Parking Peeves

We go to a lot of rodeos during the year. When I’m hauling horses, I try to get to the arena early enough to find an easy place to park. I hate backing up trailers, but I really hate doing it when I have an audience. It always amazes me how other people pull in and think of only themselves.

I just watched a person pull in to the rodeo grounds, late of course, and park right in front of the one walk-through gate that everyone uses to get from the trailers to the arena. I kept waiting for them to move their trailer ahead or back up so they weren’t blocking everyone’s access. Instead, they unloaded their horses and tied them up.

Because of that one trailer, everyone had to walk around those horses and trailer to get back and forth all day. Didn’t bother them a bit.

And I have to say, that’s one generalization about rodeo people that I have found is fairly consistent: they are rude. Not all rodeo contestants, of course. But a majority of parents and adult competitors seem to think that they are the only ones who matter at any given rodeo.

Last year, I pulled to a rodeo the night before it was going to start and parked in the spot we wanted. We set up our horse pen, got our little spot ready, and figured there was plenty of room for everyone else to park around us.

One trailer backed in perpendicular to us close to dark. But they left enough room so that we didn’t feel stifled.

Then about midnight, another trailer pulled in and backed in right in front of my pickup. I had unhooked the trailer and pulled ahead about four feet, in case we needed to run into town.

This guy decided that parking his trailer perpendicular to mine, leaving about two feet of space between their trailer and my pickup, was acceptable behavior. When I asked him if he could park somewhere else, he told me to go to hell. You see, they wanted to park near their friends.

So, I took pictures of how close they were to my pickup, I took pictures of their horses’ butts leaned up against the hood of my pickup. And I did it where they would know I was taking pictures of them.

When the mom confronted me about it, I told her that if any damage was done to my pickup by their horses or them, I had proof of how close they had parked to me.  At one point, they moved their horses to the other side of the trailer, but for the most part, they were obnoxious and entitled all weekend.

When I was trying to get my pickup hooked up on Sunday, the dad and son watched me struggle for fifteen minutes. I had no room to maneuver my pickup because of how close they had parked. Neither offered to help guide me. At most rodeos, the teenage boys will jump right up and help me get hooked up. Help me carry things to and from the pickup. Help with anything that I need. Those boys are friends with my sons and are a great bunch of kids to be around. But the people parked next to me couldn’t have cared less if they had made my task harder. The sad part is that that boy is going to be exactly like his dad when he grows up: selfish and arrogant.

These same people did the same thing to me a couple of years ago. At that rodeo, they had a huge field to park in but chose to park right on top of us. My sons had a roping dummy set out to practice on, and these people actually moved the dummy to right beside our trailer. I moved it back to the original place we had put it out.

They did that three times.

I finally told them to leave our property alone. If they wanted more room, they could move. After all, there were several acres of available space.

You see, I don’t really care where people park as long as they leave me, and my things, alone. When I go early to a rodeo and park with plenty of space around me, I expect to have that space respected. No one else has the right to move my things or my horses or park so close that we can’t tie our horses up to our own trailer. (Yep, I’ve had that happen, too.)

A few years ago, I finally started putting out lawn chairs, so that no one could park that close to my rig. I don’t take up an exhorbinent amount of room, but at the same time, I don’t think I should have to put up with people encroaching on my personal space.

When our boys first started competing, we actually had someone’s horse back into our suburban and put a big dent in it. At first, they agreed to pay for repair. But when I called his insurance agent on Monday, the guy had changed his story.

They claimed our dog made his horse back into our vehicle because our dog bit the horse. The horse was actually resting its butt on our suburban.

The agent asked if I had gotten any pictures. Of course, I hadn’t. He asked if we moved our suburban. I told him we had parked there first. He asked if we asked the other people to move. I told him that we had. We asked them to move over and we asked them to move their horses. Only after they caused damage to our vehicle did they move.

And of course, they got their entire family to lie for them, so we couldn’t recoup any damages from them. It was after that incident that I started taking pictures anytime I felt someone was parked too close. And I’ve gotten brave enough to ask people to move, either their horses or their vehicle, if they are parked close enough to cause damage.

This is just a pet peeve of mine. It’s something that should be common sense and respect for others. But it rarely turns out that way.

Rodeo folk, for the most part, pull into a competition, and just shut down. They don’t think about anyone else coming in behind them. They don’t think about what they might be blocking.

One night at a barrel race, a woman roared into the parking lot and shut her pickup off, parking perpendicular to about six other rigs. She didn’t check to see if anyone would be leaving. She didn’t worry about blocking anyone’s view of anything. She just unloaded her horses and went about her business, like she was entitled to anything she wanted. Damn anyone else’s needs.

Similarly, I’ve been at horse functions and have been sitting in a good spot, only to have people come and stand in front of me. They think that standing at the fence is the priority to those of us sitting in bleachers. I’ve had to ask people to sit down at a college rodeo – indoors – because my son was about to compete and they were standing right in front of us instead of sitting in their seats. And they had the nerve to flip me off and call me names! Loudly enough for security to hear. Alcohol played a factor in that interaction. When security stepped in, those folks decided to leave the rodeo.

For those of you out there who try to park with others in mind: thank you. For those who don’t: maybe put yourself in someone else’s shoes once in a while. We’re all there to compete. We’re all there to have a good weekend. Don’t infringe on someone else’s space or park on top of others. Have some respect for fellow competitors.







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