Friday, November 4, 2011

Cowboys, The American Royal Rodeo and Sonny Barger

I have been working for the American Royal Association for about 9 months now. It has been an interesting experience to say the least. One of the more colorful parts of my job was the Rodeo we had at Sprint Center. I was all over the place for sponsorship signage and fulfillment.

One of the places I was intrigued with most was behind the chutes interacting with the cowboys. These were not just guys with boots and hats that you see running around town. These were guys with black eyes, broken bones, taped up wounds and missing teeth. They were thrown every which way but loose (right turn Clyde) from various bucking broncs and nasty bulls. While standing behind the chutes with the Channel 41 News Crew, it reminded me of the part of Sonny Barger's book "Hell's Angel" where he talked about Bakersfield cowboys and Hells Angels in the old days.

"In the Bakersfield bars there was usually trouble between Hell's Angels and the Okies. Cowboys and bike riders have always clashed. Put them both in the room and there's always a fight. A lot of the cowboy types worked as oil riggers or ranchers, and a lot of them came out of the Oklahoma Dust Bowl thirties. Man, they liked to fight, and they were tough as hell too. In many ways, we were all the same animal, except the Bakersfield Okies drove trucks and rode horses. We Angels rode motorcycles."

I don't know how many Okies there were in the bunch, but there were some tough guys riding in the Rodeo.

"Like the Hell's Angels, Okies didn't call the cops when things got rough," Sonny says in the next paragraph.

I don't think any of the rodeo cowboys have 911 programmed in their cell phones...