Tuesday, January 31, 2012

Rodeo Re-Ride Guest Mindy Hogan

Mindy Hogan is the daughter of Stock Contractor Jay Hogan - and now is in the business herself, hauling bucking stock and working hard. She also owns "Lil' Red Roan", a store you simply MUST check out for all of the especially western must-haves!

SO THERE WE WERE ;) ........Mud Lake Saturday Night Rodeo. Performance is going great! Packed crowd, horses bucking, flanking well, great committee, great crew....& It's Saturday!!!!! Yay!!! The last section of stock saddle bronc riding is rapidly approaching & I have 2 turn outs. Chad Rainsdon & Layne Crafton do me a HUGE favor & get on another horse to fill my perf. Awesome, save Chad & Layne until the last to make sure they have enough time to be ready. Rolling right along, 2 horses left before we put a wrap on the 2009 Mud Lake Rodeo bucking horses! Standing on the back of the chute.....packed with people...I'm standing by Chad...I think....Lincoln Zollinger was somewhere close. JP McGarry is maybe the closest one to me on the next chute down...I think. Out of nowhere this dirty rotten &!$@# rares up & smashes us!!!!! I'm not sure if she came over backwards or swooped from the side but suddenly my head smacks upside the chute cross bar...Thank goodness for cowboy hats! Whacked my head on the cute & then something else...not really sure...knocked my hat off...hit something else. Must have knocked me out for a second.....(they said I went limp) I didn't hit the ground but didn't have ahold of anything so someone must have caught me....not really sure (sources have told me that it was JP McGarry~ Thanks JP :)....cuz I did have to climb back on the chutes to flank. That's right, got back up & flanked my last 2 horses! I garun -dang- tee you I didn't miss the flanks either! I was good & mad & her & I got every inch of that latigo! Counterfeit little brugger bucked better than she had in the last 4 trips, counterfeit! Rock Star was my last horse out & he had a better trip than I expected from him too!

WOW, finished! JP was taking notes for me & asked what I wanted on that horse....ya, I couldn't tell him what the last horses trip was...dang it! K, so this flustered me a little...I didn't know what trip the last horse just had...uggg! 5 billion people are asking my if I'm ok (real sweet..but just sayin...doesn't help if you are already a little shakin up) Go to gathering up horse flanks ect. My little bro. J2 is back there trying to help my. He is asking questions about the flanks & how many we have & I can't answer him...I understand the question...know the answer but just can't make the dots connect without a struggle. Ugg, J2 was awesome & helped gather up the flanks. ( Today, I'm still not sure if everything is right;) I pack a set of flanks to the trailer & am headed back to get the rest. I meet up with Richard & Bret (my pickup men) on the way back. Richard starts asking me if I'm ok....questions & apparently I failed because off to the ambulance I went. Not to worry, I'm ok, I'm ok. They get me to the ambulance...questions, questions, questions....just for the record the questions are prejudice....I didn't know the date before the perf when I was trying to write checks...I don't know what makes you think hitting my head is going to help! ;) They take my hat off (tons of people gathered around) sweaty, dirty rodeo hair...awesome. They decide that I need to be put in the meat wagon...ya, they put me on the stretcher & LIFT me into the ambulance...bet they wished I hadn't eaten so many Twinkies :) The test began....flash lights in the eyes, more questions...& of course my best friend, the blood pressure test! (insert dunt-dunt-da horror music here)...Shocking my pressure is high, really, really high. ( I try to explain that as long as my rodeo is going on outside & I'm inside...probably not gonna go down) Aww, deep breaths...you can do this. My buddy, Bry hops in the ambulance to keep me company. FYI: EMT's DO NOT think you're funny. Bry & I thought we were hilarious :) Ok, ok focus...you can do this...deep breaths, happy place, you've got to calm down so they will let you go.....aww, ya! It lowers & the very nice people let me go. It was a pleasure to meet them & they were very good at their job but I'm glad my visit was a relatively short one :)

