Wednesday, July 1, 2009
Cowboy Culture Needs to Stay
Richard Wayde Hamar of Colorado was competing in the Little Britches Rodeo when he was thrown, then stepped on by a bull that weighed 2,000 pounds. He tragically died of a ruptured heart.
Wayde was 12. His parents said he died doing something he loved. Others disagree.
There are many people in the blogosphere who are outraged that a young man would even be allowed to stand next to an animal that big, but then to get on it and ride it for 6 seconds is just plain crazy.
There is a real disconnect in this country of people who think that a parent who doesn’t do everything in their power to protect their child is tantamount to abuse and those who celebrate what I call the Cowboy Culture
Wayde Hamar wasn’t abused. Far from it.
Under his parents watchful eyes, he started riding six years ago and was fully padded and wearing a helmet when the freak accident happened. But for some, this is an inevitable event, an accident just waiting to happen.
Tell that to the parents who allow their children play soccer, football or baseball and have a ball hit their child in the chest and suffer a heart attack. Again, that’s another example of a freak accident. But if it’s a mainstream sport, then there’s no outcry. It’s a tragedy, but more acceptable because we are a sport-centered culture. Our cowboy culture has dwindled to the outskirts of cities, away from the bright lights and our modern towns. The idea of a lone person, wandering the plains with nothing but a horse, his wits and using tools like knives and guns is anathema to our modern society.
But we should remember and celebrate the Cowboy Culture, as it is our culture. It’s as American as baseball or apple pie. So let’s keep the rodeos, roping and yes, even riding bulls.
Life is dangerous and no one wants to see a child die of a careless act. But what Wayde Hamar was doing wasn’t careless. It’s homage to out cowboy past. And something I wouldn’t want to see stopped or legislated out of existence.