World's Toughest Rodeo rolls into town this weekend

World's Toughest Rodeo rolls into town this weekend

So I'm more excited than a bag full of rattlesnakes here. The World's Toughest Rodeo is coming to the Xcel Energy Center this weekend for two shows (Friday 1/29 and Saturday 1/30, 7:30). Here's what I reckon we're gonna see down there.

I anticipate seeing female barrel racers patronized as they are paraded around the arena to the tune of "Pretty Woman," the announcer referring to them as "the pretty ladies."

World's Toughest Rodeo rolls into town this weekend
Photos by Nikki Miller

Scantily-clad women in Jagermeister shirts wielding t-shirt cannons.

World's Toughest Rodeo rolls into town this weekend

The Taco John's monkey herding sheep.

World's Toughest Rodeo rolls into town this weekend

Concussive cowboys falling off broncs and bulls, but getting back on to ride again in a head-injured daze.

World's Toughest Rodeo rolls into town this weekend
World's Toughest Rodeo rolls into town this weekend

At least, that was my experience at the rodeo last year. It was also one of the few places in these Twin Cities I felt I could get away with wearing my made-in-China Toby Keith brand cowboy hat (though my companion, normally very indulgent of my stupid ideas, confirmed that I would indeed look like an asshole if I wore it to the Hex when we headed there post-rodeo).

World's Toughest Rodeo rolls into town this weekend

In addition to all this, Randy Houser, who performs my favorite song about shit-kickers, will be playing after the rodeo on Saturday night. Life just does not get better than this. Tickets start at $17. To get you in the mood, here are 10 songs about the rodeo. Then head to Schatzlein's to grab yourself a cowboy hat, and I'll see you at the rodeo this weekend.

Waylon and Willie (performed here by The Highwaymen) - "Mamas Don't Let Your Babies Grow Up to be Cowboys"

Cowboys. They pick guitars. They drive old trucks. Would rather give you a song than diamonds or gold. Wear Lone Star belt buckles and old faded Levi's. They never stay home and are always alone, even with someone they love. Riiiiight. I'll never understand the appeal of a cowboy. Give me a doctor or lawyer. Right.
  Garth Brooks - "Rodeo"

Boots and chaps, cowboy hats, spurs and latigo. All these things, along with the appeal of winning that gold buckle, are what draw a cowboy away from his lady. Garth Brooks, along with many country musicians, has had a long-standing fascination with the rodeo. Was it because he was himself a cowboy? Don't know for sure, but doubtful. Have you seen the gut on that dude? Rodeo ain't an easy sport by any mean. Garth seems more a sittin' in front of the TV and eating mashed potatoes and pot roast than bronc ridin' kinda dude.

Chris Ledoux and Garth Brooks - "Whatcha Gonna Do With a Cowboy"

Tight jeans. Cowboy boots. Riding things... that buck and such. The ladies love a cowboy. Perhaps because they know they'll never stay. In this duet, Chris Ledoux and Garth Brooks tell another story. Sentimental fact you may not know about these two -- Ledoux had a liver disease that required a transplant. Brooks offered to donate a part of his, but was found to be incompatible. Sadly, Ledoux, known for his rodeo songs and himself a professional rodeo cowboy, died in 2005 at the age of 56.

Lynn Anderson - "Rodeo Cowboy"

That's right ladies. Get real. The cowboys Chris and Garth sing of are entirely hypothetical. You'll never find one that will settle down. Thanks for setting us straight, Lynn.
Moe Bandy - "Bandy the Rodeo Clown"

Written for Moe Bandy by his friend, country legend Lefty Frizzell, this sad tale tells of a former rodeo star whose broken heart and search for happiness in the bottom of a bottle of whiskey has led him down the road to a life as a rodeo clown. How sad.

Marty Robbins - "Cowboy in the Continental Suit"

This is pretty typical of Marty Robbins' story songs ("El Paso," "Big Iron"), and tells not to judge a book by its cover: cowboys don't always wear Wranglers. I don't really get it, Marty, but whatever. Note the hypothesis from the peanut gallery in the YouTube comments as to why Tupac is hangin' next to Marty in the video.

Vern Gosdin - "This Ain't My First Rodeo"

This song has nothing to do with rodeos. But it is a saying I'd like to incorporate to my vernacular.
Showdown - "Rodeo Song"

Performed here by the obscure Canadian band Showdown, this song was also covered by David Allan Coe. Doesn't surprise me much. "Well it's forty below and I don't give a fuck, got a heater in my truck and I'm off to the rodeo. It's an allemande left, an allemande right, come on you fucking dummy get your right step right."

Woody Guthrie - "Cowboy Waltz"

So much aggression from that Canadian band, eh? To bring it down a notch, here's Woody Guthrie's take on cowboys. Sure, if Woody had added lyrics maybe they'd be all fuck this, fuck that. But somehow, I doubt it.

The Bellamy Brothers - "Rainy, Windy, Sunshine (Rodeo Road)"

A lesser known of The Bellamy Brothers songs (whose hits include "Let Your Love Flow," "If I Said You Had a Beautiful Body Would You Hold It Against Me" and "Redneck Girl"), it's unlikely the Bellamys will be play this song about a man who visits loves in different towns while on the road with the rodeo when they play at the Medina Entertainment Center this Friday ($19/27).

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