The rest the night went well. Rodeo perf ran smoothly. The bulls won......11/0....no bull rides for the weekend. We went thru the motions of a regular rodeo weekend: loading stock to go home, gather up all our equipment, feed & water the animals staying the night and last but certainly not least, pay everyone for there services. This is the portion of the night that got a little trying. I was pretty sure I was fine...but fine & can walk, talk, write, spell, add & write checks are completely different things. :) If anyone had the pleasure of talking to me that night...I thought I was fine but struggled to get the exact words where I wanted them. Writing thank you notes & checks to my crew....pretty sure that I was putting letters in words that didn't necessarily belong & let's hope the good Lord above that I wrote the checks correctly :). Right before I left I stopped at the Rodeo CLub food booth & ....thought I was doing really well......they asked numerous times if I need someone to drive me home...I thought my conversation made perfect sense but from the looks they were giving me....I finally know how Jake Hayworth feels when he gets knocked out :) 

I did make it home safe & sound Saturday night. Sunday morning at 9 am on the dot I was back to the rodeo grounds to gather timed event stock & load the truck to head back to Homedale. Shocking but I had a bit of a headache :) after the truck was loaded out I headed back to Wade & Nancy's where the couch & I spent some quality bonding time :) Thank you for all the calls & concern checking up on me. JP & Chad both called to check in. Chad's conversation was quite enlightening. He had asked me earlier if I had broke my glasses. I told him no, they were fine. He thought that was what was digging in his back. I replied well, atleast I was a good cushion for ya :) He had bruises down his shoulder & even turned his butt black & blue....so I don't think the horse hit me at all. From what I can put together, She hit Chad & (some others who got clear) it was a domino effect. I slammed into the metal chute & she just malled us for a second or so. (they are lucky I didn't dent the chute ...as hard headed as I am :) Chad made a great ride buy when he got off his horse they thought it broke his leg. Thank the good Lord above, Sunday it appeared to be only a really really bad sprain. 

Thanks again to all my friends & family who helped out or checked in. I appreciate all your love & support. I'm doing fine now & I can guarantee you ...she will be tied in next time :)

Monday, January 23, 2012

It's In His Blood

I promised earlier to tell the whole story about how our son, Billy Quade, started riding bulls. Many a relative and friend has wondered how we could encourage such a life choice. Like I've said before, Rex earned a living riding all three rough stock events, and Quade watched intently from the time he was just tiny. In fact, when he was only 22 months old, and just barely talking, he would walk around saying, "sheep, sheep, sheep". We would go to a rodeo, get seated in the companion section with all the girlfriends and wives and kids, and he just couldn't contain himself when the sheep riding came up. He would fuss and fuss to go down to the arena. When the Spring Creek, Nevada rodeo came up  just 30 minutes from the ranch, Rex said that we were "going to break an egg in this kid" and let him ride in the sheep riding. I had a bad feeling from the beginning - and even told Rex that they wouldn't let a kid as young as 22 months in. But Rex said he had it handled - and Quade would get  in.

"Remember, he is going to get freight-trained and he is going to cry. DO NOT go down to the arena to pick him up. Let him walk back to me. If he gets real hurt, I will handle it!", Rex firmly instructed. When Rex swung our little son over the side of the chute and down onto the sheep, Quade started to have second thoughts. Rex employed Charlie Mariluch to help him get our baby unstuck from the wood slats, as Quade was now crying and sticking to everything like a piece of Velcro. "Hold on Rex, what exactly constitutes child abuse?", Charlie hollered above Quade's "No! No! No!"  "Just help me get him on the sheep, Charlie! We're breaking an egg in him while he's young!" Rex retaliated.

Long story short, Quade made it MAYBE one jump before getting freight-trained by the monster Suffolk. I watched my little baby, struggle to get up, looking around the big arena for help. He was crying uncontrollably. "How old is this one?", the announcer said in amazement. "I'll bet he's the youngest we've ever had so far!", he continued. I was seated directly across from Quade. Rex was motioning at me to stay where I was. The mothers around me were all talking. "Where is his mother?", one asked. "This is ridiculous!", she continued. I put my head in my hands. Quade turned and saw his Dad. He started to stumble towards him, arms outstretched.

Then, out of the blue, came the bullfighter. He had a two-liter bottle of pop, which he handed to Quade. "This little tyke deserves a Hard Luck Award!", the announcer yelled. The audience went wild. Quade heard the audience's approval. He immediately stopped crying. The pop bottle was dragging on the ground, his little arms just barely able to reach around. He had the biggest grin on his little face. And that's how it all started.

