For the first time in an entire year, the whole family packed up and headed off the ranch for three nights. We had to be in Amarillo by Friday morning. The kids were slated to perform at various schools and at the WRCA (Working Ranch Cowboy Association) WCRR (World Championship Ranch Rodeo) this weekend. My daughter has been performing her cowboy poetry and my son has just recently begun playing his guitar. We have some dear friends who included them in their performances. So this weekend we rode to Amarillo on the coattails of the kids. Hotel rooms and tickets for the Ranch Rodeo were paid for by the WRCA. This is one awesome organization! The people are just amazing and they promote and support the working ranch industry and cowboy lifestyle across the country. It's an organization that is filled with honest, hardworking people who love what they do and will give you the shirt off of their back in order to help you. Here's their cool link if you want to know more about them or read about our fun weekend:
Come to think of it, I lied. My DH did spend one other night away from the ranch this year. He and DS went to Kansas for a bull sale this spring. It was a fast-paced 1,000 mile trip. Up to Kansas one day, sale the next and back the same day. DS had just gotten his driver's license and when they returned,
I asked him: "So, did you drive any?"
His reply: "A little"
Me: How far did you drive?
DS: All the way from Kansas
Whoa! Guess he's getting experience. He drives most of the time now. I am getting spoiled and will have to renew my driving abilities before long. I have gotten spoiled having a personal chauffeur.
Oops, there I go, off on another tangent. I should warn you that I tend to do that quite often.
So we really enjoyed our time away. This weekend is something akin to a family reunion. Everyone in the ranching community attends and we get caught up on who moved where, ranches that changed hands, new additions to families, visit with old friends, make new friends, watch lots of cool horses in the ranch horse competition, cheer on friends, AND get all of our Christmas shopping done! This is the first time that we didn't have to make a fast and furious trip out of it. Now that we have help here on the ranch, we were able to enjoy out time away and not fret over things here at home although my handsome cowboy is always on the job. Even while we were there for fun, he never stops thinking about work. We spent a long time at the T&S Trip Hopper (they make range cattle feeders) booth making arrangements to order parts for one of our feeders, at the Peterson Waterer booth to inquire about their livestock waterers (we are looking to replace what we have in the pens, which we will be expanding), at the Hughs trailer booth to stay up to date on new improvements and changes in design and at the Texas Range Mineral booth for an entire course on bovine nutrition and a refresher course in Organic Chemistry. Whew! I learned a lot and surprisingly, with the exception of the the Organic Chemistry (it took me right back to that dreaded classroom at A&M. I shudder at the memories of that class), I enjoyed every minute.
And boy, did we splurge this weekend. No trip to town is complete without a trip to the bookstore. We found the nearest Barnes & Noble before supper when we drove into town. My family flocks to bookstores like ducks to water. A Bible for me (my only purchase this weekend), a Sherlock Holmes book for the kids, a Performance Horse magazine for DH and lots of perusing the aisles.
After watching the Ranch Horse Competion, DS and I pointed the truck to the big music store down the road. He would like to get a new guitar and he has been intense on researching the various brands. He spent 2 glorious hours in a room filled with guitars, but I think he came away more confused than when he went in, so the search continues.
My family was also close to running bare-naked and they were in desparate need of clothing so a run to the local western store was on the agenda. Apparently we are an odd shaped family. My DD is 14 and wears a 36" (soon to be 38") inseam and a 35" sleeve length. DS is 17 and wears a 38" (soon to be 40") inseam and a 37-38" sleeve length and likes button shirts. And DH cannot wear the S-M-L shirts that are readily available in today's stores. The sleeves aren't long enough so finding a 37" sleeve length, with snaps, in a shirt he likes, that is not a work shirt(His entire work wawrdrobe consists of light blue chambray for summer, heavier dark blue denim and tan for winter.), requires much hunting. Sigh! So off we go and once we enter the store, my family disappears in all different directions like a scattered herd of horses. One very smart, sweet young man takes us all under his wing and spends an hour tending to all of us. Every time I would lay something over my arm, he would appear and ask if I would like for him to take it to the front. He kept tabs on each of us, was very helpful and not pushy at all. I spent my time wandering from one family member to another, asking what they found or helping them make selections. I didn't need anything. I am not rough on my clothes and hopefully I am not still growing! Hard to find clothes that look good on fluffy moms! Thankfully, everyone found enough to keep them clothed for the next year or two. The girls at the counter were helpful as well. Wrangler was running a promotion where you received a $20.00 rebate for a $60.00 purchase. That, plus the sales, made me happy! The girls rang up our purchases separately so that we could send in for multiple rebates. That extra $80.00 will be most welcome!
When we pulled out on Sunday, the boys made plans to stop in at Gander Mountain ~ an easy place to part with your money! I think they are set for all hunting exploits for a good while! They too were running a deal on ammo and the man who checked us out gave us an even better one! 20% off the entire purchase, plus 50% off a bunch of our purchases. The boys left with big smiles.
We don't shop often. None of us enjoy it, but we did all of our shopping for the entire year in one weekend and that makes us happy! Now if I could only find a way to avoid that grocery store!
We really enjoyed the weekend, but we are glad to be home. Nothing like turning onto our dirt road and thanking the good Lord that we don't live in the city!