Home on the Range

Tuesday, August 20, 2013

Howdy, folks.  Just get ready.  The past weekend fulfilled every single stereotype that every single one of my New Yorker friends believes about life out west.  For proper background knowledge and clarification of what exactly I mean, please watch this movie...

So the weekend was pretty much just like that.  Minus the Patrick Dempsey Tiffany proposal.  It wasn't that good.  Also minus the gorgeous long-lost love.  But other than that, totally the same.  In my mind, I looked just like Reese Witherspoon.  I always did love that black dress she's wearing.  Small town carnival and foreign-looking traditions and people who would never want anything else.  Only in America.

You see, it was Old Settlers weekend in Mulvane, Kansas.  Old Settlers weekend.  Just pause for a minute and picture that in your mind.  It's just like that.  Baby Sister and I started the weekend with the Old Settlers parade, pretty much right down Main Street.  The Patriot Guard kicked off the parade.  They're the ones who protest the protesters at military funerals so that families don't have to hear the mean people.  So we like them.  Parade festivities continued with every single sports team in town...

Of course, the main event was the bank float with our very own Just Matt.  

Also incredibly entertaining/slightly concerning/totally puzzling?  The church pushing grocery carts, army helicopter with guns pointed at the crown, Christian mime troupe (seriously), covered wagons, and random farm vehicles.  This, my friends, is small town life.

After the parade, Baby Sister and I headed over to what was sure to be the highlight of this tiny town's entire year.  The Old Settlers festival.  The whole town (plus several other towns) come out for the carnival, rodeo, concerts, and craft fairs lining the tiny streets of this little place.  At Old Settlers, everything seems to be a miniature version of itself...but these people love it.

After Old Settlers, Baby Sister, Just Matt and I headed down I-35 to Oklahoma City, where the western fun weekend continued.  Now, you should know that there are two very different versions of Oklahoma City.  The one that involves an up-and-coming downtown, hot young professionals scene, and Thunder basketball...and the one in Stockyard City.  If you're in the market for movie-like, cow-wrangling Oklahoma, this is your place.  Need new cowboy boots or a rodeo shirt?  You've come to the right neighborhood.

We make the Stockyard City trip exactly one time per year, for a birthday dinner at Cattlemen's Cafe.  In the market for an upscale, fancy, trendy steak?  Probably not your best choice.  But in the market for Oklahoma steak with Oklahoma cowboys and "famous" menu items I pretend not to notice because they serve every part of the cow?  Go to Cattlemen's.

That, my friends, is the Midwest at it's finest.  For all you New Yorkers out there who don't believe this is real, please feel free to come visit for your own personal western tour, complete with cowboy boots.  And for all of you that don't think there's life beyond the rodeo?  I can't wait to show you the more urban areas of Oklahoma and Kansas.  

But the first time you drive into the Oklahoma sunset or through the Flint Hills of Kansas?  You'll understand why God made those flyover states.

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