Ranch Rodeo Dreamin’



One of the side effects of being a ranch rodeo organizer (and I’m not saying there aren’t other side effects) are the dreams.

I, with the help of my family and friends, have been putting on an annual ranch rodeo for almost 10 years now.  I don’t obsess about the event quite as much as I used to, but I take it pretty seriously.  As an event organizer, there are a lot of people depending on me to make them happy:

*The spectators, who have seen the event advertised somewhere and paid to get in to see it and want to see (and hear) a quality show.

*The competitors, who have paid good money to enter and driven long miles to get to the ranch rodeo and expect a completely fair shot at the payout.

*The sponsors, on whom I depend to help pay the bills and whom I wish to please with my professionalism.

When you’re a ranch rodeo organizer — or any sort of event organizer, I would imagine — you work and you work to get ready for one giant day and at the end of that day you have a splitting headache and/or can’t walk five more steps and you’re wondering why you put yourself through 364 days of preparation for one stupid day each year.  And then you wake up the next morning and you have a few ideas about what you could’ve done to make it run smoother… and what you might do differently if you had it all to do over again… and you think, Heck, why not give it another try next year?

That is how a one-day ranch rodeo becomes this year-round (unpaid) job and, if you choose to approach it unhealthfully (who, me?), even something from which you draw part of your personal identity… and then, yeah… the whole mess can erupt in the dark via anxiety-laced dreams.

I can’t quite call them nightmares because no one dies or chases me.  But there is always some sort of impending disaster that must be solved.  Examples of ranch rodeo dreams I’ve had:

*It’s raining cats and dogs and we must cover the arena with a patchwork quilt of tarps.

*Or we’re at an arena I’m not familiar with and the sound system won’t work so I have to use a bullhorn.

*Last night I dreamed that I was not only producing but competing at my own ranch rodeo.  In the dream I was sick with fright because I was completely unprepared to ride, much less rope.  (This is a very accurate picture of the shape I’m in these days.  The only riding I’m getting done, other than the rocking chair, is the desk chair.  Throw me in an arena with a rope right now and like as not there’ll be some fingers in the dirt.)

*But the ranch rodeo dream that taunts me most often:  I have somehow forgotten that it is spring, time to prepare for the ranch rodeo, and I show up for the big day at the last minute, harried and unprepared and worried about all these people who are depending on me.  The programs aren’t printed, the scoresheets aren’t ready, the judges haven’t been contacted, the awards haven’t been ordered, there isn’t enough sponsorship money, ad infinitum.

I hate being unprepared.  I am nothing if not thorough.  And I like it when people like me.

Thankfully I don’t ranch-rodeo-dream too often; mostly in the stress-riddled month leading up to the actual event.  I think I had a ranch rodeo dream last night because we’re headed to town this week to watch another ranch rodeo.  I will be a mere spectator and probably won’t even get to watch much — on account of I’m the mommy of three youngsters who figure ranch rodeos aren’t all that fun to watch.

Which brings up this point:  If I’m dreaming, I’m sleeping.  And sleep is a precious thing.  Good night!

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