i got to austin's rope zone around 6:40 a.m. it was dark still. a few cowboys were already at the rodeo grounds having spent the night in their horse trailers. no one stirred. i started the installations on the outhouses using my car headlights and witnessed one of the most beautiful sunrises i'd seen in a while.
one of the first people to come stumbling out of his trailer was fred. he said he was from idaho and was contracted to be the announcer for the rodeo. he ambled on into the outhouse. when he came out he said "...where else would you find a black guy applying wallpaper to the outside of an outhouse at 7 in the morning at a rodeo on an indian reservation? only in america." i liked fred.
austin and his crew arrived about 8 a.m. though i've talked to him several times about pasting the announcer's stand, i hadn't seen him since this time last year.
step + sam on the outhouses. i didn't stick around long enough to notice whether people picked up the male + female outhouse options. i guess in the end, it didn't really matter.
everybody loves a parade
one of the highlights for me at the tuba city fair parade is the navajo nation marching band. i love them. i'm not sure what year they were formed. (i'll google it later. actually, i just googled it and couldn't find the answer. more on this later.) the thing that strikes me about them is that it feels like a real community - there's young people and older people making music representing the navajo nation together. i love their "uniforms" and their passion for what they do.
this year i finally talked a bit with one of the majorettes as she was warming up. i mentioned that i first started coming to the parade about 20 years ago and that i'd seen her performing with the band in years past. i told her i was happy she was still out representing. i think she said her name is laura begay and that this is her 30th year as a majorette. like fred would ask - where else are you going to find a majorette who's still at it 30 years down the road? here's to laura begay. you go girl!
as happens in all dynamic communities, older people pass on what they know to the next generation. laura said she's been passing her skills on...
it's weird. i don't know why i get weepy eyed looking at these images from yesterday. the thing that struck me as i was taking the photos was people making private moments public as they did their make up and got their hair together. looking at the photos now, i'm struck by people's sense of pride and their trust to let a total stranger who started the morning wallpapering outhouses come into their lives to capture their private moments.
until next year...