Posts Tagged Beer

Lists and Rodeos

Rodeo

This cowboy better stand up very soon

I have crossed something off my list, a list I didn’t realize I had.  This List has no name.

Some have a Bucket List; that list, either written or in mind, that contains the things that one wants to accomplish before they leave this mortal coil… or kick the bucket as they say.  A few things I have been able to cross off my list, some even before I knew I had a bucket list have been things like:

  • Descend into the Grand Canyon (in my case, by helicopter)
  • Fly an airplane (thanks Bill!)
  • See an active volcano – check twice (different volcanoes)! Once I flew to the volcanic peak via helicopter.
  • Drink a Guinness IN Ireland – if you want to be technical, I crossed this off multiple times in the course of six days, but we don’t need to be picky.

Then there are things you wind up doing in life that you don’t ever expect to do, but have that “wow” factor.  These are things that you never think about doing, have an urge to do, or even think that you might some day get to do if the opportunity comes around.  These are the mysteries that life holds for us around corners. Life’s little enigmas, if you will.

The item on my Enigma List (a name!) that I crossed off was: Attend a Rodeo.

Now, you do not know much about me, I’m sure, but a rodeo really is the perfect thing on my personal Enigma List.  This is for many reasons:

  1. I live in New Jersey. Yes the state with the reputation for big hair, plenty of beaches, industrialized towns, chemical landfills, the Mob and those morons from the reality show.  I don’t live in Texas, Oklahoma, etc.
  2. I don’t watch NASCAR, work with livestock, or listen to either of the associated music,  Country OR Western.  I’m not judging here in any way, they are just not my thing.  I watch football, work with computers and listen mostly to rock.
  3. I don’t have big belt buckles, a plaid shirt or a cowboy hat.
  4. I don’t chew tobaccy.

There is a rodeo in southern New Jersey called, wait for it… Cowtown Rodeo.  This is serious.  I heard about it years ago when I moved down here, but just kind of thought the whole thing was a guy named Jim with chaps and a lasso who had an aged horse and sickly cow. Oh how I was wrong.

This thing has been going for over 50 years, and from what I understand, is on the national rodeo circuit, or something. They do all the things that I saw on TV when I was a kid: bull riding, bucking bronco riding, steer wrestling, calf roping and abusing, steer rasslin’… maybe I have the names of some of them wrong, but come on give me a break!  They even had a rodeo clown of sorts out there, mic’d up, to entertain the crowd.  This guy was supposedly famous and from Wyoming.  Something odd was when he started talking about the Philadelphia Eagles trading away our starting quarterback, Donovan McNabb to the Washington Redskins.  At that moment I truly felt like I was in some kind of twisted dream sequence on Hee Haw.

The whole thing was the suggestion of one of our friends and it snowballed from there.  All in all, four families headed over.  I really don’t have enough space here to explain how many oddities I witnessed on that night.  The mosquitoes were the only bit of normalcy I do believe.

First thing that hit me was the damn cost! We could have gone to a Major League Baseball game for the same cost that night. But the difference was, you could bring in a cooler of your favorite beverages! How, you ask?  Well, you know at the airport before you check in at the counter, there is a size measurement for your carry-on?  You have to make sure your carry-on fits in there, or it has to be checked.  Well, the rodeo had that for coolers.  The cooler had to fit in, or you couldn’t bring it in.  Nice.

There were cowboys everywhere. The hats were on, the plaid shirts were blazing, the buckles were huge and the jeans were painted on. I felt very out of place in shorts and sneakers.

There was a guy on a folding chair drinking a 40 of beer, who, about halfway through, went into his cooler and took out a bag of Godiva chocolates.  I mean what’s a better compliment to Bud than truffles?

picture on live bull from rodeoAll of the signs were blaring with painted letters on plywood or cardboard. From the front entrance costs, to the “Sandwiches” and “Fixins” signs at the food booths, to the sign trying to sell you a bull. OK, quick explanation here. There was some huge ass white steer that you could pay $8.00 to sit on and get your picture taken with.  Yes, $8.00.  Anyway, a sign was next to him saying that the steer and the whole photo setup was for sale, “Serious inquiries only.”

After several hundred mosquito bites, and about a hundred dollars’ worth of cowboy hats, funnel cakes, popcorn and drinks for the kids, we headed out at the Intermission.  We left partly because it was getting late, and the kids needed to go to bed soon, but that wasn’t all.  Mostly it was because our wives cheered loudly during the calf roping portion.  Not in the traditional rodeo sense, but instead every time the sprinting calf escaped the lasso and wasn’t violently yanked to the ground.  This, to rodeo attendees, is like a New York Giants fan coming into the Philadelphia Eagles stadium and cheering loudly if the Eagles fumble the ball.  Let’s just say I thought some drunk cowboys were going to hogtie us.

All in all it was an adventure and a good time. It was the people I went with that made it a great time.  Will I go back? Maybe if I tailgate first. But I was able to cross something off my Enigma List.

Oh yeah, I’ve also gone to a Lumberjack Festival, but that’s a story for another time.

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MMMMMM……BEER!!!!!

