Brooks & Dunn at Cheyenne Frontier Days: the writer eats crow

For those of you who have been following the latest drama in my life, here's your update; for those of you who have not, first, a synopsis.

When I was a pre-teen, my mom took me to the rodeo to see Brooks & Dunn, touring in support of their very first album. We were all much younger then. I had not yet grown into my very large nose, and that day had been prescribed my very first pair of eyeglasses. They were very ugly. I spent the ensuing year learning how to Boot Scoot 'n Boogie, glasses falling down my nose, before I grew up and got myself some contacts.

Brooks & Dunn announced last summer that they were breaking up, and it made me sad.

City Pages reader and Barbara Mandrell fan "Cheri" requests that Barbara cover the Brooks & Dunn hit "Believe." No word on whether Barbara has obliged. Meantime, several other readers call my grandmother "a horrible person," "one mean mother" who can "fuck off," and is "stupid, rotting." Oh, and that she was likely "one cranky ass old bitch who was mad at the world probably because her husband was bangin' the neighbor kids," who likely "hates the heat down there" (???) and who "probably needed her cootchie cleaned out." We also learned from reader "Aliana" that she lost her virginity with a Barbara Mandrell song playing in the background ("In Black and White," and in 1982). We're pleased to hear from Aliana that the sex was good and she married the guy, sorry to hear they ended up divorcing 15 years later, but pleased to hear Aliana still loves that song!

Brooks & Dunn played their final show in St. Paul, and I wrote a crabby review complaining they were nowhere as good as when I saw them at the rodeo in my ugly eyeglasses. Ronnie Dunn responded that I ought to visit them at the rodeo this summer, then. I was all, okay then, here I come!

Dunn and company were kind enough to accommodate when I took him up on the offer, and so I set out to Cheyenne's Frontier Days, the self-proclaimed "Daddy of 'Em All" when it comes to rodeos. The band and their support staff were very, very nice, and Dunn was right - the music was much better served by an outdoor rodeo arena than by the Xcel Energy Center, where they played last spring. Perhaps I should've reserved my judgment for my hometown arena rather than for the artist.

Photo courtesy of
Photo courtesy of

At last Saturday's Cheyenne stop, Brooks & Dunn played to a packed arena (according to CMT beating Taylor Swift's '09 numbers by 868 fans). And the show was incredible.

I, the critic, am here now to eat crow. To lay it all out for you and further my embarrassment, my texts from the night of the show. Note my unabashed geek fangirl excitement, and the extent to which my friends indulge me.

To my mother.
Sent Sat @ 7:28p
Nikki: I'm listed as "blog girl" on the meet and greet list. Kix's cousins are also on the list.
Mom: Intimate meet and greet. I need photos.
Nikki: That's not very intimate. It's snap photo move on. No drinking with Ronnie. Photos will be posted online. Meaning their photog takes 'em.
Sent Sat @ 8:45p
Nikki: Ok, I told him who I was and we're to stick around to talk to him after the meet and greet. Problem: I gotta pee.
Sent Sat @ 9:15p
Nikki: We get free beer. We're backstage.
Mom: Sweet.
Nikki: The photo's gonna be hilarious bc I think I was patting his belly telling him who I was, not looking at the camera when they took it. This is all on you for taking me to see 'em in '11* or whatever. He told me he'd do his best to sing on pitch.
Mom: Yea right.
Nikki: I'm serious. I was peeing in a green room bathroom and came out as they moved into their dressing room or whatever. Whoa! Now we're drinking Coors. Standing by the opening band.
Mom: Don't get a dui.

To Andrea S. City Pages Music Editor.
Sent Sat @ 8:47p
Nikki: Just took my meet and greet photo with brooks and dunn. He told me to "stick around." Think I'm about to get a scolding.
Andrea: Document everything!
Nikki: He told me he's gonna do his best to sing on pitch. And gave us vip passes. Turns out the toilet I was just emergency peeing in (just short of doing it outside) is right next to their green room, cause I came out, and there they were.
Andrea: Oh my god. Amazing!
Sent Sat @ 9:48p
Nikki: They just dedicated my favorite song to me!!!
Andrea: Awww. Adorable. That Ronnie is a winner.

