How about them cowboys! For 69 years Gallup Lions in New Mexico have run a rodeo. Decades ago members were cowboys and farmhands, so it made sense. It still makes sense: “We’re part of the West,” says President Roxana Yazzie. “There is a lot of interest here in rodeos. Kids and adults really get into it.” The four-day rodeo is held in iconic Red Rock Park, which seats 5,000. The park is “cradled by spectacular red cliffs formed over 200 million years ago in the age of the dinosaurs,” according to the website of the city, the park owner. “The annual Lions club rodeo is ranked with the best in the state,” the website adds. Both professionals and amateurs compete in the Lions’ rodeo, not part of the sanctioned radio circuit. That independence allows the club to make more of a profit instead of paying fees. Thanks to the rodeo, the club recently provided a new football scoreboard for a high school and helped renovate Lions Hall, the original building of the University of New Mexico in Gallup. The rodeo is almost a weeklong happening with a parade, a Battle of the Bands and other events. Lions take tickets, work concessions and handle the other chores that come with hosting as many as 40,000 people. “For about 20 members it takes their blood, sweat and tears for five or six days,” says Yazzie. Grip the horns in the middle, not on the ends. Dadgummit—hold still, buddy. Horses initially don’t take too kindly to cowboys. Even an old-fashioned rodeo is not immune to digital technology. There was no doubt this was a Lions’ rodeo. Cutting corners is admirable in the rodeo. The next generation is ready to earn its spurs. The exhilaration of the moment is captured by the reaction of the spectators in the background. “Who has climbed on my back?” this steer seems to be thinking. Sometime riding a steer means riding air.
Published by International Association of Lions Clubs . View All Articles.
This page can be found at http://digital.lionmagazine.org/article/Definitely+Not+Their+First+Rodeo/2881015/437740/article.html.