This post was supposed to be a light-hearted, jovial story about my first experience at a rodeo and my annual trip to the demolition derby, but due to recent events, it’s just not gonna work out that way. I have had an outline for this post for a couple of weeks already, anticipating what I expected. Naturally it was divided into three sections: the rodeo, the derby, and the food.
And then Saturday, August 13th happened. The devastating tragedy left the Indiana State Fair closed the following day, and it re-opened on Monday morning with a memorial service for the fallen spectators. The rodeo that was scheduled for Monday evening was cancelled. All of my one-liners referring to the rodeo suddenly don’t seem as funny.
I didn’t have a whole lot of interest in going in the first place, but the admission was free and it would be a first-time experience for me, which is something that I’m always up for. I was ready to start a continuous cycle of yelling, “Save a horse, ride a cowboy.” I was ready to cowboy up, saddle into the grandstands, and keep my eyes peeled for the longest 8 seconds of my life. Now I don’t want to even think about the grandstands.
My wife and I missed the news of what happened Saturday evening. We were in a different part of the city, and only noticed the heavy traffic exiting the fairgrounds as we returned to our neighborhood, but still were not aware of what had transpired. Once we returned home, we began watching a movie before seeing any newscasts. Then we lost power for the remainder of the night, quite literally leaving us in the dark of the events of that evening. Only upon watching a recorded show Sunday morning from Saturday night did I notice the news scrolling along the bottom line, but no details were included. I informed my wife of what happened, but neither of us still understood the severity. It wasn’t until after talking to a friend at church Sunday morning, that we finally understood what had happened. Immediately upon returning home, I booted up my laptop and scoured the internet for more information. There were articles posted from the L.A Times, Chicago Tribune, and New York Times. Then we learned of the YouTube video. (Warning! Content may be very upsetting to watch!) Initially, I had zero interest in clicking on that link. The last thing I wanted to see was the horrific images that the video had to offer. Eventually, my curiosity got the better of me and I sat in silence as I watched the horror unfold. The video lasts less than a minute, but you can see thousands of lives change forever.
At the very end, a tear came to my eye. Not (ONLY) because I was sad, but because I was proud. As soon as the stage hit the ground, long before the dust had even settled, the screen filled with bystanders rushing the stage to try to lift it off of the victims. It’s times like these that I’m reminded of how good the human nature is. We may not get to see it everyday, but when it counts it is overwhelming how good people can be.
If you don’t feel like scrolling back up to the links, I will include them again here.
YouTube video (Warning! Content may be very upsetting to watch!)
Please take a moment of silence to pray for the victims and their loved ones.
Thank you, that is all.