Wednesday, April 30, 2014

Western Weekend: Cattle Penning

The second event of the afternoon was Cattle Penning. I'm a city girl, but here's the task as I understand it. 
  • Self-selected teams of three riders work together to
  • sort and separate out three critters with an assigned number from the rest of the herd, 
  • move them to the opposite end of the arena,
  • hold them there, and
  • pen them... no other-numbered cattle allowed. All this within a time limit.
Sometimes the cows had other plans. Cows (yes, cows, they're all cows to me) are herd animals. They really wanted to hang out together, trying their best to rejoin the herd whenever they were isolated. Cows can be sneaky, waiting to make a break for it until the riders are focused on working other critters.

We saw some impressive horsemanship and horses in this event.

Lots more photos to share, but this gives you a brief look at the event. We loved our adventure ashore, but it's time to get back to boats and cruising.

Monday, April 28, 2014

Western Weekend : Obstacle Course

Memories of our fun-filled visit to the Coombs Rodeo Grounds are still vivid. What a happening place! We arrived in time for a hearty, flavorful Texas barbecue-on-a-bun for lunch, pulled pork and coleslaw for me and brisket for RL. Local resident and participant Lauren welcomed us to his picnic table and explained the afternoon's program of events. 

The arena was full of action even before the official events began... just a little "horsing around." Sorry, I couldn't resist throwing that in. 

The first event was an obstacle course of 12 different challenges for horse and rider. Each participant had 2-minute or less for a timed run, with 0-4 points awarded for each obstacle attempted. One by one, the riders chose their own routes through the course, though occasionally it was the horse that made the final decision. Nate, celebrating his 9th birthday, was the leadoff rider of the talented group lined up to run the course. 

Check out some of the other obstacles in the course.

Rope the wire calf
Walk a fixed bridge and then this teeter-totter
Jump the logs
Jump some barrels
Travel through bags and brush
Hay bales mark the entry to the water hazard
The tire maze calls for careful footwork
Load the horse in the trailer, but don't ride it in
And that's just a portion of the action. Next came the cattle penning, but that's for the following post.

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Sunday, April 27, 2014

A Day Away: Part Two

Coombs Rodeo Grounds-Western Weekend

Here's a small preview of the next post. C'mon back in a day or two for the story and more photos of the action from a fun-filled afternoon.

A Day Away: Part One

Coombs Country Market

We declared a holiday from boat projects on Saturday and ran down island to visit the Coombs "Goats on the Roof" Country Market (link) and check out the Western Weekend action at the Coombs Rodeo Grounds. Black clouds, intermittent rain squalls and wind gusts along the way threatened to spoil our fun, but the weather cleared before we reached the Alberni Highway turnoff. 

We missed the goats, they were still out in winter pasture, not scheduled for rooftop living until next month, but the market did not disappoint. Oh my, what a market it was, the size of a small village with various shops housed in separate buildings. I headed first to the greengrocers  to admire the gorgeous fresh produce and buy some apples for a lunch snack. 

Then we headed straightaway into the largest of the market buildings. Instant visual overload! Everywhere we looked there were treasures to tempt shoppers of all ages... really, everywhere... floor to ceiling! 

We circled the interior, wandered every aisle, gazed at every display and were stunned at the array of grocery goods, delicacies from around the world. Perhaps not all were delicacies - Guy Fieri sauces?! 

With too many choices and no shopping list, I gave up and settled on a jar of French grainy Dijon mustard, then headed off to the deli meat and cheese case. I found delicious sausages, spicy jerky, and maple-glazed smoked salmon bits that were altogether too appealing to ignore. Several more packages joined the picnic lunch box. An in-house bakery, visible through windows above the shelving bustled with activity, and the well-stocked pastry cases drew an enthusiastic crowd. Croissants, savory meat pies, sausage rolls, cookies and pastries, fresh breads and rolls - ooh, how I wanted one of each, please. 

RL enjoyed a waffle cone of peppermint cheesecake ice cream, but my icy fingers and toes declared it too cold a day for that treat. Plants in the garden shop showed signs of spring, but today's 40-something degree F. temperature felt more like winter. 

Forget the picnic idea, it was time to head to the rodeo grounds where we had spotted a sign advertising Texas barbecue. That should warm us up.

Thursday, April 24, 2014

Wide Barge, Narrow Fairway

A lot of traffic transits Discovery Passage each day, ranging in size from kayaks and small skiffs to massive vessels like ferry boats and cruise ships. This passing parade offers distraction and entertainment, especially at high tide when we can see over the rock breakwater. Today it seemed routine when a barge with a tall derrick moved slowly south along the breakwater, until I realized it was inside the harbor. What?

Discovery Harbor's fairways are generous in size with plenty of room for us to pivot (carefully), but a barge?! The captain was accomplished, maneuvering his wide barge into position well inside the fairway without incident or any excitement for the viewing audience.

Tall spud poles held the barge in place for some piledriving activity. He made it look easy, but check out the photo below to see the tight quarters involved.

Piledriving action was just beginning when the downpour began, soaking me and spotting the camera lens. It was heavy enough to drive me back inside but the crew kept on smiling and working. 

I settled for watching from a distance, inside the pilothouse, while the new piling were installed at the ends of several finger piers. Modern piledrivers are surprisingly quiet. I certainly didn't miss the bone-rattling, headache-inducing pounding of older equipment.

Hmmm, I wonder what excitement tomorrow will bring?