Puyallup State Fair

“If you see a guy who looks like a cowboy, he’s the real deal.”

This from our good friend, who invited us to the State Fair with her family, in the town of Puyallup, 45-60 mins drive south of Seattle.

I’ll admit, I was skeptical at first, because we haven’t seen much of Washington yet, and Seattle itself doesn’t exactly give a strong cowboy vibe.

The Puyallup fair attracts more than 1 million people each year, and is the largest fair in Washington. From the sheer size of the fairground and the number of people there, we got the impression it is a huge deal for local business and agriculture. It attracts everyone – young and old, families, and cowboys who look and act the part as they make their way to compete in the rodeo. But more on that soon!

With five kids in tow, there was no way we could explore the whole fair, but we did manage some games, delightful scones with strawberry jam, and a ferris wheel ride.

Look at the view!

And the happy faces 🙂

We saw some cows, and I think we were rather more impressed with them than they were with us.

And there was a bit of camel riding. As you do.

We didn’t make it to see the crafts, but we did buy tickets to the rodeo. And Holy Awesome, it was awesome.

This is the arena.

The atmosphere was exciting – the loud music, the announcer (and his awesome accent), the rodeo clown. It is a true spectacle. And we haven’t even got down to the wranglin’ yet! Contestants (the cowboys, I’m talking about here) come from all over the country to compete.

Here’s the clown – silly, cheesy, and funny. (And brave!)

And here’s the breakdown of what we saw. It was all new to me.

1. Calf roping/wrangling: Cowboy on horse chases calf, jumps off horse, grabs calf, ties up its legs. In the blink of an eye. (And yes, I did feel sorry or the calf, but it seemed ok after, just scampering off after it had been untied)

2. Saddle/Bareback bronc: Cowboy holds onto horse and attempts to stay on as it bucks and tries to get him off its back.

3. Bull riding: The BIG event. A huge, ginormous, beastly big bull, with a crazy cowboy on its back, attempting to stay on. It was AMAZING. Scary but amazing.

4. Mutton busting: Ok, so this was insane, but also funny. A kid aged 4-7 (wearing a helmet and some padding, in case you’re worried) sits atop a sheep. The sheep runs, the kid holds on for dear life. The kid falls off (and is unharmed) the sheep keeps on running. The kid gets up and the crowd cheers like crazy. No way on earth would I ever let my kid do that. But I guess if your dad’s a cowboy, that’s just how it’s done.

In this pic, the kid is already off the sheep. It’s a fairly short ride.

And that was our visit to the state fair – exciting and slightly crazy, but so much fun!

Monday Morning

8:30 mon morning: I’m sitting in a cafe in Wallingford having just dropped Evan at preschool. It’s his first preschool experience, aside from Gymboree, and drop off went pretty well. I’d been prepping him forever for basically the whole Summmer holidays – from talking about it with him, to organising an extra class visit, finishing off certain, ahem, ‘training’ points, buying new ‘prechool’ clothes (hello, Old Navy elastic waist pants) and even getting Joy to roleplay drop off with us (Joy quite enjoyed playing the part of the teacher as you might imagine.)

It was a lot of preparation, and it seemed to be helpful. But I realize that it was as much for my benefit as it was for his (if not more). If I hadn’t prepared ‘Evan’ in that way, I myself wouldn’t have felt as confident walking him in there this morning, and then he probably wouldn’t have either. So – lucky I’m such a preparation freak then, yes?

So I find myself in Tully’s with a coffee, my iPod and a book (and the iPad of course.) I barely recognize myself! Of course I’m looking at my phone every ten seconds and there’s a Spiderman water bottle sticking out the top of my bag, but aside from that I paint a pretty relaxed figure! Preschool? Pshhaw, no probs.

I haven’t posted in weeks, so I’ll be doing a mini Summer recap soon, including our recent rodeo experience!

In the meantime, for a peek into my parents’ visit and an audio-visual feast, visit my Mum’s blog laroseedespetiteschoses. Not only does it have a fancy French name, but also videos Mum made of all the stuff we did with them. Trust me, it’s awesome.