In looking back over the information on the 2008 Cushing Community PRCA Rodeo I came across my column written just after the event and the marvelous KUSHtoon by my cohort Donna Sue.  I hope you enjoy it. ~Molly

Love Is In the Air
  – Only this time it is mingled with the smell of mud and manure
This morning – in between making a biscuits and sausage gravy breakfast, doing laundry, washing dishes and texting my daughter – I found myself thinking about a topic for this week’s column.  It was easy enough to come up with, since it is what has been occupying my mind the past couple of weeks and especially the past few days.

This week I fell in love. 

My past revisited me and I found myself being mesmerized again by one I had left behind many years ago. 

And who is this new/old love of mine?

“Rodeo” is his name – cowboys play his game.

The past few weeks I have been breathing, eating and sleeping rodeo information.  As a member of the KUSH team, I was responsible for putting together the information about the rodeo for our publication that came out in Show N Tell.  By the time I’d done all that – I was definitely ready to rodeo!

It had been years since I had been to a rodeo.  Growing up in Woodward, I often attended the rodeo when I was young.  Both of my brothers (Zane and Ab) were hawkers at the annual Elks Rodeo.  In fact, Zane ended up married to a gal who’d been a barrel racer.  Rodeos and oil – they both flowed through Woodward.

As for me, I was a bit more interested in the outfits at the time.

I had the cowboy shirt – blue plaid with pearl snap buttons, a pair of cap guns strapped to my hip, a borrowed pair of boys jeans (girls didn’t have their own back in the day…I know that one is hard for you young’uns to believe), a black cowboy hat and something I was especially proud of – one of those bow ties that clipped on to either side of your collar.  Marshalls wore them.

I’d been watching Matt Dillon and Miss Kitty since I was a wee child – I knew what a cowboy looked like.  And I looked authentic – or at least I thought I did – and that was really all that mattered to a seven-year-old.
This week I talked to several people that not only looked like cowboys; they talked like cowboys, walked like cowboys and most of all – they acted like cowboys – the real kind.  Rough and tough – yet caring and friendly – the epitome of what the West is known to be.

I met Bronc Rumford – well, actually I’d met him a couple of years before, but this time I was able to have a conversation with him.  He is the one who has been providing the stock – the bulls, steers, horses, etc – for the Cushing rodeo over the past 20 years.  And I have to say – he is simply one of the nicest guys I’ve ever met.  You can tell he is very proud of his business – from his personnel (many of which are family members) to his animal stock – he speaks highly of both.  In spite of being a proud man, he has humility about him.  I appreciated that.

I was also lucky enough to meet PBR announcer Justin McKee.  Here he is one of the biggest announcers in the nation and yet he took the time to do a little live interview with the KUSH girls.  He was as gracious to us as if we were working for CNN or MSNBC.

Then there were trick riders Shawn Brackett and Melissa Navarre.  World champions – yet as friendly as the neighbors next door – they both took the time to tell us a little about themselves and say hello to the community.  It was unfortunate the torrential rains broke about the time they began showing their stuff Saturday night.  In spite of the burst, they each made a couple of spins around the arena – Melissa hanging precariously from the side of her horse and Shawn jumping from ground to horse and over again as they were being pelted with rain.  They proved themselves to be true professionals.

Yes, I fell in love again this week.  It is said that the reason people fall in love is the because of the way that other person makes them feel.  The Cushing Community PRCA Rodeo made me feel proud to be a part of this community – proud to know the folks I know and proud to know that my roots run deep in the West.

Ride ’em cowboy!  – Oh, and have a good week!