Rodeo Queen

(Cat and Corndog with green sea turtle)

Yesterday we went out turtling, which means driving around on the boat looking for turtles swimming in the shallows. After a turtle is spotted, we chase it with the boat until we get close enough for someone to leap from the boat onto the turtle. You wrestle it to the surface and bring it onto the boat. This is called a rodeo.

Once the turtle is on the boat it is identified and measured. If it is a green turtle we release it, and if it is a hawksbill turtle we tag it then release it.

Little did you know that last summer I worked on a cattle ranch as a farmhand and official cowgirl. Needless to say, I’ve been to a couple rodeos in my day. This is why when our professor Aaron asked who was going to be the one to do the rodeo, I was nominated. The only person on the boat who didn’t want me to be the the rodeo queen was Conner (otherwise known as Corndog), who was seeking redemption for missing a turtle the other night.

We spotted a turtle and began the chase with everyone in the boat on their feet. I ran from port to starboard to port, ready to jump at any moment. Finally, the turtle comes right under the boat and Aaron yells “JUMP!” I leap overboard, arms out in front bracing for contact and come up with nothing. I missed it! I open my eyes and see the turtle a couple feet in front of me swimming tiredly, so I begin the chase. Arms like propeller blades I swim like a madwoman after the little guy.

The boat comes back around with Conner perched on the gunnels rearing for action. They make a pass and Conner dives off the boat. With a streamline swan dive to make his 9th grade swim coach proud, he comes up screaming with turtle in arms.

I swim over to Conner and together we bring the turtle back to the boat full of cheering students. Maybe I’m not as big of a rodeo star as everyone expected, but at least we put on a show. As for the turtle, he was not harmed, and was quickly released.

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