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The hidden years in Canada 61, the races

Door San-Daniel gepubliceerd op Monday 15 June 13:57


The races

The oldtimer, singin'whippy, finished singing and we all fell still. We had a picture in the head of how it had been. Men still just sitting around a fire that slowly smoltered away and some small talk about how the day had been. Singin'whippy or another cowboy would put in a song and after that they’d roll over with a satisfied feeling to wake up at first light with the smell of coffee from the smelly cook, John Dung.

Now there was a tense atmosphere in the stands, reaching out over the racetrack and passing the lawn where the cowboys were still apparently quietly at their fire. A sound truck appeared on the track that made a round and announced that the Stampede chuckwagon race was about to begin. I understood the oldtimer, at once. This was nothing, it was not even a reflection of what he had been through in his riding life. This was hyped business, teams that were sponsored by multinationals with their brand names written on the hood of the wagon.

John stinkin' Dung would not have believed his eyes. The carts were in the form of wagons but they were heavily modified. The hood was made low, so that they would catch less wind. It would have looked nothing like his cooking wagon. The oldtimer only came  for the sound  swelling up that came from thundering hooves, for the rest of the Stampede, it had come into the hands of managers. It was false nostalgia. One reason to lure many people into a town to celebrate and party and make money of them, it had turned into a tourist attraction. All under the pretext of cultural cowboy heritage. A heavy level of Japanese who go to Holland, there to be photographed with valve trousers and clogs on their feet, next to a windmill and posing as fishermen, while keeping some fake attributes in hand.


Ya hoo, ride em cowboy! We were  with five of us in a row, we visited the stampede and of those five people al in line, the old-timer was the only one who had been on a horse. There is always a hankering for nostalgia, the memories that pass through a filter before they take shape and making it look like each summer day, was nice and warm and filled with  ice cream and every winter cold with long skating trips, light-hearted Anto pieck scenes. The memory filter removes the pain of the memories and make them into something that you desire. Disneyland or the Stampede, both sell the same product, a make-believe world.

The starting gun sounded and the Cowboys rallied up and in a few seconds, the poles lay behind in the covered wagon and barbeque`s were thrown aboard. The first drivers had their span are already in the right direction and began the eight-shaped figures before shooting up onto the track. Ya hoo, roared a man next to us and he waved enthusiastically with his hat. Ride Em boy !!

All the cowboys were fast and furious otherwise they would not have been sent by their ranch to defend the honor and the first wagons were already on the sand track and dust rose up. The drivers whipped the horses with a whip while they became part of the reins and you heard them faintly above the rumble of hooves and wheels, encourage and incite their horses with short phrases, the 'giddyups, and ride em and rollin' filled the air. It was exciting, put in scene or not, whether or not with sponsors, it was exciting. You bounced along in your seat as if you were controlling such a span. Now, parts of the track side became hidden from view by a curtain of dust thrown up...


..and that’s where it went wrong, terribly wrong. From what we could see at a distance, a cart hit  with his rear wheel, the front wheel of a wagon which he wanted to pass, it happened at the turn of the track. The overtaking cowboy caught the corner too sharply and now hooked his rear wheel behind the front wheel of the man he almost had overtaken. The wheel came loose and the car sank with all speed through it’s suspension and hit the ground and hit and rolled over and over, while the horses were distorted in the span. I became aware that I was standing with my hand over my mouth in dismay. The cowboy was now crushed by his own cart and the next covered wagons plowed into the rolling cart, and there was only the sound of neighing and creaking wood. Pile up sounded from loudspeakers cut cut. But even though the race was stopped, the chaos was complete.


‘Let's go,’ said Bev 'and she got up, ‘I can no longer bear it, "and we shuffled along the people. I saw  towards the exit,  the oldtimer with legs in the typical 'o' shape leave as well, he obviously could not bear it either.

San Daniel 2015

for information  about the books of San Daniel presss  this  link

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