Ropin' Calves And Surfin' The Web

THE WILD WEB

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Most of us are fascinated with the Wild West milieu. Senior citizens, as children, read comic books such as "Red Rider" and "Bobby Benson of the B bar B."

The Lone Ranger and Gene Autry excited us with horse chases through the desert during the early days of movies and television.

In the latter half of the 20th century, European and Asian tourists came to Arizona to see shootouts like the ones they'd seen in movies such as "High Noon" or earlier in traveling Wild West shows.

Country music and line dancing took up where square dancing left off in American fads. Just donning boots, hats and big belt buckles brings out the devil-may-care wildness in us. We love the romance of a hayride, the smell of steaks, pinto beans and coffee cooking over an open fire, and the rodeo.

The writer Ernest Hemingway thought Spanish bullfighting was the most elementally courageous act a man could take, other than fighting in a war or climbing the highest mountains or taking on a fish too big for his boat.

Rodeos contain bullfighting but not the Spanish ritual killing of the bull. Rodeo bulls are ridden and distracted, fed, nurtured and developed into worthy opponents. The riders, bullfighters, barrelmen and clowns suffer the broken bones, midsection gorings, concussions and lost eyesight.

Rodeos celebrate other skills important to ranching with their own accompanying dangers: bronc riding, roping, and barrel racing. The breakneck speed of the livestock and their riders and ropers brings back the excitement of Western movies and television. Rodeos are our modern Wild West show.

The Internet has official sites such as the Professional Rodeo Cowboys Association at www.prorodeo.com/, and Women's Pro Rodeo Association at www.wpra.com/. Residents of Payson and other Arizona towns appear in the current standings.

Rodeo fans publish sites devoted to their favorite rodeo aspects. Janet Ratzloff publishes a weekly rodeo article. We can access all from 1997 to February 2001 at http://www.cowgirls.com/dream/jan/rodeo.htm. She also manages the About.com Web site at http://rodeo.about.com/sports/rodeo/cs/fungames/index.htm. The site has links to numerous rodeo topics from animal welfare to rodeo-themed puzzles, board games, cartoons, electronic postcards, clip art, jokes, and a kid's rodeo page. One link is to a checklist to determine whether you qualify as a "city boy." One of the items is: (you're a city boy if) "You think PBR is a form of public radio." The direct link to that page is http://rodeo.about.com/sports/rodeo/gi/dynamic/offsite.htm?site=http%3A%2F%2Fhome.att.net%2F%7Eklossner%2Fcitycby.html.

The site http://geocities.com/~lavone/ index.html has downloadable images with accompanying historical and/or humorous stories. At http://www.2lazy2.net/BackGWest.html, we can download Western background images. The site http://www.rodeoriders.com/, contains a storyboard where readers can post their own stories. Many stories were from teenagers, some from younger children or young adults. Videos, books, and Ratzloff's articles are also available through that site.

We may download screensavers at http://rodeo. about.com/sports/rodeo/cs/screensavers/index.htm. We can chat online with rodeo folks at http://rodeo.about.com/sports/rodeo/mpchat.htm.

A few years ago Hollywood agents declared the Western passThen "Dances With Wolves" re-opened the floodgate. Rodeo competitors and fans know the lure of the Wild West is always with us.

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