The Clackers

“She’s not happy unless everyone around her is panicked, nauseous or suicidal.”

“And the clackers just worship her!”

“The who?”

“They call them clackers. The sound their stilettos make in the marble lobby. Clack Clack Clack Clack Clack”

-The Devil Wears Prada

It’s a good day when I can quote “The Devil Wears Prada.”

Working at the University here in town, there are many times I hear clacking shoes coming down the hallway. The first time I heard them, I assumed it was another professional working at the University, wearing high heels (and I immediately thought of the Devil Wears Prada because…. Come on… that movie is AMAZING). However, my assumption was wrong.

Here in Kansas, the clacking of shoes down the hallway many times isn’t women in stilettos— but men in cowboy boots. My brain has had to rewire in a way to common sounds, but different origins of the sounds. It has become somewhat of a game for me to try to determine whether the clacking is high heels or cowboy boots.

This is one of the things that I have actually grown to like about Kansas. Kansas surprises me in different ways, whether it is the sounds that I hear from places I don’t expect (like cowboy boots) or the endless sky above. There really are quite a few things in nature to enjoy here in Kansas and the weather is often quite good….. Entertainment on the other hand is somewhat hard to come by.

When Brandon and I moved from California to Kansas, it wasn’t because of the vast amount of entertainment offered– shocking right?

We were definitely concerned going from a life of hiking every day, driving to the ocean any time we wanted, and taking random day trips to wander San Francisco to living in a small town that didn’t even have a target. (Yes, this is how I would judge my ability to be able to live somewhere and enjoy the place I live in.)— The nearest target to us is an hour and a half……. **sob**

Since moving to Kansas, we have found a few places to hike and for Brandon to go mountain biking. I’ve also found a couple quality places to shop in town that satisfy my crafting desires. Even so, we have to do a bit of searching for weekend activities.

FHSU does offer a number of events throughout the month that they advertise on their homepage. A couple weeks ago, Mike, Kim and I went to see Coach Boone from “Remember the Titans” speak about his experiences when coaching the Titans. **Spoiler alert** He did NOT make the players run from the campus to Gettysburg. They definitely took the bus.

One event that was advertised recently was the 51st Annual Fort Hays State Rodeo. When I saw this, I was STOKED! First of all, it meant that something was happening in Hays for an entire weekend (Wooohoooo!) Also,  I had remembered going to a rodeo at the Wisconsin State fair as a kid and really enjoyed watching the cowboys ride the bucking broncos and the cowgirls race their horses around barrels.

Kim, Brandon and I attended the rodeo on saturday night. We joked about feeling out of place when we arrived in Kim’s Kia Soul next to all the huge pick up trucks in the parking lot. I’m not going to lie, I really thought about what I was going to wear to the rodeo because I didn’t want to stand out too much by wearing a fancy shirt or nice shoes. (After being at the rodeo for a few hours, I am considering getting some cowgirl boots!)

The stands of the arena were filled with cowboys wearing “snappies” or plaid shirts with snaps rather than buttons, boot cut jeans, along with cowboy boots and hats. The girls were similarly dressed with their bootcut jeans (often with fancy designs on the back pockets), boots and cowgirl hats.

We enjoyed watching events including bronco riding, barrel runs, goat tying, and steer wrestling. During one of the last bull riding events, one of the bulls basically just walked out of the gate and then laid down while the rider was on its back– clearly not having it haha. Then the bull would run to the other end of the arena and lay down again. It was so funny!

Being at the rodeo seeing the men and women in the events as well as the fans in the stands made me think of the lifestyle these people live. It seemed like such a more “simple” life. People getting out on the land, tending to their critters and getting their hands dirty.

And yet, I can only image the amount of work that goes into ranching or farming. As a kid, my mom would threaten to take us to a farm for a week to work if we didn’t behave. (I always secretly wanted her to actually take us.) My mom grew up working on her family farms and knew what went into it.

The people in the stands didn’t seem to be so concerned with fashion, money, having the coolest gadgets or knowing the upcoming trends before they became big in the mainstream. These men, women and families just wanted to be out to support each other and watch some “old fashioned” entertainment.

I mean… let’s be honest… it does seem kind of primitive to be wrestling a steer to the ground with your bare hands. I imagine a young guy rounding up his cattle and one is giving him a hard time, not wanting to follow the crowd. So the guy jumps off his horse and wrestles this steer to the ground to get it to do what he wants. Or a bunch of ranch hands trying to show who is stronger by wrestling cattle to the ground.

I gotta admit, there is an appeal to this lifestyle. You work hard  and then you get to play hard (like competing in the rodeo.) You have to practice the events, but even so, when you work with live animals, things most likely aren’t going to go like you expect (like the bull that just laid down.)

It was clear that these people competing and observing from the stands were a connected group of people. Cheering each other on– checking in on each other after being bucked off a horse. There is a real focus on community and feeling like part of a community is important to all of us.

Kansas may not have a lot going on all the time, but the places we have been and the things we have been able to do so far have been great experiences.

Have any of you every been to Kansas/ have suggestions of fun things to do?



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