How to spend 3 days at a rodeo and not see a thing!

Here’s the main attraction (at least for me) at the Michigan State University Spartan Stampede Rodeo this past weekend. This baby goat was born on Thursday evening and had problems with his legs–couldn’t stand up and nurse–so he came to the rodeo with his owners who had a booth two spaces down from mine. He had a comfy bed in a little cardboard box (except for the long legs he was no larger than a rabbit!) and got fed a special formula which must have worked because by Saturday he was up on his little stilts and investigating everything going on around him. Petting him was akin to petting a cat–he would just push his head into my rubbing fingers, and every once in a while let out a little baby goat squawk.

H-e-e-e-r-e's "Sparty"

H-e-e-e-r-e's "Sparty"

Which way to the rodeo?

Which way to the rodeo?

Can I eat your jeans?

Can I eat your jeans?


This weekend was also the debut of Billy and his little band of two. You can see them on the easel behind my table. The back wall of the booth is a portable stall wall–a nice touch, I’d say. At least it gave me plenty of space to hang my banner. I’ve discovered that even with the banner and the large placard, often people still don’t immediately know what it is that I do. So I’m thinking of reorganizing the display racks to put a sign directly on them. I only have about 5 seconds max to capture people’s attention as they walk by, so maybe more signage would help. Since I have a dozen painting samples, losing a couple of them to signage probably won’t matter.

Somehow at these events I am often fortunate to have some sort of entertainment right across from my booth. This weekend it was the mechanical bull. Watching folks try to stay on this thing was quite amusing and not only kept me entertained during the slow spots but also kept me smiling–which is good for business! The Friday crowd was pretty good, had a lot of interaction with people. Saturday we had what vendors sometimes call a “crabby crowd”. There’s really nothing you can do about it, it’s just a kind of mood that infects the crowd to such a point that you think that even if you sold something to somebody for 75% off they would still want you to carry it out to their car for them. They don’t smile, they don’t respond to you, they walk purposely to nowhere. Odd, but it’s not the first time I’ve seen it. Sunday was a complete turnaround from Saturday, I’m happy to say. So what does all this have to do with the title of this post? Just that all the action was going on in the rodeo arena and the way things were set up there was no way I could get even a peek at it. Usually I can sneak over to the ring at a horse show, or see a clinic presentation in a nearby area. This time it was more like radio. Got a nice blow-by-blow of all the action from the ring announcer, but had to imagine what it looked like. Just about as entertaining as listening to baseball on the radio! Thank goodness for that mechanical bull…


About Alli Farkas

Equine and landscape artist specializing in rural Americana
This entry was posted in exhibit booth, horse show vendor progress and tagged , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

3 Responses to How to spend 3 days at a rodeo and not see a thing!

  1. Jan Fedorenko says:


    You make it sound like a truly entertaining and fun weekend!! Did you try the bull?


  2. Rayya says:

    Hey Alli…Sounds like you made the best of your situation. ‘Sparty’ is just precious.Love your horse portraits and I hope you scored some good sales. 🙂


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