After looking over the photos of the signs of University Avenue, my friend suggested a ride. We took his car for the occasion, a 1965 Mustang. He doesn’t drive anymore, but keeps the Mustang for special trips.
I drove us down University to San Pablo. He directed me north on San Pablo and then east into the hills of unincorporated Contra Costa County. We turned onto a dirt road and then a mile later up a dirt driveway. We parked near a wreck of a house, and my friend’s friend came out and greeted us.
He took us behind a barn.
He took us inside. He switched on a table lamp.
And there it was.
Wow! From the Golden Gate International Exposition of 1939. A 100% mechanical rodeo. It moves. It talks. Its figures are all hand-carved likenesses of famous rodeo people. And they’re all dressed in authentic Western togs, miniature replicas of garments made since 1853 by Levi Strauss & Company. It was remarkably well preserved. It is almost beyond words.
But that was not all. The trailer was filled with rodeo toys on shelves on the walls. Here are a few:
I went to the California Rodeo in Salinas a few times in the 1970s. The crowd was not entirely friendly to the cause of the farm workers. We didn’t call attention to ourselves and our cause.
We drove home. I don’t have to tell you what we listened to.
Yes – “Someday Soon,” with “My parents can’t stand him because he works the rodeo” and “He loves that damned old rodeo as much as he loves me.”
I said, “Well, that was really a trip. What did you think of all that rodeo stuff?”