Know what word’s most often seen out with rodeo?
Drive. By a country mile.
Now, if you’re thinking, “Wait, you don’t drive in a rodeo,” well, you’re right. You don’t. You shop. And not in. On. Rodeo Drive.
It’s in Beverly Hills.
They say it “ro-day-o.”
Yeah, yeah, yeah, I know. Ain’t that the most citified, prettified thing? I mean, OK, yeah, the word rodeo comes from Spanish (from rodear, “go round” – as in “round up”), and in Spanish they pronounce it “ro-day-o.” But come on. Just try saying it that way in Calgary. Or, rather, don’t. It would be like going to the icefields and saying glacier like “gla-zeer.” It’s “roady-o.”
And most of the other things that go with rodeo go with the real kind of rodeo: clown, cowboy, rider, circuit, queen…
Kinda funny, isn’t it, that the one that sounds like road is the one that does not go with drive? But never you mind that. When you say it that way, it rhymes the /o/s, and it gives a kind of yodeling, coyote-howling sonority, a sound that you can hold on the end and trail off as your voice slides down into the gravel. And if it sounds like road, well, it sounds like rode, too, and that’s the past tense of ride, and that’s what you do in a rodeo: ride.
And how ’bout that drive? Well, you could have a cattle drive, that would be something. But most likely you’ll drive to get to the rodeo. Oh yeah, in a pickup truck, and the horse in a trailer, if you’re bringing one. And if you’re going to a great big rodeo like the one at the Calgary Stampede, well, you’re driving into the middle of a city of about a million people, and, y’know, things can get kinda prettified there, too, with those white hats and all that stuff.
But it’s still a “roady-o.” Don’t give me that “ro-day-o.” Not unless you’re singin’ that banana boat song. Or speakin’ Spanish. Y’hear?