I only meant to make a quick trip to the post office but how exactly does one drive by a sign that reads “Mounted Cowboys”? I mean, c’mon, who doesn’t stop to see what that looks like? I mean sure I drove by at first, went on into the post office and took care of business. But then I whipped that car around and drove back to the Umatilla County Fairgrounds to check out this Mounted Cowboy shooting competition. It was early afternoon and the sun was shining and I’ve been cooped up long enough. Poe and I had already taken a hike up the Butte, the highest point around these grasslands, which isn’t all that high. Poor Poe was scared to death. He made me walk the trail ahead of him. I think it was the tall grasses that frightened him. He kept looking for rattlesnakes. He got over his fear though when we reached the summit (if that’s what a big rock hill top is called) and he saw a couple of quail scurrying away. Then he was off like a rocket, and would have given chase if my arm hadn’t been attached to that leash around his neck. Fortunately I didn’t need to worry about him going after the horses. I had left him at home unsupervised while I ran my errands. I’m pretty sure the horses would have just been annoyed by him.
I wasn’t halfway across the county fairgrounds when I came upon Rocking Barby. This is her brand etched into her belt.
And this folks is Rocking Barby, better known to our family as Barb Cleveland. Barb’s parents used to live down the street from us when we lived in Pendleton. Her father was a former newspaper man and our kids delievered the paper to him everyday. He would always stop and chat. Barb used to help with the cheer team at Pendleton High too. Now, look at her, she’s a six-shooter. A mounted cowboy, er, cowgirl. She says to tell all you kids hello. Hello kids.
And this is a close-up of Rocking Barby’s gun.
She took up competitive mounted shooting six weeks ago.
I told her husband to be careful. I might be tempted to use those guns for other purposes.
Okay so this is how the competition works. High school girls run out to these post and put up brightly decorated ballons. Barb says her ballons have the faces of some of the Umatilla County Fair board members on them. She got into a tift with them over the Fair Court this year. Something about drinking and driving and a member of the court. Seems the girl who got kicked off then got elected to the Pendleton Round-Up Court (an even bigger deal around these parts). Anyway, it’s good to see that some things never change ( I mean besides God that is). The politics of these fair courts is unimaginable to those of you who live in the cities and worry more about things like genocide. Needless to say the DUI didn’t make the paper and neither did the tift in which the fair board replaced Rocking Barby. So if you have aggression you need to take out I recommend shooting balloons versus people. I’ve got myself a balloon upstairs myself that I’m decorating this afternoon soon as I finish cleaning up the bonus room better disguised as the bachelor pad.
So after the balloons are all situated the rider circles their horse, gaining momentum and focus, then they yank out their six-shooter and watch out balloons!
Rocking Barby made all her shots except the last one. Her time wasn’t all that great, but hey, it’s hard to manage a horse at gallop speed and shoot things too. It ain’t as easy as Roy Rogers made it look all those years ago.
But the thing about Rocking Barby is that she knows how to have a good time anytime, anywhere. You should have heard her whooping it up when she took that last corner down the homestretch. The next time you have an errand to run, you might drive by the fairgrounds and see if you can find a mounted cowboy, er, cowgirl. It’s a pretty good way to spend an afternoon. Sure beats the heck out of cleaning the bonus room. That’s for darn sure.