I'll never forget the first time I went to the Ventura Beach, CA PRCA rodeo with my husband. I thought it was possibly the most beautiful, picturesque place for such an event! The sound of the ocean, the nearby carnival complete with a ferris wheel, and the sounds of the announcer and the crowd made for a real exciting afternoon! I also got to see several TV mini-series stars - and I thought that was awesome!
I made sure to sit facing the ocean - so that I could see the water in the background. Afterwards, Rex and I took the kids for a walk on the beach. Then, nearly a year later, we went to Palm Springs, CA to the California Circuit Finals. There seemed to be a lot of surfer types at the event, and we even got to visit a little with them afterwards. I thought hard about the differences between the life of a rodeo cowboy and the life of a surfer. However, the more I thought about it, the more similarities between the two occurred to me! Afterall, they both are athletes, both challenge themselves to ride something completely uncontrollable, and rodeo has buckle bunnies and surfers have beach tramps! (just kidding!) So -when I got home, I wrote this poem, in 1997.
Bull Rider Meets Surfer by Eileen Phillips
A bull rider ventured to our western shore,
In search of a rodeo that would offer him more;
He traveled to Palm Springs just west of L.A.;
To compete in new territory where the "pretty" ones play!
After the cowboy scored 80 on the bull that he rode,
He stripped down to his shorts and upon the beach strode.
Two miles down the beach he met up with a man,
Who walked like an athlete, and was really quite tan!
"Hello!" said the cowboy, sizing the other one up,
"Yo!" said the surfer, "So hey man, what's up?"
"I just rode a big one", the cowboy replied,
"My strength, it was tested; my abilities tried!"
"Whoa, that's real heavy!", the surfer exclaimed;
"I can really relate to that sort of fame!"
"Yeah, it was a twister", the cowboy remarked,
"Right on, Dude!" the surfer excitedly barked.
"It rolled to the left and blew me to the right;
I just knew it was gonna be one hellofa fight!
That's when it all happened", the cowboy said with a grin;
"It welled me, unleashing my monster within!"
"Cosmic!" the surfer gasped in complete awe;
"You are the master Dude, you are THE law!"
The cowboy had noticed this stranger spoke strange.
But who was he to judge? This wasn't his range!
"So how long you been ridin'?", the cowboy now asked.
"Man, forever!", said the surfer. "I don't dig up the past."
He continued, "When I'm riding, it's tubular! And that's all I care;
It's just me and the wave, Dude, and we make the pair!"
Now the cowboy was thinking, just up in his head,
"What the hell does he mean, and is English plumb dead?"
The cowboy now spoke:
"Now I'm not from around here, so you'll have to explain.
Cause I ain't no "Dude", and you're not sounding quite sane!
Just what do you do for a living down here?
Do you ride on a circuit? Wrangle cattle? Drink beer?
And where are the pastures, the barns and the horses?
Do you often tangle with the Almighty's strong forces?"
"You're righteous, Dude!", said the surfer completely undaunted,
And to passing girls he his muscles now flaunted.
The cowboy could see now that two worlds had collided;
And to exit without a big scene was decided!
He left that long shore on the ocean that day,
With an outlook on life that he uses today;
When he's in strange places, he sticks to his friends.
He doesn't ask questions, and to business he tends!