I like rodeos. The strangest, but best one I ever went to was in 1985. The rodeo was organized by the Polish Student Union at their stud farm at Zbrosławice near Katowice, in southern Poland. Poland is famous for its breeding of Arabians, and the stud farm was apparently well-recognized. The rodeo event was an end-of-summer bash for students – a professor friend had arranged for me to enjoy the event.
I most remember the wodka. Not that I drank alcohol, but I did admire the custom label, created for the rodeo: Just at Noon, the English translation of the Polish translation of High Noon. One could buy wodka and hamburgers, steaks and souvenirs with little dollar bill vouchers. The rodeo was televised madness: barrel chasing, buggy racing, marathon boozing and a 24-hour barn dance in a real, huge barn. At one point horsemen galloped into the dancing throngs, hooting and hollering, brandishing stetsons, and swooped up women, swinging them up into their saddles in dramatic “excuse me” captures of their dance partners. I don’t recall if the horses danced.
Although I did little dancing that night, I was tapped for an “excuse me”. The sleeping quarters were in the loft of another barn. I was one of the first to head to bed; not being a drinker or much of barn dancer. Beds were blankets laid down on the rough plank floor boards; space was on a first-claimed basis, and I early managed to stake out a large patch to sprawl in. As I started to nod off, I heard giggling from three women tucked in together across the aisle from me, sharing one bed because there was little space left for all three of them. I knew zilch Polish, a bit more French, but had a good mastery of smiling welcomingly. Within a few minutes, I was rustled by the trio, French speakers too, whispering “Excusez-moi!” and “Peut-etre nous couchons avec vous“? Brandishing pillows and broad grins, the fillies galloped into my blankets, intent on sharing this cowboy’s spacious spread and delaying his sleep for a while.
No, ma’am, I ain’t telling you no more…