Monday, August 9, 2010

National Bikers Roundup

Thank you for the sweet comments about the fact I was not whining but just telling what's going on. Sometimes I feel bad talking about the frustrations with this because I know there are people in the world going through a whole lot worse things than this so I don't like to "complain" about adoption stuff. But this junk is so frustrating. Absolutely maddening at times. There are times I just want to scream and throw things because I get so frustrated. Then other times I'm fine with it and I just go on with our day to day life, but I never stop thinking about it. There hasn't been a day in the last 5 years that I haven't had some kind of infertility/adoption thought go through my head. Some thoughts have been positive, some are negative, but it's always there. It's a monkey on my back that has grown into the size of a large ape! I'm just ready to get him off of there!

Anyway, on to the National Bikers Roundup. We had The Icebox at this event last week. Jay worked so hard this summer getting things ready for this. Then last week he really worked his tail off going back and forth between Ozark Empire and Columbia – taking care of our cattle and the stand. I wish I could say the event was successful, but it didn't turn out like we had hoped. But on the plus side we did learn a lot. Some about the business and some on a more personal level. We know we will never travel with the stand that far again. We are going to keep it local so we never have to pay for hotel rooms again. That was our biggest killer. Also, if we had known that it really wasn't worth opening it until Friday night, that would've helped a lot. Again, it would've saved us on the rooms and the labor, but you live and learn. Owning a business is never easy and the first year is definitely all about learning. Don't worry, The Icebox will still be around for many summers to come!

The NBR is an event that travels all over the US. Last year it was in Atlanta…next year it will be either Vegas or Houston. Another thing working against us was that it was in Columbia. I don't think you can really compare Columbia, Mo to something held in Atlanta. We heard there were 200,000 people in Atlanta but only about 25,000 in Columbia. St. Louis actually won the vote last year, but there wasn't a place large enough to handle something this size. That's how it ended up in Columbia.

Even though there were only 25,000 – there seemed to be people everywhere. I can not imagine what Atlanta would've been like. I didn't take our camera so I tried taking pictures with my iPhone. It did not do it justice. There were people and bikes everywhere. It pretty much consisted of the observers lining this paved walkway at the fair grounds while the bikers rode their bikes up and down the walkway. The bikes were so loud and I think all of us had headaches by the end of the night. Also, they were definitely night owls. We finally closed down the stand at 3:30 am Sunday morning. We did not get to our hotel until 4am. I am way too old for that!!

We were also in the minority at this event. I think it was maybe 2% Caucasian and the other 98% was Black. One of the boys we took is Hispanic. Sunday morning he asked the other two boys how it felt being in the minority because he is usually the only one who's different. The way he said it was funny, but it is the truth. We live in such a small community and we never experience anything but being around other Caucasian's. Most of us have no idea what it is like to be "different". Jay and I had a taste of it when we went to CA, but nothing like what we just came from. I will say though I never felt weird or out of place, I actually had a pretty good time. The only time I was ever worried about anything was when I walked to the bathroom – and that was only because I didn't want to get hit by a bike. There were so many going different directions that it was really hard to cross the walkway. Some of the bikes were going pretty fast. I can't even begin to describe what that part was like. Of course I wondered why anyone would want drive to Columbia, Mo to sit in the heat and watch a bunch of bikes. Then I thought they would probably wonder why anyone would load up a bull and a heifer, drive them to Sedalia, Mo, sit in the heat, and watch people lead them around a show ring. Pretty much it's the same difference.

So all in all, it was a good experience for all of us. I know the boys that went with us probably heard and saw a lot over those few days. This thing was calmer than the Sturgis stories we've all heard, but it still wasn't your garden variety county fair either. Who knows, maybe someday some of them will own a bike and want to travel to this thing again. Jay and I know for sure though that The Icebox WILL NOT make an appearance in Vegas or Houston next year. We are sticking close to our own bed from now on!

Even though our two big events this summer – this rally and the embryo transfer – didn't turn out the way we wanted, it was still a good experience for us. Normally I am a "play it safe" type of person. I never want to get outside my comfort zone with anything. I think I've even been in a "comfort zone" with waiting for an adoption. This summer was definitely all about us taking chances and stepping outside our normal areas of comfort. No one can say the Shepherd's didn't try during the 2010 Summer!

No comments: