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Always Take Unexpected Opportunities

This post finishes off the end of my trip to see the 2016 Ada Firemen’s Rodeo parade on October 22nd. I wanted to separate this last event because I feel that it emphasizes something I think is important for anyone to do. Always take the unexpected paths or opportunities, even if it takes you a bit further out of your way than usual. I say this because you will never know where you’ll end up or what you might have missed out if you say “nah, I think I’ll pass today.” My anecdote begins when I departed from the rodeo parade, about 45 minutes before the actual rodeo event started. As a background, Ada is about 2 hours away from Stillwater, it was after 6pm at this point, and I needed to drive back that evening (preferably not in the dark). So I thought hey, I should at least go down to the Agriplex and see if maybe they would let me in to take a couple pictures then go since the events wouldn’t be starting for quite a while. What happened instead was I talked to this nice greeter whose name I, unfortunately, didn’t catch, but he said he worked for the fire department. He got excited when I told him what my project was about and told me I should go down to the station and ask them about this book they had about the history of the rodeo. I thought to myself “BINGO, this is it!” So I scooted back into downtown Ada and parked near the fire station. The first thing I saw when I got out was this young boy all dressed up for the rodeo. The kids mutton bustin’ was apparently a really popular event and he was sure dressed for the part! His mother was standing nearby so I asked her if they minded if I took a picture of him for my project. She laughed and said something along the lines of “oh he would just love that!” So, I did. Here is one of the official contestants in the kids mutton bustin’ event for the Ada Firemen’s Rodeo, 2016!

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He was pretty adorable and I was so impressed by the outfit coordination and chaps (that’s what they’re called, right?). Her husband was actually a fireman at the station, so I walked up to a couple of them and tentatively started my little speech on my Ada rodeo project and told them about the guy down at the Agriplex who told me to come here and ask them. At first, I was worried that they were busy and would shoo me away, but that small town hospitality shone through even more when they gladly attempted to assist me in finding that Ada rodeo history book. After a little while another guy joined in but, unfortunately, we came up empty handed. I was super thankful regardless and ended up trading emails with one of the firemen in case they found the book to let me know. I didn’t want to leave completely empty handed though. That’s when I saw the picture. It was up on the highest shelf of photographs in their waiting hallway, pretty dusty, but it shone like a diamond in the rough. It was a picture of the firemen in front of the same Central Fire Station holding up a sign that displayed “Firemen’s Rodeo”, signed 1940. I asked them if it was at all possible for me to get a copy of the image. Once again, they were happy to help. At first they were out of copy paper, then someone suggested taking a picture of it on my phone, but then I thought “why not just scan it?” Although at this point I felt like I might be pushing my welcome, I suggested scanning the image. Thankfully they decided that was the better option and I got to walk away with a brand new crisp digital image of probably the only copy of that photo left. In case you’re curious, here it is.scan

Look familiar? It’s the cover photo! I felt like I had liberated this image from its dusty shelf and given it new life. These types of things you can only find by digging a little deeper and asking more questions than you might initially want to. Which is why I think it’s so important to always try and go a step beyond what you feel comfortable doing and excel further than you expected. You will find out there is so much more to explore and discover, like this dusty image of the rodeo I’m trying to uncover. I left Ada with my gear in tow and headed back to Stillwater to finish up my other all day event I took a ‘brief’ departure from. I couldn’t wait to go back and do some more digging with the Ada Evening Newspaper which would be another day, and another blog post.

Basically, moral of the story is go above and beyond yourself, even when you’re tired and about to drive another two hours in the sunset to go run another event until midnight even though you’ve been up since 7am. You can do it. I promise. And you’ll thank yourself for it later.

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