Thursday, August 14, 2008


Can you believe this weather? August in Southern IL is normally hot and humid and pretty much unbearable! Not this year, not so far. If only I could be sure this would last I would love to turn off the air conditioner and open the windows.

Our Sikeston Ride last week was really nice, not too hot and no thunderstorms while on the trail. We had a small group to start the ride due to some who just couldn't get off work to join us. By Saturday all the "regulars" joined in and we had a great day. One interesting thing that usually occurs on the third day, between Charleston and Sikeston, MO, is riding through areas that are operating air-born irrigation systems. This of course means flying, whirring streams of water shooting out over the side roads we travel to the rodeo grounds. On really hot days most of us look forward to this little cool-down. However, most of our horses exhibit extreme caution when approaching and entering said streams of water. Some of the 1000 lb. critters just plain do not want anything to do with the shower across their path. It can get very interesting, watching and waiting, trying to time your forward movement so as NOT to be sprayed. Very interesting.
We all made it, some had to turn their mounts around more than once to convince them they would be left behind if they did not go forward. Horses do NOT like being left behind! So all managed to move through the little water hazards and on to the rodeo.

We did not ride in the grand entry this year. My riding buddy had had enough by the time we made it to the rodeo grounds so we unsaddled, fed and watered our "girls" and went for a shower and dinner. This is one of the most wonderful showers I ever enjoy. Even though we drive home the first two evenings, after our days ride (it's a three day ride, total), shower, eat dinner and sleep in our own beds, taking that shower at the end of the last day is like icing on the cake. We have to pay to shower at a local campground, $4 each, but I would happily pay much more! After cleaning up we go to dinner at a near by BBQ joint. Every year we jokingly talk about standing in line to eat at Lambert's but so far we never have.

After dinner we return to the horses and the rodeo grounds to meet the others from our ride for a little get-together, before splitting up to go to the rodeo. We won't see most of the folks again for a year and they are a good group of riders. It is fun to actually sit in the stands and watch the grand entry, instead of riding it. I usually have a little pang of "oh, I should have been on my horse in the entry", but then I remember I'm clean and don't smell like a horse for the first time in three days and I sort of like that, for the time being. This year's rodeo was better than some of the near past. We enjoyed it but we were ready to head home as soon as the rodeo itself was over. I'm sure the entertainment was great but after a long day in the saddle and a drive of one and a half hours home, let's just say it's much better that we miss the entertainment.

Today is my youngest granddaughter's birthday and I won't get to see her. I hate that! This is her father's week to have her with him so we'll just have to wait. Happy Birthday Emma! WE LOVE YOU!!! Eight years ago I was constantly checking in with my daughter while on the Sikeston Ride. We made it through the ride, barely, before I got the call that I needed to take my daughter to the hospital. Things got a little scary but all ended well with the birth of our little "Cherokee-Mick", blond hair, BIG blue eyes and all. It's funny how genetics work. I do believe she is the first, and only blond in our family!

And with that, I again have to say, Life's short, so...

Tuesday, August 5, 2008

Moving Right Along...

I'm home from the 9 Day "Encampment" (trail ride) and the weather is typical Southern IL HOT and HUMID. We had a couple of high weather alerts during the 9 Day, about 4 inches of rain and plenty of mud. My friend and riding buddy, Chester, and I took a new (to us) trail off the top of One Horse Gap this year, one that I hope NEVER to see or experience again!

Many riders also participated in the St. Jude's Charity Ride from the 9 Day camp to New Hope Hill camp, an annual ride. We had a very good time even though it was very warm and humid that day and the horses had to battle flies even through the layer of fly spray applied to them before leaving camp. At New Hope Hill we were treated to BBQ, chips and drinks as well as ice cream and air conditioning. Door prizes were awarded to all who made the donation to ride. This ride is always a good one, regardless of the heat, and seems to be enjoyed by all who participate.

While I was at the 9 Day my Nephew, Todd, was in South Dakota dancing his first (time to dance) Sundance. I really wish I could have been there with/for him but my previous commitment just didn't allow for that this year. I spoke with Todd yesterday for the first time since he completed the dance and all is well and he is very excited about all that he had the opportunity to experience while in SD. He and our Sundance Chief, Bear, are now on their way home and I can't wait to sit down with Todd to hear about all he has learned and the interesting people he met and talked with while at Crow Dog's Paradise.

Chester and I leave this week for the Sikeston Ride and it looks like the weather might improve about the day we begin. The whole ride and the Rodeo itself would be so much more enjoyable if the extremely hot temperatures would subside for just a few days. We've ridden this ride when it was very hot, not so hot and somewhere in between. I'm praying this year will be gentle and all will be comfortable, horses and humans, and we all arrive at the rodeo grounds safe and happy.

That's all till next time, remember to "LIVE, LOVE and LAUGH" because life's too short not to!

My Cherokee Grandmother

My Cherokee Grandmother
Selva COX/Opal Nokomis SMITH Nolen

Enjoying the Ride

Enjoying the Ride
October 31, 2008

Daddy Cat, Jr.

Daddy Cat, Jr.
"You're blocking my light!"


Chester & Princess Out For a Ride