The smell of leather and livestock sweeps across the area in coming days as Nyssa and Vale stage their annual rodeos. More than winnings and bragging rights are at stake.
Sometimes it’s easy to miss how much work goes into these events. Volunteers labor for months to stage a few days of roping and riding. They’re improving rodeo grounds, rounding up competitors, organizing royalty, grand marshals and flag teams. They’re corralling sponsors, planning marketing, and orchestrating the myriad details that go into each evening’s performance.
Their work brings out thousands of people. In the American West, rodeo remains an icon of our rural lifestyle, even for those who have never strapped on a set of spurs. The pageantry of rodeo stirs patriotic feelings that few other events can match. The national anthem sung by someone standing in arena dirt somehow seems . . .