The Helicopter and the Rodeo

Imagine making a special trip to watch the world’s highest rodeo. Nearly 8000 feet above sea level, with the rocky mountain peaks rimming the arena. The setting sun casts moutain shadows and long fingers of the setting sun’s rays make the distant rocks sparkle and shine in the evening light. The sky takes on a purplish cast and at last the outside world is dark…leaving only the rodeo lights and the arena in front of you. Nothing can compete for your attention now, as you take in the daring leaps of the steer wrestlers, the determination of the barrell racers and the sheer courage and of the bull riders.

That is, until you feel the subtle pounding in your chest. You can’t hear it yet, but coming from somewhere nearby is a low frequency pulsing that resonates in the arena. Everyone becomes silent. Similar to the opening scene from the TV show MASH…”wait for it.”

It climbs above the earth, popping up from the valley below and circles around the arena. A deafening roar of the rotor blades halts the rodeo clown in his tracks. Everyone, including you, grabs their cowboy hats to keep them from getting blown away like tumbleweeds across the fairgrounds. Blinding spotlights scan the rodeo as if searching for a fugitive. After what seems like an adrenaline filled eternity, the noise begins to quiet as the rescue helicopter settles on the ballfields adjacent to the rodeo arean. The crowd remains silent. The announcer tries to regain control and reinvigorate the clown. The clown, for a rare moment frozen in time, suddenly comes to life in an almost awkward fashion as he struggles to refocus attention on himself and on the riders.

The crowd has breifly forgotten about the mysterious intruder, but just as they get transfixed by the rodeo, the helicopter lifts off again. This time the noise and lights are not quite as much a surprise, and the rodeo only slows for a minute as the chopper quietly passes overhead to the nearby hospital rooftop to pick up it’s waiting patient, then as if trying to hide, it quickly dissappears down the valley and drops back over the edge to the trauma center in the waiting plains below.

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