The rodeo’s about done, buster
Like Charlie Bucket and his golden ticket, Daniel Caballero sprinted up the stadium steps at Eagle County Fairgrounds to show his parents and many-siblinged family his new $10 bill and victorious grin.”Look mommy! I won!”The tradition of mutton bustin’ was the rage at the 65th Annual Eagle County Fair & Rodeo on Saturday night.The kids were dressed to the britches, the rodeo clowns were not too disturbing or depressing and the sheep seemed fully-caffeinated.Caballero, a Gypsum resident, won the Mutton Bustin’ competition with a score of 86, which means the seven-year-old has some powerful determination to ride a sheep for approximately 15 seconds. Most of the other kids lasted less than five seconds, and quite a few fell off before the sheep hit the gate.”Good job Daniel,” said Caballero’s fellow competitor and neighbor Oscar Varela. “It was pretty good out there. I like riding the sheep. I don’t remember how long I lasted (held on the sheep).”Varela and Tyler Sklenvacek – who came all the way from Phoenix, Ariz. – were tight on Caballero’s spurs up the stadium steps. They were as eager as Caballero to celebrate the accomplishment.”He did a really good job, and I’m surprised that he actually rode that long,” said Sklenvacek, who has been a cowboy-in-training for most of his 10 years on this ranch that we call Earth. “When I was like five years old, they put me on a little calf, and I had to rope some sheep. It was fun.”Caballero told me that he had no plans for the recently-acquired funds when I asked him what he might buy with the $10 in prize money. He eyed me suspiciously, and I realized that it really wasn’t any of my business.Caballero is a champion mutton buster, and that was enough.Andrew Harley can be reached at 949-0555, ext. 610, or at firstname.lastname@example.org.