Jackson Hole, Wyoming

We reached Jackson Hole one day early, so we could give the RV a major spring cleaning. Not just to impress Kyle at how well we were keeping up, living in style, but he was also bringing a guest. Laura is a friend of Kyle's back from his working days in Glens Falls, NY, and his long-time hiking and rock climbing buddy. Our spare beds had been used as storage space for these many months, so we had to reorganize our whole storage system: in the cupboards, under the bed, under the RV. . . We put our tools away in the actual toolbox, sorted all the receipts that were floating around in different drawers, stacked our museum catalogues neatly in the bookshelf, and figured out how to turn the lounge chairs around to give everyone some more leg room. We drank creative cocktails mixed of whatever small amounts of liquor was left, in preparations for a re-stock, while Mary Lou rearranged the food cupboards and Nicole finally fixed the broken window shades.

When Kyle and Laura reached, we spent a few minutes catching up, but headed right out to town. This was a much needed, and too short, vacation for them, and they weren't going to waste any minute of it. We walked through the elk antler arches in the main square, past the Million Dollar Cowboy bar, and to the Snake River Brewery. A few hamburgers and pints later and we were at the Jackson Hole Rodeo.

None of us had been to a rodeo before! Kyle had bought us all tickets, saying that this was a real rodeo. Sometimes, people die.

It started with a parade of the Rodeo Princesses, adorable little cowgirls riding huge horses around the ring and waving to the crowd. The current Rodeo Queen carried the flag for the national anthem. And then, the first round of bull riding. The gates burst open, the first bull came out kicking and threw the cowboy down in less than a second. The next riders did better.

Next came the bareback broncos. No saddles, cowboys hanging on by just a rope, laying across the bucking horse and trying to stay on for seven seconds. The main rodeo clown huddled in a barrel until he was needed to save a cowboy from being trampled. Next came the steer catching, then the partner roping. One more round of bull riding, and then. . . our favorite event of the evening: Mutton Bustin'.

Oh my gosh. . . these little kids, helmets on, bursting out of the gates on bucking sheep, holding on for dear life, and picking themselves up proud after getting thrown to the ground. They were awesome! The smallest ones, I swear, three years old, would be snatched by the belt buckle, by the rodeo clowns, before they got too far out of the gate, but, they did it! No fear.

There was a round of catch-the-flag off the goats for the kids, before the final rounds of bull riding. There really weren't too many riders that were able to stay on for the full seven seconds. The bulls must have been in a really feisty mood. There was no injuries, no one gored, but we thoroughly enjoyed ourselves.

The next morning, we woke up early for the drive North into the Grand Tetons. Bring on the mountains!

Click here for the photos!

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