Biff America: Horns of a dumb dilemma (column)
It was a cliche in 3-D acted out for all to see — a caricature of unwise behavior. Of course it would be tempting to simply label them stupid. But I’m sure many of them were better educated than I (which would not take much) and I would assume many were successful in all other ways. But all that said, I’m comfortable declaring their choice was a poor one bordering on moronic. HOLD MY BEER AND WATCH THIS.
The event was called ‘Money the hard way’ and it was indeed a difficult way to make a buck.
I attended a small town rodeo in Iowa last week. My buddy grew up there and I tagged along while he went back to visit his family and celebrate the summer festival called Edgewood Days. My pal’s family is old and established in that community of 800 or 900. I don’t believe that is why people ignored my Boston accent and personality and were so nice to me. I believe that was because the population was mostly comprised of contented people and the contented are less likely to be jerks.
The celebration was a four-day festival much like Woodstock but with less nudity and more calories. There was a fireman’s breakfast (eggs, pancakes, sausage and white toast) Methodist lunch, (Cheeseburgers, fried cheese curds and pie) rodeo, parade and demolition derby. The aforementioned event, ‘Money the hard way’ was part of the rodeo.
Anyone who has ever attended a rodeo knows cowboys and cowgirls are athletes. None of those athletes chose to enter the aforementioned event.
Rather, this contest was open to any spectator (sober or not). There was no entry fee to pay, no waiver to sign; the only requirement was a brave heart and poor judgment.
The announcer called for all inclined to climb the fence and enter the arena. Of course all entrants knew what they were getting into, but for those of us unacquainted, it was explained. Once all contestants were settled and ready, an angry bull would be released into the crowd. Now, attached to the horns of this ticked-off beast, would be a hundred dollar bill. The winner would be the guy who could remove the cash from the bull’s horns and the losers would be everyone else.
I was sure that few would rise to the challenge; after all, what a foolish thing to do. Man was I wrong. From out of the stands more and more folks climbed the fence until the arena was full of about 30 hopefuls. The announcer reminded the competitors of the rules, “Try to grab the money off the bull’s horn.”
I actually saw one guy climb halfway up the fence, remember that he had a beer in his hand, chug the frosty, hand the remaining suds back to his girlfriend, and jump over the other side into the rodeo grounds. HOLD MY BEER AND WATCH THIS.
Being a distinguished guest I was invited to participate. When I explained that the $100 prize purse would vault me into an unfavorable tax bracket, they all seemed to understand.
This event came after the bronc and bull riding, steer wrestling and a few other events which could lead to serious injury. As I mentioned before, rodeo athletes are athletes who train and practice. I’m sure some of those now in the arena might be fit, but how do you practice pulling a C-note off the horns of a ticked-off bovine? And how do you know if you would be good at it?
The announcer told the 30+ contestants to get ready. I was assuming that the horned beast about to be released would be a small-sized, (for a bull) fairly placid creature that would make it sporting but not dangerous. The jerk in me hoped for a rip snorting half ton of fury. The kerk got his wish.
I’m happy to say that, other than some bruises, sprains and small cuts, and lots of soiled clothing, no one was severely hurt and the guy who chugged his beer just before jumping into the arena limped away with 100 bucks.
Francis Scott Key described this nation as “The land of the free and the home of the brave.” Certainly, the personal freedoms afforded to Americans are robust. Part and parcel of that is the freedom to behave in a manner that many of us might find foolish. If it is legal (and the only risk is to yourself) go for it. So it was in that spirit I said to my buddy, “HOLD MY BEER AND WATCH THIS,” and went out and bought a bucket of fried cheese curds. Those things can kill you……….
Jeffrey Bergeron, under the alias of Biff America, can be read in several newspapers and magazines. He can be reached at email@example.com. Biff’s new book “Mind, Body, Soul.” is available at local shops and bookstores or http://shop.holpublications.com/products/biff-america-mind-body-soul
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