|Decked out and ready for our night!|
This year my cousin, CoBurn Bradshaw, qualified for the National Finals Rodeo (NFR) as a rookie Saddle Bronc rider. This is a HUGE accomplishment. Think of the NFR as being the Superbowl of rodeo. So as a young, humble 21 year old, he has become one of the best in the world for his sport.
We are all so excited for him and the family (think BIG family) decided to split up and every night there is a group of us at the rodeo. It was our family's turn the last few nights. We had a blast, to say the least. The NFR experience has left an impression on us, Lady Hiva remarked at one point, "I have never seen so many cowboys in one place before." And Tau'aho played a game at the tailgate party outside the area and won a baseball cap, he proudly put it on his head and declared, "I'm a cowboy!" For me I think the NFR experience won me over when two nights in a row we stood with hundreds and hundreds of people to say a prayer and sing the Star Spangled Banner before the event started. That doesn't happen in many places any more and in that moment I realized even though I may be dressed in non-cowboy clothes and not be familiar with all that happens in these rodeo experience, but I am a fan of their faith and patriotism.
|CoBurn's in-laws and their faces all over Vegas|
|I'm a cowboy!|
As with anything, there were ups and there were downs. At one point we were stuck in an Arby's parking lot for two hours because one of the cars had keys locked in. It took a hanger and a hotel clerk, who mysteriously said she 'knows how to open cars easily and let us know if we needed help,' a friendly man who stopped to help, and a policeman and we were on our way!
We watched the first night of the rodeo at South Point Resort and Casino. There was a tailgate party with food and fun. The rodeo was streamed live into the room on several jumbotrons It was great! My brother even won a raffle for the "best seats in the house" which included seats on a stage, free food and free drinks, the hotel staff were disappointed to find out my brother and his wife don't drink alcohol! That was really awesome until their two year old daughter was dancing to the music and fell in the crack between the stage and wall and knocked her teeth out! My brother and I were trying to maneuver around drunk people looking for teeth among the popcorn with flashlights. The rest of the night was cut short after we watched CoBurn ride.
|The run for a good seat at the tailgate party ! quite comical|
|winning the best seats in the house|
|there is our guy!|
We went to "Cowboy Christmas" which is a two story convention center full of cowboy gifts and prizes. It was a cowboy version of a swap meet. It was fun to see it all. The best part of the whole experience was of course the actual rodeo. These athletes, and their animals, are very talented. When CoBurn rode we all stood and were screaming our heads off in our bright yellow shirts. (Felt sorry for those sitting around us). He clocked in at a beautiful score of 90! 90 out of 100, not many people score that high. We were pumped!
|two cousins love Vaida|
|With NY Times reporter|
|Tau'aho wanted to hold the bus sign|
|Backstage waiting to go on TV to accept his buckle|
|watching CoBurn perform well|
|The rider and the horse owner|
|The buckle awarding (with a photo bomb by Traeger)|
The next day before we headed back, we stopped and watched CoBurn sign autographs...he says he is not famous, but people want his autograph, his t-shirt and he does interviews...I think he makes the definition.
|"CoBurn's a cowboy!"|
|With these two around my son clearly ranks cowboy-ness high in his eyes|