OK, it’s a bit of a stretch for a title on this one, but my excuse is that as it was our last night, we did actually end up in the pool room of the ranch and there was a juke box there. A weak link I grant you, but the best I could find.
Saturday morning was as clear as every other morning but I wasn’t getting bored of the clear blue skies and warm climate. Breakfast was had nice and early as we had a plan to get the most out of the final day. It was going to be a while before enjoying such riding again, so using it to it’s full was important. It was something we had agreed on the previous night. There were 3 rides during the day, and we wanted to do all 3 of them. This meant doing the slow ride in the morning, followed by the morning fast ride (after a short turn around), and the fast ride in the afternoon.
The slow ride, for me, was a final opportunity to take some desert photos. On the fast rides a big SLR camera was out of the question in terms of not really being able to secure it. If it had been just slung over my shoulder I would have plenty of bruises by the end of the ride. On the slow rides it wasn’t an issue. So I snapped away happily taking in as much of the desert one final time.
One thing I’ve not mentioned yet, but is something that again is something that the ranch does very well, is that when on the rides, providing you were on the same type of ride (fast, slow etc) the staff were very good at ensuring that you got to ride with your friends, even if there were a number of rides going out. This was nice touch and showed how much they noticed groups at meal times and about the ranch.
After lunch there were a certain sense of sadness at what was going to be our last ride together. It was still enjoyable, but at the end there was the sadness that the holiday was coming to an end. It was however time to give the horses a treat. There were plenty of horse cookies to thank them for a good week and for contributing to such a good holiday. Over the week getting to know the horse and it’s traits was as much fun as the riding itself. It was therefore time to give Chief a good soak, and brush before he went off for what was a well deserved rest. Being true to form he couldn’t help himself and did have a nibble of the nearby tree bark if I wasn’t paying attention. It was the first time I’ve done any horse grooming, but I hope I did a good job. The wranglers were certainly encouraging. In the end we spent so much time on this that we missed the very start of the rodeo.
The rodeo was the Saturday entertainment. Held before dinner, it meant there was no after dinner entertainment, but then given that a lot of people would be leaving on the Sunday, it would give time to pack for those with an early departure. Having missed the procession of the flags (one for each of the countries represented by vacationers at the ranch) we arrived just in time for the start of the exhibition. I’ve never been to a rodeo before and probably like most people with no experience, the idea of rodeos would revolve around lassoing. However that is just one part of it and the ranch was going to show us what went on at a rodeo and tell us plenty of stories about how it related to the cowboy lifestyle. There was barrel racing, where the horses rounded the barrels at angles and speeds that didn’t seem possible.
Roping of different styles and then something called bulldogging. This was the only thing that didn’t relate to the old cowboy lifestyle, but was more of a daredevil thing.
It certainly wasn’t something I was going to be trying! At the end we were all a lot more knowledgeable about rodeos and in awe at the skills we had seen.
Dinner on Saturday was a special affair. Great big chunks of beef, carved off the joint, and with it being the US, there was the option of how you would like your beef done. I know that it is something that will be asked in some restaurants in the UK now, but it’s the exception rather than the rule. It still tends to be just steak that you get the option for. Needless to say, it was excellently cooked and I couldn’t have wished for better. Second helpings on this occasion was almost expected.
With no evening entertainment and most of the packing already done, it was one last evening in at the ranch bar. I hadn’t had any previously, but the ranch did a special margarita and it was felt as it was the last evening that we should go out in style. These were quite potent and while very nice, it wasn’t possible to drink too many! Probably just as well. We ended up in the pool room showing how badly we could play (possibly due to the margaritas), chatting and playing music on the juke box. I like to think that I have a wide range in music taste and experience, but on this occasion (as with the others) I was a little stumped in terms of what to play. I had heard of a couple of the artists, and a few of the songs, but a lot of the music was a bit of a random choice. Thankfully there was no charge for selections, so we enjoyed most of the music, and laughed through some of it before retiring one last time.