Our Rodeo; Our Rules!

our rodeo

We were extremely vetted tonight. I’m OK with it now but I was not OK with it during the process. It started with Sandy, Kasen and I attending Championship Bull Riding at the CenturyLink Center in Bossier City.

To start with, they had built a wall around their rodeo. In order for us to get inside the walls, I had to apply for and purchase entry a few weeks ago. That was the first vetting. They checked my debit card to insure there were funds for the tickets plus $10 for ticket master and $3 for the event center on each ticket.

Once I passed this vetting system, I was able to print 3 tickets. Then, as we were walking out of the parking lot, there was a sign that said no purses over 6X9 inches. This was our second vetting. This resulted in us returning to our country, I mean car, and doing what the police tell you to never do. We left the purse in the trunk of our country and started our journey again.

Once we made the extremely uphill trip to the top, (everything worthwhile is ALWAYS UPHILL), Sandy’s clutch bag was opened and vetted by the security person. I was then asked another vetting question. I guess it was on the sign after the purse but I didn’t see it.

You see, I’ve carried a pocket knife since second grade but I couldn’t lie to security man. The metal detector wand man was waiting for me to assume the “give me a T” cheerleader position. I could not pass this vetting.

I told Sandy and Kasen to enter through the walls without me. I said I would do what I could to meet them on the inside, someday. I waved as they passed through the glass wall. They waved as they stood inside. They had been cleared to be inside the walls. I was willing to do whatever necessary to meet their requirements and be reunited with my family. It was their rodeo, their rules. I had requested entry.

55. That’s how many steps were on the three tiers back to the parking lot. I walked down the stairs and through the lot again to leave my 16 year old Case John Deere pocket knife in my country. There was also 55 steps back to the top. Forget that motivational, worthwhile uphill stuff. I wasn’t in the mood. I was having a few choice words with the 9/11 religious idiots that started this mess.

I reached the top, assumed the “give me a T” position and passed this vetting. I was reunited with my family and we hugged. (Not really but we will in the documentary.)

This is a late night report because I took Facebook off my phone weeks ago. This was good because it allowed me to clear my head. We were in our seats 45 minutes prior to the rodeo. This would’ve been plenty of time for a Facebook venting session on vetting and would’ve taken my attention from my family.

But here’s what changed my mind and heart. The lights were dimmed. Fireworks began as they introduced 25 young bull riders. I saw my grandson’s smile as he watched and listened. I was witnessing his first rodeo.

Then we were asked to stand and remove cover. (Remove your hat if you are wondering.) The rodeo announcer with a voice that compared with Paul Harvey said the sweetest prayer and asked for blessings and safety for each cowboy, our military, law enforcement and our country. Then our flag appeared on the big screen waving ever so gently. I don’t know if I’ve ever sang the National Anthem so loud and proud. P.S. No one took a knee.

After two hours of great action, some prayers for an injured bull rider and watching my grandson laugh and clap, it was over. You know what? Inside those walls was a pretty special place. Yes; I had to jump through some hoops to get there but as I said earlier; their rodeo, their rules. Yes, the rules have changed since I slapped Stoney Burke’s hand as he rode his horse around the Four States Fairground Rodeo arena in the 60’s. He didn’t know or care that I had my pocket knife in my pocket.

The world changed on 9/11. We have to change. I’m not the guy that likes to see our freedoms and liberties whittled away but I’ll share this with you. If I have to go through a few inconveniences to increase the safety of my wife and grandson inside the walls of a rodeo arena or the borders of our country, that’s not too much to ask.

In fact, I’ll do whatever it takes to see my grandson bow his head in prayer and his hand on his heart during our National Anthem with a few thousand others. Honoring God and country; I believe that’s how a country was started that people around the globe are drawn to.

Our Rodeo; Our Rules!

Greg Gilbert


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