Today, the National Western Stock Show drew to a close and I pulled my final volunteer shift. I manned (woman-ed?) an Info Booth with a young cowgirl named Lisa. We answered questions all day long: "Where's the rodeo? Where are the animals? Where's the ATM? Where should I eat????"
In spite of a spiraling economy, the NWSS only saw a 4.5% drop in attendance. Not too bad considering the state of things. I guess people still need to bask in their Western culture. I know I do.
Near the end of the shift today, a young boy came up to me and asked, "Is this the Lost & Found? 'Cause I found this." Then, he bends down to the ground, picks up a scraggly mutt - still on her leash - and plops her down right in front of me. The boy's name was Cody, about 9 years old, and he was very concerned for the pup. So, Cody and I went off a wild chase to find the dog's owners. "We need to find them soon," I said to Cody. "I'm getting the urge to name her."
Cody, like all young cowboys, was unfailingly polite. He'd race ahead of me so he could open doors for me and the dog. Eventually, we had the Barn Office make a formal announcement over the PA system and the dog - named Erkel - was reunited with her owners. A happy ending.
It'll be nice to have my so-called 'life' back but I'll miss being around all the cowboys and livestock. One of my favorite memories of the show: Getting dirt in my teeth and hair from being so close to the bucking bulls. Yee-haw!