Monday, September 9, 2013

A North to South Connection

As I left home behind for the fall semester late in August, I realized regretfully that I would be missing something that I have been wanting to see live for a number of years now. Professional Bull Riding--and by the slimmest of margins, too. First, let me digress...yes, a New England-raised girl who listens to nothing but alternative-rock, horseback rides hunter/jumper style, and loves ice hockey also has an ongoing fascination with bull riding. It's the energy, it''s the adrenaline, it's the aggression, and the respect for the powerful, testosterone-ridden animal that make PBR such an exciting sport to follow.
When the news broke early in the summer that the PBR Touring Pro Division would be making a two night stop in Springfield, Massachusetts of all places, I nearly jumped out of my skin with anticipation. This sport usually tours major cities with markets keen to rodeos, frequenting the likes of Oklahoma City, Arlington, Louisville, and Las Vegas. Springfield, a small northern city with liberal roots, was added to the schedule due to the sport's affiliation with MGM Resorts International. The corporation is currently in the process of being approved to build a destination resort casino in the city, and has been actively bringing popular entertainment (like Pitbull and The Commodores) to Springfield's existing venues.
I was completely ready to set aside two nights to stand ringside and watch rough-and-tumble American cowboys like Ryan Dirteater and others hailing from Brazil, Australia, Canada wrangle nearly one ton bulls. However, the event was scheduled to take place on Sept. 6-7, and I was scheduled to fly back to Texas on Aug. 24. So back to Texas I came, and thus began a Boulevarding season which brought a pleasant surprise for me.
This past Saturday, SMU took on Montana State University in Gerald J. Ford Stadium. Before all football games takes place the Mustang tradition of Boulevarding, in which different campus groups and die-heard fans set up tents, grill food, drink, and socialize before the game. Thanks to the Beta Theta Pi, I got my bull riding fix in for the weekend. The fraternity set up a mechanical bull at the pre-game festivities, and attracted many students to try riding the much tamer, less alive bull.
On a day where I was wishing I was home in Massachusetts with friends watching a rodeo event, the people at SMU proved to me how dynamic and lively this school is, and brought in a bull when I wanted to watch them the most!

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