mutton bustin'...

…is awesome. It really is.

About a year an a half ago, the very kind Vanderbeken family took our kids for a few days (with about an hours notice) while we went to our annual Elder’s retreat. The most talked about portion of their visit was how they got to watch Mutton Bustin’ on YouTube and thought it was the funniest thing they’d ever seen.

Fast forward to a month ago at the HigLig dinner table. Somehow Mutton Bustin’ comes up, as it has many times since the kids first learned of it. Geet and Bop decide to declare (out loud and everything) that we should all take Cal to go Mutton Bustin’…mind you, this is before we even knew this was a publicly accessible activity. Calvin could not contain his excitement. Fortunately, Google was able to help us find some Bustin’ at The Puyallup Fair the following month.

Since Calvin had never been around livestock of any sort, we did take him to a smaller fair before committing to the event. We stuck him right next to a sheep, had him grab a handful of wool and he acted like everything was totally normal, no hesitation of any sort.

On to Puyallup!

We asked a few of Cal’s friends to join him as well. Aaron Vanderbeken thought it would be awesome, and we sort of talked Sam Rothenberger in to it as well. To be honest, we didn’t think Sam would actually ride, but he did want to come. (When his mom asked him, “But Calvin is going to do it, don’t you want to too?”, Sam replied with a very final, “Mom, we will sit on the bench and watch him.”)

I don’t know who was more excited, the busters, the siblings or the parents.

So Monday we all headed down to Puyallup (our van took two potty breaks on the way…that’s a detail to make you feel like you were there). As a side note, the Puyallup Fair is killer. Puyallup might be the dumbest city name I’ve ever heard, but the fair is fabulous. We got the boys signed up and got ready for some bustin’.

I don’t know what cowboy first had his kids prepare for bull-riding like this, but Tommy G has turned it into a great show. All the people the kids encounter are great at what they do. Everybody has fun…what isn’t fun about little kids riding terrified sheep? It’s hilarious.

Here are a few shots before the riding got underway for the three from our posse.

the sheep whisperer

skh really liked this sign


Sam was up first. We weren’t sure he was going to go, even here.

listening to wise council from mom

But he did!

the sheep is outta here

And he did awesome.

basking in the glory

Then it was Calvin’s turn, and he was ready to go.

cal's up, ready to go

Our boy is bustin’!

whoa, a little bumpy!

Cal’s ride ended with a nice face full of dirt.

close up of the landing

He kind of looks irritated here as he looks back at his wooly nemesis. He thinks the sheep won since he didn’t last the six seconds.

looking back at his wooly nemesis

Aaron was last from our group to go, and I’m not sure he was ever nervous; he’s been waiting for this!

handsome aaron is observing

Bustin’ his mutton.

holding on...

Aaron’s dismount was my favorite.

almost a flip!


We also ran into some friends who were there separately, the Mallory family. They had two riders from their pack of five future men. These are the most manly boys I have ever met. Which is a good thing as one of their two had his sheep roll on top of him. I cannot believe it, but my camera malfunctioned during his ride, so I have no photo-documentation. I did catch his brother, though…

slippery sheep

Click here if you want to see all of the bustin’ pictures. (There are a lot.)

Moving on to the video department, I have two perspectives on Cal’s ride.

The official Tommy G footage…

Calvin Bustin’ Mutton from Sean Higgins on Vimeo.

And the official Higgins-Flip-Video version…

Calvin Bustin’ Mutton (Flip) from Sean Higgins on Vimeo.

Eventually I’ll be able to post the rest of the kid’s rides, but I have to go pack for the big-time date skh is taking me on, and this is not an egalitarian blog.

But here’s a great way to end the post…look at all these cuties!

look at all these cute faces!

Mo Higgins @hobbsandbean