Life in Idaho – The Mackay Rodeo

An Idaho bucket list of sorts
(Mammas, Don’t Let Your Babies Grow Up To Be Cowboys)

My mom is a bona fide Idaho girl.  Born and bred.  She’s shown only a brief moment of weakness, succumbing temporarily to the allure of the East Coast.  She says creek like two e’s somehow equal an i, and spent spring breaks removing dirt clumps from the potato farm’s conveyor belt (a fact she likes to remind us of as we settle in on a beach every March).

She used to go to the Mackay Rodeo, spending the night in a tent nearby, buzzed off beers they’d snuck and the older boys who talked to her.  This summer my sister and I decided to attempt to replicate this experience, minus everything but the rodeo itself.

We loaded up into my father’s truck, with a friend in tow, and embarked on the treacherous journey over Trail Creek Pass to Mackay, a drive straight out of National Geographic. We pulled into Mackay, clueless as to where the rodeo grounds were.  Luckily, everyone in town was headed in the same direction, and we were able to slide into the procession to a field near the grounds. We climbed out of the truck, adjusted our artfully ripped Daisy Dukes and slipped on our faux-scuffed cowboy boots.

Beers and hotdogs in hand, we made our way towards the wooden grandstands.  As the last moments of the recorded national anthem died down, and everyone returned their 10-gallon hats to their heads, we were off.  We sat, sticky with dust and sunscreen, and watched as hometown heroes cut around barrels and flew off bucking broncos.  We joked about entering the milking contest, only to find we had completely underestimated the level of competition.  Two men—one on foot and one on horse—chased after the cows released into the arena, as they attempted to catch, wrestle, and milk the cows into a beer bottle.

After hours of baking in the dry heat, and numerous hot dogs, we made our way back to our truck, immediately queuing up our “y’all” playlist, and started the ride back home—tired, sweaty and riding high off our bona fide Idaho experience. 

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