Quade went on riding sheep until he was seven.
Then, he moved on to calves - then steers - then his first bull when he was twelve.
And now, he's 19 and qualified for his first finals event, for the BRI Association.
So it's in his blood and it's what he loves. And as Rex so eloquently put it, "If it wasn't for that *%$!*ng bullfighter, we would've broke an egg in that kid!"

Monday, January 16, 2012

A Double Room

Back in 1989, on our way to the College Rodeo Finals in Bozeman, MT, Rex and I shared a room with some real good friends of ours. We were coming from the Sacramento, California area. They had  a two-year-old son and our daughter, Sydnee, was just two months old. We stopped to get a room just outside Yellowstone Park because it was so late and we wanted to get a good night's sleep before pulling into Bozeman for check-in. After getting a double-room, we started to get the young ones ready for bed. A partially pulled out a drawer from the dresser, lined with blankets, was the baby's bed. It locked, so that it would not come completely out and was perfect. The two-year-old, however, walked over to it and tried to push it shut when he felt the baby was crying too much!

It was then that I started thinking about how rodeo cowboys travel, hotel rooms, and all the stories Rex had about how many cowboys  they could sleep in a double room. This is a slight exaggeration, but there is some truth to this poem!

A Double Room by Eileen Phillips

When travelin' from rodeo to rodeo,
A hotel room is often needed.
But when paying your own expenses,
The cost surely needs to be heeded!

So how many will a double-room,
Comfortably sleep for overnight?
The answer my friend, is fourteen.
Anymore would make quarters quite tight!

Three lengthways in each of the double beds,                                       
One guy on the floor in between.
Because of trips to the bathroom,
This one should be quite lean!

Two bull riders could sleep width-ways,
At the foot of each of the beds;
One could fit in the bathtub,
With a pillow to protect his hard head!

There's floor space beside the door,
But this guy should be first to leave;
For getting cowboys up early,
Is reason for all of them to grieve!

Two more skinny bronc riders,
On the floor to the left of each bed;
And the fourteenth could stay on the dresser,
But this is the spot they all dread!

And so the total for a double-room,
With tax is Sixty-Five and Twenty-Two.
Each man only pays Four and Sixty-Five cents;
Provided the hotel doesn't ever have to sue!

Monday, January 9, 2012

Injured List

During Rex's 18 year rodeo career, one of the most excruciating decisions of his life was during the summer of 1994 when he had to withdraw from competing at both the Salinas and Cheyenne rodeos due to a knee injury.

There is nothing worse, aside from a trapped, bleeding grizzly on the fight, than having to deal with a rodeo cowboy on the Injured List.

At first the man refused to believe the knee was hurt as bad as it felt; especially when he discovered he had drawn Western Rodeos' Rockin' Ronnie in the Saddle Bronc Riding at Salinas. Rex hobbled around, his face defying gravity with all manner of contortions. He walked with one leg stuck awkwardly out to the side, so as not to put too much weight on it. I kept waiting for him to call ProCom in Colorado Springs to "Doctor Release" by the deadline in order to avoid paying the hefty fine plus entry fees of $700 (Rex was riding all three rough stock events at the time). My father-in-law, Bill, finally challenged Rex to do ten knee bends in one minute. Rex took him up on the dare, drew a deep breath, and started down. Down, down, down but alas; not up! Later, he reluctantly called in to withdraw from competition 30 minutes under the wire.

In the first five years of our marriage, our most trying times had been when Rex was on the Injured List. Suddenly, there were two parents at home. The kids would look at us, confused, when Rex and I barked different orders at them simultaneously. Rex would stare me down and say, "I'm perfectly capable of handling this situation!" Most of the time I would bow out gracefully. However, there were times that neither would back down and the kids ended up getting away with nothing short of murder!

A cowboy "on the bench" yearns for the adrenaline rush that rodeo provides. It's an addiction; almost like playing a game of Craps. In order to keep himself occupied, Rex decided to set up our double-wide trailer on our dream spot on the hill above the main ranch. He hopped on the backhoe, and dug all of the water lines 7 feet deep (nearly twice what was needed). He started riding a colt for his Mother. It was a good reason to use his bronc saddle! He told me, with a look of disappointment, that the "horse was real good, and almost no trouble at all" one day when he got finished working with it.

