Strolling into the Oklahoma state fair, I observed what I can only assume is the typical scene. The scent of salty corn dogs mixing with sweet smell of fresh cinnamon rolls. Turkey legs in hands, like a Thanksgiving feast gone both savage and tastier. The lights of the Gravitron ride flash like a UFO. My mouth watered at the same time that other stomachs turn on tilt-a-whirls.
People wove in and out of each other’s paths – on to the next food stand, livestock pavilion, carnival ride, tent of cowboy hats and rhinestone jeans. Meanwhile, I was on the very important mission (after only a short detour to Indian tacos and goat stalls) to see my very first rodeo. To witness what kind of man/woman risks life on an angry bull’s back, and what most common kind of man/woman wants to watch that.
The arena sized smaller than I had anticipated, but this was a pleasant surprise. Our seats would be much closer than I had expected. We arrived at our seats with plenty of time to spare, and we were located at the front row of the upper level. The perfect location to watch people walking the aisle between levels. I’d never seen so many cowboy boots and flannel shirts in one place. Ever.
It was a fashion show with nearly every girl dressed to impressed – curled hair and all. I watch tall girls and short and fat and slim. With pointy toed boots and round toed boots (and a handful with regular shoes like my flipflops). Cut-off Daisy Dukes. Lacey dresses. Rhinestone jeans and floaty blouses. I couldn’t get enough of seeing all the different country-chique ensembles! As for the men, I even enjoyed observing the large presence of flannel, as I found this quite manly and appealing. Greg laughed at me as my head turned back and forth to take it all in.
I found myself wondering how I would dress to manage to pull off my own version of country-chique. And which style and color of cowboy boot I would most likely wear – considering that obviously I have no country accent, no real knowledge of country music, and definitely no experience in living in below the Mason-Dixie line. Ultimately, I may never try the look myself (unless Greg and I end up with a hefty plot of land and a goat). But I know at least that I loved how it looks.
Then the lights turned off and back on to signal the beginning of the show. A little man in striped socks was in the middle of the arena next to a big yellow barrel. A rodeo clown. I’ve heard of them before but this was the first one I ever saw live or otherwise. Not as funny as expected, but he did some trick horse riding, some cross dressing (as Miss Rodeo Queen), and some running from bulls.
Meanwhile the rodeo itself kicked into gear and it was terrifying and exciting at the same time to see. Someone could have gotten seriously injured or killed right in front of my eyes. The bulls were massive, powerful, and unpredictable. I found myself gasping aloud at many falls, my hands tight on my mouth as I hoped the bull would be careful with his hooves. And yet, every bull rider, survived relatively unharmed. It was surreal to witness that kind of danger in real life.
And then, as if all that wasn’t enough country pleasure, the night ended with a little Jake Owen concert.
I just loved it all. I loved the fashion watching more than anything, but still I loved it all. So if you didn’t go to the state fair this year, try it out at least one night next year!