Etbauer, left, and a member of the Oman Royal Calvary exchange
courtesy Trell Etbauer
Etbauer Participates in Cultural Exchange
-released by OPSU Campus Communications 01-23-2006
by Laura Dahl
Goodwell, OK- Trell Etbauer, OPSU sophomore
and co-winner of the 2005 College National Finals Rodeo Steer
Wrestling title, spent ten days in the Middle Eastern country
of Oman over the holidays. He joined citizens from all over
the world in Oman’s
30th annual Royal Equestrian & Camel Festival to demonstrate
American rodeo events.
The annual New Year’s Day event,
sponsored by His Majesty the Sultan Qaboos Bin Said, celebrates
horse cultures worldwide. Countries represented at the 2006
festival were Morocco, France, Spain, Germany and Japan and
incorporated displays of a variety of horsemanship skills
including polo, archery on horseback, circus acts, races,
and rodeo. The production also included a variety of military
bands and choirs as well as the Royal Oman Symphony Orchestra.
Omani culture includes deep-rooted traditions
that feature horses, particularly Arabians, and camels prominently
in their epic tales of heroic events, and the animals are
identified with manhood, pride and honor. In addition, horses
and camels fulfill an important economic role as a means
of transport for people and goods. Horse and camel breeding
remain an integral part of Oman’s heritage.
As part of the American rodeo team, Etbauer and Bronc Rumford
demonstrated saddle bronc riding and team roping skills. The
pair accompanied 10 American Quarter horses to Chicago, loaded
the horses on a cargo plane, and flew to Brussels, Belgium.
They flew on to Abu Dhabi in the United Arab Emirates where
they landed and loaded the horses in a trailer and drove to
the capital of Oman, Muscat. The American horses remain in
Oman where they will be trained and used by the Royal Calvary.
Etbauer said all of the participants in the show rehearsed
every day starting on December 24. Rehearsals began at 5:00
p.m. and sometimes did not end until midnight. Approximately
4,400 individuals participated in the show plus 2,000 horses
and 800 camels. Thousands more worked behind the scenes to
ensure everything ran smoothly. One goal during rehearsal was
to get the entire show completed in about 2 hours.
The rodeo portion lasted less than 10
minutes and was divided in two different time slots. Etbauer
and Rumford showed the Omani people saddle bronc riding and
bareback riding complete with pick-up men, and yes, Trell
stayed on the full 8 seconds, but no score was posted!The
second performance displayed barrel racing and team roping,
or as explained in the program, “Barrel
Display and Cow Catching.” Rumford and Etbauer team roped
two Brahma cross steers with Bronc heading and Trell heeling.
In addition, two American children showed off their mastery
of trick riding and trick roping.
As guests of the Omani government, the
American group was requested to wear “traditional” American cowboy
attire while in the country. No hardship there, the ten Americans
donned starched jeans, boots and hats for all the official
functions. They participated in a number of events including
Christmas and New Year’s Eve parties, a deep-sea fishing
expedition, and tours of palaces and a fort. The group stayed
in a five-star hotel right on the Gulf of Oman courtesy of
the Sultanate of Oman and enjoyed beautiful vistas, warm weather
and plenty of sunshine.
Etbauer said he was struck by the friendliness of the people
of Oman. The Americans had a full-time interpreter with them,
but Trell said many Omani people speak excellent English and
asked questions about the American people and customs.
Because rodeo is not part of Omani culture, Etbauer and Rumford
oversaw the building of bucking chutes and an alley. The two
Americans provided plans, and Omani workers were assigned to
build the equipment. A frustrating situation for two men used
to taking care of things themselves, the pair ended up finishing
the job rather than explaining every step.
On New Year’s Eve, participants staged a free dress
rehearsal that over 5,000 citizens attended. The following
day, the “real” event was put on for the Sultan
and his 2,000 invited guests. Tickets were sold for the remaining
seats. The Al-Fateh Stadium, where the show was held, was huge
with the perimeter measuring nearly one mile.
Etbauer said the extravaganza was a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity
and hopes to participate in more international shows of this