Tuesday, July 22, 2014

Atomic Days Rodeo

Every year the very small town of Arco (population 900) holds a three-day-weekend event known at Atomic Days.
The concept behind the event is to celebrate the peaceful uses of nuclear power.  It is actually a nod to the surprising fact that this small town (that is located at the end of the desert and the start of the mountains) was the first town in the world to be powered with atomic energy.
It was a short lived powering, but a powering none-the-less, and Atomic Days is an annual celebration that celebrates Arcos' place in history.
Organized by the local Chamber of Commerce, Atomic Days is also the biggest special event of the year in Arco, and as such it is integral to the financial health of the local community.
A link to the Face Book page promoting the event:
LC and Kory and I were at Atomic Days for two days - enjoying the festivities, meeting and talking to endless visitors, and selling merchandise and promoting a business that we should have reopened by now but have not.
Would it work here?  Could it work here?  Why have we been immobile on this when there would be no overhead to pay as there was in Cody?
There are no good answers to those questions.  Would it and could it?  I don't know.  We are remote but we don't live in the wasteland of Death Valley.  We live between towns.  A mile from the major two-lane highway.  There is traffic that comes to and comes through Atomic City.  I majored in guerrilla marketing my entire working career.
Regardless........we have had other opportunities to do what we did at Atomic Days and people seem receptive, and that is reassuring and we'll see.................

We knew that there was a rodeo in town on both Friday and Saturday evening.
Not certain whether we would stay Saturday evening in town or head home after an exhausting and hot couple of days (we headed home), LC and I had planned on going to the rodeo on Friday.
By the time we walked out of the park where most of the celebrations were taking place, the rodeo was already well in progress.
This late in the evening we decided to walk with Kory towards the rodeo grounds adjacent to the park, and see if we could at least catch a glimpse of some of the event.
There was a fee to enter the rodeo grounds.  Since it was already mid-way through, we instead walked behind the bleachers craning to see what the audience was cheering about.
As we reached the far side of the bleachers that were fenced within the rodeo grounds, we were surprised to find one more bleacher by the road that was seating a couple of handfuls of cheering and enthusiastic rodeo watchers.
Well........alright then.
Surprised and pleased to be able to sit and watch for a while, I snapped these pictures.
They are watery and somewhat faded and eventually slightly out of focus - all functions of too little light and zooming in too far with my small digital camera.
Click on any picture and it will begin a slide show of enlarged pictures...............
We did not watch the rodeo for very long.
Kory had spent far too much time sitting underneath a picnic table throughout the day, and needed to walk.
LC and I were tired, dirty, thirsty, still a little overheated, but surprisingly also needed to walk.
Needed to wander into the increasing and welcome coolness of the approaching night.
As we headed back the way we had come, we stopped for a few minutes to read the informational boards that were located half way between the park and the rodeo grounds.
I had walked this same route probably ten times over the previous 24 hours and had never even noticed them before.
They were colorful boards filled with local information and maps showing routes on ATV trails (including the long trail that would take four wheelers through the desert and all the way to Big Butte)..........
Chris graduated from his welding program a couple of weeks ago.
The boy and then the man who always hated school, and who has bounced from province to province ever since he got out of the military, and who has bounced from dead-end-job to dead-end-job for the past few years, finally decided on a career path and stuck with school long enough to get licensed.
And he has spent the past couple of weeks since graduation working as a bouncer at a bar during the Calgary Stampede.
I never know what to expect from my wayward son but he is a free spirit and a survivor.  I am excited to hear about whatever comes next for him...............

My father has cancer.  It sounds serious and I am waiting to hear from my sister in Australia.  I think he may be dying...................

This is one of my favorite pictures from the entire past weekend.
LC, Kory and I had been sitting on the bleachers watching the rodeo for about 30 minutes when we decided that we had had enough and that it was time to wander and wind down.
I stood up from the bleachers, turned with Kory and walked behind the bleachers fully intending to just keep on walking the coned-off street back to the park.
As I got behind the bleachers I happened to look to my right, and that is when I noticed this little boy for the first time.
He had probably been standing on the rail the entire time that we had been there, but I had been completely focused on the rodeo and did not notice him.
It was actually the color of the sky that first caught my attention.  I was visually drawn to the increasingly vivid pinks and purples of a setting sun and that is when I saw the boy.
He was completely engrossed in the action that was happening in front of him.
The combination of his figure balancing so securely on the fence, against a backdrop of pink and purple and black, was stunning.
Yes........my favorite picture...............

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