I woke to my alarm screaming at me on Saturday morning. I sat up just long enough to slap the snooze button and flopped back into bed. I pulled the covers up a little tighter and the fact that it was actually chilly barely registered in my sleep heavy mind. Just a few more minutes, I thought to myself before dozing back off. The alarm again roused me from deep sleep and I sat up and slapped the snooze button again. This time when I laid back down, I heard a deep rumbling. Definitely not ready to wake up yet, I laid there dozing and kept hearing that deep rumbling sound. It got louder. And then I heard it.
It was starting to register on my sleepy brain that the deep rumbling sound I was hearing was thunder.
My eyes popped open.
What the hell??
I pulled the covers back up and started to let sleep take over.
The ringing phone brought me out of another deep slumber and I dived out of bed to answer it.
It was My Honey. My back-up alarm clock.
While talking to him and starting my mandatory pot of coffee, I stood there and stared out the kitchen window. My mind was still struggling to wrap itself around the fact that it was actually raining. The deep rumblings of thunder still sounding off. The whole sky was gray.
Getting off the phone, I fired up the computer and clicked on the weather radar stored in my favorites. A massive yellow and red blob covered my entire region.
Yeee-aaaa....So much for 20% chance of thundershowers!
My heart sank. I knew what this meant.
I was going to be running barrels in mud tonight!
It rained the better part of the morning. The huge storm slowly making it's way east. The very direction of the rodeo I was entered in.
But finally 3 o'clock rolled around and I loaded my horse, mom and I jumped in the truck and we were on our way. It was obvious that the storm had rolled through the entire region. Water was standing in the dips in the road and the road ditches. The farther east we went, the wetter it got.
In a couple of hours we pulled into the fairgrounds and I didn't even hesitate putting the pickup into 4-wheel drive. There was mud and standing water everywhere.
I unloaded Moon, who was apparently soooo hungry, in spite of having already been fed hay that morning and grain right before we left, that he tried to start eating before he was even out of the trailer and basically slid/fell the rest of the way out.
Nice! Great way to make an entrance horse. Mom looked at me like I was a retard who had never unloaded a horse before. I pointed my finger at Moon and pulled the trigger. I have never been around a horse who is more determined to eat at every opportunity in my life. It's really rude actually.
I tied the rude-head to the trailer. God, I may drive a brand new pickup, courtesty of My Honey, but my plain-jane, has a little rust here and there horse trailer is totally embarrasing compared to the mega-living quarter, 4-5 and 6 horse trailers that surround us. Good thing my horse is fast, right?
Mom and I headed over to look at the arena.
Not much to say...we just look at each other, purse our lips and raise our eyebrows.
A good 3/4ths of the arena has standing water in it.
This...is a little out of Moon and I's league. I haven't run in mud in y.e.a.r.s! Moon don't have any experience with it either. At least not any that is relavant when it comes to making a competitive barrel run at a rodeo performance.
Oh, this is just ducky...pardon the pun.
I paid my entry fees. Geez...when you add in all the little $2 and $3 charges they tack on for this and that...they just about doubled. I pretty much figured I would be kissing that money good-bye anyway. Any chance I thought I might have had at placing went out the window the minute I saw that arena.
I don't remember much of watching the rodeo. I was really trying to put a game plan for my run together. Luckily, there were 10 barrel racers ahead of me, so I could watch what they did and see if I could figure something out on the fly.
There was a lot of sand around 1st barrel. I figured I could put the pedal to the metal and get around that one in good form. Moon has run in deep, wet sand before. He was cool with it then. 2nd barrel was another matter. It was standing in water. It was hard to tell what would be the best way to tackle it. I was leaning toward safetying up. But once you cleared 2nd, you was back in deep sand again and I thought I would be able to open Moon back up, slide around 3rd and hammer it home. The left side of the arena was deep sand, so I would have a good place to stop.
A person should always have a game plan.
However, that does not always mean that game plan will work.
The announcer called my name...OMG...he pronounced my name properly...Cool!
The gate man opened the gate.
I headed Moon down the alley and let him find first barrel before asking him to take off.
He started to take off and then hit...deep, sloppy mud.
And suddenly I was riding Tinkerbell.
Moon sucked back on the speed and was desperately trying to figure out how to keep from splashing water and mud on himself. He decided the best way was to lunge through it and pick his feet up as high as he could.
He got to first barrel and I could feel him set for it, but he was scrambling trying to figure out how to get around it. Geez-he was practically climbing on top of the barrel.
Of course, by this point, my concentration is completely blown and I am looking straight down his shoulder at the mud too. I'm thinking, "Holy cow, it really is deep".
We zig, zagged back and forth between 1st and 2nd. Moon isn't sure which way to go. I'm looking down his shoulder and he is looking at all the people in the grandstand. I look up just in time to literally yank him over so he turns the barrel on the correct side. He's trying to climb on top of the barrel again and practically stops coming out of it. Neither of us is looking where we are supposed to be going, so Moon bows waaaayyyy out and around.
By this time, I am starting to get really pissed off. I mean come-on!
I get my eyes focused on the 3rd barrel, Moon straightens out and heads for it. We slid around it in pretty good shape and head for home. But it doesn't feel like we are going anywhere. It took so long to get to the other end, that I literally had time to think about how bad that run was.
And boy, it was baaaadddd. We leaped through the mud in 19.51 seconds. About 1 to 1-1/2 seconds slower than the majority of the others...and a full 3 seconds slower than the winning run of the performance, which was a 16.44. An astonishing fast time for that track.
We exited the arena, my head was hanging a little, but Moon's was up and he was looking around like, "Wow...what the hell was that all about?" He wasn't even blowing.
I walked him out of the mud and dismounted, loosening his cinch and started walking him. Habit! He didn't really need it, since he hadn't exactly set the arena on fire. I made one lap around some rigs and went to unsaddle him. I took off his bridle and while I was trying to get his halter on him, he is trying to choke himself by insisting on trying to graze with his breastcollar still on. What a freaking dork!
And that my friends was Moon and I's glorious entrance into association level rodeoing. One thing about it, we have no where to go but up. :-)
Damn, I hope all that mud comes out of my brand new Cruel Girl shirt!