When I was a child, I climbed trees, and rode down steep hills on my bicycle for fun. I also thought I grew up in the country. I have since learned that 20 acres surrounded by rainforest with a few head of cattle and an acre of passion fruit vines does not really constitute 'country living' as such. It certainly was, and is, 'rural', but today 'country' means a whole lot more to me.
My children are country kids. They think 'mutton busting' is fun. This is mutton busting.
And before anyone goes getting their knickers in a knot about animal welfare and child welfare, NO animals were injured in this event at all - OR children. It's not something I would have understood ten years ago myself, but as a bit of a veteran now, I can only do my best to assure any nay-sayers that this is one of the hilights of a country kids' year.
My girls were so excited about this. Actually, ALL the kids were excited. It's craziness! The children all head out to the back of the rodeo area, adorn their protective vests and helmets, and set out to stay on the sheep for as long as possible.
This year Olivia wasn't too keen. I kept telling her that she didn't have to do it. But it was Darcy's complete enthusiasm for the event that ultimately led to Olivia insisting that it was something she 'needed' to do. Olivia was so nervous. She wasn't sure she wanted to do it right up intil they put her on the sheep. And then she was a natural!
She loved it so much, she wants to do it again next year!
Darcy on the other hand, was so excited about the build up, that the actual event was a real anti-climax for her. There was a lot of confusion 'behind the scenes', which I can only best explain by saying that at a rodeo there are too many Chiefs, and not even a single Indian. Too much testosterone, and very little brain power. If the event had been co-ordinated by a woman, it might actually stand a chance, but ANYWAY... I digress. When it was Darcy's turn, there was so much confusion that she actually had dismounted her sheep by the time they opened the chute, and out came the running sheep without it's little passenger. Game over. Do not pass go, do not collect $200. There were tears. But there's always next year Darcy...
If someone had told me ten years ago that I would be blogging about how excited my children would get about riding on the back of a sheep, I would have thought you were mad. And yet here I am, all this time later, aiding and abeting my husband, by rounding up some of our stock to give the girls a bit of practice for next year.
Apparently it's me who's the mad one. Or maybe you just have to have spent some quality time in the country to understand?!