Category Archives: Sports and Events

Fiestas Tipicas Nacionales

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“Tipicas” usually means “typical,” but as it’s used in the name of this festival, it means “picturesque; full of local color; traditional;” which is a pretty good description.  The main event is one-third rodeo, one-third Mexican bullfight, and one-third pure chaos.

The cowboy bullriders (montedors) are just T-shirt-clad teenagers, but the whole town packs into the “plaza” to watch.  The grandstands (graderias) are a makeshift wooden circle built in the middle of town just for this event.  Some areas have poles supporting a rusty sheet metal roof; a few parts have a thatched (palm-leaf) roof.   Lots of folks just crawl up under these bleachers (without buying a ticket) and peek out from under people’s feet.  There is absolutely nothing about any of it that would be OSHA-compliant.

Each session starts out like a rodeo bull ride – the worked-up bull storms out of the chute, trying to rid itself of the hombre on its shoulders.  This rarely took more than a couple of seconds.    The difference is that instead of a couple of professional life-saving rodeo “clowns” like a rodeo, here there are maybe 200 locals in the arena (toredos improvisados), eager to chase and be chased by the bull for five to ten minutes following each ride.  A good percentage of the folks down there in harm’s way are tipsy at best (surprise!).  The blue-shirted, rope-slinging lasadores were the “pros” on hand to get the bull out of the plaza when it was time for the next rider.  Though the first few pictures look pretty scary, that guy got up and ran away just fine.  In fact, I don’t think anybody (and certainly none of the bulls) was hurt.  The pictures turned out okay, considering they all had to be taken from my seat on the eighth row behind several poles.

There was a big street festival outside, focused mostly on local foods, drink, dancing and (what else?) marimba playing.  Every street corner had one or two of those huge three-man marimbas (wooden xylophones), which are apparently a big tradition in this town (Santa Cruz, Guanacaste, Costa Rica).  There are two statues in the town square, and one of them is a marimba player, if that tells you anything.  Sometimes a singer or a drummer would join in.  It sure made things festive.  I also had some of the best street-vendor pork-on-a-stick you’ll ever run across.  Best of all, everybody seemed to like having their picture taken, and seemed glad to have outsiders see their traditions.  “Fiestas Tipicas Nacionales”:  I think it also means, “Gringos welcome”  (though there were only a handful of gringos visible in town).  Maybe next year I’ll earn my stripes as a toredo improvisado and let somebody else take the pictures.

Fat Chuck’s Revenge

Today was my first-ever mountain bike race.  I even bought a (one-day) racing license.  Ned Barnett made me do it; it gave him one more opportunity to demonstrate his biking superiority over me.  The race was called “Fat Chuck’s Revenge” — named after the toughest section of the course, which is an area called “Fat Chuck’s.”  But the rains this week made that section too muddy to ride.  Kudos to the rain gods for actually making the course a little easier.

Mountain bike racing lesson from today:  Slow but steady….means you’ll finish way near the back.

 

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Tenacious D (G?)

My neice, Grace Parker, whose Fort GIbson Junior High basketball team never lost a game, recently made her debut with the high school varsity and JV teams.   They won both games, but her uncle’s indoor no-flash sports photography wasn’t very productive (Obviously, I need more-expensive lenses).  Here are a handful of shots, though.  Grace is the one with the blue headband.

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Austin (or, “If you can beat them, join them!”)

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I’ve watched OU play the Longhorns at least a dozen times.  But it’s always in Dallas, so I’d never been to a game in Austin.  By happy coincidence, I was in Austin to go to a reception at the law school honoring Robin Gibbs (the founder of my law firm) on the night before a UT/Texas Tech game.  Robin had tickets galore, so I got to see my first Longhorn ballgame in Austin.  Actually the most striking thing about it was how eerily similar it was to games in Norman — just change the colors.

Notice my hideous orange costume — I was undercover and/or trying to be at least modestly gracious to my burnt orange hosts, who somehow love their ‘horns every bit as much as we love the Sooners (Reminds me of the Police song from the 1980s — “The Russians Love Their Children, Too”.).  The “couple” in the stands is a friend and Gibbs & Bruns partner Jeff Kubin, with his sister Jennifer.  The happy family pics are the Reasoners; the pretty girl in the picture with me is my goddaughter, Olivia Reasoner.  By the way, the Longhorns won the game easily; but the Texas Tech band killed the Orange band.

Hidden Canyon – Moab Mountain Biking

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I came to Moab primarily for a photo workshop (more to come on that), but of course I brought my mountain bike.  It’s Moab, after all (mountain bike mecca).  These are just pocket camera pictures — but sometimes equipment quality is less important than LOCATION, LOCATION, LOCATION.  This is a place called “Hidden Canyon.”  It’s about a one hour mountain bike ride (over tons of slickrock!) off the road, not too far from the Canyonlands airport.  Maybe someday I’ll get a ‘real’ camera up there.

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(Actually, one of these pics — with more trees — is from a trail near downtown Moab).  And: (1) Yes, that’s my bike; (2) Yes, I took that picture of myself; (3) Yes, Mother, I know I probably shouldn’t be an hour’s ride into the wilderness by myself.