To my friend Ryan.
Received Sat @ 4:45p
Ryan: Rendezvous at XXXX Portland at 7pm. Bring booze, bikes and grillers (if you want). Planning to bike to the Hex tonight.
Sent Sat @ 7:28p
Nikki: I'm about to meet brooks and dunn. This rodeo has me tired out.
Ryan: Ha! I'm proud of you. Good job.
Nikki: Inbred lookin' bunch in wyoming, man**.
Sent Sat @ 9:15p
Nikki: Omg I just met ronnie dunn. He told me to stick around when I told him who I was. Now backstage drinking free beer. Duuuuuuude.
Ryan: Oh. My. God.
Nikki: I've never been so excited. Dude! This would be like you meeting whatever (redacted) band you like! Juuuuust kidding. Omg.
Ryan: Hahaha!!! Take mad pics.
Sent Sat @ 10:21p
Nikki: They just dedicated my favorite song to me.
Ryan: Are you serious?! Awesome!!!!!!!!!
Nikki: I am dying. At the biggest rodeo in the world. I can't believe this.
Ryan: I would love to be there. However, my backyard is ruling right now.

To my friend Jen. Who prefers her country pre-90s.
Sent Sat @ 9:05p
Nikki: Omg. This is the awesomest experience of my life, and that's maybe sad.
Nikki: Haha. Met the dude told him who I was, he said to stick around, now we're hanging with a bunch of rodeo guys and drinking free beer. I just peed outside their green room*** and walked out as they were walking into it.
Jen: The Brooks and Dunn show? Awesome.
Nikki: Yep. We're backstage during the show. Holy god.
Jen: Hilarious.
Sent Sat @ 10:21p
Nikki: He dedicated my favorite song to me. Dying.
Jen: Aw shit.

To my friend Andrea H. Who accompanies me to every casino show, even those if which are still stuck in the 90s.
Sent Sat @ 9:03p
Nikki: Dude. Just went to the meet and greet with a hundred other people. Told ronnie who I was, he said to stick around so his security kept us after. He gave us vip passes, told us to hang out, now drinking free beer. He said he'd do his best not to sing off pitch. I think I went "oh jesus christ...I'm sorry." Now hanging out in some vip section not knowing what to do. Peed right outside their green room as they walked into it.
Andrea: Dude! That is amazing... You knew that was gonna happen though, right? Any other juicy tidbits?
Nikki: They dedicated my favorite song to me.

To my mother. Drunker still.
Sent Sat @ 9:58p
Nikki: They just dedicated next broken heart to me. Oh my god.!!!
Mom: Good for you
Nikki: No good for you for exposing me to 90s pop country in my awkward pre-pubescence. Hopefully I can hang with him afterwards and tell him about the crush I had on him before I ever even had my period. Ok maybe I should word it as "when I was an innocent kid."
Mom: Did you also drink all the champagne before the concert****

To my mother. The morning after.
Sent Sun @ 10:09a
Nikki: We stayed up drinking with the campground owner, who is your age but looks 70 (alky). So I just got rid of my hangover, alex just woke up and now we're gonna try to go swimming. Devil's bathtub may not be in the cards today but I'd like to take alex to the cemetery later.*****
Mom: Sounds good. Monster cookies are waiting.

To an anonymous friend. The morning after.******
Received Sun @ 3:28p
Anon. friend: Do you have any plan b pills on you?
Nikki: Nope, and I'm in wyoming. They're over the counter at most pharmacies.

*'91, not '11. My mother did not take me to see Brooks & Dunn in the future. By the time I typed this, I was drunk on several Coors and half a water bottle full of UV Blue my boyfriend had smuggled in for me to mix with fresh squeezed midway lemonade. He's such a good boy.
**I would know. I'm from a small town in South Dakota. No offense, South Dakota - or Wyoming - but an hour spent drinking whiskey outside the Rapid City Walmart reminded me of that.
***In a bathroom. Come on, now. I was excited, but not that excited.
****My mother buys champagne for me when I come to visit. It makes me silly but keeps me from getting in whiskey fights.
*****Uh, this is what we do in South Dakota for fun? I'll show you if you ever come to visit.
******This is, I suppose, pretty unrelated to my story of traveling to Cheyenne to see Brooks & Dunn at the Frontier Days Rodeo, but it is the best morning after anecdote, no? I hope my friend sound some Plan B. When I received this text, I was viewing the best-preserved Oregon Trail wagon ruts in the North Platte River Valley of central Wyoming. Pioneers probably had a lot of unplanned pregnancies to contend with. Poor pioneers.

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