Alex has been home all week by herself. John and I have both been at work; Tom had been volunteering at WindWalkers and Courtney has been hanging out with her friends. It was a busy week for me; a WindWalkers board meeting and two tennis matches, a mom does have to have some fun…However, this meant I only had one evening to do something with Alex. I let her pick and it was the Rodeo.
Here in the Roaring Fork Valley we have lots of summer visitors. As a result all the communities cater to the tourists (a big part of the economy) and entertain non-stop. There are fairs, farmer’s markets, races, runs, hikes and any outdoor activity one can imagine. There is also the rodeo, or should I say two rodeos, one in Snowmass and one in Carbondale.
These rodeos are the real thing; cowboys, wranglers, bull riding, steer roping and mutton busting. Although I have mixed feelings about the whole animal cruelty issue, I have not seen anything suspect in our four years of rodeo attending. For the past three years WindWalkers has been an active part of these rodeos; selling tickets, working concessions stands and answering questions; this year we took a pass. Alex missed the rodeos, and has been talking about them all year.
Alex and I went to the Carbondale rodeo; it is more of the locals’ rodeo. We prefer this rodeo, and although less glitzy than the Snowmass rodeo, and no celebrities attendees, it is just as fun. It is also 20 minutes closer and the tickets are less expensive!
As a brief aside, celebrity sighting is another sport out here, and although celebrities in Aspen are generally allowed to mingle with us plebeians, it is always fun to gawk. So far (except Charlie Sheen) the paparazzi has not descended on Aspen, and as a result we often see famous people. Our first year Alex was greeted at a local restaurant by Goldie Hawn; the next year Felicity Hoffman. We are anxiously waiting for a Hollywood casting call!
However, this past week at the Carbondale rodeo, we discovered we know another celebrity, the “Queen of the Rodeo”; Ashley. She and her entourage (the princesses and the Queen’s attendants) are the Rodeo Royalty; they open the Rodeo, assist during the activities and close the rodeo.
This is the Ashley of “Big Al” fame, the now graduated senior at Alex’s High School, who took Alex under her wing during the first year of basketball. Ashley also worked with the school counselor this year, on a girls group for Alex. She helped the girls work on boy/girl relationships, proper hygiene and good nutrition. She became a peer counselor and mentor. The girls adored her.
Alex greeted the Queen with a huge hello and it was reciprocated; then the evening got better. Alex greeted and was greeted by tons of people; kids and adults. Alex shines in situations where she is comfortable. She smiled for 2 ½ hours, did not bug me about food and was a joy to be with. My trepidations about spending a 4th night out this past week were for naught.
Once again, I realized my 16 daughter with down syndrome is a local celebrity. We have our own local celebrity living under our roof. Who needs Hollywood after all?