Then, he picked up a new passion. Picture this: a double set of train tracks running through our family ranch just outside of Elko, NV. One for trains going West to East; and one going East to West. One had to cross both in order to get from our dream spot on the hill to the ranch house, barn and corrals below. From high atop the hill, Rex could spot the light from a train approaching the crossing to the main ranch. He would jump on the tractor and head down the hill, racing across the iron rails with little time to spare. I cannot imagine the stress he caused the poor train engineers!

One night Rex came in the house at about dark with a look on his face of a man who had spent his whole life savings at the slot machine in Vegas, yet ready to take a loan out so he could play more. "Guess how close I came to gettin' it today? ", he asked. His Mother and I sat, staring at the T.V.  Neither of us wanted to encourage this sort of activity, and tried our best to ignore him as he told his story anyway with all the enthusiasm of a seven year old. "Rex! I don't want to hear this!", his mother interrupted with a yell.

What is the moral to this story? When your rodeo cowboy is on the Injured List - keep him busy! Very, very busy!

Tuesday, January 3, 2012

12 Days of Cowboy Christmas

Here is a great Re-Ride story - via a Rodeo Cowboy Journal. It's just the first 12 days of "Cowboy Christmas" for my husband, PRCA Bull Rider Rex Phillips. He was making a living for himself and our family; back in 1998. (We didn't have cell phones then.) As you read, you'll see that rodeo was a lot of traveling, a little sleeping, and even less eating! I don't think a lot has changed since then!

JULY 1: Flew from Reno, NV to San Antonio, TX. Drove a rental car four hours into Belton, TX. Hot and humid. Got on a jerk-u-down, rotten, son-of-a-gun! No money. Did I say hot and humid? Drove halfway back to San Antone to a rest area where I called the wife on a pay phone while weird-looking people wandered grounds. Tried to sleep in economy-sized rental. Had to keep waking up to turn on air conditioner. Almost out of gas, or I would've left it running!
JULY 2: Flew into Salt Lake City, UT. Met up with traveling partner Marty Staneart and drove an hour into Oakley, UT. Haven't eaten since yesterday, so grabbed something before the rodeo. 88 points on a good bull. Winning when I left. It'll be the one to pay our bills.
JULY 3: Got to stay in a bed last night! Wife met me in Salt Lake, and we drove to West Jordan, UT. Looks like finger is broke on riding  hand. All swollen. Bull no good, so turned him out. Stayed and watched anyway. Paid my fees. Ate two meals today! Stomach feels like it'll pop!
JULY 4: Said goodbye to wife, took flight from Salt Lake into Phoenix, AZ. Chartered plane to fly four of us into Prescott, AZ. 115 degrees today. Too hot for plane to carry all four of us. Figured out who had worst bull at Prescott. It was poor Marty. He stayed grounded - and was the one that chartered the flight to begin with! The rest of us went on, with only our essentials - which meant I had to make my bag as light as possible. Left my riding vest behind. Marty met us in Window Rock, AZ later that day in rental with all our stuff. Covered my bulls, but no money in Prescott or Window Rock. Saw an old friend though - he was working at the race track in Prescott, saw my name in the program and came back behind the chutes to see me.
JULY 5: Flew from Phoenix to Salt Lake, then on to Portland, OR. Some guys picked me up and we drove on into St. Paul, OR. Fell off! Donated fees. Finger swollen to twice normal size. Can't ride with left hand, so stayed off at Mollalla, OR later that night. Back to Portland.
JULY 6: Flew into Salt Lake. My Mom came to pick me up. Found out today I won Oakley, UT. Paid for my week, plus. Got two days at home in Elko, NV.
JULY 7: Home cooked meal, appointment with Jesse, physical therapist.
JULY 8: More physical therapy.
JULY 9: Drove from Elko, NV to Nephi, UT with Marty. Splitting first when I left.
JULY 10: Vernal, UT. Hand giving me hell. Better wait for Nampa, ID Got a good one there!
JULY 11: Had to travel with the guys to Wyoming. Don't have my own car, or I'd be home!
JULY 12: Driving back to Elko. Ended up splitting second at Nephi, UT. Good pay out. We'll pay our bills this month!