Ah, the rodeo. Though it rolls around only one week per year, it brings with it all the pageantry and pomp of Christmas--only with more manure. When the rodeo's in town, the girls winch up the zippers of their tightest hot-pink Wranglers, and the boys carefully tuck in their "I'm Not Mr. Right, But I'll [Hug] You 'Til He Gets Here" shirts. Swag peddlers strategically set up their card tables of tractor brochures and chewing tobacco samples next to the Jack Daniels stand. And everybody who's anybody reserves a few evenings to devote to the timeless thrill of watching a herd animal scurry at top speed around a closed course while someone tries to "wrangle" it in any number of different ways.
Oregon State Police can relate to that last part the best. After all, Oregon officers pulled over 94 speeding carloads of herd animals--the two-legged kind--along a 100-mile stretch of Highway 95 along the Idaho-Oregon border last week, while the agency posted extra patrols during the annual Jordan Valley Rodeo in Jordan Valley. Between noon on Friday, May 18, and 9 p.m. on Sunday, May 20, officers handed out 132 warnings and 49 citations, including three DUIs, nine open container violations and one for possession of methamphetamine. Arresting drivers on their way home from a rodeo may sound easier than roping a legless calf, but banking on cowboys' short memories has worked well for OSP. After all, not only was this year's DUI haul larger than last year's, but this is also the second consecutive year that the increased rodeo patrols resulted in a meth bust. Last year, when an officer south of Jordan Valley pulled over a 2001 Honda Civic with Ada County plates for going 86 mph in a 55 mph zone, he found a Nestle hot cocoa box containing half of a pound of crystal meth in the trunk.