I'm ashamed to admit this, but I'd totally forgotten that it was Rodeo week in Redding. It was only for about five minutes, this past Monday morning, but it was long enough. I was standing in my kitchen right around 9am, admiring the deep violet hues of a hydrangea bush I'd just planted in the backyard, when I heard the gunshots.
I actually grabbed the phone to call 911 before I gave myself an eyeball roll and chuckled. I should've known. It's not like this is my first rodeo.
It reminded me of the moment a few years ago when my husband experienced the same thing during his first Rodeo week in Redding. He called me just after 9am on a Monday morning because he'd just heard a slew of gunshots coming from the direction of downtown. He wanted to make sure I was okay, and told me to lock the door...and then he wanted to know why I was laughing.
Oh nothing, honey. It's just a bank robbery.
Moments later, my friend Matt Grigsby posted photos online of this gang heading down California Street, displaying guns and flags.
Here's another bombshell confession: This week marks my 16th rodeo week in Redding, and I'm still not entirely sure if these guys are supposed to represent the thieves, or the posse chasing after them!
That doesn't mean I don't enjoy rodeo week. I really do. I think I've done my best to embrace Redding's western heritage, especially since so much of rodeo week - outside of the actual rodeo, that is - unfolds right outside my office door. I have to literally weave between thousands of pancake eaters on my bicycle just to get to work during the Asphalt Cowboy's Pancake Breakfast. The boys in yellow have already shown up on the block twice this week (they generously reward me for the inconvenience of not being able to drive my car to the office for several days in a row during the festivities by giving me breakfast tickets).
I also really enjoy going to the rodeo, and that's most definitely because I enjoy the sport of cattle roping and the athleticism of bronco riding. It's most definitely not to ogle cowboy butts. Definitely not that.
This year my husband surprised me with a brand new cowboy hat, which he purchased in the authentically western state of Nebraska. It's white and gorgeous, and he probably looks better in it than I do, but I'm going to wear it anyway. I've got the jeans, I'm good with shirts, I've even got a bolo tie. There's just one thing I'm missing, and I'm putting it out here, just laying it out here, in case there's some boot company out there in the world looking for a public radio celebrity endorsement.
What I'm saying is that I don't have cowboy boots.
I used to have the most amazing pair of cheetah spotted boots made out of some kind of animal hide with pointy silver toe tips and heel plates that I found in a little store in Mexico back in 1991. I loved those boots so hard that I wore them under my first wedding dress. But alas, they contracted a bad case of mange about ten years later, and I had to put 'em down. It was a sad day. Since then, I just haven't found a pair I really like.
So I'm just laying it out there to the universe that I'm a size 8 1/2 wide, and I really dig these:
But I also like these, these, these and these.
But in the meantime, if you happen to run into me at the rodeo, or the pancake breakfast, please pardon my lack of appropriate footwear. and if you know anyone in the funky boot manufacturing industry that you could pass some information along to, I've got an extra ticket for the pancake breakfast for you. I'm also reviving my Honky Tonk Girl playlist - one of my favorites - for all you buckaroos to enjoy as you kick up your heels while the rodeo is in town!