By John A. Dodds
With a title like this, some of you are probably speculating that this story is about another VHTRC post-race dinner outing. And you would be right.
It was a rather cool summer evening as six members of the VHTRC sauntered down the main street (Sheridan St.) in Cody, Wyoming looking for the steakhouse that had been recommended to us – the Proud Cut Saloon. It was the day after the Bighorn races in June 2004: I did the 100-miler and have since managed to block most of the memories from that race; Linda and Vicki did the 50- miler; Gary and Keith did the 50K in preparation for Western States the next weekend; and Tom sensibly didn’t do any of them as he also would be doing Western States.
Why were we in Cody when the Bighorn 100 races are near Sheridan? Because four of our group were headed west to California and wanted to stop in Cody to see the museum there and then head out to see Yellowstone the next day. Actually, only three of them were going to California. Gary told me Linda was going with them, but they were going to “dump” her at the Las Vegas airport. I asked him if he meant “drop her off,” and he thought about it for a few seconds and finally said yes. Vicki and I decided to go to Cody because we didn’t really have anything better to do, and then we would split from the group and drive back north to Billings, Montana through the Beartooth Mountains along the Beartooth Scenic Highway. This highway was built in 1936 along the route that General Sheridan took in 1882 when first crossing these mountains. It has been described by Charles Kuralt as “America’s Most Beautiful Road.” Which explains why Vicki made me stop at every overlook we came to and which in turn explains why, once we got out of the mountains, I had to drive 90 miles an hour from Red Lodge to Billings to catch our plane.
The drive from Sheridan to Cody was, shall we say, rather desolate. Since Vicki, Linda and I had flown in from Billings and at the last minute had decided to go to Cody, we didn’t have room reservations. Well, it took us a while to find the wimmin’ a place to stay. Luckily, they got a room right next to the place where the other guys had made reservations. Then it was off to the museum that everybody agreed was very nice, except Vicki and me because we went shopping instead. By early that evening, we was mighty hungry (as they say). So, we now return to the Proud Cut Saloon.
Genitalia. Upon reading the menu, I pointed out to Keith that it listed Rocky Mountain oysters. Vicki didn’t know what they were, so I asked our waitress to explain to Vicki what they were. I have to admit that the waitress was a little flustered. When Vicki finally understood what the waitress was saying, she blurted out: “I’m not eating anybody’s testicles.” Gary leaned over to her and gently said that they weren’t “anybody’s” testicles; rather, they come from an animal. Vicki let that sink in for about a nanosecond and again said, “I’m not eating anybody’s testicles.” I really wanted to tell her that they were actually the testicles of castrated sex offenders at the Wyoming State Penitentiary, but she was upset as it was, and I didn’t want to upset her any more. Anyway, Keith ordered the “oysters” and, of course, Vicki didn’t eat them (and neither did I). But everybody else thought they weren’t too bad.
Our waitress. Let me tell you a little about our waitress. Somehow it came out during the ordering process that we were a bunch of runners, and she told us that she liked the rodeo and that she was a goat roper. I have to admit that I didn’t know that that was a rodeo event; my only exposure to goat roping is the common expression of “this is a f…… goat rope.” Here’s how goat roping works: a rider on a horse starts about 70-100 feet from a goat that is tied to a stake with a rope about 8-10 feet long. The rider barrels down on the poor hapless goat, dismounts, “throws” the goat, and then ties three of the goat’s feet together with a rope. Then the person stands away, and the goat’s feet have to stay tied for about 5 seconds. Apparently, a good time for all this is about 7-9 seconds. As you can see, this is not an endurance sport. But you can be DQ’ed – this happens (although rarely) if your horse injures or kills the goat. Goat roping shouldn’t be mixed up with goat tying; this latter event is where the person ties a ribbon around the goat’s tail rather than tying the goat’s feet together. Actually, both events require great athletic ability and excellent horsemanship.
Ginger Ale. When we ordered drinks, Tom ordered a ginger ale. The aforementioned waitress brought him a can of coke and a can of club soda. By the look on Tom’s face, I could tell he was a little perplexed. It was one of those looks that said, “What the f… is this?”, but Tom was polite enough not to actually come out and say this. When he did inquire about the drinks, the waitress seemed to be a tad offended and shot back, “You did order the ginger ale, didn’t you?” and walked away. Then Tom turned to me and gave me one of those “What the f… is this?” looks. And then, putting aside all decorum, he asked me, “What the f… is this?” Hell if I knew. Between the two of us, we couldn’t figure out what a coke and club soda had to do with ginger ale. When I think back on this episode, I have to admit that this was all Tom’s fault because why would anybody order such an exotic drink as ginger ale in Wyoming? Reminds me of the time that I asked for grits in North Dakota only to get a blank stare from the waiter.
Afterwards. After dinner, several people wanted ice cream so we stopped at the “Ice Cream Parlor.” I don’t know why ice cream is so high-brow such that you buy it in places with names like “Parlor” or “Shoppe” (when everybody knows this should be “Shop”). The ice cream was good, but more importantly, Vicki had us laughing pretty hard. I’ll save that story for another time. I have to say my one big disappointment that night was that no one wanted to go to the rodeo with me (there’s a rodeo every night in Cody). They all said it was too cold. Pretty tough bunch of runners, huh?
If you ever get a hankerin’ for any of the Bighorn races, don’t forget to head on over to Cody the next day. It just might be an experience you won’t forget (no matter how hard you try).