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July 20, 2006

Great Bulls of Fire

Grunderskolen SF'06

This week started off more or less like last week, with more work and studies to be done. However after classes on tuesday we got off early, so Øystein and I spent the extra time at Fry's looking at electronics before we went home and watched a movie at the class projector that we are taking care of this week.
Then after work on wednesday we headed straight down to Salinas near Santa Cruz to see a real life american rodeo! It was the Great Bulls of Fire show on the California Rodeo Big Week, a televised professional bullriders challenger event!

When Øystein, Carina, Marthe and myself got down there we had to wait around for Ivar, Ian and Dankert, but they showed up just in time for us to check out the sales booths before going in, and with such a selection of cowboy memorabilia available Carina had to get herself a brimmed white hat that matched her outfit better than the one she had brought along with her... After the girls finished shopping it was time to get some beer to bring on the stands, but that actually caused a slight problem. Despite everyone except Safeway are fine with EU drivers licences, and even they usually makes an exception when we do not bring our passports, the wrist-band people checking ID's wouldn't allow us to get beers. They didn't have a problem with the ID beeing european, but couldn't accept them since our height and weight(!) wasn't printed on them. They were oblivious to the fact that if the units had been included it would have been in metric terms, thus still not giving them any useful information. However they did take the time to ask some local cops for advice, and after they had evaluated us for a while we eventually got our wristbands and thus our beers.

And with drinks in hand just in time we found our seats on the grandstand and with a horrible presentation of "the star spangled banner" the rodeo began! It was just like I'd pictured it with tacky red-necks all around and some amazing skills shown by a few of the bullriders. However after a few dozen riders had been thrown off it all started getting a bit repetetive, and gave way to a break-time display with a clown and his trained dogs, before the bullriders were up again. As can be expected a few riders got it rough when they fell of, but suddenly one rider got hit really bad! He slid off the bull just when it was jumping, and the back-legs just smashed down on his chest leaving him unconscoius, likely dead, for an ambulance to fetch him. They didn't announce anything about it, but I guess that was because the show must go on, but people didn't get quite as cheery for the few riders that were left. Also there were supposed to be a Miss California Rodeo competition after the main show, but for some reason it was silently dropped from the program.

However a bullriding winner was declared and people started moving out to the booths for more beers, food and souvernirs outside. Some of the other guys picked up a bunch of stuff there, but I limited myself to beer and some grilled chicken as I figured my suitcase wouldn't fit brimmed hats and lots of other cowboy gear. As people started clearing out of the area after a while, we met up with Tiril and Cecilie who wanted us to join the rodeo-party in a large tented square with them, but since it was nearing midnight and we had more than a 90 minute drive home and work in the morning, Øystein, Carina and I decided that it wasn't worth a $10 covercharge to party outside, so we headed back to Mountain View. The others stayed for a few hours however, and claimed to have had a great time out drinking and dancing linedance with the cowboys :-)

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