Toe to Toe (and Half Naked)

photo by Matt Cohen

photo by Matt Cohen

Cowboy Christmas is great, but it’s grueling. You tend to do things you might not normally do, especially when you need sleep.

by Ryle Smith

It was almost midnight last night when my family and I pulled into the rodeo grounds at Coeur d’Alene, Idaho. I parked near another rig with horses. I’d been driving for nine hours and was pretty tired.

Our one-year-old daughter, Remy, is sick and needs a humidifier, so I started the generator. A lady came out of the other rig.

“Do you mind turning that generator off?” she asked.

I explained about our sick girl. “But I’ll move,” I said. “It’s no big deal.”

We moved a long way off. We lay down to go to bed. My wife got up to get a water bottle out of the truck. I was dozing off, when I heard her talking to somebody. I looked out and saw a guy who looked like Doc Holliday. He had this long, waxed cowboy mustache, little purple glasses and a flat hat. And he was ticked off!

“I don’t know what to tell you,” my wife said.

By this point, I’d had it. I was laying in bed in my underwear, and I jumped up, pulled my boots on and went out there. This guy turned around and looked at me like I was a ghost. I probably was glowing in the dark.

“You gonna run this son of a gun all night?” he asked.

“Yeah, we are,” I said. “Our daughter is only one, and she needs it. You’re just gonna have to get over it.” I was kind of blown away that he was getting so bent out of shape. The generator wasn’t even that loud, and the guy looked like a rancher.

“You guys need to move!” he said.

“I’ve already moved! Maybe you need to move.”

“You guys can move. We’ll watch your horses,” he said.

We were like, We don’t even know who you are. You ain’t watching our horses!

He started acting weird—jumping around, waving his arms. It was definitely one of those random things that happen during Cowboy Christmas. It was forty degrees at one o’clock in the morning in Coeur d’Alene, Idaho. This guy looked like he was from the sixteen hundreds. I looked like I was from a cave.

“Hey, I don’t know where this is going,” I told him, “but we’re going to bed. You’re going to bed. Don’t come back over here.”

A bunch of other rodeo people showed up. They ran a generator, too, and Doc Holliday and his wife took off.

I’m normally a pretty laid-back guy, but this was one of those moments where we all get to during the Fourth. We’re all tired and ready to snap. Cowboy Christmas is great, but it’s grueling. You tend to do things you might normally not do, especially when you need sleep. If this was any other time, I might have talked to those people, but not last night.

Keep up with all the action during the Fourth of July run HERE.

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photo courtesy of Ryle Smith

photo courtesy of Ryle Smith

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