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July 9, 2019: Big Piney

Last night, we said good-bye to our new friends, Susan and Todd, and Corky and Sally. And this morning we packed up and headed to Big Piney, which is located east of the Wyoming Range, where we plan to do a 10 day pack trip.

It was hard to leave our new friends behind. Such partings are always with the realization that most likely, our paths will never cross again. This is the nature of travel – friendships are made but not maintained. Time and distance tend to take their toll. It is the one aspect of travel that I find to be unfavorable. I often imagine getting a large bus and taking those I meet home with me.

We have invited numerous people to come and visit us here in Alaska. Thus far, we’ve

Sally and Corky

had no takers. And we tend not to go back to places where we’ve lived or met people, Butte, Montana being the exception.

We found a rodeo grounds in this very small town, which got me to wondering, how could it be that such a small place boast such a large facility? It must be that the annual rodeo is a really big deal. . . .

The price for horse lodging was $20.00. I began bartering indirectly, noting that there was a large, dead, stinky bird in one of the two water troughs. I added that the adjacent pen would be just fine after I cleaned it up. $15? I then said, to which she nodded, sealing the deal. By the way, provide our own water buckets for our horses because the troughs and tanks are sources of communicable diseases.

An indoor arena was located about a 1/4 mile from the pen where we put the horses. We went and checked it out. There was a shower and bathrooms, making this well worth the back and forth hike. Roping practice was going on outside and barrel racing practice was going on inside. I watched both. There were lots of little girls riding excited horses. Most weren’t wearing helmets.

One little girl on a small pinto pony was led around the barrels by her very proud father. She was dressed in pink and had a pink cowboy hat and saddle. The pony moved very slowly. After she completed her round, a pre-teen trotted around the barrels on her mid-sized pony. Then, the older and more experienced riders completed their rounds. The two top competitors knocked over their barrels and were disqualified.

Between rounds, a woman drove a John Deere tractor with a rake on the back round and around the arena. Quite obviously, barrel racing is serious business around here.

I thought as I watched this is how it begins. You start at the bottom of the barrel racing heap and you work your way up to the top. Some riders fall by the wayside, and others just keep at it.

The competitors finished up and I wandered outside. By now, the vast parking lot was filled with trailers. Large fractious horses were tied to the trailers. I stopped and watch some guys load six horses into an eight horse live in trailer. I was reminded that this is Wyoming, horse country – horses here are used for work and recreation, so getting in and out of trailers is a matter of routine.

Next: 188. 7/10/19: My Bad Attitude

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