Get out your cowboy hat – assignment #214 in the 365 Things to Do in Memphis is to see a rodeo or horse show at the Showplace Arena.
The Showplace Arena houses all kinds of events, but the space is perfect for rodeos and other equine good times. The space is huge – way bigger than it seems from the outside. It's utilitarian, but in a cozy way – there are stadium-style metal bleachers that look onto a dirt-covered floor. There's no air conditioning, but with the back door open and the Big Ass Fans (no really, that's the brand name) going, it feels pretty good, even in the sticky part of the summer.
I stopped by yesterday hoping to catch some of the International Buckskin Horse Association's world championship show. My timing was off, though, and I arrived between events to find the arena mostly empty, save for a handful of people in the bleachers and two women leading their horses through some training exercises One was leading a gorgeous brown horse around on what looked like a giant horse leash while the other rode a speckled horse.
The one with the leash, a friendly middle-aged lady from the Midwest whose name I didn't catch, must have sensed my complete and total lack of equestrian knowledge and came over to talk to me. She's a trainer, and she told me that her horse, Roxy, was a show horse that competed in events designed to show off her enormous girth.
She had been leading Roxy through some exercises that, after two days, the horse seemed to know well enough to be eligible for the world championships. "We're not going to win," she told me, "but we can enter. We're doing good – usually, she just gallops like a maniac".
The IBHA World Championships are going on until Aug. 5, 2012 (and admission is free), but you can check out the Showplace Arena's full event schedule here.
105 South Germantown Pkwy.
Cordova, TN 38018