Thrill of the eight-second ride

SAN ANGELO, Texas -- It's not Christmas; it's not my birthday; it's rodeo. The count down 10, 9, ... , 3, 2, 1, and the rodeo starts. I've seen it many times, and it never fails to get my adrenaline going. For some, the lure of the rodeo is the carnivals or the concerts. For me, it's the riders, the ropers and the wrestlers.

We may not be Houston, San Antonio or the daddy of 'em all Cheyenne, Wyo., as it's known to the cowboys and fans, but the San Angelo Stock Show and Rodeo is an event you shouldn't miss. I experienced it for the first time in 2010, and I've been hooked ever since, and this year was as exciting as the years before.

One of the highlights this year was Shane Hanchey, San Angelo Stock Show and Rodeo competitor, tie-down roped a steer in 6.8 seconds - a record in the 82 years of the San Angelo rodeo.

Another highlight had little to do with what happened in the arena. Tuf Cooper, San Angelo Stock Show and Rodeo competitor, didn't get a chance this year to visit the West Texas Boys Ranch so he bought all the boys tickets for the opening night of the rodeo. According to their official website, www.wtbr.org, the "West Texas Boys Ranch is a Christian-based home community that welcomes boys who are in need of a safe environment in which to grow and learn."

Every performance begins with a prayer given by Boyd Polhamus, San Angelo Stock Show and Rodeo announcer, and the national anthem, sang by various individuals and groups from the community. While the rodeo pays tribute to the men and women who serve and have served during every performance, they always dedicate one night of the rodeo as Military Appreciation Night.

The San Angelo Stock Show and Rodeo Drill Team Ambassadors honored us with a special presentation of the American and service flags. Goodfellow's own Patriotic Blue sang the national anthem and Col. Kimberlee Joos, 17th Training Wing Commander, assisted with the tie-down roping competition by handing the rope back to the competitor after his turn. During the last night of the rodeo, the crowd sang the national anthem.

If you've never been to a rodeo and you're in San Angelo next February, come on out to the 83rd Annual San Angelo Stock Show and Rodeo.