Big Al's View Of The World
COWBOY SPORTS NEWS MAGAZINE JANUARY 2016
It has been noted in this very publication on numerous times and in my son’s kindergarten class at least once that I enjoy watching tv laying on the couch in my underwear. Honestly I can’t imagine a better way to watch the NFR. Especially after making the jaunt to Vegas to see it in person. Yep, Ol’ Big Al’ loaded up the family and went to the city of big lights, sin city to watch the rodeo.
Our son had not been in ten years and since he was a senior this year we figured we would take him to see the “big show” and maybe inspire him a little to get down to the barn and saddle his horse. I could have bought him a new horse for what it cost me to go see it in person. Whatever happened to $1.99 steak and eggs and buffets that went on forever for $4.99? Obviously they are not in Vegas anymore. You know it’s bad when Wolfgang Puck’s restaurant is cheaper to eat at than some cafe in the casino. I went into the gift shop one night after the rodeo and got two waters, two candy bars and a Coke. The lady said $9 and change and I asked if that was the correct amount because that was way too cheap. I think that was the cheapest thing we bought from the time we left Whataburger in Sealy on the way out and until we stopped at Whataburger again in Sealy on the way home. That was the best dang bacon biscuit I had ever eaten in my life that night when we got home.
As expensive as the food was, the taxis were even worse. $20 here, $15 there, $10 just to cross the street. We got into a taxi one afternoon to go back to the hotel and we got stuck in the traffic right before they shut down the strip for the Nascar parade. As we sat there in traffic I was watching my 401k decrease in 30 second increments. After the meter had gone up over $7 in a few minutes I asked the guy if we could just get out. He commented that “he couldn’t force us to stay.” Well thank goodness we weren’t being forced to do anything we didn’t want to. Fortunately for my retirement the light turned green just as my hopes of living in luxury when I turned 90 was flashing in front of my eyes. The only part of the Nascar parade we got to see was the street sweeper that made 100 circles (not exaggerating) in the intersection in front of us while we sat at the light. They said they had to clean the intersection because the race cars were going to do donuts and they didn’t want any debris on the road. I’m pretty sure I could have gotten the Three Stooges our there with push brooms and done it quicker than a union street sweeper.
Aside from the food and the taxis the trip was pretty good. The best and worst parts of the trip were the nightly rides to and from the rodeo on the free shuttle buses. Just so happened that a few of the big name contestant’s parents were staying at our casino so each night we got to listen in on the behind the scenes action and stay caught up on our rodeo gossip. If you think a taxi driver in Acuna is reckless, you should ride one of these shuttle buses. I’m not sure where these guys got their DL but they could drive Nascar themselves.
It really is one of the best rodeos you’ll ever watch. From the pre-show to the last bull there is not a slow spot in the action. I’m not a big rough stock person, but I found myself running to the restroom and back to make sure I didn’t miss any of the saddle bronc action. I had no idea who half of the rough stock guys were going into the rodeo but by the 3rd night I was rooting for most all of them by name.
On our last night we stayed after to watch them rope the extras. My son had never seen that and I hadn’t seen it in 25 years myself. Making it better was the fact that we knew the guy running the extra calves, Westyn Hughes. No doubt this will be a good warm-up for his debut next year.
I thought the fact that almost every event except the bull riding was won by someone that was not supposed to win it made it that much more special this year. That just goes to show you that the money in Vegas is life changing and also the talent in each event is just not at the top. There is not a person at the NFR that is not in the running from now on.
To say that the NFR is inspiring is an understatement.
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