Last weekend the small town of Eureka in Montana held its annual event on the Pro Bull Riding circuit, The Bull Thing. Featuring riders from all over the world, including Australia, the event promised a night of family entertainment with the adults only after party continuing into the early morning at the Trappers saloon (a short drive down the road).
Nearly 2 years ago myself and a group of friends drove down for the Tobacco valley rodeo, involving horse riding and roping, and had a great time so this year we made the pilgrimage with a hefty group of Fernie folk to experience some Montanan culture. Amurrrica!
Meg and the rest of the boys headed down earlier in the day for some cheap bowling and beers whilst I joined them after work at the Trappers saloon for a quick bite of dinner. The event kicked off around 7, and with a 6 pack of tall Budweiser in hand, flannelette shirt and cowboy hat, all the lads were looking the part as we sat up on the hill and watched 40 riders do their best to stay on some very impressive and athletic animals.
Conflicted feelings about the way the Bulls may or may not be treated aside, the riders/commentators and crowd seemed to have an appreciation for the animals and I overheard some ramblings about the high level of care and concern placed over each one. I guess it is a tradition that stretches back a while and overall it was a fun atmosphere to be part of, especially with the scenic backdrop of the Tobacco Valley in clear view.
Following the last few rides, the event wrapped up with some live auctions of some of the bulls that were on show. We decided not to stick around for this and head straight to the after party, yours truly keen to have a drink after being the designated driver to and from. The rest of the night was great fun, a live band cranked out some great country music spurring flash mob style line dances which Meg proudly took part in. The great American tradition of the free pour kept all our drinks well and truly topped up and in the wee hours of the morning, one by one we slowly retreated to our tents/vehicles to get some sleep.
The next morning we woke to a scenic sunrise in the foothills, relatively rested from a nights sleep in my ever trusty van (a first for Meg and only the second time since my road trip down the USA with Shaney 2.5 years ago). We made a quick and early exit, stopping for a diner breakkie at Cafe Jax before heading back to Fernie. A whirlwind 24 hrs but definitely worth the trip down!