It's official, I'm now a redneck...as if there was a question in anyone's mind. Mine and Deb's favorite thing to watch on TV now is...are you ready for this?...Professional Bull Riding. Monday night at 1o on TNN right after that goofy ass wrasslin show Raw is War.
I've actually known a couple of professional bull riders over the years. My friend Dave Summers in GA was a bull rider for a long time before he married the chic who then left him for a lucrative career in nude lap dancing. Dave's a family man now and remarried with a wife and two girls and living a respectable life. You'd never guess he was once on the back of a ton and a half piece of angry beef and loving the hell out of it. Dave was really from San Antonio where a lot of good rodeo cowboys come from. I asked him why he got out of it. Not because of the big injuries really but he got tired of having his balls beat black and blue and swelled to twice their normal size every night. Sex is not fun when your balls are black and blue. Dave and I had a lot of fun getting to know Mr. Jack Daniels while sitting around a campfire up in the Rockies and reminiscing on all the good times.
Knew three other rodeo cowboys when I was working out Denver way back in 93 at the Rocky Mountain Arsenal. We were putting PVC liners on big holes in the ground so they could convert them into toxic and radioactive waste ponds. What fun. We had to be tested for radiation each night after we got off work. If I wasn't sterile before then, I sure am now. Anyway, these three guys hired on. Stacy, Tracy and Juan. They'd all grown up together and now they were following the rodeo circuit together. They signed on with this job because they were bruised and broken and tapped out and needed to earn some bread to go on. Stacy had a broken nose he got when his head was going down and the bull's head was coming up and the two met about halfway. Tracy showed me where his upper right incisor had come all the way through his cheek when a bull had thrown him into a wall and broken his jaw a few months earlier up to Cheyenne. And Juan was just plain bruised and sporting a cracked rib from where he'd gone under the bull and gotten trampled down in Dalhart. They wore their injuries like badges of honor and their gold and silver belt buckles like trophies and I knew as soon as they healed and got a little scratch in their pockets they'd be back in the ring with the other big dogs. We hung out at the Grizzly Rose together for a few nights until I got tired of seeing them going home with all the good looking women and I struck out for Durango to hunt more work. Aside from all the injuries, that would be the life for me. Of course I do have the fireworks when I want some real excitement.
Speaking of fireworks. We've been asked to do a barge shoot next year. As far as shoots go, this is the most dangerous kind of shoot there is. A few folks died down around Alton, Illinois three years back on one of these shoots. Not much to explain, it is what it says it is. You set up racks of mortars on the decks of two floating barges. Then two people stay on each barge and fire the mortars electronically. In addition to fire helmets, full face shields and Nomex clothing you also have to wear life vests and cary Cylume glow sticks so if you get blown off the barge and die, the search party can easily locate the body. Biggest danger in this type of shoot is if something goes wrong, there is no where to go but down into the water. And the Big Muddy is not known for giving up her dead very easily. If you have to go in, you have to remember to jump far enough out so you don't get sucked back under the barge. Then if you manage not to drown and hopefully you are not in shock or burned beyond recognition, you gotta start yelling and waving your glow stick and hope that someone will come find you. Or make it to shore and try to figure out where the hell you are in the dark until a rescue party comes. Of course the better chance is that everything will go just as planned and you just clean up and go home afterward. The big thrill is we will be firing 10 and 12 inch shells that make the barge rock in the water each time they fire.
Two days of back breaking work and one night of firing everything and then cleanup all for $50 each. So what do you think our answer was? Hell YES!
Our next shoot is over Labor Day out at Colchester in conjunction with the Antique Gas Engine days where Deb and I will have our jewelry display set up and working. We spent Sunday and we'll spend all this weekend working on jewelry for that show. Hopefully we'll make some good money hopefully it won't be so damned hot a it was last year.
Well nothing else to say for now so I better dive into my work.