Friday, July 10, 2009

Anachronistic Careers

I've had a couple late nights this week and realized that I was conditioned from a very young age to be self-employed in an anachronistic career. I was up late on Tuesday night and turned on the Calgary Stampede's Chuckwagon Races, and I've been hooked ever since. Its an evening event in Calgary, so with the time difference in St. John's, I watch it from 11:30pm-1:00am. Tonight is the last night of the qualifying rounds and this year they've introduced a pair of semi-final races on Saturday night and, of course, the big race for the top prize money is on Sunday night.

When I was young, my dad helped train a neighbor's chuckwagon team in the spring, so I can remember visiting his farm and making a couple trips to the barns at the Stampede. For the most part, my dad couldn't understand sports. He thought that if someone had enough energy to chase a puck or a ball, then they should be doing something useful, like stack bales of hay or shovel grain. Since there's plenty of that to do in the barns at the wagon races, it was an acceptable sport in our house. Its also a fairly honest sport. The outfits are racing for money and they don't try to hide it with cups or trophies or pennants. They do get belt buckles and trucks and bronze statues for winning, but they still talk about those in dollar amounts. I suppose its like golf that way, although golf would only qualify as a sport on our farm if they let the grass grow high enough that you could bale it into greenfeed once in a while. I can remember using a ditch next to a golf course once to unload horses and one of them getting away. It ran over a couple of greens and the only way dad could catch it was to get on another horse and go after it, punching more holes in the golf course. One of my teachers was golfing at the time. I think that incident is probably reflected on my report card somewhere.

Anyhow, if there's a point to this post, I was intending to illustrate the things that I learned from my dad that I apply to my work today. I learned on the farm that its possible to making a living by being self-employed, and that you don't need to let the century that you were born in limit you when looking for career options. And don't unload horses on to a golf course... if there's anybody watching.
Photo Credits:
Top, Middle: Tim Rast
Bottom: Doris Rast

Photo Captions:
Top: Chuckwagon Races at the Calgary Stampede in the early 1980s
Middle: Wendel Eresman and his training wagon on his farm, ca. 1980
Bottom: Branding day on our farm. Usually we just run the calves into the chute and brand them there, but we had family from the city visiting and they wanted to hold the calf down like they do on TV. I'm handing my dad an iron and keeping an eye on the other irons in the stove. Ca. 1980, but everyone's secretly imagining that its 1880.

1 comment:

  1. I didn't grow up around horses or wagons and find the races a bit stressful. I just sit there with my hands covering my eyes hoping a wagon doesn't tip over and a horse doesn't trip.
    But in keeping with the western theme, I've chosen instead to re-watch "Deadwood" which has its share of horses and wagons.
    I remember the first time I met Tim's Dad. We took a drive just north of St. John's and stopped along a cliff overlooking the ocean. Ernie stood there searching the huge expanse of our North Atlantic and all he could say was, "what a waste, that would make some great pasture".


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