Sunday, September 14, 2014

Friday night at the fairgrounds

My sweetie and I went to the Bubba Can Barbecue Cook-off at the Navasota Fairgrounds Friday night. Our friend Mitch invited us. A big karaoke contest was the centerpiece of the entertainment. Eighteen contestants were vying for a $1,000 first prize, and Mitch was one of the judges.

Woodsmoke perfumed with chicken, pork, and beef cooking in barrel drums, slathered with secret sauces and rubs, filled our nostrils as we entered the fairgrounds. Campers converted to cookhouses bordered the covered pavilion. We sampled the ribs and found seats on the aluminum stadium bleachers. The stage, bathed in neon violet light, was at the opposite end of the dirt arena. Kids were running wild, kicking up dust like tumbleweeds. The smallest among them swirled with their arms spread like desert dervishes. Their skin shimmered in the neon glow.

Next to the beer concession, a local vendor sold  girly baseball caps encrusted with sparkling glass crystals,  trays of costume jewelry, blinged out cigarette holders, and purses with compartments for concealed handguns. Business was steady.

The karaoke choices ran the gamut, from traditional western swing to the downtown blues to old time rock 'n roll. Supporters punched the air with their fists and whooped and hollered. Dozens of couples danced in the dirt in front of the stage. The contestants seemed to love the convivial merrymaking. We sure did, and we joined in.

The men were dressed in jeans, sleeveless western shirts or cotton t-shirts, and boots, their heads covered with straw cowboy hats or billed caps; western tooled holsters filled with cell phones hung from their leather belts. Their partners were dressed in blue-jean cut-offs and colorful tops with spaghetti straps. They were long-haired and long-legged, swinging and swaying in step with the music.

My sweetie got in a discussion about Harley motorcycles overheating in traffic with Mark, the husband of one of the barbecue cook-off contenders. Ronnie told Mark about the numerous times we had to pull over on the side of the road in Houston because the Harley trike overheated and stalled out.  The last time was in 100-plus degree heat, and we thought we were going to die of heat stroke. Shortly thereafter, we surrendered that trike for a water-cooled Honda Goldwing trike.

Mark shrugged. "I dunno, man. I have a Harley now and I gotta say, it runs great. No trouble at all."
Ronnie was sure the man was joking. "Really??? Not even in traffic?" The man smiled. "Man, I live in the country and I work in Navasota. What traffic?"

Point well made.

One of the benefits of small town living is the absolute lack of traffic jams, (except for the bumper-to-bumper lines at the railroad crossings that dissect the town). Ron and I feel like hamsters on a wheel in Houston. It's nice to enjoy a cool night at the Navasota Fairgrounds and be reminded that we are lucky enough to have an escape plan from the city.