Of course, since my mother packed everything I left in New York EXCEPT my fabulous peach-colored Frye cowboy boots, my first weekend event in Arkansas was one where I could have KILLED IT in those boots.
Nonetheless, my first rodeo was pretty damn fun - and it was on the 4th of July, which made me the most American I've ever been in my life (as an American). And the most Arkansian I've ever been - that's the state flag flying over the stadium (I don't think I've ever known what my state flag looks like).
The rodeo kicked off with "mutton bustin'," which, as the MC explained, is where "we strap our children to farm animals and call it entertainment." Children in faux chaps and bike helmets get on lambs and try and hold on as two other children dressed like clowns jump around to try and scare the lamb into moving fast enough to excite the kids and hopefully throw them off gently. The good pic is from the local newspaper - I think that's the champion in it.
Then David and I took a break from the spectacle to get something to eat (those are smoked turkey legs those guys are chomping down on) and see what was for sale in the stadium (besides fried and cheap cowboy hats, the cutest puppies EVER).
Back in the stadium I saw bronco bucking, bull riding, and lassoing/roping. The roping is pretty ridiculous. A cowboy gallops out at the same time as a little cow and has a few seconds to jump off his horse ONTO the running cow, heave it over on its side so it can't get back up, and tie its front and back legs together.
I couldn't get it on photo, but the lassoing is incredible. For the lassoing two cowboys come out together with a little bull and one has to rope it around the horns and immediately after the other has to rope it by the BACK LEGS. So while the little bull is kicking around because it's been lassoed around the horns the second cowboy needs to somehow lasso it's back feet in a moment that they are off the ground. And they both only have about 6 seconds to do all of it.
Because it was the 4th there was lots of exhibition stuff with overt American symbolism... only to be expected, I guess, and culminating in fireworks set to Neil Diamond's "Proud to be an American" (obvi).
Clearly Walmart was a rodeo sponsor - they literally sponsor pretty much everything (and everyone) in a 50-mile radius.
Of course the best part of the rodeo was the sense of style (kind of the best part of the south in general).
And even in the most southern of places, New York represented.