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Hides, Caps and Exercise Equipment

I thought I would have National Western Stock Show stories to share. The truth is, I do.

One would think that by the name National Western Stock Show, it would be about all things “cowboy”. Well, it is, but it is so much more than that. The National Western Stock Show (NWSS) is this magnificent trade show. Literally thousands of vendors showing the latest in, well everything. Cows, horses, sheep, llamas, yaks, exercise equipment, (more in a minute) tractors, pots and pans, cell phones, clothing, furs (dead animal skins), water saving shower heads. I’m telling you folks, it’s all at the NWSS.

I was going to look at it all. If you pay nineteen dollars to look at (construction language), you need to plan to see it all.

The day started with a two hour trip to the state capital. I might have exceeded the legal speed limit just to keep it at two hours, considering a stop at Yellow Arches, where the order taker should have asked me (or I ask her) to “press 1 for English.” Seriously folks, I love all people, my grandparents immigrated from Russia, speaking only German and a little Russian.

Their first job was not talking into a scratchy intercom system describing two for five-buck hamburgers. The day was saved by a young, small male, employee. In fact, so young and small, I asked him if he was more than twelve years old. He proudly told me he was fourteen. I thanked the “kid” and told him how proud I was of him, while pointing to the two UNEMPLOYED seventeen year olds in the backseat.

That’s enough of that.

We arrived at NWSS, Elaine bought five admission passes. The person behind the glass mistakenly handed Elaine six passes. I told Elaine, “Just hand the pass to someone in line. Let’s go!” Sometimes you need to “stick it to the man”. (Hey, I had long hair in the seventies.) Elaine returned the pass to the window.

Once inside the exhibition hall, Elaine took a right turn and said, "I want to go this way." I knew where she was going. Elaine does not run 5ks, but she would and could if her favorite NWSS booth were at the finish line. Elaine was nearly sprinting to her favorite booth. I followed behind at my slow, see everything pace.

When I got to “Elaine’s favorite booth”, Elaine was deep in conversation with the vendor. OK, I need to tell you what is being sold at Elaine’s favorite booth. Some of you need to hide your eyes. Furs, Elaine’s favorite booth sells furs. Mostly coyote and Finnish Raccoon furs. Elaine chooses those furs for various reasons. She likes coyote furs because of the cartoons she watched as a child. She only buys coyote furs from animals that were blown up by roadrunners. (OK, I might not being totally truthful.) Elaine says she only buy hides from animals that threaten the environment (Finnish raccoons) or eat our ducks (evil grey coyote).

The Finnish Raccoon thing is interesting. Finnish Raccoons are not actually raccoons or Finnish. It seems these rodents were introduced to Finland, accidentally. They have multiplied and are killing Finland’s native wildlife. Finnish environmentalists have begun the chore of removing all Finnish Raccoons from Finland. Elaine loves the fur.

Ten minutes from arriving after arriving at NWSS, Elaine was done. Elaine didn’t ask to leave, but she would have been content to do so. Not me, I paid nineteen bucks (times five), I’m staying.

The others in our group had their own motives, including me. I just wasn’t so blatant about it. Ivy, Girl Twin and her friend were there to look at (purchase) country themed baseball caps. They all snuck off and accomplished their agenda.

Me? I was there to look at tractors. I’m thinking I might need a new one. (I’m going to need you guys to buy more yarn.)

My favorite exhibit was a booth selling exercise equipment. Actually, it was non-exercise equipment. If you have been working out this year you have been wasting your time. They have equipment now you just stand on. Yep, you stand on a small platform, small enough when not in use to slide quickly and easily under your bed. Takes no space! Oh yeah, you stand on the platform, hit the button and the platform starts vibrating. The platform shakes the living (construction language) out of you, contracting every muscle in your body. In minutes, you have lost up to thirty pounds and have not left your bedroom.

Elaine (and I) have boxes under our bed, prohibiting me from losing thirty pounds. I guess I need to keep running.

Watching others losing weight in front of my eyes reminded me of when Ivy was in elementary school. I received a call one day from the school principal. It seems Ivy didn’t finish an assignment and was told she needed to stay in for recess. Ivy snuck out at recess. The teacher caught her and shook her. If the teacher had one of those shaker machines in the corner, I don't think Ivy would have snuck out. Those machines would be terrifying to a second-grader. I wouldn’t have got a call from the principal. Sorry, I lost my focus.

Elaine bought her furs, the kids bought hats. I came home empty-handed, except for two for five buck hamburgers. Can’t wait until next year!

Our crazy lives!


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