On Scene: Monster Jam vs. Pro Rodeo

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I have always wanted to go to a monster truck rally.

Somehow, in 22 years of living in North Carolina, that never happened. It's not that I didn't have countless opportunities to do it - I probably can still quote from the "Monster Jam" commercials that seemed to run every four seconds on network TV when I was in elementary school. But somehow I never got to see a row of large trucks being crushed by slightly larger trucks with names like "Bone Saw," "Grave Digger" and other things involving skeletons.

Being from the East Coast, where rodeos are not popular, I assumed that going to the Steamboat Springs Pro Rodeo series would meet a little bit of that need for audience-fueled competitions that take place on dirt.

It was a pretty terrible assumption to make.

What I did take away from going to the rodeo Friday is almost certainly more valuable than what I expected: There is no way I could ever survive on a ranch, and I am completely in awe of people who can.

Some of the events were a little rough on my city girl sensibilities - I'm not a huge fan of how the calves jerk back by the neck when they get roped, for example. But overall, the rodeo provided at least a little bit of the excitement you might get from neon-colored trucks with collapsible bodies, and it provided it in a family atmosphere that maintains a tradition.

Of course, I would still buy a "Grave Digger" T-shirt off eBay in a heartbeat. Because if you've ever seen those 1990s commercials, well, you know that "Grave Digger" is pretty close to unstoppable.

Still, I'm glad to be able to see the rodeo as more than a novelty, and I'm glad to understand why it does so well with locals and visitors to the Yampa Valley, Friday and Saturday night after Friday and Saturday night.

- Margaret Hair/4 Points

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