It’s a Small (Medieval) World

Holy cats, do I have some stories from Vegas.  Some of which fall under “what happens in Vegas, stays in Vegas”, but I will be sharing some that are better-suited for public consumption over the next few days.
A group of us went to the Tournament of Kings show at the Excalibur.  If you’ve never been, the arena is arranged in a big horseshoe, with the different seating sections grouped into different countries.  Originally, we were going to be Irish, but then we added one more person, so we became French in order to all sit together.  Of course, we didn’t know that beforehand, so we spent quite a bit of pre-function time in the Nine Fine Irishmen pub in New York, New York.  Wow, we sound like quite the world travelers!  A few other people from our conference had gotten their tickets separately, and they were Hungarian.  (This will become important later.)
Each country has a “king” participating in the tournament, and they perform a number of different challenges, like jousting and hand-to-hand combat.  The attendees are encouraged to cheer on their king.  Let’s just say the French king had quite an enthusiastic cheering section.  In fact, the waiter who brought our supper commented, “Wow. People aren’t usually so happy to be from France.”  But that’s how we Extension folks roll.
Before I forget to mention it, I’d like to let you know that supper is served with no utensils – you know, to be authentic like the Middle Ages.  However, the beer still came in plastic buckets.
So, when it was all said and done, the French king won the tournament and helped King Arthur’s son rise to power and defeat the dragon king.  I’m fairly certain those poor people realized that the French cheering section would have staged a mutinous revolt if he hadn’t won the tournament, so they were doing their best to preserve world peace.
Other countries were a little touchy about our enthusiasm, and a couple of the Russians yelled, “Hey Frenchie!” to one of our pals as he was getting into the cab to head back to our hotel.  He was more than happy to holler one last “Viva la France!” to end his evening.
After the show, the Hungarian king rode his horse back out to that section and our friends who’d had tickets there were visiting with him.  Lo and behold, in real life, he went to school at the University of Wyoming with one of those gals and had dated her roommate.
See?  It is a small, medieval world. 
Oh, and we went back to the Irish pub.
Yours in travel,

The Asphalt Cowgirl

“Now our windshield’s a painting that hangs in our room, It changes each mile like the radio tune” –Rodeo Moon, Chris Ledoux

Fashion Police on Patrol

Greetings, loyal readers…all two of you.  Just kidding.  I think.  This week was a remarkable one because I spent the majority of it in Miles City, and I got to be a passenger on a trip for work.  Both of these occurrences are hard to come by lately, so I was especially appreciative.
While in the big city of Billings this weekend, I observed some interesting fashion trends, none of which I will be participating in.  The 1980s are back with a vengeance, it seems.  There is nothing right about leggings or slouch boots, although I did see an interesting ensemble consisting of those two ingredients, with added touches of a red, white, and blue plaid skirt and a long green sweater.  Men are not safe from looking somewhat silly, either.  I particularly like the new style of jeans with a plethora of white stitching.
We had some lovely weather last week, with temperatures in the high 40s and low 50s.  Which makes the current 8 above with a 15 mph wind even more depressing, but such is life.  Funny how that 8 above with a 15 mph wind felt warm a few weeks ago when it came after a stretch of 30 below….

But I’ll be enjoying more balmy weather next week in Las Vegas, where I’ll be attending a leadership development workshop.  There’s bound to be blog-worthy escapades to write about when a group of Extension personnel from the West gather in Vegas….stay tuned!

“Now our windshield’s a painting that hangs in our room, It changes each mile like the radio tune” —Rodeo Moon, Chris Ledoux

The Week That Was

Another week is nearly complete – how did that happen?  2011 is flying by in the world of the Asphalt Cowgirl!  Here are a few of the latest highlights, not necessarily in chronological order…
·         The Society for Range Management meetings were in Billings this past week.  I’m fairly sure the 1600 attendees will tell their grandchildren about the SRM meeting they went to where they traveled between 3 different buildings in below-zero blizzard conditions.  I’m also fairly sure the phrase “Really?  Billings?  In February?” was uttered a million times in the past 4 days or so.
·         It appears that animal scientists and range scientists have a different philosophy on how much statistics should be included in a presentation at a scientific meeting.
·         Doritos wins my vote for the best Superbowl commercials. Hands down.  I’m still skeeved out about the finger-licking guy.
·         Free wireless internet from the hotel is only a good deal if one’s computer can actually access it. 
·         Just because a bull is a little cow-headed, this does not imply that he is gay.
·         And finally…you get what you pay for!
Have a great weekend everyone!

