The last time I went horseback riding, witnessed anything vaguely western, or donned a festive western hat was approximately 5 years ago at East Hill Farm in New Hampshire. Actually, I witnessed Western charm in its epic proportions during history class in 8th grade, and I probably have worn some vaguely cowboy-styled hats recently, but as a cohesive whole, I haven’t been immersed in Western culture for quite some time. Thus, attending a rodeo where all I recognized was the Carrie Underwood song playing (the only country music I truly enjoy), going horseback riding, wearing a positively fantastic and surprisingly practical hat, and taking selfies with a bull was quite the culture shock. Chronologically, it’s best to start with the rodeo. We arrived at our friends Bruce and Maryanne’s house Wednesday and, after settling in and trying, to no avail (aVAIL because it’s right by the ski resort Vail, where no one else likes my puns either), to take in the idyllic views surrounding us, went to a rodeo. The arena at which the rodeo took place was called No Fear Arena. Need I say more? (That’s rhetorical – of course I’ll say more; that’s the entire point). First was the slack, where they fit in team roping before the events officially start. If you’re like me 36 hours ago and don’t know what it means, have no fear (like no fear arena!) team roping is on video below, staring Bruce in cinematically flawless slow motion iOS camera video. Next up was an epic event I can’t recall the name of (j’ai oublié, parce que je ne sais pas et je peux parler français assez bien) in which there were 3 large barrels the horse and rider had to go around, all in a timely manner, specific ordered, without knocking over the barrels. After the following rodeo events and a positively lovely experience there, we got selfies with a bull on the way out and then had really yummy Italian food. Today I had the unique and fantastic experience of riding a horse, and Bruce’s valiant steed Ed was agreeable loving and kind enough to not buck me off. We had a great time. Then today we headed to Vail, which mostly made me wish I could ski, and went up the mountain and got photos and lunch. Colorado has been amazing and I can’t wait to pick up my Dad tomorrow in Denver.