while temperatures--and the passengers already aboard--soared around us had nothing to do with that), so we headed to the spots I'd been itching to get to all day: the poultry building, the agriculture displays, and the large animal barns.
You may have noticed I have no photos of any of this...I believe I mentioned the 10 hours spent walking around in the 90 degree heat. To put it simply, it's exhausting. And it made pulling my phone out of my pocket to snap pictures seem like a monumental task. Although I had no problem gulping down several fresh-squeezed lemonades. Go figure.
Darn it. I'll do better next year. But let me tell you what I saw: Chickens galore (including a gorgeous Blue-laced Red Wyandotte), rare ducks and geese, freshly shorn sheep, plump pink piglets nestled up to their monstrous momma, the finest cattle in the state, and the famous Clydesdale pulling team, of which the lightest member weighed 2,ooo lbs. Pardon my stating the obvious, but that's an entire ton! Holy horsetails!
The Clydesdales were massive, as was our day. By the time 10 pm rolled around we were walked out, worn out, and almost out of cash. We headed toward the exit gate hoping to catch the trolley to the parking area, but then fate intervened. There, right beside the gate, was the very animal I've been hoping to cross paths with for several years. It's extremely rare, slightly dangerous, and far too exciting for me to resist jumping on the back of.
You heard me. And my husband had the presence of mind to whip out the camera and snap this shot...
That right there is a mechanical bull, folks. I haven't seen one for at least ten years, not since the last time I was in Forth Worth at the world's largest honkytonk, Billy Bob's Texas Cafe.
Incidentally, that's also the last time I saw Willie Nelson live and in person. Which was right after I slammed into his harmonica player while pushing my way though the crowded saloon. Neither of us saw that coming, and his reaction was faster than mine--he put a hand on each of my shoulders, lifted me straight up, and abruptly set me down out of the way. Apparently I interrupted his beeline to the stage--which was inherently more important than my beeline to the bull, so I'm not holding it against him. In fact, I bypassed the bullriding that night and gave The Redheaded Stranger my full attention...it was the least I could do after my scuffle with his sidekick. But I digress, so let's get back on the road again--to the State Fair, that is.
Since there was no country music legend (or random band member) to deter me this time, there was no way I wasn't getting on this bull.
After frantically digging around in my pocket (and Geoffrey's pocket and William's pocket) to scrape together enough cash to live my dream, I gleefully climbed onto that ferocious creature. (I'm not afraid of wild animals. Especially when there's a sweaty and slightly bored-looking carnival worker at the controls.)
I was determined to make it 8 seconds, but let me just say, I was secretly hoping for longer. And let me also just say that if I didn't have a bum shoulder and hadn't just spent ten hours hiking around the fair grounds in that 90 degree heat, sky-high humidity, and glaring sun, I would still be hanging onto that bull.
What was that? You're starting to sound like my husband. I know that smothered chuckle/cough all too well. Try to keep your thoughts to yourself, please. I need to finish my story.
Soooo. Because I still love you (and because I know you need to see it to believe it), I uploaded the video to YouTube. So you go ahead and enjoy the show...I gotta go put some ice on my shoulder.
Here's the link...
(And just for the record, it was a record ride at 22 whole seconds. Take that Ty Murray!!)
I think I've found a new career.
And also, here's some photos of the little squirt who followed my ride with a better one of his own!