“Now our windshield’s a painting that hangs in our room, It changes each mile like the radio tune” —Rodeo Moon, Chris Ledoux

The Asphalt Cowgirl Stays Home

This week, I got to stay relatively close to home, which was a welcome respite from the previous three weeks.  While driving my own pickup (which has XM radio) rather than my state pickup (which does not), all that classic country music blasting out of my speakers inspired me to write a few more lines in the theme of my last post title.
·         Willie was right…I AM on the road again.
·         Merle was right…you DO take me for granted.
·         Webb was right…I AM tired of living this ol’ way.
·         Eddie was right…I AM driving my life away.
If you don’t know who Willie, Merle, Webb, and Eddie are, you’re missing out, folks.  And be happy that you don’t have to travel anywhere with me and listen to my most excellent singing. 
Friday was the 19th annual Miles City Chamber Beef Breeders Show, where purebred breeders bring their bulls to town to showcase the latest genetics.  You might be thinking, “Oh, this sounds like an event you would have at the fairgrounds, right?”  Not so fast, my friend.  This is Miles City!  So we have it on Main Street.
This year, we were extremely fortunate to have wonderful weather – nearly 40 degrees and no precipitation until after the show was over.  It is much more common for this event, always held the first Friday in February, to have cold and snow.  Exhibitors, attendees, and organizers were thrilled to not have to wear coveralls!
Here are a few more pictures of the cattle on Main Street.  We had 35 pens set up and only a few cancellations this year due to folks being drifted in.  Many breeds are represented – Hereford (with horns and without), Angus (of both colors), Saler, Limousin, Simmental, Charolais, and even Scottish Highlander and Irish Black.  We’re all about equality around here.

Next week I will be in Billings for the Society for Range Management meetings.  I’m looking forward to catching up with friends from graduate school and learning something new!  Have a great week, everyone!

Garth Was Right…

…I AM much too young to feel this damn old.  Three weeks of travel in a row have taken their toll, and returning to my below-zero zip code was just a cherry on top.  This morning we had -26, and -44 with the wind chill.  And, as I saw posted on Facebook and tweeted on Twitter today, “THIS JUST IN! No farming or ranching was cancelled today due to weather!”
Last week was a busy one for the Asphalt Cowgirl – here’s a little recap.
·         Monday:  I traveled to Roundup for a program featuring several of my USDA-ARS colleagues from Fort Keogh and myself.  It was very well-attended and we had a great steak sandwich for lunch, thanks to the local CattleWomen group!  Several members of the local Hutterite colony attended, and had great questions and discussion.  I’ve had more than one person (all men, by the way) in the industry tell me that they wouldn’t be able to hire women sales reps for areas where there were Hutterite colonies because they wouldn’t work with women, but I haven’t had that experience at all.  Those nice folks dutifully write down my number and call me on my cell with all sorts of questions and I’m grateful for their support of my Extension program. 
·         Tuesday:  Since I had a program in Fort Benton scheduled for Wednesday, I spent Tuesday in Lewistown, holed up in my hotel room, trying to get some work done.  It was marginally successful.  Now we’ll see if anyone from the Lewistown country reads this blog and yells at me for not telling them I was in town…
·         Wednesday:  Program in Fort Benton. My favorite part?  The directions to get to the venue.  Take Main Street all the way to the north side of town, and keep driving until you run out of road.  The building is a bunker built into the side of a hill.  Yep, it was.  No fancy façade out front, either.  But we didn’t have to worry about too much light coming in from the windows during the slide presentations!
·         Thursday:  Programs in Helmville and Hall.  Great questions and discussion in Helmville, at the community center where the gym is also attached.  We had to move our start time an hour earlier so we didn’t interfere with junior high basketball practice!  Then off to Drummond for supper and an evening program in Hall, at the Hall School.  Home of approximately 15 K-8 students during the day, and we filled the lunchroom with inquisitive ranchers that evening.
·         Friday/Saturday/Sunday:  4-H Horse and Livestock Leaders Forum in Helena.  Along with seeing some of my Extension agent pals, I also got to spend some time with my good friend Ariel Overstreet and then feed her horses while she was out of town.  A win-win situation, in my opinion.  Her horses get fed, I get therapy.  Plus she and her boyfriend Zac cooked a fabulous dinner one night!  I spent Sunday night at the ranch with my folks and it was wonderful to visit them before I headed back to the frozen tundra of the east.
Here are a couple of pictures from my trip – does anybody know these locations?  Feel free to leave your guesses in the Comments section.

This week brings one of my favorite winter events – the annual Beef Breeders Bull Show in downtown Miles City on Friday, February 4.  Purebred breeders from all over the state and region bring their sale bulls to town, where they spend the afternoon in pens on Main Street.  Look for a new blog post this weekend with details and photos!

Yours in travel,
Lots and lots of travel,
–The Asphalt Cowgirl

“Now our windshield’s a painting that hangs in our room, It changes each mile like the radio tune…”  Rodeo Moon, Chris LeDoux