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Posted 5/15/13 (Wed)

Yesterday was Mother’s Day. I was hauling cows to pasture up around Killdeer. Mother’s Day is when the Killdeer area hosts a North Dakota High School Rodeo event. And man, you should have seen the trailers, kids, and horses at that little arena on the south edge of town. I don’t think you could have squeezed a bicycle into the crowded parking areas! I didn’t stop because I had a load of cows, but I know I could smell those famous burgers cooking at both concession stands. I’m kind of a rodeo burger junkie.
I got to thinking as I drove by about how we spent Mother’s Day for years up on the ranch. Mother’s Day was bucking horse day. We were producing lots of rodeos back in the 70’s and 80’s. And the middle of May would find us gathering horses, inviting friends and neighbors, cowboys and cowgirls, bronc and bareback riders, for a Sunday afternoon of rest and relaxation. Unless you were a mother, I suppose. I don’t imagine a lot of moms enjoyed seeing their teenage son crawl down on a chute-fighting- three-year-old that was kicking the chute apart and biting at anyone that touched him.
We were bucking horses we had raised or purchased since the last rodeo season. Some turned out great. Some didn’t turn out great. Some would go on to become Saddle or Bareback Broncs of the Year. Some went on to Belgium or France. But that’s another story.
We had some great times. I remember flipping my pickup horse and getting knocked out. When I came to, we were gathering horses in the west pasture, and I didn’t know what the heck was going on. Cowboys and horses were all over and I had just woke up and didn’t know why. Glad I was on a good horse.
I remember Earl riding a colt that ran through the fence on the south end of the arena and bucked on over the hill with his new bareback rigging. A whoop and a holler and a bunch of young cowboys in hot pursuit!
But mostly I remember the Moms. Moms who packed lunches and spent their day nervously watching their sons and daughters growing up in the dust of a rodeo arena. And I thank them for that.
And I don’t think I ever thanked my mom for making me practice my trumpet a half hour every night. And teaching me to wash behind my ears. Or having me stand against the wall with my head straight and my shoulders back to improve my posture. I don’t think I ever thanked her for teaching me to help with dishes or the housework. I don’t think I ever thanked her for teaching me that if you saw someone or something being picked on, you stepped in and stopped it. I don’t think I ever thanked her for teaching me to say please and thank you and to open the door for a lady. And to wear clean underwear in case I was in a wreck.
And so much more. So thank all you, moms, for all you do.