Hours spent in front of the rodeo events on the Outdoor Life Network have taught us valuable lessons that one day may save our lives. If a bull throws you, get right back up; it'll keep coming for you, and you want to be mobile. If a horse throws you, stay in one place (hitting your thigh with your hat is acceptable, though); broncos run from the rider once they're free. But the most important lesson learned is that we're not cut out to be rodeo clowns, let alone rodeo cowboys. As glamorous as the lifestyle seems to be and as rockin' as Thin Lizzy's "Cowboy Song" is, willingly strapping oneself to the back of a half-ton of live beef and then hoping said beef neither throws you into orbit nor stomps a mudhole in your back is not the career path for the lazy, sulky, chain-smoking crybabies of the world (guilty on all counts!).
Fortunately, the men and women of the Major League Rodeo circuit are cut out for the glory of rodeo, and they'll be puttin' it all on the line in the World's Toughest Bulls and Broncs competition at 7:30 p.m. at the St. Charles Family Arena (2002 Arena Parkway, St. Charles; 314-534-1111) on Friday and Saturday (January 14 and 15). It's all the dirt-pounding, neck-snapping, hat-throwing, yee-hawing machismo you see on TV, except it's live! Tickets are $10 to $30, and you can bet we'll be there, shielding our eyes and sobbing uncontrollably every time a cowboy hits the dirt. -- Paul Friswold
On the Fly
The eagles have landed
Rivers belong where they can ramble; eagles belong where they can fly. And that's why, every year around this time, thousands of bald eagles migrate south from Canada and come to fish in Missouri's unfrozen rivers and lakes -- something you can witness this weekend at the old Chain of Rocks Bridge (one block south of I-270 along Riverview Drive in Missouri, and south of I-270 along State Route 3 in Illinois).
The free, tenth annual Eagle Days program takes place Saturday and Sunday (January 15 and 16) from 8 a.m. to 3 p.m both days. Spotting scopes and a warming tent will be set up on the bridge, and an educational eagle program is offered every half-hour from 10 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. For more information about parking and the event, visit www.trailnet.org/eagle_days.htm or call 314-877-1309. -- Rose Martelli