Girls roping goats much more difficult than it looks
The Sportsmanís Report
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By Bill Hanson  January 25, 2013 12:00 am

I was up on the Trinity last weekend checking out the fishing and looking for mushrooms in the Redwood forests.

The steelhead are biting. It’s hard to keep the bait defrosted, as it is icy cold up on the beautiful North Coast.

Fungus are hit and miss right now. It may be a slow year overall for the mid-winter mushroom crop.

A visit to Trinidad Harbor included a walk on the new pier. Giant plastic tubs were being loaded from the boats to 18 wheelers, headed to a market near you.

Literally, tons of big fat crab were being off-loaded. I looked in one of the bins.

Small poke brought them around, and big, open claws invited me to try it again. Been down that road; those boys can put the pinch on you fast.

Stopping at the fairgrounds in bucolic Ferndale, we checked out the high school rodeo. What a hoot!

The cold did not spare the audience under the covered arena. The sun was bright at 10 in the morning but still too weak to melt the frost. The first thing that stuck me was all the fresh-faced kids dressed western for the competition. Girls wore sparkling belts and long hair, perfect, stylish jeans were finished with dusty cowgirl boots with globs of stuff on the bottom.

The girls competed in the slalom inside the arena. Some rode all out, hats and pony tails flying, teeth set, determined to win. Next up were the boys on steers.

They were dressed with whatever was on the bedroom floor that morning. The animals were not very happy about being ridden, even for eight seconds. One boy gave a great showing, jumping off at the buzzer on his own terms.

It took at least 10 guys to get each rider set to ride a steer, and several men on horseback and on foot to keep the animals from harming themselves or the riders once the gate was opened.

All those boys were focused on what was happening in their part in the overall event.

As the arena was being cleared for the girls goat roping event, I realized I was surrounded by dozens of high school-age kids without bizarre tattoos or painful looking piercing.

Not one head was dyed hot pink or bright green. There was not a lot of cussing or compulsive texting you see in other groups of teens. Not one kid was smoking.

No dancing or gesturing after a good run, unlike the pro football clowning. It all gave me hope for our future. Now, I have to admit, girls on horses blasting full speed toward a small goat tethered to a post seemed like a dumb thing to make into a competitive sport. Not so. They, the girls, dismounted at full gallop, grabbed the goat, flipped it on its back, pulled a rope from their teeth and tied three legs. They are timed if the goat does not break free in eight seconds. Although it was thrilling to watch, the goats may take a different view of the matter.

I spoke with the girls in our high school rodeo zone, no mumbling or incomplete thoughts were voiced. They are good natured and proud of their competition. I did not stay to the end, the Niners needed me.

Bill Hanson is a Sonoma Co Bill Hanson is a Sonoma County native and a lifelong sportsman. He is the former president of the Sonoma County Mycological Association. Look for his column in The Community Voice each week.

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