I love beer. I’ve brewed my own and drank lots of it. Over the past ten years, I’ve become an obnoxious beer snob. I can’t help but smirk and chuckle as some poor soul bellies up to the bar, only to order a Girl Lite or Miller Lame. Hell, I can drink Sam Adams and piss Budweiser. I understand the purpose of that mass produced garbage, pleasant bubbles and alcohol without all that pesky flavor to get in the way. How else could Joey from Staten Island, with his blown out haircut and white capri pants, get Gina, also from Staten Island, wasted enough to blow him on the closest beach to Club XS in Seaside without it? By hinting that he has friends in the mob? Yeah, if by “mob” you mean the group of orange skinned from fake tanning, lip gloss wearing, douche bags he hangs out with. By showing her his low end BMW that mommy and daddy bought him? Doubtful. CHEAP TASTELESS BEER. That’s his only chance of not going home alone to jerk off while watching “Growing Up Gotti” and looking at himself in the mirror. Now don’t get me wrong, I have consumed mass quantities of that cheap swill, but that was when I was young and broke and the whole purpose was to get my self as FUBAR as possible for the least amount of money. I’ll never forget the excitement that Chuck and I felt the day we found a liquor store in Dewey Beach, Delaware that was selling cases of Coors Light for $9.99 when all of our friends thought that the cheapest around was selling them for $16. hehe. We drank that whole night for two bucks a piece. Remember that Chuckie? I believe that was the same night that our one gay friend came home and exclaimed that he got laid and we spent an hour trying to figure out exactly what that meant. EWWWW. Another friend strolled drunkenly through the room where we were passed out at 5 am dragging his mattress out to the balcony because he pissed himself. Nice. Happened often with that guy. Started drinking at 7, passed out drooling in a corner by 10, and 7 out of 10 times, he ruined a mattress. Good times, man GOOD TIMES. Sorry, I’m digressing like a mother fucker.

Anyway, that all ended for me when I met my wife. She had a taste for Sam Adams and I can thank her for showing me the joys of quality beer, among other things (wink wink). My eyes were opened and there was no turning back. When we were dating we used to go to a bar called The Ark. They had a program called the 40/40 club. The deal was that you had to drink 40 domestic and 40 imported beers over the course of a lifetime and you got a free shirt and a mug to hang on the wall that got you reduced price drafts for life. I know a guy who completed the challenge for a second time in only 3 DAYS.  He MAY have had a drinking problem.  I drank my first Guinness there nervously, but now, if it’s on tap, it’s mine. It just doesn’t get any better than Guinness Extra Stout on draft. I could drink six or seven and skip a meal. What’s a seven course dinner in Ireland? Six pints of Guinness and a baked potato.

A couple of years ago, my cousin gave me the greatest gift, a Mr. Beer. I began brewing my own beer in the kitchen. I fell victim to home brewer’s snobbery myself when I dared go into a homebrew shop to buy bottle caps and mention that I used a Mr. Beer. Hippie guy with dreads reeking of patchouli and weed laughed out loud at me. Prick. He should be kissing my ass because I’m the guy that’s eventually going to upgrade to a fancy system. Die in a fire, douche bag. I MAY have anger issues. Again, I digress. I entered the world of the microbrew and would go to the liquor store to seek out new and interesting brews. Vacations turned into quests for the local brewpub. I made it a point to sample what the local brew masters had to offer. Most of the time, it worked out. But once in a while, you end up with something that tastes like it was filtered through a homeless person’s underwear. Not often, but sometimes.

So do yourself a favor. The next time you are in a bar or liquor store, try a microbrew, order a stout, go for the bottle with the name you’ve never heard of. And don’t just chug it, drink it, smell it, savor it. Who knows, you might surprise yourself and actually enjoy the flavor and not just the buzz. Let me know what you’ve discovered, I’d love to hear about it.

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Friend + Foe = Good times!

Well, here it is almost a week into our foray into the blogging world and we have yet to give one of God’s greatest gifts its props. It is our friend, alcohol. Perhaps we have taken it for granted this week assuming that when all is wrong with the world, it would be there just waiting for us. Actually that is exactly what it does, but I digress. With the weekend upon us, I think it is a great opportunity to share one of my favorite alcoholic beverages with the world, and I couldn’t do it without my close friend Mr. Beer. Yes, beer by itself is a treat, but what would you say if I told you that you could mix that wonderful libation with another liquid, that at multiple times in my life, has been considered the root of all that is evil? Of course I am talking about my long-time nemesis, the one, the only… Tequila. Many a bad night can be attributed to the evil-doings of one Jose Cuervo, but about two years ago, he and I came to a truce; I would no longer do multiple shots at the end of a long night drinking and he would not come back an hour later all over the street, floor, toilet, my shoes, etc.

So here it is the perfect combination of friend and foe, I give you, the BEERGARITA:

Ingredients:
(2) 12 oz. cans of Minute Maid Lime-Aide concentrate
12 oz. of Jose Cuervo Tequila
(4) 12oz. of your favorite light beer (I prefer Miller Lite for this)

First, get a big pitcher and pour in the Lime-Aide. Then fill up one the empty Lime-Aide cans with tequila and dump it in. Next, pour in the beer and stir. Serve it over ice in whatever size glass you desire. Not only is it refreshing, but also will make you feel reeeeaaal good. We started drinking the Beergarita two summers ago as a “Summertime” drink, which continued into the Fall, Winter, Spring, Summer, Fall, Winter, Spring and here it is Summer again. So give it a try, mix up a batch and let me know what you think.

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