Friday, July 11, 2008

St. Paul Rodeo 2008

The Bernard family is all about traditions. My family has their own traditions, like all the kids dressing up and doing the nativity play at Grandma Ullman's house on Christmas, millions of family reunions, and the innate ability to procreate. Now that I am married, Bryan and I have to chose which traditions to take part in, and when to create our own.

When I was little, every Fourth of July was spent at my Grandma's house in West Salem. The day would kick off around noon, when my brother and uncles would go into town and buy the biggest package of fireworks we could find. We'd then go back to Grandma's, eat some frozen blueberries, jump on the trampoline and pray the sun would sink faster.

As soon as we had the go-ahead, we were lighting fireworks.
Eventually, the parents and my aunts, uncles and grandparents would come out with their lawn chairs and blankets to ooo and ahh about our fireworks show.
For a couple years of high school, my brother became obsessed with Whistling Pete bombs, and would spend hours preparing for our Fourth of July show, just so he could scare everybody's pants off by the occasional eardrum-busting sonic boom created when he would duct tape two of the Whistling Petes together, then smash them with a hammer and light the fuse.
My favorite part was lighting the fireworks, because I am a slight pyro.

I remember sitting with my aunt, Denise, and watching our fireworks, rating each one on a scale of 1-10. Those were fun times, but times that are a thing of my past.
Instead of homemade shows, Bryan and I now let the pros do the work. For the last three years, we, along with an assortment of our close friends - and sometimes family, have attended the St. Paul Rodeo on the Fourth of July.
This year, eight of us went: Alicia and Ben (back from training for a visit), Jason and Lauren, Kyle and Kari (plus in-womb baby), and Bryan and I.
Working for the Independent has really changed my outlook on the rodeo, since we write about it all the time, and I know more about it. Being "Press" also allows me to get away with more -- in the picture-taking realm. At one point during the show, I ended up in very close proximity to some crazy bulls that were so mad about being shocked with a cattle prod, they decided to try and climb out of the pens. Luckily, the only side effect to being so close was getting a minimal amount of bull poo flicked onto my camera. Bryan wasn't very happy that I was that close.

Anyway, I've included a few photos of our adventure this year, and I hope you enjoy our new tradition with us! Happy belated Fourth of July!

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